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back to article EU, US launch biggest ever global fight against online child sex abuse

Some 48 countries have agreed to join forces to halt the spread of online child sex abuse videos and images. EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström will team up with US Attorney General Eric Holder to launch the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online at a conference held today in Brussels, Belgium. The …

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Big Brother

Not that I'm cynical

(Which I most assuredly am)

But this does sound like the classic 'umbrella of cooperation' governments like to use to implement trans-national data-sharing and snooping treaty thingies under the guise of something folks tend not to argue against.

I predict this will also somehow be used for copyright 'theft' shortly as well as saving children from assured doom.

Think of the children? Big Brother won the icon choice...

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Re: Not that I'm cynical

I too am very cynical, but in this case I am happy to give them the benefit of the doubt and wish them lots of luck.

What I find slightly depressing is the lack of China and (I'm guessing much more significantly) Russia in the list of participating countries.

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Childcatcher

Re: Not that I'm cynical

"Note, that I'm cynical" - there, fixed it for you :)

I actually think this is long long overdue. Global connectivity, The Internet and social media have all combined to fundamentally change the landscape of child abuse, from a extremist subset of your normal perverts, to something much much more profitable.

A global and focussed co-operation is the only way to deal with it imo.

icon obv

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Thumb Up

Re: Not that I'm cynical

Having police share resources and information is definitely a better way to combat paedophilia than to track and record every single Internet user's online movements. Please note Ms. May!! (think how many actual police officers you could hire and train for £1.8bln!!!)

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Re: Not that I'm cynical

"I am happy to give them the benefit of the doubt"

Doubt? What doubt? There is no significant doubt. There is a long history of governments abusing such powers across the spectrum from the international level to the very local level. The balance of probability is very clearly that the powers will be used as a broad dragnet and to get around civil protections.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not that I'm cynical

I note that those upstanding non women traffiking baltic states are present

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Re: Not that I'm cynical

The lack of any Central or South American Countries in there was understandable. But I think the biggest surprise was the abscence of Canada from the list.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not that I'm cynical

Not that I'm cynical either...

...but I further predict that this is the toe of a crackdown against privacy tools.

We are at war with Pædophilia. We have always been at war with Pædophilia.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not that I'm cynical

maybe because in china they would execute the criminal, punish the host & parade the criminal on TV when he was captured to show the country that they are catching vile people like that and punishing them....

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FAIL

The sky is falling! the sky is falling!

One million images? Including the Blind Faith and Supertramp album covers I assume? And all those naughty cherubs on the church ceilings? Frankly, given the scale of the Internet, it sounds like the problem is pretty much beat at this point - assuming that they're not just pulling numbers out of their arses to make the publicity release sound better.

It's not the images that are the problem - it's the abuse ... and that's something that happens locally, which is where it has to be stopped.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The sky is falling! the sky is falling!

Maybe a few of those pages aren't actually child abuse, maybe not. To suggest that the problem is the act and not the images is missing that point that as long as there is a market for the images new abuse will continue to create new images. The end "users" of these images need to be found as much for the sake of the people being abused as their own. Many paedophiles don't want to be like the are, but are terrified of reaching out to get treatment, which results in them being driven underground.

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Re: The sky is falling! the sky is falling!

Wow, that is an amazingly naive point of view to take.

The creation of images is in itself the act taking place, if you can stop the availability of images then hopefully you can do something to stop some of the abuse.

They are not claiming to eradicate the problem but hopefully the multiple angle approach should help in some way, even if it's just closing the legal loopholes mentioned.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The sky is falling! the sky is falling!

@George - It's just one of those "Hip to be contrary" comments you get on the Reg, you know the sort, the run along the lines of "everyone says X, so I'll say Y just to show everyone how smart I am and that I've thought the problem through and understand it better than them."

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The creation of images is in itself the act taking place

is it? Are picture of my daughters playing on the beach evidence of abuse? I know some would happily pay for those images but the fact I can no longer take them in case some repressed Xtian in darkest US gets my front door kicked in at 5am by the local plods strikes me as being quite damaging too.

