Mobiles 'option for child-sex crimes'
Source: The Advertiser
By Miranda Korzy
Date: July 18, 2003
CHILDREN carrying new-generation mobile phones would be open to the advances of pedophiles, a broadcast expert said today.
Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) chairman David Flint told a parliamentary hearing in Sydney on cybercrime that the latest mobiles, known as 3G (third generation), were essentially small computers.
Asked by the committee if there was a need to quickly develop codes of practice for mobile service providers because of anecdotal evidence about the new phones being used by pedophiles, Professor Flint said: "I think you're right."
The 3G mobiles were not yet widely used in Australia because of their cost, but he predicted they would soon become popular.
"You'll soon have children wandering around with their (new) mobiles," Prof Flint told the federal inquiry.
"And to the extent that they're not being supervised ... 100 per cent of the time, they will escape from our suggested rule, which is put the computer where the parents can supervise."
Prof Flint called for the creation of a dedicated squad of police to deal with new technical issues.
"The point is, once you detect something like this is going on, the police should be sent in immediately."
Prof Flint said filters were useful to restrict access to pornographic sites on home computers, but were not totally effective.
He said children should never give personal details to anyone on line, or agree via computer to meet someone they did not know.
The Australian Crime Commission (ACC), also giving evidence to the inquiry, said it did not advocate greater online regulation to deal with child sex offenders.
But ACC national cybercrime unit co-ordinator Scott McLeod said one of the problems with law enforcement of the internet was its anonymity.
"You can get on a chat line and you can be whoever you want to be," Mr McLeod told the hearing.
"Our holistic approach to solve a crime, I believe, is an approach that's being taken more and more now - everyone has to take responsibility for policing themselves and not putting their children in a position where they may be open to child sex offenders on line."
Original article: http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,6772334%255E421,00.html
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