Alameda County and Los Angeles must now collect and publish information on Internet-related crimes, under an East Bay lawmaker’s bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Senate Bill 561 by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, requires the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to collect data on arrests and prosecutions that involve the misuse of personal information gathered on the Internet. It also directs the state Justice Department to publish that data on its website.
The aim is to create a more accurate picture of the scope and nature of Internet-related crime, which can help lawmakers and law enforcement combat such activity.
“It is high time to track the criminal activity we know is occurring via the Internet, social networking websites and smart phones,” Corbett said in a news release. “These wonderful technological advances have transformed our society for the better, but they have also presented criminals with new opportunities they are actively exploiting. We need to understand exactly what is happening so we can respond appropriately.”
Corbett said mapping connections between crime and Internet is particularly important for protecting children, as 95 percent of children aged 12 to 17 spend time online; about 80 percent of them visit social-networking sites. Even use among young children is on the rise, with kids up to age 5 now accessing the Internet at least once a week.