General Assembly OKs bill requiring online providers to supply certain information to attorney general
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly has passed legislation introduced by Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) and Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) that would add certain offenses to a list for which online providers would be required to supply information to the attorney general.
The bills (2016-S 2631, 2016-H 7542) would add online impersonation and electronic dissemination of indecent materials to minors to the group of offenses for which an internet service provider must provide subscriber account information to the attorney general or to the state police upon proper service and with certification that the information is necessary for an official criminal investigation or prosecution.
“This legislation keeps up with technological advances and online criminal activity by giving another crime fighting tool to the state police and attorney general,” said Senator Lombardi. “It is imperative that internet service providers cooperate with law enforcement officials when there is an official investigation regarding these crimes. Online personation and electronic dissemination of indecent materials to minors are serious crimes. There is no need to tie the hands of investigators who seek to bring these perpetrators to justice.”
Under the legislation, an internet service provider would be required to disclose subscriber account information consisting of the name, address, IP address and telephone numbers associated with the account to the attorney general or to the superintendent of the Rhode Island state police upon proper service, and with certification that the information is necessary for an officially documented criminal investigation or prosecution of a criminal complaint.
“It’s important for the law to keep up with technology to stay one step ahead of criminals,” said Representative Ackerman. “One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that law enforcement officials can rely on the cooperation of internet service providers when there is an official investigation regarding these crimes. The problem of online personation and electronic dissemination of indecent materials to minors is very serious. This legislation will make the job of the state police and the attorney general that much easier.”
“The General Assembly has done admirable work in enacting criminal statutes to protect those most vulnerable online,” said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. “While we now have the statutes to prosecute these perpetrators, law enforcement also needs the tools to properly investigate these crimes. Enactment of this legislation provides law enforcement with a critical tool in the protection of Rhode Islanders, especially our children.”
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903