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Comment Verizon (Score 1) 343

Verizon may be in violation of the first principle of net neutrality by blocking access to controversial websites and justifying such blocks by falsely alleging that such websites are illegal. In 2006, Slashdot discussed how Verizon terminated its service to Epifora (a host for legal pro-paedophile websites, to whom Verizon provided a backbone). According to a friend who uses Verizon as his home ISP, the company is now blocking access to websites formerly hosted by Epifora (albeit intermittently), sometimes by falsely alleging illegal activites and sometimes through a covert redirect.

One particular website (NSFW but nonetheless legal) which is sometimes inaccessible for Verizon users is LifeLine, which provides support for people who are contemplating suicide or other irrational actions as a result of their attraction to children.

Privacy

Submission + - "Sex" and "Porn" in Childrens' Top (norton.com) 1

Brian Ribbon writes: "While Australia, China, the UK and other subversive states clamber to implement "family friendly" web filters under the guise of protecting children from stumbling across the horrors of pornography, data collected by Symantec suggests that children themselves are busy looking for places where they can find the stuff. The data — collected by Symantec's "OnlineFamily" software, which is installed by parents on their childrens' workstations — indicates that "sex" is the fourth most popular search term amongst children, with "porn" in sixth place and "boobs" at number twenty-eight. The twenty-first most popular search term is "Norton Safety Minder", the application which the OnlineFamily software uses to monitor computer usage and report back to Symantec's servers. While many parents will presumably be horrified at the thought of little Timmy searching for online pornography, their primary concern should be the software's violation of an individual's privacy and the possibility of identity theft resulting from detailed usage information being reported to a foreign server. The evidence published by Symantec actually contradicts the prudish belief that children are offended and corrupted by online pornography."
Censorship

Submission + - The Perverse Politics of Virtual Porn

Brian Ribbon writes: "In 2006, the UK Home Office (which has since devolved many of its powers to the Ministry of Justice) announced plans to criminalise the possession of "non-photographic images of child sexual abuse" (BBC, 2006). The justification for this law was based upon several assumptions, none of which are supported empirically.

The first and most significant claim of ministers, made in the original "consultation on possession of non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse", was that "fantasy images themselves fuel abuse of real children by reinforcing potential abusers' inappropriate feelings towards children" (Home Office, 2007). The Home Office noted "an absence of research into the effects of these images", but proceeded to ask if their proposal was "nevertheless justified".

Upon publishing the "summary of responses and next steps", the Ministry of Justice (2008) was unable to provide any evidence for the claims made in its paper, explaining that it had taken the decision to legislate against computer-generated images on the basis of a public consultation (in which the opinions expressed were far from unanimous) and closed meetings with "interested parties". Those "interested parties" were comprised mostly of charities which have a financial stake in the matter, as well as the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre, which receives funding to investigate potential sexual offences committed online and is currently seeking public support for a doubling of its funding.

Evidence-based legislation?

In 2009, the Coroners and Justice Bill — which intends to criminalise the possession of virtual child erotica — was introduced by Jack Straw and Lord Bach. The accompanying research paper (Almandras et al, 2009) cites a report by the Longford Committee (1972) and Ray Wyre's appendix in Tim Tate's (1990) book on child pornography as evidence, however both works discuss photographic pornography rather than computer-generated or drawn imagery.

The Longford Committee's findings were published several years before the "discovery" of child pornography, which was not the subject of public or scientific debate prior to 1975 (Stanley, 1987; O'Donnell & Milner, 2007) and was not subject to legislation until 1977 in the USA or 1978 in the UK. The committee's findings therefore cannot be taken as conclusive evidence with regard to child pornography, nor can they be assumed to be applicable to computer-generated pornography (which was not available at the time). The findings of the committee — as cited in the research paper — are also rather vague. According to the Ministry of Justice, the committee's report stated that "pornography clearly must have some effect" but admitted that "only in very rare cases can a causal connection between pornography and anti-social behaviour be conclusively proved" (Longford Committee, cited by Almandras et al, 2009). The evidence provided by the Longford Committee clearly does not support the beliefs expressed by legislators in proposing the prohibition of virtual child erotica.

