Home Page | About Us | Press Enquiries| Reports | Policy Issues | News Items | Press Releases | Mailing Lists | Bookstore

International Developments

Section of

Regulation of Child Pornography on the Internet

Cases and Materials related to Child Pornography on the Internet

Compiled by Yaman Akdeniz

Cite as: Yaman Akdeniz, Regulation of Child Pornography on the Internet: Cases and Materials, at http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports/child.htm. Last updated November 2001. Copyright Yaman Akdeniz, 1996-2001. All Rights Reserved. No part of this database can be copied without our permission. Journalists and researchers please contact at lawya@leeds.ac.uk for permission to use materials from this database of cases and materials.

This section of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) deals with the regulation of child pornography on the Internet under various jurisdictions. 

Ananova News, Arrests in 10 countries over child porn, 22 April, 2002 - Police in nine European countries and the US have arrested about 25 people for allegedly violating child pornography laws. A police spokesman said arrests have been made in Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark. He declined to name the other four European countries. "The case is unique because we caught those who have sexually abused the children, not just distributed the child pornography," said Troels Oerting Joergensen of the cyber crime unit of Denmark's national police. Two US citizens were arrested in San Diego, he said, and two Danes in Denmark. He declined to provide further details because the investigation is continuing. "More arrests are soon to be expected in Europe and in the United States," he said. The investigation began last November when Danish police arrested a couple in Ringkoebing, 205 miles west of Copenhagen. They had acted on a tip from Swedish police who had found photographs on the internet showing a man sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl. On his shirt, there was a logo of a Danish company. Danish police identified the man and arrested him with his wife. On the couple's computer, investigators found more photos of the girl. Police also found names of people outside Denmark with whom the couple had exchanged photos through the internet. The couple was not identified in line with Danish privacy rules. They were charged with sexually abusing a child and face up to eight years in prison, if convicted. They were released from jail pending trial. So far between 30 and 35 boys and girls, aged 3 to 15, in 10 countries have been identified. All the children were sexually abused, Mr Oerting Joergensen said.

BBC News, Child porn raids in 14 countries, 14 November, 2001
Police in 14 countries across the world have carried out what has been described as the biggest ever operation to tackle child pornography. In Germany alone, 93 properties were searched and about 2,200 people are now under investigation for the possession and dissemination of pornography. The raids, which were co-ordinated by the German federal police, netted a mass of computer, video and documentary evidence. As well as Germany, police in Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Portugal, Ireland the USA, Australia and Canada carried out raids. In addition, 23 countries took measures to secure information from internet providers as evidence.

South Africa - Biggest child porn bust in SA - 09 November, 2001
An astonishing chain of events has led to the discovery of the biggest collection of child pornography in the East Rand and the subsequent arrest of a 51-year-old East Rand hospital archive clerk who has been evading police for some time. The suspect must regret offering temporary shelter to an 18-year-old boy, whose relatives forgot to pick him up from hospital. The man was arrested on Thursday after the boy became suspicious about his host's hospitality. According to Captain Flip van den Berg, Head of the East Rand Child Protection Unit, the boy became suspicious when the clerk showed him child pornography on his computer upon arriving at his house. The man wrote a letter of introduction for the boy to "raise funds" to visit his sick mother and make sure she is taken care of. The letter was signed "Captain de Jager from Brakpan", Van den Berg says. "A person who was approached by the boy armed with his "credentials" phoned the police, upon which the boy took us to the suspect's place of residence. "There we made a shocking discovery. I have never seen so much child pornography in one place - books, pictures, videos and everything one can think of. "Even the screen saver on his computer was the pornographic image of a child," Van den Berg said.

Plaster casts of boys' genitals as well as an extensive database on children, which he presumably obtained at the hospital, were also found. Police confiscated the man's computer and a large number of pornographic films he allegedly showed to children. Experts at the forensic laboratory in Pretoria will scrutinise the computer. Police also found illegal hospital records and blank prescription forms. Police are trying to ascertain whether the man supplied children with sick notes when they were absent from school. The suspect is in custody and will appear in court.

BBC News, US breaks child cyber-porn ring, 8 August, 2001.
The United States authorities have arrested more than 100 people for subscribing to an internet site which circulated child pornography. 
The man behind the porn ring, 37-year-old Thomas Reedy, was sentenced to a total of 1,335 years in prison on 89 charges.
His wife, Janice, was sentenced to 14 years. See further ZDNet UK, Commercial child porn ring bust leads to 100 arrests, 9 August, 2001.

BBC News, International child porn ring smashed, 26 March, 2001.

From  http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/news/nr/2001/doc_26056.html 

Department of Justice


OTTAWA, March 14, 2001 – Today in the House of Commons, the Honourable Anne McLellan, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada introduced an omnibus bill that will better protect Canadians. Several amendments in today's bill fulfil the Speech from the Throne commitment to protect children from crime and from criminals on the Internet.

"There is no doubt that the Internet has expanded our horizons. Nevertheless, while we capitalize on the opportunities and benefits it brings, we must also confront its potential dangers," said Minister McLellan. "We know that criminals use the Internet. Combatting crimes committed using the Internet is crucial, particularly when it comes to the most vulnerable members of our society – our children."

Proposed legislation to better protect children from sexual exploitation will:

Highlights of the Omnibus Bill


The proposed legislation fulfils a commitment made in the January 29, 2001 Speech from the Throne, in which the Government of Canada declared it will protect children from criminals on the Internet and ensure that children are protected from those who prey on their vulnerability. The proposed legislation also meets a commitment undertaken by Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice at their September 2000 meeting to create a new offence of Internet luring.

The following new provisions will provide additional and improved tools to protect children from sexual exploitation:

Internet Luring. Research shows that predators are using the Internet, masking their identity and pretending to be children or young adults, to lure children into a situation where they could be sexually abused. The new luring offence will, for example, make it illegal to communicate with a child for the purpose of committing a sexual offence against that child. It will carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

While the proposed legislation is an important step to better protect children, it is not the only answer to this growing problem. Parents, teachers and Internet service providers also have an important role in being vigilant so that children remain protected from dangers on the Internet.

