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Is the Internet Aiding Growth of Child Porn?

John on April 28, 2007 at 11:43 pm

Recently, a prosecutor in Australia was discovered to have a significant collection of child porn on his laptop computer:

Along with 29,000 images of adult homosexual pornography, a Department of Public Prosecutions IT worker found 31 videos of graphic child pornography and 433 child sex images, which so disgusted him he immediately reported Power.

The videos showed men having sex with boys as young as seven. These were in a folder marked “good”, according to agreed facts tendered to the court.

It became a huge story because of the implicit contrast. Well-heeled professional and the vilest things imagineable on his computer. And yet, in preparation for trial he was able to put together 59 witnesses who will attest to his sterling character. This raises the question, have we become a bit desensitized to just how horrible a crime this is. It seems at least some portion of us are, because the problem is growing rapidly:

The number of images of child rape online has quadrupled in three years, according to figures released two weeks ago by the British Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

“The images appear to be on a trend towards more severity, probably because there is greater demand,” IWF chairman Peter Robbins told Reuters. “The age of the children involved is predominantly under 12.”

Dr Olav Nielssen, a psychiatrist at St Vincent’s Hospital, told a sexual-health conference in Sydney this month that the availability of child porn on the internet has created an appetite in people who otherwise may never have considered it.

“It is the internet itself that has created a new disorder,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “Because they have access to the material, they then are able to develop the interest and the interest takes hold.”

This is one area where I’d be willing to trade a little freedom for a lot more control. We need to be making it a lot more difficult for predators to transmit this material across the net. No doubt the technology is already in existence. What we lack is the ability to employ it without raising the hackles of a phalanx of ACLU lawyers.

One more good reason to ignore the ACLU.

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