Database targets child predators
Ministers have given a green light to proposals for a global image database to help identify children who fall prey to paedophiles
An international image database is to be created to help police identify the victims of paedophile crimes. The project received approval from representatives of the G8 nations, including the UK’s Home Secretary David Blunkett, at a meeting in Paris on 5 May 2003.
At present, images of victims are held only on national databases or by individual police forces, making their use in international investigations very difficult.
Proposals for the International Child Pornography Image Database follow a feasibility study led by the UK’s National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), in partnership with G8 member states.
“The study showed that in terms of identifying victims and perpetrators, this type of crime can’t be tackled in isolation,” a Home Office spokesperson told Government Computing News.
In October 2002 the G8 nations – the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy Japan and Russia - agreed on a strategy to protect children from sexual exploitation, which emphasised the importance of sharing intelligence and of victim identification. The image database is a key component of the strategy.
Lord Goldsmith QC, the UK’s Attorney General, described the G8 strategy as a significant development which must be implemented at the earliest opportunity.
“The threat posed to all our countries by online child abuse is significant. This international problem can only be combated through effective international cooperation and the implementation of the measures in the G8 strategy will be vital,” he said.
Access to the International Child Pornography Image Database will be restricted to law enforcement agencies of the participating countries, plus international crime fighting bodies, such as Europol and Interpol.
The next stage will be for the NCIS to lead an implementation study to determine how the database can be delivered and managed. An application for financial support for the study is currently being considered by the European Commission.
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