Bill would double budget to fight Internet child pornography

A bill introduced in the House yesterday would double the Customs Service's budget for combating child pornography on the Internet.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas), would authorize $20 million over the next four years for the Customs Cybersmuggling Center. The center, established by Customs three years ago, analyzes intelligence data related to child pornography, disseminates information to other law enforcement agencies and coordinates undercover operations to catch people who are electronically distributing child pornography.

Congress earmarked $2.5 million for the program this year. The Clinton administration, in its fiscal 2000 budget, did not specifically request funds for the center.

At a press conference today, Lampson said Customs needs the extra money to "continue its worldwide leadership in the prevention of the sexual exploitation and abuse of children." If the bill passes, lawmakers would still have to agree to appropriate the funds each year.

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