Child pornography had been acknowledged and formed part of the criminological discourse when Tate's book was published, however there is no empirical (or even anecdotal) evidence of the existence of computer-generated child pornography prior to the publication of Tate's book. Wyre's argument was based solely upon his experiences in working with sex offenders at the time, and was therefore based upon his observations of how offenders allegedly used photographic child pornography. Even if one discounts the fact that virtual pornography is yet another step away from reality in relation to photographic pornography, the reliability of Wyre's argument remains debatable. One must remember that a correlation may not involve a direct causal link; while many of the contact child sex offenders which Wyre studied may also have used pornography — and may have used it as an excuse for their behaviour — it is quite possible that the contact offenders would have committed a contact offence regardless of their use of pornography. If, as Wyre suggested, a contact child sex offender "will use anything — including child pornography or child erotica" to "make his behaviour seem as normal as possible" (Wyre, cited by Almandras et al, 2009), child erotica is not necessary for the facilitation of contact offending, as the offender would find other ways to justify their behaviour. The government's use of Wyre's work in supporting the proposed legislation is actually a serious misinterpretation (or misuse) of the text and does not justify the ban which is proposed by legislators.

Contrary to the largely irrelevant research cited in the research paper for the proposed legislation, there is a significant body of evidence which suggests that child erotica has a positive effect on the behaviour of people with a sexual interest in children, providing a sexual relief which reduces the likelihood of contact offending. Sheldon & Howitt (2008) found that despite the popular belief that fantasy leads to action, "fantasy deficit may be involved in contact offending against children" as contact offenders are unable to generate mastubatory fantasies without engaging in contact offences. The correlation between liberalisation of pornography laws and a decrease in cases of contact offences is also worthy of note here. A major correlation was observed in Denmark and West Germany (O'Carroll, 2000), while a correlation between an increase in the availability of virtual pornography (including child and rape pornography) and a decrease in contact offending has been observed in Japan (Diamond & Uchiyama, 1999). While the O'Carroll and Diamond & Uchiyama studies only prove a correlation, it is unlikely that the increased availability of child pornography and a decrease in contact offences against children could have a common causal factor, indicating that the legal availability of pornography (both child and adult) reduces the risk of sexually harmful behaviour.

A charitable concern?

Two of the primary campaigners in favour of the prohibition of cartoon child erotica are the NSPCC (a children's charity with statutory powers) and CHIS (a coalition of charities in which the NSPCC is an influential member). In a response to the Scottish consultation on the proposed prohibition of virtual child erotica, CHIS argued that "advances in technology have made it possible to create materials which are entirely artificial but which, in turn, are indistinguishable from photographs or videos of real events" (CHIS, 2008). Such an argument is clearly misleading as a reason for legislating against virtual child erotica, as erotic photo-realistic images of children are already illegal under UK law and possession of such images carries the same maximum sentence as actual photographs (Sentencing Advisory Panel, 2006). It is evident that CHIS was already aware of the illegality of photo-realistic indecent images of children when they responded to the consultation, as they quoted from the relevant law on the same page of their response. It is therefore difficult to interpret the CHIS response as anything other than an attempt to mislead the public, media, and undereducated civil servants.

Before progressing to a further analysis of the children's charities' use of misleading information, it would be careless not to mention that the same manipulative tactics are also being used by politicians. When the Ministry of Justice announced the intention to criminalise virtual child erotica, Justice Minister Maria Eagle issued a press release claiming that "paedophiles could be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons" (Eagle, 2008). Regardless of whether or not this is true (there is no evidence for or against the claim), Section 69(3) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act (2008) criminalised the possession, distribution, showing and making of images derived from indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children three weeks prior to Eagle's announcement. In short, the "loophole" which Eagle referred to had already been closed. The implications of her announcement are therefore quite disturbing; either the Justice Minister was unaware of the content of a major bill which had just been enacted, or she was deliberately attempting to mislead and manipulate the media and public into supporting her department's proposals.

Despite the misleading statements of CHIS, the motivations of the NSPCC themselves are of the greatest concern. The NSPCC has a history of using sensationalism, half-truths and deception in its campaigns for donations. In 2007, it emerged that the NSPCC had mailed fake stories of child abuse — presented as genuine accounts — in order to garner donations from concerned members of the public (The Daily Mail, 2007). Prior to this discovery, Sociology professor Frank Furedi (2004) described the NSPCC as "a danger to the nation's children". His article drew attention to the NSPCC's use of expensive marketing companies and misleading statistics to frighten both parents and children into donating to the organisation. Similar concerns were also expressed in an article in the Observer (Rayner, 1999) and by the Social Issues Research Centre (1999).

