Microsoft, Visa and EU team up to fight Internet child porn

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Chicago (IL) – A new type of police coalition is being created which extends out to Internet providers, financial groups and NGOs. Launched today, the group’s intent is to tackle online child pornography, according to the EU commission’s announcement. The group includes the European Financial Coalition (EFC), with such entities as MasterCard, Microsoft, PayPal, Visa Europe and the NGO Missing Children Europe.

Europol (European Union police) and Italy’s National Postal and Communications Police will be handling the law-enforcement side, while the EFC will help cut off organizations financially.

Said EU Justice Commissioner, Jacques Barrot, “It is a reality that the rapid growth of the Internet has opened up a serious criminal market for images of child sex abuse. The European Financial Coalition will help identify and protect victims, and, above all, confiscate the profits from these criminal activities.” [Sad to see that their goals are first and foremost to confiscate profits, rather than helping identify and protect victims. -Editor]

The new commission is being funded by 427,000 Euros (about US$537,000), with headquarters in London alongside the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

CEOP chief executive Jim Gamble said, “By applying the individual lessons learnt and by coming together with our combined skills, focusing on collective objectives, we plan to eradicate the remnants of that industry once and for all.”

See the original AFP article republished on EU Business.

Opinion

I have seen the scourge of Internet child pornography used to sell a great many things in the United States over the years. Most recently it was a new bill requiring regular home users to record and log all access to every Wi-Fi-enabled device, by IP address and URL, and keep that data for two years. TG Daily’s Carmi Levy wrote an article about it entitled Internet Safety Act: Welcome, Big Brother.

This, however, has a different ring to it. There is funding provided for police and financial agencies, those direct powers and authorities who, when operating under the law, are able to cut-off finances and make arrests of perpetrators. The money is going exactly where the crime is.

This seems to run in contrast to the use of the fear of Internet Child Pornography by the Internet Safety Act, which is using the possibility of possible future acts which occur someplace, at some time, to then maybe be used to actually track someone down or convict them.

I don’t know, am I off-base here? Or does there really seem to be a huge contrast between what the EU is doing versus what is being attempted here in the United States — such as really fighting online child pornography in the EU versus pretend-fighting here in the States?

I’m curious to know what you think. Please post comments below.

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