Child Pornography on the Internet. This bill will create other new offences, each with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Under the new legislation, it will be a crime to:

Another new provision will prohibit anyone from intentionally accessing child pornography on the Internet. This offence will be punishable by up to five years imprisonment. Accessing offence does not criminalize someone who inadvertently views child pornography on the Internet. The proposed amendment will require the person to have knowledge that there is child pornography on the site and a specific intention to access this material.

Deleting Child Pornography from a Web Site. Under the proposed legislation, courts can order a custodian of a computer system, for example an Internet Service Provider (ISP), to remove from its server any material that could reasonably be found to be child pornography, or a link to such material. The person who posted the material would be given the opportunity to be heard by the court. If the person cannot be located or identified or resides outside Canada, the court may proceed ex parte. If, after the hearing, the court does not find the material to be child pornography, the material could be re-posted. If, however, the court found the material to be child pornography, it could order the deletion of the material.

Forfeiture. The new provisions will allow a judge to order the forfeiture of any materials or equipment used in the commission of a child pornography offence. This sanction could be imposed on any person convicted of a child pornography offence who was the owner of the materials or equipment, and would be in addition to any other punishment. A procedure is provided to allow innocent third parties to have their property interests recognized.

Strengthening Sentencing Provisions. The Government is also building on existing preventative measures by creating new measures to further limit opportunity for known or suspected child abusers to re-offend.

In 1993, the Criminal Code was amended to create a new prohibition order, lasting up to a lifetime, to ban convicted child sexual offenders from frequenting day-care centres, school grounds, playgrounds, public parks or bathing areas where children are likely to be found. The order also prohibits convicted child sexual offenders from seeking or maintaining paid or volunteer positions of trust or authority over children. Additionally, another provision was created to allow a person to obtain a peace bond (a protective order lasting up to one year) if he or she fears that another person will commit a sexual offence against a child.

Today's amendments address the reality of new technologies by adding the use of the Internet to communicate with children for sexual purposes to the list of possible banned activities. These amendment will also include crimes related to child pornography and Internet luring as offences for which an offender could be subject to either a prohibition order that could last up to a lifetime or a one-year peace bond. Proposed changes will also mean that child pornography and luring offences will be added as triggering offences for bringing an application for a designation of "long-term offender". An individual who is designated as long-term offender can be made subject to community supervision lasting up to 10 years.

Child Sex Tourism. In May 1997, Bill C-27 amended the Criminal Code to allow for the prosecution in Canada of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who sexually abuse children while abroad. However, with respect to the pre-conditions for prosecution in Canada, the law distinguished between commercial sexual exploitation (e.g. child prostitution) and non-commercial sexual exploitation. In instances where the allegations did not involve child prostitution, prosecutions could be initiated in Canada only at the request of the country where the crime reportedly happened.

Today's proposed amendment will remove this procedural requirement in non-commercial sexual exploitation cases. This means it will be possible to prosecute in Canada Canadian citizens and permanent residents who commit sexual offences against children in a foreign country without first obtaining a formal request from that country.

R. v. Sharpe, decision of the Supreme Court of Canada
Neutral citation: 2001 SCC 2. File No.:  27376.
2000:  January 18, 19; 2001: January 26.
The accused was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography under s. 163.1(4) of the Criminal Code and two counts of possession of child pornography for the purposes of distribution or sale under s. 163.1(3). "Child pornography", as defined in s. 163.1(1) of the Code, includes visual representations that show a person who is or is depicted as under the age of 18 years and is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity and visual representations the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of 18 years. "Child pornography" also includes visual representations and written material that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 years that would be an offence under the Code. Prior to his trial, the accused brought a preliminary motion challenging the constitutionality of s. 163.1(4) of the Code, alleging a violation of his constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression. The Crown conceded that s. 163.1(4) infringed s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms but argued that the infringement was justifiable under s. 1 of the Charter. Both the trial judge and the majority of the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that the prohibition of the simple possession of child pornography as defined under s. 163.1 of the Code was not justifiable in a free and democratic society.

     Held: The appeal should be allowed and the charges remitted for trial.

Swedish police break up child pornography ring, STOCKHOLM, January 16, 2001 (Reuters)

(The Swedish Save the Children hotline, co-funded by the EU Safer Internet Action Plan, sent the report leading to the arrests.)

Sweden's largest child pornography ring involving more than 50 suspects was broken on Tuesday, police said. Police carried out raids at seven different locations, confiscated computers and brought in 10 people for questioning. By Tuesday evening, two had been arrested, Detective Superintendent Per-Olov Forslund told Reuters. Material found in the confiscated computers contained pornographic pictures and video clips of "children of all ages, some very young," he said. National SVT television news said the material included infants. The TT news agency said the material entailed hard pornography such as oral, vaginal and anal sex with children. Forslund said the investigation continued and more arrests on charges of spreading child pornography, a crime which under Swedish law can lead to prison sentences of up to four years, were likely. So far all addresses under suspicion of involvement in the case were located in southern and central Sweden but connections to paedophile networks abroad could not be excluded, Forslund said. An official of the Swedish branch of the Save the Children organisation, which came across the material on the Internet in November and reported it to the police, told SVT none of the children pictured in the confiscated material had yet been identified. Police said much of the material seemed to be new and that part of the investigation was trying to establish whether any of those suspected, including at least one woman, had taken part in producing it.

