Cuomo Budget Proposes Strengthening Investigations Into Child Sexual Offenses

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2019 executive budget proposal includes legislation that would grant the New York State Police superintendent the power to issue administrative subpoenas as a way of strengthening investigations into sexual offenses against children that have taken place online.

The legislation could play a role in streamlining the current subpoena process for these types of criminal investigations, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“We must do everything in our power to stop the victimization of children and the horrific scourge of online sexual abuse, and this proposal will equip the State Police with more tools to identify and arrest those who use technology to prey on children,” Cuomo said. “With this action, we will help protect children, bring these monsters to justice and make New York a stronger, safer state for all.”

The State Police often receive leads about online sexual crimes involving children that include only the IP address or online identifier used by the suspect. If it is determined that a crime was committed, a subpoena is then necessary to obtain basic subscriber account records from internet service providers in order to identify and locate the suspect. Internet service providers do not retain the data for long and online predators often routinely change IP addresses to avoid detection. The current investigative process requires the issuance of a subpoena by an outside agency. Federal law allows government agencies to issue administrative subpoenas in order to support these investigations, however the power must be specifically authorized under state law. The actual content of online communications will not be available by subpoena under the proposal, and disclosure of content records will continue to require court authorization.