Net paedophilia investigation stirs emotions

Reg readers have their say

Interview with a Net pedophile
Carnivore and Net censorship will save the children

It was to be expected that our recent investigation into paedophiles on the Web would provoke a large response. So it was, with Andrew Torrance left unimpressed:

You just do not get it do you? You gloss over the 38% of girls being abused, just so as to be able to self justify a quick left-handed mouse session. Ok I'll agree 38% is high, lets assume it is 4 times too high, seem more reasonable ? Ok, So 10% of girls under 18 get abused, by my sums that's about 12 million girls in America. Ok, let's say 10% is high, call it 1%. Why that's only around a million girls in the US. Have you ever seen the long-term effect this can have? I know of cases where 50 years on the victim is still in torment.

OK, I'll agree the net does not create paedophiles directly, but it is one of several avenues through which these sub-humans operate. And whilst I agree that some politicians do not know their arse from their elbow in the area of technology, that is no reason to accept paedophilia.

You may want to keep the right to watch what you like and say what you like. I want the right to control the subject matter to which my children have access until such a time that they are ready and able to make such choices for themselves. That goes for all media including the internet. That is one of the responsibilities of parenthood. Even you would not suggest I let my 5-year-old watch bambi one day and porn the next?

Your entire article seems to be summed up as: peadophilia doesn't happen that much, and I think we should put up with on the net, since if we stop it then I may not be able to do what I want on the net. Ok, I draw the line at peadophilia, where do you draw the line? I would suggest that there is no statistical evidence that the net influences people to rape and murder your close relatives. If I was to set up a site giving out all their names and addresses and inviting people to go there for rape and murder, would that be acceptable? Statistically I am correct. Morality cannot be judged by statistics. Some things are acceptable in a free society, some things are not.

This talk of freedom of speech is something the ignorant and stupid hide behind when they cannot think of any other cohesive arguments.

Simon Chriscoli takes another slant on the issue, believing that education holds they key to the problem:

I've used IRC before, and obviously chat channels are host to a lot of people. Most are regulated by IRCops and Chan-ops. How come channels such as #dad&daughtersex are allowed to be hosted on irc servers, or would it be a case of these paedo's are hosting their own servers and channels.?

Common sense gets the better of me when I think of entering channels labelled Dad&daughter sex, but Im at an age where I know much better and like many people would'nt dream of entering such a sick channel. I'm more curious than interested to wonder a)society detests paedophiles (and why not?), as a result theres continued effort in bringing these sicko's to justice. So why would paedo's hang out in places like dad&daughtersex, especially if it's common knowledge that these are swarming with feds.

I have a younger 12-yr-old sister, thankfully she's not into the internet or such media, but I'm pretty certain she wouldn't dare stray into channels such as dad&daughtersex, purely the title is alarming enough, Im curious as to how children these days can be so careless as to wander into places such as that. Is it lack of education, lack of parental control or curiousity?.

It's also v.disturbing to see how direct these people can be, they have no sense of protection for the innocent (they wouldnt be pouncing on young people if they had!).

Unfortunately, its part of our current day society, and as long as there is "anonymous" access to children these twisted individuals will continue to make lives hell.

Maybe its time to put aside the concentration of catching these people, but put more emphasis on educating children, and also educating parents - some who are technophobes. Maybe if society reduces the access these paedophiles have, we can reduce the crimes committed.

Mike Smith, alternatively, reckons that there's an element of scaremongering in the whole issue:

The current hysteria over paedophiles on the Internet is only the latest scare story perpetrated by ignorant technophobic reactionaries. They're the same sort of people who enacted the Red Flag Act and condemned the coming of the railways. Think back over the last 20 years of knee-jerk UK legislation - we've had two amendments to the Firearms Act, after Hungerford and Dunblane respectively, the Video Recordings Bill and the Dangerous Dogs Act. These were all enacted hastily in response to a hysterical and over-emotional campaign by the tabloid press.

At the start of the 90s, as bulletin boards began to increase as the cost of modems fell, there were similar outpourings about the availability of Nazi propaganda and bomb-making instructions. You had to stop for a moment to realise that most public libraries in the UK had a copy of Mein Kampf freely available, and most secondary schools could reasonably be expected to have chemistry text books lying around somewhere. Same pattern every time - lurid stories in the gutter press, knee-jerk legislation either proposed or enacted (remember the BBS licensing scheme?) and a few years later, common sense returning. Look at the Video Recordings Bill - most of the proscribed videos are available again, and you can even buy hardcore porn in licensed sex shops now. Please join me in welcoming the UK to the 20th century...

So currently it's paedophiles that the Luddite technophobic control freaks are using as a smokescreen to hide their fear of technology. Certainly, we'll see some Orwellian legislation enacted, but once sanity returns, it'll be something else. I'll bet on either cannibalism or contract killings for organ transplants.

Thanks to all those readers who contributed to the debate. No thanks at all, however, to Colin Percival. You always get one, don't you?

I take offense at the statement that "There is perhaps no group more universally despised than pedophiles, and with good reason...".

Whatever the misguided of the world may say, there is no reason whatsoever for pedophiles to be despised - or for pedophilia to be frowned upon at all. Indeed, it can be argued that without a certain degree of pedophilia, modern civilization, with its highly developed and efficient agricultural system, would be largely impossible.

After all, as any good dictionary will tell you, pedophilia is nothing more that "an unusual fondness for dirt", coming from the Greek "pedon" (ground) and "philia" (fondness). If The Register were an American publication I might believe that you wrote "pedophilia" while meaning "paedophilia", but surely a British publication would know the difference.

Perhaps an apology to gardeners and other pedophiles around the world is in order for having so slandered them?


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