Of greater concern with regard to the proposed law against virtual child erotica is the NSPCC's conflict of interest in responding to the proposal. Unbeknownst to the general public (and possibly even to legislators), the NSPCC conducts a significant number of sex offender therapy programmes (NSPCC, 2008). The amount of funding which they receive for conducting such programmes has not been disclosed, however intense public fears over child sex offenders and the costs associated with finding staff who are prepared to work with such offenders would suggest that the NSPCC receives significant funding for carrying out this service. Considering the revenue which the NSPCC is likely to generate from providing such services, expecting them to provide objective input on a proposal which will increase the number of people who use those services is highly optimistic.

Another argument proposed by the NSPCC and by other proponents of the legislation is that the availability of cartoon child erotica implies tolerance of child sexual abuse, therefore encouraging paedophiles to act out (Hilton, 2009). The first problem with this argument is that the broad definition of "prohibited images" in the Coroners and Justice Bill includes images which simply focus on certain areas of a child's body and are perceived to be "grossly offensive" or "disgusting" (Coroners and Justice Bill, 2009), even if no sexual activity is depicted. Furthermore, the claim that the availability of cartoon child erotica — even if it depicts sexual abuse — implies a tolerance of child abuse is unfounded and grossly illogical. Firstly, a glance at (legal) discussion boards for paedophiles — such as Boychat.org and Annabelleigh.net — indicates that paedophiles are extremely aware of the negativity of attitudes towards paedophilia per se as well as child sexual abuse. Contrary to the argument of the proponents of the proposed legislation, the fact that child erotica is only legal in cartoon form clearly suggests that society is so opposed to any indication of child abuse that it prohibits material which depicts real children in a potentially sexual manner. By criminalising mere cartoons, the government risks providing additional justification for the (justifiable) belief that much of the crusade against paedophiles is a matter of prudism or playing on people's fears, rather than an attempt to protect children. The prevalence of this belief is clearly problematic for a government whose policies rely heavily on a veiled politics of fear, using the "think of the children" mantra as an excuse for abuses of state power. By providing additional evidence for the belief, the government also challenges any message of the kind which the NSPCC were referring to, as it characterises pornography laws as an attempt to legislate morality rather than a disapproval of child abuse.

One of the original arguments in favour of the prohibition of cartoon child erotica is the belief that contact offenders could use cartoons to "groom" children (The Register, 2007). While this may be true, the act of grooming a child is already a serious criminal offence in the UK. If someone is prepared to violate laws against grooming, committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence and attempting sexual activity with a child, they are unlikely to be deterred by laws against the possession of virtual child erotica.

Everyone needs a release

One major concern raised by the proposed prohibition of virtual child erotica is that such a prohibition may encourage some paedophiles to use real child pornography. While viewing or possessing child pornography per se is unlikely to encourage production, the purchase of such material may stimulate production, which must surely be of concern to those who have an interest in protecting children. Criminalising the possession of virtual child erotica will obviously criminalise a legitimate and responsible release for paedophiles' sexual urges. If virtual child erotica were criminalised, the only available releases (other than clothed and non-erotic images of children) would be illegal activities, such as the use of illegal photographs or harmful behaviour involving real children, or the new offence of using virtual child erotica. While the sentence for possessing illegal photographs of children is slightly harsher than the recommended sentence for the proposed crime of possessing "prohibited [virtual] images of children", an offender would be outed as a "paedophile" in both cases, with all of the destructive social and financial effects which that entails. It would therefore be unsurprising if anybody who required a release involving some kind of erotic stimuli depicting children chose illegal photographs, as the consequences would not differ significantly from those which would result from viewing cartoons. The greater issue is with the minority of paedophiles who have no concern for the welfare of children or believe that having sex with children is harmless. In the case of people who avoid sexual contact with children solely as a result of the legal consequences — and who desperately require the release which virtual child erotica provides — the consequences of banning virtual child erotica are a major concern.

Conclusion

Children's charities and legislators are clutching at straws and ignoring the plethora of evidence which indicates that child erotica has a socially positive effect on paedophiles. While the motivations of children's charities are presumably financial, one must ask why the government are so insistent on legislation which will have no benefit to the safety of children or any other person.

A more cynical interpretation of the proposed legislation would be that the government is attempting to tighten its grip on the population. By exploiting the natural concern of protecting children as an excuse for monopolising power within the state, power-hungry legislators are able to increase their ability to further their personal political agenda. While such a belief could be dismissed as a conspiracy theory, one must consider the intentions of someone who chooses a political career; a career which does not provide huge financial rewards for people whose necessary social engineering skills could achieve seven-figure salaries in the private sector. Inevitably, politicians will be motivated to influence and control others.