How do you tell your child you cant take a picture of them playing on the beach because someone somewhere might get daddy locked up because other people sometimes bash one out over pictures like that?

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@AC "as long as there is a market for the images...

"... new abuse will continue to create new images."

Nonsense.

These images were being created by perpetrators long before they had any possible "market" for them and even if we could shut down every possible method of distributing them now, the creation of new images and, much more importantly, the abuse would still be happening.

The images do not cause abuse, it is the abuse which causes the images and *that* is the problem that we really need to deal with.

Of course when a whole new category of "abusive images" is suddenly created as happened when the Blair Regime decided to redefine "child pornography" as images of anyone under 18 instead of anyone under 16 (the legal age of consent in the UK!), it doesn't help matters in the slightest...

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Re: The sky is falling! the sky is falling!

The thing is that not every image is an act of abuse.

Certainly actual photographs of children can be an act of abuse. But here are some examples of other things that have been held to be child porn images:

A story written in text form describing a child being abused - distasteful, not the sort of thing I would want to read, but not an actual act of abuse

Cartoon drawings of children in inappropriate poses - again not the sort of thing I would want to look at, but not an actual act of abuse

A photo of a fully clothed child, with another photo of a naked over 18's waist area taped on top of the child's waist area

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC "as long as there is a market for the images...

Actually in UK for something to meet the legal definition of "child abuse images", it:

a) Doesn't have to be an image (eg. drawing)

b) Doesn't need to involve real children (eg. cgi cartoon)

c) Doesn't need to involve nudity

So you can be sure that when the prosecution says that this is an indecent image, it is so just because they said so.

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Happy

@ Anonymous Coward 12:59 GMT

An Anonymous Coward said, "It's just one of those "Hip to be contrary" comments you get on the Reg"

No - how many images are available on Google let alone other search engines? And you're forgetting the newsgroups -- when alt.sex was widely distributed it was rife with child porn images and I'd be willing to bet that a lot of those are still archived somewhere. You see, "One! Million! Images!" sounds like a big number but in reality, when compared to the total number of images out there of all sorts, it's actually a very small number. And I'm not even claiming that there are any duplicates in that "One! Million! Images!" ... if you had any passing acquaintance with perversion then you'd know that (assuming that there really are that many images out there) probably two thirds of them are duplicates.

All I'm saying is that when someone quotes numbers at you - it helps to think about what they are saying and ask yourself what evidence they offer that they're not talking out the back of their arse. By the way - note that I posted using my handle here - if you want to make a contribution to the discussion then you ought to have the courage to not AC your talkbackl.

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Re: The sky is falling! the sky is falling!

I think some of you missed Sky-Is-Falling's main point: For the internet, one million is not a big number. For instance Google Image Search returns 1.7 BEELION results for "cat". And that's not counting results for "gato", "kočka", 猫, etc; which return millions of results each.

So actually, compared to some claims about the child porn "industry" you hear thrown around, this one is entirely believable.

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Anonymous Coward

@Tom 7

I have pictures of my kids in the pool, on the beach, even when their running around the house naked.. and none of that is illegal... at least where I come from..

I am sure they are talking about pictures taken while kids are being abused, and I am assuming these are of kids pre-puberty..

There was an artist a few years back who had pictures of her kids taken while they were playing, and she exhibited them, and she nearly got in trouble, but luckily common sense prevailed.... We might be prudish in the UK compared to Europe, but compared to the USA, we are not!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Graham Marsden

The UK gov messed up when they changed that... even the police themselves did a double take in private, making it illegal to photograph a legal act... now that is wrong.. and I am just waiting for a test case to hit the EU...

It makes it illegal for anyone under 18 to take pictures of themselves doing anything sexual, and that is wrong, the government should have NO control over what people do with their own bodies as long as it does not cause harm to anyone else....

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Anonymous Coward

What about if the victims "owned" the IPR of photos and videos of crimes against themselves?

