An unsatisfactory state of affairs

Thanks to Baroness Jones of Whitchurch for tabling a Parliamentary Question about what happens to non-photographic child sexual abuse images, in particular, Manga and CGI-based material (computer generated imagery).  Lady Jones asked about such materials hosted on machines physically located in the UK and machines not physically located within the UK.

Here are the relevant parts of the answer, which became available today.

The IWF addresses reports concerning non-photographic images when they are hosted on UK websites. Where such images are believed to be criminal and are depicted on a website hosted in the UK, (the IWF) will work in partnership with the hosting provider and NCA-CEOP to remove the content and provide information to assist investigations into its distribution.

The limitation to websites hosted in the UK makes no sense at all from a child protection point of view. So why does that limitation exist?  I have asked but so far have received no answer. I appreciate the volumes may not yet be large but having recently seen an online game that used a lot of CGI material there can be no doubt it will become more common within the grimy world of csam.  I thought the characters in the game I saw were actors. They were that lifelike.

So what happens to identical material that is published on sites hosted on machines that are physically based outside of the UK? Here is the reply

If the site is outside the UK, it is reported by the NCA to the host country via Interpol channels to take appropriate action.

I would wager that is another way of saying nothing happens.  The stuff remains completely accessible to everyone in the UK without limitation unless it happens to be caught by some other defensive measure.

That is not good enough. I doubt this will loom large in the forthcoming General Election in the UK but it might register somewhere.

About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International, Technical Adviser to the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online, which is administered by Save the Children Italy and an Advisory Council Member of Beyond Borders (Canada). Amongst other things John is or has been an Adviser to the United Nations, ITU, the European Union, the Council of Europe and European Union Agency for Network and Information Security and is a former Board Member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. He is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John has advised many of the world's largest internet companies on online child safety. In June, 2012, John was appointed a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. More: http://johncarrcv.blogspot.com
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