Many politicians find that arguing for "child protection" laws is an easy way of soliciting votes from a public which is misinformed by the media and manipulative "childrens'" charities. Politicians may also find that they can persuade the public to support controversial legislation by claiming that such legislation is "for the children". Furthermore, any elected politician who disagrees with any legislation which is "for the children", however reasonable their grounds, is liable to lose their position at the next election.

The current political system supports politicians who crusade under the guise of protecting children in order to justify policy types which support their own world view or increase their power over those who they govern. The laws which result from such policies threaten the civil rights of everyone, as they may be used to justify further intrusions into the private lives of citizens. The proposed law against the possession of cartoon and drawn child erotica is one such law, and the effects which it may have should be of significant concern to both civil libertarians and people who genuinely care about children."

Comment Those "charges" are not relevant here (Score 1) 420

Paedophilia is a sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. There is no offence of "pedophilia" and there is no legal definition. The people who get stung on To Catch a Predator are often charged with crossing state lines to engage in sex with a minor and for attempting to commit the sex offence which they allegedly intended to commit.

Is there no law against harassment in the USA? That would be the most appropriate charge in this case and the maximum sentence would presumably apply.

Comment The Right To Possess Digital Information (Score 2, Insightful) 151

"No person shall be convicted of any criminal or civil offence solely on the basis of the data contained within any digital storage media within their possession and the recording of any of their network addresses upon any other digital storage medium"

I'll be honest about my motivation for making this suggestion; I am appalled by the fact that people are frequently imprisoned for possessing/accessing child pornography which they did not produce, purchase, trade, or solicit. The argument that viewing child pornography creates an increased demand was formulated in a pre-internet era when people who were determined to view child pornography had to either produce, purchase, trade, or otherwise solicit the material in order to view it. In those cases - and in cases where pornography was abusive rather than just offensive to the sensibilites of the time - I believe that prosecution was justified. In the era of the internet, however, people are able to access child pornography without encouraging production, yet many of those people are traced through access logs, then arrested, convicted and imprisoned.

The suggested clause would not prevent the prosecution of people for purchasing child pornography, as card details would be recorded; these details could be coupled with data from the hard drive to secure a conviction. Anyone who trades child pornography could presumably be convicted, as evidence of trading should be available on another person's property. Anyone who solicits child pornography could likely be caught through their dealings with those who produced or distributed such images.

The suggested clause would also stifle attempts to introduce a local equivalent of MediaSentry et al, as such organisations rely heavily on evidence from users' computers and on the logging of the IP addresses of people who download copyrighted media.

Such a clause would also hinder the introduction of victimless criminal offences which are falsely alleged to discourage the commission of harmful crimes; the British and American legislators have begun to introduce such laws to bypass allegations of creating a police state obsessed with the concept of pre-crime. In the UK, for example, it is illegal for a person to possess information which could be useful to terrorists, on the absurd basis that anyone who wishes to view such material intends to engage in terrorist behaviour.

The reality is that the excuses provided for intrusion into peoples' digital lives are generally an excuse for the state to investigate the private lives of anyone who is presumed to wish to challenge the state, or anyone who may offend the electorate which legislators are forced to represent in order to maintain their seats.

Comment Perspective (Score 3, Informative) 662

"The right to fantasize, daydream, and drool over violating people and committing crimes? I'm pretty sure I missed that right when reading the constitution."

The right to breathe isn't in the US Constitution either, but people have the right to do it. Lawmakers decide what people can't legally do, however they don't list everything that a person can legally do. The probable reason for the right to fantasise about crime being absent from the Constitution is that its authors couldn't comprehend the existence of a society where people tried to dictate what others could fantasise about.

"Things that depict abuse."

Violence and other abuses are frequently depicted in video games, on TV, etc. The UK media recently showed images of a baby who had been beaten to death by his parents.

Millions of African children die each year from a lack of food and water, however you seem to be more concerned about people who play video games where depictions of non-existent people are harmed. Please stop trying to dress prudism as a genuine concern for childrens' welfare.

Comment That's Not Correct (Score 5, Interesting) 662

"Those who have those urges towards children may feel prodded seeing the depicted acts to try them in the real world."

Research suggests otherwise. People need a harmless and legal outlet for their urges; for teleiophilic adults, options include sex with another consenting adult or adult pornography for those who can't find a partner. For paedophiles, the already short list of harmless and legal outlets is becoming ever shorter due to the moral crusaders who seek to ban everything which they find offensive. Shotacon/lolicon are one of the few outlets which are still legally available in some countries (although cartoons are quickly being criminalised). If you ban everything which may arouse paedophiles, you'll be left with people who simply ignore the law or people who are dangerously bitter, angry and hostile towards society.

