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California Joins Tech Firm Cyberexploitation Fight

In an important move towards protecting Internet users against cyberexploitation, the attorney general of California has partnered with tech companies in Silicon Valley and has passed new laws to power local authorities to take action.

The partnership, which includes tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Twitter and representatives from the Department of Justice, will work towards updating local laws, creating victim advocacy groups and enhancing police training.

Earlier this year, the group launched an online portal that provided local law enforcements with a cheat sheet of new and existing laws that could help bring justice for victims who are being harassed by revenge porn, explicit photographs and extortion, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“This is a new crime because it’s using new technology, and we need the law to catch up with it,” said California Attorney General Kamala Harris in an interview with AP.

The attorney general’s office also sponsored two cyberexploitation state bills aimed at giving teeth to local law enforcement. While the first bill, SB 676, allows local authorities to remove images from the possession of an unauthorized person or company, the second bill, AB 1310, modifies existing laws to provide search warrants for any cyberexploitation crimes and further expands and clarifies jurisdictions, allowing revenge porn cases to be prosecuted in the victim’s vicinity, LA Times reported.

The two bills were signed by Governor Jerry Brown and go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

“Cybercrimes are not virtual,” said LA Police Department Captain John Romero. “Cybercrimes hurt real people, and law enforcement need the tools to reach out and touch the offenders, and we need the tools to protect the victims.”

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