House approves Wheeler bill to crack down on child pornography, fraud & other crimes

The Illinois House of Representatives unanimously approved bipartisan legislation today sponsored by Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, that would strengthen the ability of law enforcement and prosecutors to bring charges against offenders who commit fraud, child pornography, online solicitation of a child and a range of other crimes by updating the definition of “computer” in state law to include any cloud-based networks of remote services hosted on the Internet.

“As technology continues to evolve, Illinois’ criminal laws need to update with it,” Rep. Wheeler said. “Currently if someone commits a crime such as fraud or child pornography entirely in the cloud, we don’t have the ability to prosecute that properly. This legislation would correct that and strengthen the hand of law enforcement to hold offenders accountable for their crimes.”

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user.

House Bill 2133 defines “computer” as any device that accepts, processes, stores, retrieves, or outputs data and includes, but is not limited to, auxiliary storage, including cloud-based networks of remote services hosted on the Internet, and telecommunications devices connected to computers for the purposes of solicitation to meet a child, child pornography, unlawful use of encryption, and gambling provisions.

Wheeler worked across the aisle to get House Bill 2133 passed, signing on Representative John Connor, D-Lockport, a former criminal prosecutor with the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, as Chief Co-Sponsor of the legislation. House Bill 2133 was approved by a vote of 114-0 in the House and now advances to the State Senate for consideration.

Rep. Wheeler serves the 50th District, which includes portions of Aurora, North Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Campton Hills, Elburn, Montgomery, Oswego, Plano, St. Charles, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.