Policy advisors would benefit from actually doing research with responsible paedophiles rather than making assumptions about the effects of certain stimuli. Listening to childrens' charities is a huge mistake, as charities have a motivation to make things worse in order to encourage further donations from naive, shallow citizens.

Comment Do you trust the FTC? (Score 2, Insightful) 224

"from the child-porn-world-needs-more-suicides dept."

Several people who I know have been victims of child porn laws, despite not having paid for or traded anything and having therefore not encouraged or facilitated production. Rather than making assumptions about child pornography, you may consider researching the issue. You should also remember that visiting websites which are alleged to contain illegal images - without loading the images (by disabling images in the browser) - is not illegal and can provide significant insight into the issue.

I'd also suggest a critical consideration of the FTC's statements. The war on child pornography is often used as a cover for wars on slightly more popular content which happens to offend the state. I find it rather bizarre that so many people who are critical of the state tend to believe whatever the state and its subsidiaries says about child porn.

Comment Re:Paedophiles (Score 1) 446

"I once put the issue of the etymology of the word paedophile to someone after noticing it's frequent usage on the news in relation to crime stories. The response I got was one of 'well it's the accepted usage, I don't think you can expect people to differentiate'."

Well, many people are lazy and will not "waste" their energy by thinking about issues which they don't feel they have a responsibility to think about. They currently feel that they don't have a responsibility to consider the difference between paedophiles and child molesters because they assume that all paedophiles abuse children and so aren't deserving of their time, but it's difficult to persuade people that most paedophiles don't abuse children because of the existing conflation of terms. It's a vicious cycle.

"I think it has a lot in common with attitudes towards other perversions. Those who regard 'deviant' thought as harmful are often the same people who have their moral boundaries set out for them by their peers."

Ignoring the obvious reasons for anti-paedophile attitudes (such as sensationalist media, governments looking for easy, emotional issues to exploit, etc), I think the issue is also a result of laziness (people don't want to think about everything themselves), as well as a desire to fit in and to be above the bottom of the social tree. People who beat their wives, take advantage of drunk women, or engage in any other unethical behaviour can all say "I may have done x, but at least I'm not y". At the moment, y happens to be "a paedophile". It's somewhat comforting for x to believe that y abuses children (as x can believe that he is even further above the "lowest" members of society), and so the conflation of terms benefits x. People can also fit in with other members of society by uniting with others over a common interest (think about how people support professional sports clubs and hate local rivals). Paedophiles are easy to demonise because we are incredibly difficult to identify, which means that attacking paedophiles has become an easy and "acceptable" way of uniting and fitting in with others. It's no coincidence that the worst bigots have some serious issues of their own.

So yes, the hatred of paedophiles probably does have a lot in common with attitudes towards other "perversions", as everyone needs a group over which they can confirm moral and social superiority.

Comment Re:Paedophiles (Score 1) 446

"Having erotic fantasties about molesting a child is only a small step away from acting out those fantasies."

Are you also one of those people who believes that a man who is attracted to a woman is a "small step" from raping her if she doesn't want to have sex with him? Or do you understand the concept of self-control? It's not difficult.

"a young child does not have the emotional or intellectual maturity to consent to such acts."

I've never argued that a child does. You're setting up a straw man argument here (and showing the ridiculous, presumptious nature of your arguments).

"In a similar way to how the police monitor other suspicious activity to prevent crime, it is completely correct that they monitor known paedophiles."

No. They have no right to harass someone on the basis of their sexuality (which is not an activity); it is unethical, discriminatory, and in some countries (such as the UK) it is also illegal.

"I can see that you don't like this, but obviously, you are biased."

Whereas you are not? I think you're one of the "I was molested by a paedophile so all paedophiles must be child molesters" trolls. You can't apply the behaviour of one "paedophile" (note that most child molesters are not paedophiles) to every other paedophile, especially when 33% of men experience significant sexual arousal to pre-pubescent children.

As for me not liking the popular myths which you rehash, I feel a little more strongly than that. I am going to make my point very publicly, by creating a website which encourages non-offending paedophiles to work with children. The website will include a selection of job/volunteer adverts from other websites, advice on how to avoid having one's sexuality discovered in interviews, and an explanation of why most paedophiles are safe to work around children. No matter how much the misinformed masses will hate me, the controversy should at least attract attention to my arguments.

