Promote Reliable Online Transactions to Encourage Commerce and Trade Act of 1999

The first PROTECT Act (S. 798) was co-sponsored by Senators John McCain, John Kerry, Spencer Abraham, Patrick Leahy, Ron Wyden, and Conrad Burns. It loosened the export controls on high-grade (>64-bit) data encryption and mandated an Encryption Export Advisory Board to help the Department of Commerce make crypto-related policy decisions. It also prohibited federal agencies from demanding "any plaintext access capability," including key recovery.

Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003

S. 151 amends many federal laws, including the Communications Decency Act, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Controlled Substances Act. It is intended to protect children, but it also does a bit more than this. Here are the main points of the 2003 PROTECT Act:

  • Child abuse-related deaths, where the victim is under 18 and more than six years younger than the assailant, are automatically treated as first degree murder (sec 102).
  • Americans who engage in "sex tourism" with minors overseas are liable to fines and up to 30 years in prison. Anyone who helps them do this is also liable to the same punishment (sec 105).
  • Two strikes you're out: Repeat sex offenders automatically receive life imprisonment (sec 106).
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs, National Mentoring Partnerships, and National Council of Youth Sports can now request ten-fingerprint background checks on any employees or volunteers, through the FBI's database. This is a pilot program and may be extended to other organizations in the future through further legislation (sec 108).
  • The statute of limitations for a sex crime against a minor now lasts at least as long as the minor's life (sec 202).
  • Accused kidnappers or child molestors cannot be released before trial (sec 203).
  • Any missing person under the age of 21 is considered a "missing child." This is known as Suzanne's Law (sec 204).
  • The Amber Alert network is now under federal control (sec 301).
  • The Adam Alert: all public buildings must establish procedures for locating missing children within that building (sec 363).
  • Convicted sex offenders are subject to a myriad array of new sentencing guidelines (sec 401).
  • Child pornography now encompasses any depiction of minors engaging in sexual acts (sec 502), and trafficking, or helping to transmit, child porn is a felony (sec 503).
  • Anyone who produces child porn overseas for the American market can be prosecuted by the US (sec 506).
  • Using a "misleading" domain name to link to pornography is now a felony (sec 521).
  • The Department of Justice must provide a web site with information on sex offenders (sec 604) and child pornographers (sec 605).

Section 608 is also known as the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, formerly known as the RAVE Act. Under the IDAPA, it is illegal to intentionally profit from "manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance." How does this relate to child abuse? It makes it illegal for rave promoters, for instance, to condone drug taking, or to use drug-related imagery in marketing. The same applies to virtually any business. This section of the Act is expected to become a major civil liberties issue in the coming months.

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