Initiative of the Republic of Austria with a view to adopting a Council Decision to combat child pornography on the Internet (1999/C 362/06) at http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports/c36206.pdf

Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (Press Release), Dublin, 29th November 1999
The Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform, Mr. John O'Donoghue T.D. today launched the www.hotline service on behalf of the Internet Service Provider Association of Ireland. The www.hotline will provide a central point of contact for members of the public who become aware of any child pornography on the Internet in Ireland. The hotline will accept reports about such material and attempt to identify the source. If the material is hosted in Ireland it will request the relevant ISP to remove it. In some instances, appropriate liaison with the Garda' maybe required. Where the material is not hosted in Ireland, contact will be made with the relevant international hotline.

The www.hotline can be contacted by surfing to http:// www.hotline.ie or sending an email to report@hotline.ie. In addition the hotline will operate a LoCall telephone number on 1890-610710 and faxes can be sent to 1890-520720. The Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland funds the operating costs of the hotline. A once off contribution from the Irish Government, through the information society fund, has been made for the promotion and launch of the hotline. Additional funding will be sought next year under the EU Internet Action Plan initiatives.

The www.hotline will work closely with, and is a founding member of, the international IN-Hope Association (www.inhope.org) which is a network of eight hotlines in five European countries. The IN-Hope Association will develop procedures and share information on the best practices for the tracing and tracking of illegal child pornography. In addition to the eight member hotlines, there are three associate members from the CyberTipline of the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), REDD BARNA (Save the Children Norway) and the Australian Broadcasting Authority.

The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 makes it illegal for anyone to knowingly produce, distribute, print, publish, import, export, sell, show or possess any child pornography. Cormac Callanan, Chairman of the ISPAI, acknowledged that this was an important and significant step towards self-regulation in the Irish Internet industry and paid tribute to the strong support and co-operation the association had received from the major Internet Service Providers in the Irish market.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform, Mr. John O Donoghue T.D., in his launch speech stated that he was particularly pleased that the Irish service provider industry, in establishing and funding this hotline initiative, had united in this most honourable common endeavour - the protection of children.

See further: Child porn hotline raises questions Friday, August 20, 1999, http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/finance/1999/0820/fin21.htm and Providers could be sent to jail under pornography law, Friday, February 13, 1998 , http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/finance/1998/0213/fin16.htm

VIENNA, Aug 9 (AFP) - A three-day international conference to coordinate the fight against internet-based child pornography will be held in Vienna starting September 29, a foreign ministry communique stated. Organised by Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel and his US counterpart Madeleine Albright with support from the European Union, the seminar is meant to "alert and mobilise public opinion," and "encourage cooperation and coordination (...) between judicial and industry authorities." Top representatives from European and US justice and interior ministries will be joined by others from the United Nations, the European Commission, non-governmental organisations and internet companies. A network of child pornography operating on the internet was broken up in August in Vienna and Linz, central Austria, as police arrested three people, including a Catholic priest.

See the Combatting Child Pornography on the Internet - An International Conference website at http://www.stop-childpornog.at/
Vienna, Hofburg, 29 September - 1 October 1999

Press release of the Conference:
Within the context of the transatlantic dialogue between the European Union and the United States, an international conference on "Combating Child Pornography on the Internet" is scheduled for September 29 - October 1, 1999 in Vienna. This conference is based on an initiative by the Foreign Ministers of Austria and the US, Wolfgang Schüssel and Madeleine Albright. Because the large majority of internet users and the main Internet-Service Providers are based in the US and Europe, it is especially important that the United States and the European Union join efforts to combat this crime which has spread dramatically over the past years.

The objectives of the conference are as follows:

While the conference will develop concrete recommendations in the areas outlined above, the wider objectives of the conference are to raise awareness and mobilize public opinion regarding child pornography on the Internet and to encourage cooperation, especially among law-enforcement officials and the industry.

All conference papers and useful links are available through the conference web pages at http://www.stop-childpornog.at/

Update on the Canadian case of Sharpe - July 1999

Canada's controversial child pornography law is on its way to the Supreme Court of Canada after the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that the law contravenes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Within an hour, B.C. Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh announced the appeal, saying Canadians want the matter decided by the country's highest court. "I think it's important that the ultimate arbiter of these kinds of issues, that the Supreme Court of Canada, speak on this very important issue," he said. In Ottawa, federal Justice Minister Anne McLellan told reporters she is "very disappointed" with the B.C. ruling and suggested that the federal government is keeping open the option of exempting the child pornography law from the Charter if it loses the case before the Supreme Court.

"One thing is absolutely clear for us as a government: We believe the protection of children in this country is a paramount value." Ms. McLellan said the federal government will join B.C. in vigorously arguing the case at the Supreme Court, and will request that the court expedite the appeal.

At issue is the constitutional soundness of a six-year-old law that outlaws the possession of child pornography. The case wound up in the B.C.Court of Appeal after retired city planner John Robin Sharpe decided to fight two pornography charges laid against him four years ago. The case prompted an emotional debate that pitted civil libertarians against child-protection agencies and children's advocates.

At the appeal court, two of three judges who heard the case ruled in favour of Mr. Sharpe. Chief Justice Allan MacEachern dissented. In the 80-page decision, the court ruled that the child pornography law, as it is written now, is at sharp odds with constitutional rights that guarantee freedom of expression and the protection of privacy. It said the law is also flawed because it has the potential to penalize people for possessing and creating material that may merely be the products of the imagination and not intended for distribution.

"Making it an offence to possess expressive material, when that material may have been created without abusing children and may never be published, distributed or sold, constitutes an extreme invasion of the values of liberty, autonomy and privacy," Madam Justice Anne Rowles wrote. Madam Justice Mary Southin added: "To make criminal the private possession of expressive material of any kind is or ought to require the most compelling evidence of necessity."

Judge Southin said the law is inconsistent because it could unfairly penalize activities between consenting individuals that aren't considered exploitive. "The possessor of a copy of . . . the poems of Catullus would not be caught by it. But . . . it would cover the case of an 18-year-old taking salacious photographs of his 17-year-old girlfriend." Judge Southin also had harsh words for the media frenzy that occurred after Judge Shaw's ruling, saying many commentators didn't know what they were talking about.

