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Police around the world are to join forces to monitor Internet chat rooms in a bid to deter paedophiles from "grooming" young victims online.

The National Crime Squad (NCS) in the UK will work with the FBI in the US and officers in Australia to keep tabs 24 hours a day on chat room conversations and intervene if necessary, according to a report by the BBC.

One idea is that officers would display a symbol in those chat rooms it was monitoring.

Monitoring chat rooms is understood to have been discussed at a meeting six months ago of international police chiefs that make up the Virtual Global Task Force.

A spokesman for the UK's NCS confirmed that the monitoring would take place but was unable to outline specific details about how law enforcers would tackle the scale and scope of eavesdropping on so many different chat rooms. NCS is due to issue a formal statement later today.

In December, the Virtual Global Task Force set up a fake child porn Web site in a bid to identify and catch paedophiles scouring the Net for illegal images.

At the heart of sting - codenamed Operation Pin - was a website which purported to contain images of child abuse. Anyone who continued to use the site in search of illegal images, despite repeated warnings, was nicked.

Earlier this week BT confirmed that it is to begin technology trials within the next couple of weeks to block its Internet users from accessing illegal images of child abuse.

The system, called Cleanfeed, will censor access to several thousand websites on a blacklist compiled by UK Internet trade body, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

The blacklist features sites contain images of child sexual abuse that are "illegal to view" in the UK, under the 1978 Child Protection Act. ®

Related stories

Police in paedo porn sting
BT to block child pornography
BT's modest plan to clean up the Net
Parental Internet fears put kids at risk

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