California Gov. Jerry Brown directed the Los Angeles County sheriff to help determine whether Internet-related crimes are a significant problem requiring new state laws, reports the Los Angeles Times. A new law requires the Sheriff’s Department and the Alameda County district attorney to collect statistics in their counties for one year on identity theft, child molestation, stalking, and other crimes involving the Internet. “One of the most effective weapons in the fight against cyber-crime is accurate data and information,” said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor.
State Sen. Ellen Corbett introduced the measure after Facebook, Google, Twitter and other companies successfully lobbied to kill legislation that would have allowed parents to restrict their children’s personal information on social networking sites and limit disclosure of information about adults. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca backed the bill and has serious concerns about the vulnerability of children and others on the Web. Last year, nine Internet firms signed a letter opposing Corbett’s proposal that would have required them to let parents edit their children’s Web postings to exclude information such as home addresses and phone numbers. It also would have ordered the sites to promptly remove adults’ personal information upon request. “It is high time to track the criminal activity we know is occurring via the Internet, social network sites and smartphones,” Corbett said.