If the victims of violent or sexual crimes and anyone photographed naked owned the IPR of the video/pictures that could provide a very simple framework to deal with this. (And also happy slapping and revenge porn.)

Imagine if these people routinely got the same sort of fines as in the more extreme file sharer cases. With the difference that no-one would be arguing that it was unfair and the victims might actually get some sort of serious financial compensation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about if the victims "owned" the IPR of photos and videos of crimes against themselves?

Not a new idea. There actually is a law in the US for civil compensation of child pornography victims, and I've heard it was partly inspired by copyright fines. But to put this in terms of ownership would rock the boat too much. That would suggest they could also license the pictures, or release them to the public domain, making them legal. It might even imply that teens taking their own pictures and sharing them with friends are committing no crime at all, and then where would we be!?!?

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Anonymous Coward

Poxy Proxy

Somewhere along the way hunting down and eliminating child pornography became an ineffective proxy for hunting down and incarcerating paedophiles. There is a significant difference between viewing child pornography and the real life sexual abuse of children. The former is revolting, but the latter does real, permanent damage to innocent lives. I would feel a lot happier if the stated goal of the alliance was not to "halt the spread of online child sex abuse videos and images", but to "halt the spread of child sex abuse".

Possibly by leaving some child sex abuse videos and images in place and investigating the people who download them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poxy Proxy

"...Possibly by leaving some child sex abuse videos and images in place and investigating the people who download them."

And would you still think the same if it were you son or daughter in said images being left online?

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FAIL

Re: Poxy Proxy

You seem to be assuming that the act of creating such photos and videos is not "real life sexual abuse". It is, and stopping the production of such videos is all part of halting the spread of abuse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poxy Proxy

What would you rather remove: horrible images or horrible people who sexually abuse children? It may not be obvious, but doing the former too effectively can adversely affect your ability to do the latter. I guess it depends on whether you want to actually prevent paedophilia or merely appear to prevent paedophilia.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poxy Proxy

@Mutatedwombat - I hadn't realised that this was an either or thing. I wouldn't rather do one or other thing, I'd rather do both.

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The only problem i see if the difference in what countries class as 'child abuse images' there were several case of the US bringing child pron distribution charges against teens for sending nude pics of themselves to their boyfriend/girlfriends. And we all know how the US likes to think its law is applicable in the rest of the world so how long before some young European teenager is being extradited to the US for sending a nude photo of themselves to a US teen they met online

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FAIL

Erm

Nude photos of anyone under the age of 18 is pretty much illegal everywhere - including the UK and the USA.

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Anonymous Coward

Nude photographs of children are not illegal in the UK

You can find them in medical journals or in any collection of famous photographs from the Vietnam War (google for "Kim Phuc").

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Re: Nude photographs of children are not illegal in the UK

And also on the walls of all major art museums in the world.

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Re: Erm

Better send the cops to those paediatricians at the National Gallery. Didn't take me very long at all to find this

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/guercino-the-samian-sibyl-with-a-putto and there is plenty more like it

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Erm

For years my mother had a photograph hanging on her wall of me and assorted siblings and cousins at the beach. I was around three years old when the picture was taken and curiously and somewhat embarrassingly I was completely naked while everyone else in the image was clothed. It took many years of lobbying to get that picture taken down. If only I'd shared your incisive grasp of law I might have had it removed much more easily.

Would you like my mother's address? I'm sure she still has the photograph. She is clearly a witch and needs immediate burning.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Erm

erm no they are not, only 'sexual' images are illegal IIRC, definitely not just nude pictures, otherwise you are going to have to lock up half the parents in the country for taking a photo of their child in the bath, on the beach or just running around naked in the back garden...

What about most of europe where nudity is not a taboo?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nude photographs of children are not illegal in the UK

Nude photos may or may not be illegal. An image is illegal if (a) the subject is under 18 and (b) the image is found to be indecent by a magistrate or jury. That's it.