In his dissenting opinion, Chief Justice MacEachern argued that material produced for the most harmless of reasons could end up in the hands of someone who wishes to exploit children. "It must also be remembered that photographs or other depictions of a young couple (under the age of 18) who record their sexual experiences for private purposes could end up in the possession of others and become harmful to children."

Outside court, Mr. Sharpe appeared flustered, but obviously pleased with the ruling. He said the past four years have been difficult personally and also costly. He has also been the focus of anger and disgust among people opposed to his sexual preferences. But others have congratulated his efforts. "Some people have come up to me and said I'd like to shake your hand. Other people are quite indignant and angry."

The ruling means that, for now, it is not a crime to possess child pornography. The ruling isn't binding in other provinces, but courts in other provinces can look to it for guidance. In British Columbia, the uncertain status of the child pornography law has created a backlog of cases. The Attorney-General has asked judges to allow adjournments and encouraged police to continue to investigate suspected cases of child pornography. Mr. Dosanjh estimated there are about three dozen outstanding child-pornography cases.

Meanwhile, the Reform Party called yesterday for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to bring MPs back to Ottawa from their summer break to hold an emergency session of Parliament to deal with yesterday's ruling. The Opposition wants the government to invoke the so-called notwithstanding clause of the Constitution now so that the pornography law will stand no matter what the courts rule.

Parliament can use the clause to exempt a law from Charter challenges, but has never used the power despite several controversial Supreme Court rulings.

The above text has been taken from "Kiddie-porn law headed to top court: B.C.appeal judges decide 2-1 in favour of man found with child pornography," The Globe and Mail, July 1, 1999.

The decision of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia in R v Sharpe (BCCA 1999 416), judgment of 30 June, 1999 is at http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/ca/99/04/c99-0416.html

Policing paedophiles on the Net - An article in relation to Irish developments

Irish Computer Article, by Sheila McDonald, June 8, 1999

A leaked report, purportedly compiled by child protection group Focus on Children, claims extensive Irish involvement in paedophilia. Moreover, it says that the Internet is the secret weapon of Irish-based paedophiles. Yet its author, Sean Lawless has not shown the document to the Gardaí or professional researchers in the field. He argues that because the research was funded by the European STOP (Sexual Trafficking of Persons) programme, no third party may see it until STOP has decided whether to publish it. (Other STOP-funded research has not been kept secret.)

"Part of it is very, very sensitive, because it reveals the main paedophile sites from around the globe," Lawless told Irish Computer. "It would be an Aladdin’s cave for any paedophile aspiring to get involved on the Net. We are currently discussing with the police what’s appropriate for the public to know and what isn’t."

The Gardaí have said they are in no such discussions with Lawless. "We feel that we are handicapped in this discussion greatly by not having seen the report, and we’re more than a little surprised that we haven’t seen it," said Chief Superintendent Patrick Cregg of Garda Headquarters.

The Gardaí were on the steering committee of the Focus on Children research group, along with Europol and the RUC. "Had we got access to this, it’s quite possible that Mr Lawless’s document could have been very useful in helping to define and solve some of the problem."

Other professional research in the area, also funded by STOP and carried out by University College Cork in 1997, puts a question mark over Lawless’s conclusions, and makes the police and the Internet community more eager than ever to analyse his data. The UCC researchers found plenty of paedophile activity online, but no evidence of heavy Irish involvement.

The UCC research was used by the Department of Justice’s Working Group on Illegal and Harmful Uses of the Internet, which published its first report last year.

"No more than in other countries, a serious child protection issue exists in relation to the use of the Internet. It must be addressed," the report states. "While it is likely that the extent of this problem in Ireland is relatively limited in nature, it is equally likely that individuals are participating in child pornography exchanges, as yet undetected."

How, then, might these individuals be detected? Will the onus fall on Irish Internet service providers to police their users? Initial indications are that this won’t happen. The Department of Justice working group, which included members of key ISPs and the ISP association of Ireland, recommends self-regulation.

The working group’s report also recommended a telephone hotline which could process and investigate complaints from users about illegal content on the Internet. The hotline would be run by an agency which could work with ISPs and the Gardaí to identify any material hosted on Irish servers, or to block material hosted abroad. The ISP association is strongly behind the hotline concept, and is beginning to lobby for its creation.

The Government has been criticised for failing to implement a hotline. It has, however, passed the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act. Children are defined for the purposes of the Act as anyone under the age of 17.

Already the legislation has led to arrests. Before Christmas a foreign national was arrested in Dublin under the Act, and Gardaí have confiscated material he had downloaded from the Internet. Also in December, a 39-year-old Portlaoise man came before Carlow District Court charged with possession of child pornography. (A rash of attempted child abductions last December and January occurred in the same area, as well as in Ballylinan in County Laois, Kilcormac in County Offaly, Dunboyne, Cavan and Naas. Gardaí have warned parents to be vigilant but stress that there is no evidence of an organised paedophile ring in operation.)

Policing of the Irish Act is, it seems, likely to remain a matter for the Gardaí only, with ISPs excused from monitoring their customers’ activities. Section 5 of the Act includes the all-important word, "knowingly" – if ISPs do not know their customers are viewing illegal material, they cannot be held liable. A test case hasn’t yet come before Irish courts. But it’s likely the courts will rule that ISPs cannot reasonably be expected to know what material their clients are accessing.

Ultimately, Ireland’s policies toward the Internet and child pornography probably won’t be decided here. At the European level and internationally, moves are being made to devise a method for policing the Internet. Draconian, draft European guidelines were leaked last year. ISPs would have to build "interception interfaces" to allow police surveillance. A draft document, called Enfopol 98, is thought to be more stringent than any legislation that will eventually be put in place. But ISPs are up in arms, and urging the EU to pull back; they’re offering an alternative -- European ISPs cross-networking their services to make it easier to remove unsavoury material.

