H.R. NO.













urgING to create a task force that will ensure the protection of child exploitation from online research databases.



     WHEREAS, children are the future of our State, and as they continue their education online amidst COVID-19, they are at greater risk of exposure to the harmful effects of pornography that is easily accessible on school devices and online research databases; and


     WHEREAS, large corporate technology companies that provide online research database services include, but are not limited to EBSCO, ProQuest, Gale, Explora, Academic OneFile, MAS Ultra, and MasterFile, are heavily relied upon by K-12 schools for student research purposes and online distance learning across the United States; and


     WHEREAS, EBSCO and Gale are primarily used by Hawaii’s schools; and


     WHEREAS, online research databases like EBSCO and Gale have facilitated and attributed to the rapid ascent of online sexual exploitation in K-12 schools and libraries via conducting innocent searches by children, resulting in easy access to pornography sites and extreme graphic sexual content; and


     WHEREAS, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), more than 21.7 million cases were reported in the United States in 2020 related to apparent child sexual abuse material, online enticement, child sex trafficking and child sexual molestation, with 304,299 of those reports were from the public and 21.4 million were from electronic service providers; and


     WHEREAS, despite existing federal laws and regulations enacted by Congress such as The Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”), which aims to protect children from obscene or harmful content on the Internet, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“The RICO Act”), which prohibits the use of income derived from a “pattern of racketeering activity” that includes offenses relating to sexual exploitation of children and dealing in obscene matter; and


     WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld obscenity laws against First Amendment challenges, and allows Congress to have authority to require public schools and libraries to receive e-Rate discounts to install web filtering software as a condition of receiving federal funding (United States v. American Library Association, 539 U.S. 193, 201 F. Supp 2d 401 (2003)); there are virtually no preventive measures nor incentives in place to encourage large technology corporations to make their online databases adequately consumer safe, especially for the protection of children from online sexual exploitation due to the broad interpretation of the Communications Decency Act Section 230 (c)(1)("CDA"); and


     WHEREAS, Section 230 (c)(1) of the CDA has permitted large technology corporations nearly absolute legal immunity from tort (and criminal) liability even when their services and platforms are used to inflict harm; and as a result, left a gap in child protection; and


     WHEREAS, at least 27 states like Utah, Tennessee, Colorado, Idaho, Georgia, Texas, Indiana, and Minnesota have taken initiative and filed online database legislation, with Colorado actually having filed a lawsuit, and California and Delaware have enacted Internet filtering laws that prohibits operators of websites that use online computing services or mobile applications directed at children from marketing or advertising products or services inappropriate for children’s viewing, such as alcohol, tobacco, firearms, or pornography; and now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the State's Department of Education is urged to create a task force that will ensure that Hawaii is in compliance with the federal laws and regulations relating to the protection of child exploitation from online research database companies such as EBSCO and Gale; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State's Department of Education work with the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Health and Human Services, the Federal Communication Commission) including the Office of Educational Technology that oversees CIPA, and other relevant agency personnel to develop best practices to prevent sexual exploitation in Hawaii’s educational system ; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State's Department of Education establish guidelines for online research database companies used by K-12 schools to require removal of harmful sexual content and accessibility to pornographic websites; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State's Department of Education encourage Congress to consider the evolving laws of technology over the past decade, and ensure these databases do not bypass Internet filters subject to CIPA and Section 230 (c)(1) of the CDA ; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Governor of the State of Hawaii, the Vice President of the United States, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii, Director of the Department of Justice, Director of the Hawaii State Department of Education,, Mayor of the County of Hawaii, Mayor of the County of Maui, Mayor of the City & County of Honolulu, and Mayor of the County of Kauai.








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