New Bills Target Online Crimes
In Illinois, lawmakers are considering a series of bills aimed at helping law enforcement officials more easily police and investigate online crimes. One such law, Senate Bill 2871, would prohibit juveniles charged with crimes from accessing their social media accounts before trial or during sentencing. Though the bill has received initial support, many have voiced concerns over its potential impact on the privacy rights of youths and their families.
Senate Bill 2871
If passed, Senate Bill 2871 would allow judges to hold pretrial hearings in order to determine whether a juvenile charged with a crime should be permitted to have access to his or her social media accounts immediately prior to trial and through the sentencing process. Furthermore, courts would also be granted the discretion to require juvenile offenders to give law enforcement officials and probation officers access to their online accounts. Youths would also be required to remove any depictions of firearms or dangerous weapons from all of their social media accounts. Theoretically, the law would allow police officers to search the online history of juvenile offenders in an effort to find information relevant to the crime.
This is not the first law proposed in Illinois that would severely limit the free speech rights of juvenile social media users. Last year, state legislators passed a similar law, House Bill 4207, which allowed school administrators to demand access to the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online social media accounts of students who were suspected of being involved in violating a school code.
The intent of the law was to prevent cyberbullying; however, numerous parents and school authorities continue to voice concerns about the effect of the law on students’ rights to free speech and privacy. Similar issues have been raised about the effect of Senate Bill 2871. Despite these concerns, the bill has already passed a Senate committee and is scheduled for a full debate.
Senate Bill 2346
Another lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow for the creation of an eight-hour program designed to train police officers on how to identify and investigate crimes related to the use of personal technology devices. Specifically, officers would receive training on the use of social media, Internet communications, and cell phone applications to commit certain crimes, including:
- The exploitation of children;
- Sending or receiving sexually explicit messages;
- Computer tampering;
- Financial fraud;
- Harassment; and
Having a juvenile criminal record can have far-reaching consequences on a youth’s ability to obtain employment, education, and housing in the future. Therefore, retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help ensure that your child’s interests and rights are protected is imperative. If your child has been arrested for or charged with a criminal offense, please contact the compassionate Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC to schedule your initial consultation today.