Illinois State lawmakers are confronting what has become a common problem in the digital age: How to provide law enforcement with the tools to investigate online threats and cybercrimes while also making sure privacy and free speech are safeguarded.
Lawmakers are considering a series of new bills aimed at giving police more power to investigate online crimes and also to tap into technology to hold people accountable for posting video of crimes.
One measure would ban juveniles charged with a crime from having access to their social media accounts. In addition, those individuals would be required to turn over access to their accounts to police.
The idea is to allow police to go through the online history of the accused looking for any information about the alleged crime. Backers of the law said it could also prevent juveniles from stirring up trouble online while their cases play out in courts.
Another bill would prohibit videos of crimes from being posted online, and require anyone caught posting a crime to turn over the footage to police. That measure is intended in part to target gangs that use videos and social media posts to threaten rivals, a practice known as “Internet-banging” or “cyber-banging.”
“Our world is changing, and social media is a big part of it. We’re just trying to address this as we go, to discourage its abuse,” said Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago, sponsor of the bill that would limit access to social media for juveniles charged with crimes. “I’m offering this up for a conversation.”
Read more on the Chicago Tribune website.