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Two European porn operators have been thumped with fines totaling £125,000 for running ads featuring child pornography.

Spanish-based Greenock and German-based Premium Call GmbH were also slapped for using dialer software that automatically downloaded itself onto PCs without users' knowledge before charging them £1.50 a minute.

ICSTIS - the UK's premium rate services regulator - said this software appeared to be deliberately designed to mislead users into running up huge phone bills.

Taking action under recently implemented European ecommerce regulations, ICSTIS fined Greenock £75,000 and dished out a £50,000 slap to Premium Call GmbH.

It has also barred access to both services for two years and both operators have also been reported to the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit.

In a statement ICSTIS Chairman Sir Peter North said: "The sanctions imposed on Greenock and Premium Call GmbH reflect the serious consumer harm caused by their services and serve as a warning to others that we will not hesitate to take decisive action to protect UK consumers from such abuse."

Tough-acting ICSTIS recently fined a text messaging company £50,000 for sending misleading SMS spam. ®

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