In the end, pan-European or global efforts to police the Internet may be doomed, experts say, because adults with paedophile interests are too technically savvy.

"If you look at the bulletin boards for adults with a sexual interest in children, you’ll see they’re full of links to sites with hacking information, how to make your computer secure and so on," said Professor Max Taylor, who conducted the UCC research for the Department of Justice group. "We believe these people are very technically sophisticated. If these lads do exist in Ireland, they can delete and overwrite their hard drives and make it extremely difficult for people to recover files."

Berlin Doctor Gets 2 Years For 'Net Porn, January 15, 1999

A German district court yesterday sentenced a Berlin doctor to two years in prison for distributing child pornography over the Internet. The doctor distributed some 9,500 photos between April and June 1997 over the Internet, according to Michaela Blume, a spokeswoman for the Berlin District Court, which issued the sentence. The pictures contained pornographic scenes with children and animals, and some depicted scenes of violence, she said. The man, however, claimed that he distributed the pictures purely for "sociological reasons," according to Blume. It is not yet known if the 40-year old man, whose identity was not disclosed, will contest the decision, Blume said. If he does so, the matter would have to be decided by the German Supreme Court.

Canadian judge rules possession of child pornography is protected, 15 January, 1999

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has ruled Canadians have a constitutional right to possess child pornography if it is for private use and not for distribution, according to a decision made public on 15 January, 1999. The judge dismissed two counts of simple possession against a Vancouver man named John Sharpe, ruling the threat to privacy and freedom of expression rights posed by that section of the Criminal Code outweighed its limited benefits to society.

John Sharpe had challenged the law after he was arrested when Canadian Customs agents seized a computer disc being shipped to Sharpe entitled; "Sam Paloc's Flogging, Fun and Fortitude, A collection of Kiddie Kink Classics." Police then raided the Vancouver writer's home and seized additional books, manuscripts and pictures they allege contained child pornography of young boys.

Justice Duncan Shaw said the "invasion" on personal privacy and freedom of expression was "profound" and there was not enough evidence that the total prohibition reduces social problems such as child abuse. "I find that the limited effectiveness of the prohibition is insufficient to warrant its highly invasive effects," Shaw said in his in 33 ruling.

The ruling is not binding on other cases until upheld by the Canadian Supreme Court, but it can still considered in other legal disputes on the issue.

Shaw rejected Sharpe's constitutional challenge to the Criminal Code's prohibition on possessed child pornography for distribution. His trial on those charges is expected to begin later this year.

The Law in question is the Section 163.1 of the Criminal Code which defines child pornography as:

- - a photographic, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means,

- - that shows a person who is or is depicted as being under the age of eighteen years and is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity


- - the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of eighteen years

- - any written material or visual representation that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years that would be an offence under this act.

See the full judgment of the Supreme Court of British Columbia between Her Majesty the Queen v. John Robin Sharpe, 13 January, 1999 through the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) pages at http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports/rvsharpe.htm

On 18 January, 1999 British Columbia decided to launch an appeal to overturn a the above court decision which stated that it shouldn't be illegal to possess child pornography.

Belfast based charity busts paedophile ring over the Internet, 06 January, 1999

ABelfast based charity has busted a paedophile ring operating on the Internet. Focus on Children, with offices in the city and Dublin, claims it has the names and addresses of several dozen paedophiles who "get their kicks from preying and ensnaring young victims via a bogus site on the world-wide web." The Charity plans to pass their details on to the police. FOC director, Sean Lawless told how the charity discovered the illegal trade in lurid images of youngsters during Internet research it carried out in to child rights. "We were working on the United Nations children's rights charter two and a half years ago and actually saw the material when we put in UN Children's Rights. They are worrying because they fall in two categories - one for paedophiles to exchange information to each other on children; children contact and other paedophiles who might let them have contact numbers. And an even different level which is even more dangerous. Paedophiles who are putting up sites which are friendly to children, centred round for example children's famous cartoon characters, and we're very very concerned that paedophiles should be accessing children in this way." He added that all the information collected by the charity had been compiled for a report commissioned by the European Commission in Brussels.Focus on Children has worked closely with police eager to catch these criminals and has given a presentation to the FBI and is dueto give another to the European Europol in the Hague in two weeks time.


Council of the European Union approved a Joint Action to Fight Child Pornography on the Internet and defined a comprehensive strategy, 29 December 1998.

According to Agence Europe, as EUROPE indicated briefly in its 5 December issue (p. 8), the Justice and Home Affairs Council reached a political agreement at its most recent session on a joint action to fight child pornography on the Internet.

The action contains the following provisions:

"In order to intensify measures to prevent and combat the production, processing, distribution and possession of child pornography and to promote the effective investigation and prosecution of offences in this area, the Member States will take the necessary measures to encourage Internet users to inform law enforcement authorities, either directly or indirectly, on suspected distribution of child pornography material on the Internet, if they come across such material (...).

" Internet users must therefore "be made aware of ways to make contact with law enforcement authorities or entities which have privileged links with law enforcement authorities, to enable such authorities to fulfil their task of preventing and combating child pornography on the Internet. Where necessary ... measures for the promotion of effective investigation and prosecution of offences in this area could be the setting up of specialised units within law enforcement with the necessary expertise and resources to be able to deal swiftly with information on suspected production, processing, distribution and possession of child pornography".

The Member States "undertake to ensure the widest possible cooperation to facilitate an effective investigation and prosecution of offences concerning child pornography on the Internet".

They shall use existing channels for communication such as Interpol. Where points of contact consisting of knowledgeable personnel have already been set up on a 24-hour basis to ensure timely, effective response to these offences, they shall be used for exchange of information and further contacts between Member States with a view to taking efficient action against offences involving child pornography.

Member States shall notify the General Secretariat of the Council of the organisational unit acting as contact points; the General Secretariat shall then notify the Member States.

