Feeds

Where The Law stands on Net porn

Or "making indecent photographs", in legalese

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Many remain confused on the point of law which has recently seen two men sent to prison in high-profile cases for "making" indecent photographs and therefore breaking the Protection of Children Act 1978 - the most famous of which was of course former pop star Gary Glitter. Well, The Register can now give the full legal rundown following publication of the Court of Appeal's reasoning for the case of teacher Jonathan Bowden, a week ago today. Bowden had downloaded and printed out indecent photographs of underage children from the Internet. He was charged with "making" the photos but appealed against the charge, saying that he was only in possession of them and nothing more. The judge rejected his submission and Bowden pleaded guilty, receiving a four-month jail sentence. Lord Justice Otton said that section 1 of the 1978 Act was designed to deal with child pornography above and beyond simple possession. The original wording of the Act uses the verb "take" in reference to the photos. However, following advances in technology, and a series of amendments made to the Criminal Justice Act (which deals with possession of indecent photos), Lord Otton decided that the wording of the 1978 Act referred unambiguously to the "making" of a photograph. The definition of the verb "make" was read from the Oxford English Dictionary and taken to be "to cause to exist; to produce by action, to bring about". Using this definition, the law thus referred to not only original photographs but also negatives, copies and - significantly - data stored on a hard disc. Lord Otton therefore judged that who ever downloaded such images to a disc or printed them out was making them. The 1978 Act was also concerned with halting the proliferation of such images. By downloading or printing images which may well have come from outside the UK was therefore judged to be creating new material since it may not have existed in the UK before. The defendant was therefore found guilty under the Act of making indecent photographs. However, the law does not cover all aspects. Where does it stand, for example, on cached photographs? If you visit a Web site, that site will download pictures etc. onto your hard disk to speed up navigation. As it's on your hard disc, are you guilty of making the photo? This point has yet to be thrash out. However, it seems likely that a person can only be held responsible for "making" photos if he or she has some form of direct action on events - for example, clicking "Save". Since cache is automatically saved to your hard disk and requires no interaction from yourself, it is difficult to see how you could be held responsible for the photo. But if someone then actively takes the photo out of cache to put somewhere else, they will have caused the production of the photo, and may therefore be guilty of making it. ® Full coverage/child pornography

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity
What really shortens lives? Reading this sort of crap in the papers
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.