New approaches are needed to improve online protection for children

Published on January 19, 2011 at 2:12 AM · No Comments

Present-day technical and legal methods of preventing child pornography offences and online grooming are not sufficiently effective and do not meet their purpose. A thesis from the University of othenburg, Sweden, shows that new approaches are needed to improve online protection for our children.

Marie Eneman of the Department of Applied Information Technology has studied in her thesis how information technology is used for child pornography and grooming, that is to say adults making contact with minors for sexual purposes, and the technical and legal controls that exist to protect children. She has studied all Swedish judgments on child pornography offences over the period 1993-2008 and has interviewed a number of people convicted of child pornography offences.

"Information technology has made it easier to produce, distribute and access child pornography, and has also increased the risk of grooming. As well as availability, technology brings a certain degree of anonymity, a global market and the possibility of making contact with like-minded people," says Eneman.

In her thesis, she identifies hortcomings in present-day legal and technical regulation models.

"The picture of the role of information technology in these offences is more complex than the legislators, police and prosecution authorities could have envisaged, and technology poses a great challenge," she says.

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