The Member States shall also ensure that Europol, "within the limits of its mandate", is informed of suspected cases of child pornography. In "appropriate cooperation" with Europol, the Member States shall examine the possibility of organising regular meetings of competent authorities specialising in the fight against child pornography on the Internet "with a view to promoting general information exchanges, analysis of the situation and tactical coordination".

"While engaging in a constructive dialogue with industry, Member States shall examine appropriate measures, of a voluntary or legally binding nature, to eliminate child pornography on the Internet". In particular, they are to exchange experiences concerning the effectiveness of measures they have taken. Within this context, they could consider one or more of the following measures encouraging Internet providers to:

i) advise the competent authorities of child pornography material of which they have been informed or of which they are aware and which is distributed through them;

ii) to withdraw this material from circulation, "unless otherwise specified by the competent authorities";

iii) to retain traffic-related data, in accordance with the Council Resolution on the lawful interception of telecommunications (17 January 1995) and where technically feasible - in particular for criminal prosecution purposes in cases of suspected sexual abuse of children or production, processing and distribution of child pornography - to allow the data to be made available to criminal prosecution authorities;

iv) create their own control systems for combating this type of offence;

The Member States shall regularly verify whether technological developments mandate changes to criminal law in order to maintain the efficiency of the fight against child pornography on the Internet;

The Member States, "in contact with industry, shall cooperate by sharing their experiences and encouraging, if possible, the production of filters and other technical means to prevent and detect the distribution of child pornography material";

The Council shall examine the extent to which the Member States have fulfilled their obligations under the Joint Action of 24 January 1997 concerning measures to combat trafficking in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children, as well as the effectiveness of measures proposed in the Joint Action in question. This assessment may be conducted in compliance with the Joint Action establishing a mechanism for assessment of the implementation, at national level, of international commitments in relation to the fight against organised crime.

The implementation of the Council Resolution on legal interception of telecommunications (17 January 1995) will also be evaluated.

Child pornography on the Internet - international meetings of experts at the INTERPOL General Secretariat, Lyon, France, May 1998, updated with links

INTERPOL's General Secretariat in Lyon, France, hosted two consecutive meetings at the end of May 1998 on the subjects of crimes against children and child pornography on the Internet. First, more than 70 members of the INTERPOL Standing Working Party on Offences against Minors, representing some 30 countries, will take stock of their current achievements, including a unique handbook for specialist police officers dealing with crimes against children, and plan their forward strategy in raising awareness and combating these crimes. The meetingl not be accessible to the press was the 11th meeting of INTERPOL Standing Working Party on Crimes against Minors. The working party was created in May 1992 as an expert group to study responses to a questionnaire on crimes against children circulated by INTERPOL to all its member countries.

This is immediately followed by the ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) meeting on child pornography on the Internet. More than fifty participants from over twenty countries represented private sector Internet service providers, lawyers, non-governmental organisations (ngos) as well as law enforcement services. This multi-disciplinary forum was opened jointly by Mr RE Kendall, INTERPOL's General Secretary, and ECPAT President Mr Ron O'Grady, who highlighted the way in which the Internet is evidence of the current breaking down of the cultural and geographic boundaries relating to time, space and social identities. He also talked about the borderless world of Cyberspace and emphasise the need for extra-territorial or international laws against the abuse and exploitation of children.

For further information see Child Pornography on the Internet: Protecting Children in the Computer Age, Experts Meeting, Lyon, France. May 28-29 1998. See also ECPAT & CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ON THE INTERNET pages. ECPAT's position, Lyon meeting related information, opening address by Ron O'Grady, the Chairman of ECPAT during the Lyon meeting, and the summary report of the Lyon meeting in May 1998.

Paedophilia and the Internet: Old Obsessions and New Crusades: A one day Conference in Rome, 27 October, 1998

Objective of the Conference is to analyze and denounce the dangerous consequences on individual freedoms, on the right to privacy and on the development of new internet technology, of the new legislative and judiciary initiative undertaken in Italy under the impulse of the recent campaign launched ­ with evident falsifications of the facts ­ against "pedophilia" and its relationship with the Internet. See further http://www.agora.stm.it/pedofilia-internet/doc-eng.html

Watson, R., "EU backs new anti-child pornography plan,"February 12, 1998, http://www.european-voice.com/

EUROPEAN police and magistrates involved in paedophile investigations are breaking new ground by cooperating in an EU-funded project to tackle the ongoing explosion in child pornography. The project, known by the acronym COPINE (Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe), is being developed in association with the UK's Metropolitan Police Paedophile Unit, the Association for European Law Enforcement Cooperation in Brussels and the Dublin police. The team is examining individual case-studies and investigations, paying particular attention to the use of the Internet to disseminate paedophile material. "We are looking at broad network issues, at practical examples, at the factors involved in intelligence-gathering and sharing, and possibly at establishing a European database. We see ourselves as providing a platform for the dissemination of information," said project director Professor Max Taylor, of the University of Cork's department of applied psychology, this week.

A conference to examine the project's findings in the early summer will follow on from the group's inaugural meeting in Dublin last month - an event which brought together police, probation and prison officers and representatives from social welfare services.

"Very few countries - the UK is an exception - have specialised paedophile units. The value of the Dublin meeting was that it brought together people from a range of different backgrounds including academia and non-governmental organisations," said one participant.

"One of the difficulties is that the EU has different police forces, different laws and different procedures and it is far from easy to put one system in place. The conference, however, enabled people to compare investigations and management of complex cases, to consider how to present cases to courts and how to look for early warning signs," he added.

In addition, participants examined how prison intelligence could be used to pinpoint whether a convicted offender would reoffend. There was widespread agreement that improved coordination and information-sharing across EU frontiers were essential if paedophile crimes were to be successfully tackled. The meeting took place just weeks after the Irish government published its Child Trafficking and Pornography bill, which will allow prison sentences of up to ten years for anyone involved in producing or distributing child pornography and of up to five years for possession of the material.