An image may be found to be indecent by one court but not by another. A simple non-sexual nude image of a 12 year-old, when presented to a jury alongside the prosecution's claims that "Mr A is a filthy pedo" will most likely be found indecent.

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Childcatcher

Now that Osama's dead (yeah, right!)

Is "Hunt the Paedo" now the new "War on <insert subject here>"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Now that Osama's dead (yeah, right!)

I'd much rather have a war on paedophillia than a war on drugs.

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Vic
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Re: Now that Osama's dead (yeah, right!)

> I'd much rather have a war on paedophillia than a war on drugs.

Given the efficacy of the "War On Drugs", I'm not sure I could agree with you...

Vic.

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Whats the actual target here ?

Do they want to stop Paedophilia on the web or Paedophilia in general.

From my understanding this "practice" has been going on since longer than anyone even cares to remember. I think the Romans were quite apt to picking on the younger generation.

We will never even begin to resolve these kinds of problems without digging much deeper down into the true cause.

I agree with the other poster that this has simply become a new Key Political Statement, the "war" on Paedophiles. Notice the usage of the word "war"...they want us to feel under attack, threatened, menaced by a hidden threat......and they will become our saviours.

I wonder how many peadophiles exist within the Governing bodies of our society..... Those in the upper echelons.. Those whose names will will never publically learn about.

I would also like to see a new and independant war on "Corruption within the system". Removing some of these so called Politicians , Lawyers and Lords of the House who have a responsability for the pervesity and depravity of contemporary society.

Fucking Nanny State where everything is dictated not by the choice of the population but by the "ignorance" of the population.

Educate the population instead of blinding them and then we will begin to see the nation rid itself of these problems....

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Childcatcher

Source ?

For the numbers? An "estimated" 1 million images and an "estimated" 50,000 new images per year.

Seems somewhat at odd's given that even the buffoons at CEOP have admitted that no-one really makes money from paedos and there is no real large-scale production of new imagery - most of it being years old.

The cynic in me thinks these numbers are about as robust as the numbers for online "piracy".

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Windows

Definitions needed

1. What is a child? Should it be the absence of pubic hair? Is it an age? The age of consent in some places is 15. When I was in high school, we used to say "If she's old enough to bleed, she's old enough to do the deed." My opinion is that 18 is too old. Us men always prized the virgins throughout recorded history.

2. What is abuse ? Sex is one of the most powerful impulses given to us by our nature and our nature's God. Sexual feelings are wonderful. Where is the line between love and abuse? Much of what may be called abuse may be innocent.

3. What is the punishment? Here in California, there is a registry of sex offenders who are not allowed near a school or park where children might be located. Why not castration for repeat offenders?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Definitions needed

The age of consent in the UK is 16, in China its 14... japan is 13, Spain is 13

I think the AOC needs to be dropped to around 14 in the UK, combined with tougher penalties for rapists, better sex education and a large public awareness campaign.

Because the issue is not images, and never has been, the issue is people being abused, if adults don't always talk out about being raped, think what a child will do if he/she has been threatened?

It is like the banning of pseudo images, what a waste of time.. that won't stop anyone...

Rape is rape, and if the subject is 8 or 80, it is still rape, and chemical castration should be used as punishment.

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Facepalm

Re: Definitions needed

Rape is rape . . . or is it?

I'll take a stab in the dark that in your mind it's the struggling, ripped clothing of most film and TV shows, but what about the other side?

There are innumerable cases of rape be cried, after the event and most likely because of bad judgment before/during the event - doesn't make it rape.

More-over the legal system of the UK is based on the idea that the punishment is fitting for the crime, within the legal frame-work - you're advocating permanant physical changes; is that on top of the incarceration? It's also advocating a harsher penalty on rape than on murder, arguably a more heinous crime.

Where do we draw the line? Do we require a signed agreement for sexual congress before we engage in the beast with two backs? Do we need witnesses to ensure that those signatures are valid? Breath tests to ensure that no-one was under the influence and therefore unable to make a judgment to sign the agreement?

And yes, I have gone somewhat to the extreme with this answer, but you started it.

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