Computer Crime Research Center


Plan to stop access to child porn sites

Date: October 04, 2004
Source: The Sunday Mail
By: David Murray and Darrell Giles

THE Queensland State Government will consider a plan to block pedophiles accessing child pornography on their home computers.

A Queensland academic says the technology already exists to put the "brakes" on people trading horrific child sex images over the Internet – it was just a matter of political and society will.

The proposal has received the backing of the Abused Child Trust and child-protection campaigners.

Protect your children online now!

Premier Peter Beattie said the Government was prepared to investigate the technology in the wake of Australia-wide police raids this week that netted more than 200 people for dealing in Internet porn involving children as young as two.

Queensland police have charged 58 people with 1904 offences in the state's southeast.

Mr Beattie told The Sunday Mail the Government would "seriously consider" any technology that would stop pedophiles using their computers to trade in child pornography.

"We have already given the Crime and Misconduct Commission extra bugging powers for computers . . . that is why more people were caught in Queensland during the raids this week," he said.

"We will be extremely tough on Internet predators."

Queensland University of Technology lecturer Bill Caelli said governments could make it mandatory for filtering systems to be attached to home computers.

The tamper-resistant systems would have a constantly updated list of "banned" websites that could not be accessed.

Internet service providers (companies such as Optus and Telstra which connect people to the Net) would be responsible for updating the list, using information provided by authorities.

"What I'm proposing is brakes for the Internet," said Professor Caelli, head of QUT's Information Security Research Centre.

Abused Child Trust chairman David Wood said he would be "highly supportive" of the proposal.

"If the technology is available to block it, it should certainly be looked at," Dr Wood said.

Child-protection campaigner Hetty Johnston, also an Independent candidate for the Senate, said the technology should be investigated, and called for a national forum for ideas on how to combat child pornography on the Internet.

There was now a desperate need for action, she said.

"We need politicians to have the guts and courage to stand up and defend our kids. If we are going to upset the civil libertarians, tough luck.

"This is two million images of children being sexually assaulted," she said.

Professor Caelli said there would be strong concerns about "big brother" regulation of the Internet.

There would be concerns that legal, but controversial, sites could also end up being blocked.

Problems would also arise in defining exactly what was acceptable use of the Internet, as standards differed even at state level.

"The problem is not technical, it is legal, social and political," he said.

"Political parties and governments have been reluctant to regulate the Internet. The question is, can we continue to stay that way?"

Australian Computer Emergency Response Team senior security analyst Jamie Gillespie said the solution was theoretically possible, but impractical.

"The research and development should continue, but implementation is where most solutions will have a problem on a large scale," he said.

Filtering systems would likely be too costly to introduce and hard to police, he said, and questioned how authorities would ensure everyone was using the proper equipment.

"The Internet is only a medium for transport. If significant blocking takes place, they will revert to methods used prior to the Internet," he said.

But Professor Caelli maintained filtering systems could be phased in over several years to reduce the cost and that it was possible to ensure only people using the systems could connect to the Internet.

"I think there would be the political will there if we admit the Internet is the equivalent of the global highway of the 21st century. Let's admit we need some road rules."

Also yesterday, the Australian Federal Police revealed it would release a pedophile personality profile to help the public identify predators.

The Australian High Tech Crime Centre chief, federal agent Mike Phelan, said child predators crossed "a wide spectrum of employment".

"On the surface, they appear to be normal, run-of-the-mill people and many of them don't have contact with children in their jobs," he said.
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Discussion is closed - view comments archieve
2009-09-27 23:42:43 - how to step or stop a making and digitally... edgardo
2005-11-09 08:46:51 - I would like to get some sort of password... Colin D Rothwell
2005-09-02 08:51:11 - Your blog is very interesint Milen
2005-06-09 02:24:08 - Great Idea if it would work. However, i... anony
2005-02-04 21:25:55 - I feel very sorry for you, Mikaela. You... anti-iconomach
2004-10-07 07:57:38 - Child pornography would not exist if there... Sue
2004-10-06 07:04:31 - my personal opinion on this topic of child... Mikaela
Total 7 comments
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