Report on ERA Course: Fighting Child Pornography on the Internet

I have had the pleasure of attending as a student to the European Academy of Law course on "Fighting Child Pornography on the Internet", at Madrid 29-30 November 2012. I was supported by the Spanish child protection NGO Protégeles, as I work with then whenever I can in order to push their mission.

It was a nice course, with a good coverage of topics, including legal aspects, and technical issues both from the view of prosecuting sex offenders and from Web filtering. Speakers were excellent and provided a lok of useful hints and links. I also crafted a backlog hashtag for the event in Twitter (#ERAChildPornCourse), but I am afraid that neither attendents nor speakers are very happy with Twitter (with scarce exceptions). I collected some comments during the event, organized in terms of the topic:

Legal issues
  • Media types that do not involve real children are child porn?
  • Internet and digital cameras have led to an explosion of child porn, now a home industry
  • There is a thousand years history on child porn (e.g. paintings) but cameras imply children are really abused to get it recorded
  • What does mean child porn possesion? What about cloud drives? And streaming?
  • Internet is world-wide, so who has the jurisdiction? Should anybody have it?
  • Eurojust helps coordination of child porn prosecution, examples of operations: "lost boy", "nanny", "dreamboard"
  • Lanzarote Convention says accesing a child porn site, if knowing it hosts that stuff, is illegal
  • Providing lists of links of web sites hosting child porn is illegal under Lanzarote Convention
Protection, prosecution, technical issues
  • For preparing cases against child porn, prosecutors check nature of material, offender involvement and number of images
  • The 10% of photographs ever taken, were taken during the latest year Note: all kind of pics
  • Groomers and child sex offenders play "the jailbait game" in vidro chat sites
  • Youngsters are extemely vulnerable to grooming: they nearly accept all frienship requests, have 3-4k+ contacts
  • Haebephilia is the sexual preference for individuals in early years of puberty (generally 11-14)
  • LEAs make use of a plethora of image analysis tools to process suspect pics; Microsoft PhotoDNA just one in the box
  • About 20% of child porn stuff is delivered through commercial platforms
  • Project HAVEN aims at stop child abuse by EU citizens in foreign countries (Asia, South America...)
  • Law Enforcement Agencies cooperate and share a Child Abuse International database
  • Law Enforcement Agencies (e.g. Europol) are getting more and more focused on victim identification
  • INHOPE has not authority to release block lists of child porn sites
An aditional fact is that after hearing Interpol and Europol, one gets proud of having such great professionals working against child porn.

All in all, it has been a great course and I am very happy of being able to attend to it.

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