Comment Paedophiles (Score 1) 446

"The UK government has further detailed plans to track all communications -- mobile phone calls, text messages, email and browser sessions -- in the fight against terrorism, pedophiles and organized crime. The government said it's not looking to see what you're saying, just to whom and when and how."

Like everyone else, paedophiles choose to communicate with like-minded people. This does not mean that we're breaking the law; we discuss sexuality, politics and unrelated topics. We also discuss children (from TV, places of work, etc), but we can have such a discussion without plotting to commit crimes.

While the UK government claim that they will only target people who are suspected of illegal activity, the UK authorities simply cannot be trusted to differentiate between someone who is attracted to children and someone who actually tries to act on that attraction. Despite having been informed of the difference between paedophiles and sex offenders, the Metropolitan Police have refused to explain the meaning of their plans to engage in "proactive disruption of 130 individuals with a sexual interest in children". In other words, their so-called "Paedophile unit" is happy to knowingly and unashamedly harass innocent people.

People who aren't even attracted to children are also at risk from the proposed database, as it's very difficult for most people to know whether they're communicating with a paedophile. Studies have indicated that up to 33% of adult men experience sexual arousal to "pedophilic stimuli" (pre-pubescent children). Few people can connect their friends or colleagues to a penile plethysmograph, and very few people will admit to being attracted to chidlren (for obvious reasons), so this database could put anyone at risk of being investigated.

This extension of the authorities' powers will lead to more innocent people being harassed, as many of the iron tentacles of the UK state cannot be trusted to act in a sane or balanced manner.

Comment It's all about politics (Score 1) 235

"I thought closing down might be more effective than trying to block them, which won't work anyway..."

If a BKA officer closes a child pornography website, he's just doing his job. Whether he closes a child pornography website, arrests a drug dealer, or identifies fraudsters, he gets paid.

If a politician successfully crusades for a blacklist which filters child pornography, he becomes a hero in the eyes of the public. This furthers his career and he makes more money in the future. He may not have the intellectual or political skills to achieve such a high position in other ways.

Politicians have chosen a filter because it's good for their career. The blacklist doesn't really need to work for it to have significant political value; how many voters are actually going to test it?

Comment "Related" to child pornography? (Score 2, Informative) 235

"Germany's government has passed a draft law for censorship of domains hosting content related to child pornography."

I don't know whether the summary was inaccurate, but the phrase "related to child pornography" is extremely disturbing. I run a website which frequently criticises child pornography laws, but doesn't contain child pornography. Will that be censored too?

Even if child pornography is the only material which is blocked, I still don't agree with the filter. Studies have shown that the majority of prohibited material involving children does not depict sexual abuse. It is also ridiculous to claim that simply accessing freely available child pornography encourages the sexual abuse of children (the music industry certainly doesn't take kindly to people downloading their content without paying, so why should child pornographers?). In Germany, possessing a non-photographic "pornographic" depiction of a character who appears to a virtual child can result in a lengthy prison sentence. Will the filter "protect" cartoon children too?

The methods which the authorities used to push this filter are somehwhat suspect. Germany has, for some time, battled to persuade its citizens to accept internet filtering, however there is a fairly large civil rights community and a strong belief in the freedom of the internet, resulting in much opposition to such censorship. Just a week before the vote on the draft legislation to implement filters, German police coincidentally "broke up" a huge "child pornography ring", allegedly involving 9000 people. This was presumably a sting operation which involved the logging of the IP addresses of every visitor to a police-operated website, followed by raids on the properties linked to every IP address which had been logged. It doesn't matter that only 50 or so people will be convicted, because the authorities have already won....

Anyone who now opposes internet filtering will be reminded of the huge "child pornography ring" and accused of supporting the horrific sexual abuse of children for huge child pornography networks. Nobody can check the police's evidence because that would be illegal and a child would be "revictimised", while anyone who wanted to check would obviously be a paedophile. And so the draft legislation passed.

The Courts

Submission + - Child Porn Viewer Told to Pay $200000 Restitution (nzherald.co.nz)

Brian Ribbon writes: "In a landmark ruling, a man convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography has been forced to pay $200000 to a subject of images which he possessed but did not distribute. The lawyer of a woman who was once depicted in some of the images claimed that "the victim is a victim of sexual exploitation caused by this defendant," despite the fact that the defendant downloaded the images almost ten years after they had been produced. Ernie Allen, of the state-funded advocacy organisation NCMEC, argued that "every time they are downloaded, every time they are distributed, the victim in that image is revictimised"."

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