"The safety and well-being of our citizens is a top priority, and I
am pleased to sign this bill into law today," Blagojevich said.
"People in Illinois will now have added protection from
cyberbullying, a serious threat in today's increasingly
Senate Bill 2426, sponsored by state Rep.
Patrick J. Verschoore and state Sen. Ira I. Silverstein
overwhelmingly passed in both the House (108-1-0) and the Senate
(53-1-0). The bill is a response to the October 2006 suicide of a
Missouri teenager who had received hurtful messages on the MySpace
site from someone she thought was a boy she met online but turned
out to be a neighbor's mother. The incident received extensive
national attention, and more than 10 states have now passed laws to
protect against future incidents of this nature.
This law clarifies the definition of harassing someone by using
electronic communication such as the Internet and text messaging and
enables the prosecution of someone who anonymously bullies in this
capacity. Senate Bill 2426 becomes law Jan. 1, 2009.
"Cyberbullying is a
new, but troubling problem that needs to be addressed," said Verschoore. "This bill takes real steps to deterring this criminal
behavior, and I am pleased to see the governor sign it into law."
"Numerous other states have taken the initiative and passed laws
targeting cyberbullying. I am pleased that Illinois has joined those
states, in the fight to protect its citizens against these harmful
and hurtful acts," said Silverstein.
Since February 2007, the Illinois State Police
Internet Crimes Unit
has received 139 complaints of cyberstalking.
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"With the advancement of technology, law enforcement has observed
an increase in criminal activity that has stemmed from electronic
communications," said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent.
"Law enforcement agencies throughout the state will now be able hold
those individuals accountable that continue to torment or terrorize
by unwanted or unwarranted electronic statements. The Cyberbullying
Law will give everyone, including our children, the protection to
use their electronic devices without fear of receiving a threat or
becoming a victim of harassing and obscene communications."
In 2006, Blagojevich established the Internet Crimes Unit. This
is a unique enforcement group capable of educating the public,
gathering information from the private sector, coordinating
investigations with other bodies and agencies of law enforcement,
de-conflicting investigative efforts, researching crime, proactively
searching the Web for criminal activity, and then performing the
required forensic work to further investigative efforts and assist
prosecutors in jailing offenders.
The Internet Crimes Unit serves as a point of contact for the
general public, schools and the law enforcement community for all
concerns regarding Internet safety or crimes like identity theft,
financial fraud and terrorism. The unit also serves as the initial
point of contact for citizen inquiries, is a repository for public
safety information, provides statewide de-confliction for
investigations and offers criminal intelligence analysis for law
enforcement agencies and computer evidence recovery for
investigations and trial preparation.
For more information on the Internet Crimes Unit, visit
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]
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