COPINE is one of the first projects to be funded under the Union's STOP programme to combat the sexual exploitation of children and trafficking in women, and is complemented by a parallel Daphne initiative to tackle violence against victims in both groups. This year, Daphne is providing 3 million ecu to finance almost 50 local, national and Union-wide projects covering all the member states. Among the many initiatives being supported are networks for experts dealing with missing children, a feasibility study on a register for tracking convicted child sex abusers, schemes to combat child pornography on the Internet and an audit of child protection measures in the EU.

© European Voice

French police bust peadophile network (from Reuters, March 12, 1998)

STRASBOURG, France-- French Police said they detained some 30 people suspected of belonging to a network spreading peadophile messages and thousands of pornographic pictures of children on the Internet. Five adults were formally placed under investigation. Five people under 18 years old were among those held. Police said the network may have organized encounters between adults and children, and the investigation was likely to extend abroad. The nationwide swoop began in Dole, near the Swiss border, after police cracked the computer codes of a person already prosecuted for peadophilia.

Crimes Against Children Facilitated by the Internet. Statement of Stephen R. Wiley, Chief Violent Crime and Major Offenders Section Federal Bureau of Investigation Before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Washington, D. C. November 7, 1997.

Global Internet Liberty Campaign Letter to Chancellor Kohl urges Investigation of CompuServe Prosecution in Germany with allegations of distribution of child pornography and other illegal material on the Internet - 23 April 1997


See section 163 (1) of the Canadian Criminal Code which makes possession of child pornography an offence where previously only distribution was illegal.

R v. Pecchiarich [1995] 22 O.R. (3d) 748-766 where Joseph Pecchiarich, 19, of Missauga became the first person to be charged and convicted of distributing child pornography over the computer networks under section 163 (1) of the Canadian Criminal Code.

R v. Logan (unreported), No. 9317 Port Hardy Registry, January 23, 1996 available at http://ww.efc.ca.where Mr. Logan pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, contrary to s.163 1(4) of the Canadian Criminal Code. Logan received a complete discharge from the judge. 


See the report, ORGANISED CRIMINAL PAEDOPHILE ACTIVITY by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the National Crime Authority published in November 1995.

International Developments related to Child Pornography

Information about the UNESCO, Expert Meeting on Sexual Abuse of Children, Child Pornography and Paedophilia on the Internet: An international challenge, Paris, 18-19 January, 1999

ou can go to the Unesco conference web site by clicking on here or on the Conference image poster.

To fight the spread of paedophilia networks on the Internet, UNESCO held an international expert meeting, on Sexual Abuse of Children,Child Pornography and Paedophilia on the Internet: an international challenge, on January 18-19, 1999, at Organisation Headquarters in Paris. The meeting, convening national and international non-governmental organisations, intergovernmental organisations, representatives of United Nations specialised agencies, national institutions and specialists – among them judges and legal experts - brought together close to 150 participants.

The event will enable the participants from all over the world to draw together existing information from groups and organisations engaged in the fight against paedophilia and child pornography on the Internet and confirm their commitment to work together to curb this increasingly serious problem which jeopardises children all over the world. The meeting is due to produce a joint action plan for measures to be taken to overcome this problem while respecting freedom on the Internet. The issues at stake are of particular concern to UNESCO in view of the Organization’s ethical mission and fields of competence in education, science, culture and communication.

Child Pornography Investigation in Holland, July 1998

According to Reuters, the Dutch police were investigating allegations that an international child pornography ring exploited toddlers as young as two and distributed their images worldwide via the Internet. "The investigation focuses on child pornography in all its facets--the production and distribution of the material," a local police spokesman told Reuters, adding that the police were not yet in possession of the alleged pornographic material.

The Dutch inquiry follows a report by an anti pornography group that it found thousands of computer disks in a flat in the Dutch seaside town of Zandvoort. The disks were loaded with pornographic pictures of children, according to the Dutch current affairs television program NOVA reported. The police spokesman would give no further details of the case pending the outcome of the investigation. He also declined to comment on reports that Dutch police were working with Belgian and German authorities.

"We are waiting for the [pornographic material] to be handed over, then it will be used in our investigation," the police spokesman said. "All the material...is either in the hands of the television [program] or the [Belgian group Morkhoven]."

According to the German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost, Morkhoven stumbled across the disks during a search for a Berlin boy who disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1993 when he was 12. The trail led Morkhoven to the Netherlands and finally to the Zandvoort flat, the newspaper said. The child pornography network, which Berliner Morgenpost said stretches around the globe, has its center in Berlin.

It was not clear how Morkhoven gained access to the address. The property’s owner, allegedly a member of the ring, was reportedly murdered by another gang member early this year in Italy.

According to NOVA, the pornographic pictures uncovered in the flat were stored on thousands of high-density disks. Morkhoven suspects the images were passed via the Internet to a regular group of customers. It claims the Zandvoort operation was part of an international network of child pornography producers and consumers, extending to the United States, Russia, and Israel. Dutch anti pornography campaigners have long complained there is insufficient regulation of the Internet and the material it carries.

One local group, Meldpunt Kinderporno, wrote to the Dutch government recently urging the introduction of measures to combat child pornography on the Web.

Finland Police seized child pornography at the Helsinki home of a 19 year-old student

On August 28, 1996 in helsinki - Finland the police seized two computers and nearly 350 floppy disks at the house of a 19 year-old student. The material showed sadistic acts involving Caucasian and Asian children, including torture, mutilation, and cannibalism. Police specialist Kaj Malmberg stated that:

"These pictures of adults having sex with children are really hard pornography. This is exceptioannly severe hard pornography involving very severe abuse of children"

The unnamed student was not arrested because of the liberal Finnish law. Possession and distribution of hard pornography is a minor offence with a maximum penalty of six months in jail. Malmberg stated that:

"It's like speeding or something."

