HARRISBURG, Pa.—Philadelphia Governor Ed Rendell signed into law Tuesday a new bill that makes viewing of child pornography a crime.
According to LehighValleyLive, the legislation was introduced by State Rep. Jennifer Mann (D-Lehigh). Under the measure, Act 15 of 2009 (House Bill 89), anyone who exploits children can be prosecuted. The bill is said to close a loophole that previously only allowed for charges if an adult was "in possession or control" of the child porn images.
"We need to protect children from the monsters who commit child abuse every time they view pornographic images depicting children," Mann said in a statement on her website. "The change in the law will be an important tool to help law enforcement convict these people who prey on the innocent."
The Pennsylvania measure applies to the internet, video and photographs.
Mann believes legislators have an obligation to protect children. Certainly, few would argue with that. But what is of concern is how the law will be carried out.
AVN.com legal commentary and analyst Mark Kernes said, "While the privacy aspects of how they’re going to find out whether you’ve been viewing child porn are troubling, I see such laws as more 'closing a loophole' regarding child porn, which is already illegal to possess."