According to the Reuters report the Finnish police must wait until the student returns from the university outside Helsinki to even interrogate him. According to the police the student's computer system can be connected to the Internet and a distribution link has been found with Sweeden. Malmberg said he suspects people in several other European countries had used the system.

Merja-Maarja Turunen with the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health stated that Finland must crack down against such offenders.

"It is important. It's not a minor offence. It's obvious that somewhere along the line a child is being molested."

The arrest of Marc Dutroux in Belgium

See the TIME article by clicking on the image.

THE Belgian government appealed for international co-operation to crush paedophile rings as it sought to defuse the nation's fury over the child sex gang responsible for the death of two small girls. The appeal from Stefaan De Clerck, the Justice Minister, came as detectives in Neufchateau, continued questioning Marc Dutroux in whose garden the bodies of Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo were found along with that of Bernard Weinstein, another gang member.

Despite intensive interrogation of Marc Dutroux, there was little sign of a breakthrough in the hunt for about a dozen missing Belgian children. They include Ann Marchal, 19, and Eefje Lambrecks, 17, whom Dutroux allegedly admitted kidnapping last summer.

Justice Minister De Clerck stated that the problem of child pornography is not only Belgium's problem but an international one. He announced measures to strengthen the Belgians' fight against paedophile rings including centralising the investigation of missing children.

See David Millward "Belgian plea for help to crush child porn rings" , 20 August 1996, Electronic Telegraph

Evidence emerging over the past weeks suggests that Dutroux and his associates' activities spread across Europe. Michelle Martin, Dutroux's wife, is known to have spent a lot of time out of the country. Michel Bourlet, the prosecutor leading the investigation into the paedophile ring, has confirmed that he is contacting police forces across Europe. Michelle Hirsch, a lawyer stated that:

"Child pornography and prostitution is an international business. Traffickers buy children from poor families in Asia and with the co-operation of police and corrupt officials they arrange for their transport across international borders."

See David Millward, "Black market in paedophile porn" , 22 August 1996, Electronic Telegraph

See also:

See Roger Boyes, "Prayers and blame stirred by a nation's lost innocents" , 19 August 1996, The Times.

See Roger Boyes, "Hunt for victims of child sex ring", 19 August 1996, The Times.

See Roger Boyes, "Belgian justice in the dock over paedophile who was freed early" , 20 August 1996, The Times.

See Roger Boyes, "Horrified nation buries victims of paedophile ring", 23 August 1996, The Times.

See Nick Rufford, "The making of a monster" , 25 August 1996, The Sunday Times.

See Charles Bremner, "Investigators raid police as scandals widen in Belgium" , 11 September, 1996, The Times.

World magazines and newspapers reported the use of the Internet for distribution of child pornographyby paedophile rings following the sad events happened in Belgium. That is why I have included the Belgium case in this section. It is sad that a horrible event such as this was needed for the attention of the media to report on the serious problem of child pornography.

World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Stockholm - Sweeden

The Congress has a good web site including reports !!!

Each year, some one million children enter the sex trade, exploited by people or circumstances. The first World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, was held in Stockholm, 27 - 31 August 1996, aiming to put the issue of children being sold for sex firmly on the public agenda. It brought together key players in the battle against commercial sexual exploitation of children, to share information, exchange experiences and best practice, and formulate national and regional strategies.

(See also "Queen of Sweden fights on against child pornography" 28 August 1996, The Times.)

The background paper of the World Congress describes child pornography as:

"any visual or audio material which uses children in a sexual context. It consists of "the visual depiction of a child engaged in explicit sexual conduct, real or simulated, or the lewd exhibition of the genitals intended for the sexual gratification of the user, and involves the production, distribution and/or use of such material"UN General assembly Document A/50/456, Page 6. . The purpose of audio pornography is similar. Because of easy and inexpensive access through computer based information networks, child pornography has increased in recent years and appropriate legislative remedies have become increasingly difficult."

The Fact Sheets of the Congress refer to the new technologies and the Internet with relation to child pornography:

"Child pornography is also, once produced, a means of fuelling demand for child sex. Images of children engaged in sex, or posing in lewd poses, –whether still or video – are used to titillate and increase demand. Advances in technology have made child pornography easier to produce, more difficult to stop and easier to distribute. In particular, the availability of the home video camera, editing and reproduction equipment has made “home video” easy and cheap. The advent of computer graphics and global transmission via the Internet means that images can now be transmitted worldwide and “downloaded” at home."

Read one of the theme papers written by Margaret A Healey, "Child Pornography: An International Perspective". This paper was prepared as a working document for the World Congress by ECPAT.

See also the Draft Declaration and Agenda for action.

UK Government Report: Action against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, August 1996.

The Home Office published its report on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children jsut before the Stockholm Conference. The report welcomes the Conference and shares the abhorrence felt by all decent people about the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

See Mr.Kirkhope's intervention during the plenary session at the World Congress on the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The full report is available at the Home Office - UK www pages, but for convenience I include the contents of the report here:

Other Relevant Links from the World Congress


ECPAT - End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism - was established in Bangkok in 1991, by a community of concerned individuals and organisations to work together to end child prostitution in Asin tourism. It campaigned for 3 years, working on political action, changes in the law, education and media coverage. There are currently over 250 groups in the coalitions which form the ECPAT network, in over 25 countries worldwide. ECPAT continues to campaign for action by governments in every country involved, and by the international community, to address this problem and protect all children. ECPAT's mission statement reads as follows from their web site:

"ECPAT is a global network of organisations and individuals working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. It seeks to encourage the world community to ensure that children everywhere enjoy their fundamental rights free and secure from all forms of commercial sexual exploitation."

See the ECPAT report on Child Pornography. The ECPAT web site also includes a Country Reports document including short notes from different countries on child abuse and child pornography.


RADDA BARNEN - Sweedish Save the Children

UK Save the Children - More material and Information.

Back to Regulation of Child Pornography on the Internet: Cases and Materials