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G8 ministers call for IT biz help against child porn

Interpol reveals enormous database of illegal images

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G8 justice and interior ministers meeting in Munich have called for private sector assistance in battling online child porn.

UK, US, French, German, Canadian, Italian, Japanese, and Russian delegations issued a joint statement yesterday in which they said that "ISPs, IT professionals and financial institutions...should be encouraged to consider what role they could play in the fight".

Brigitte Zypries, the German Justice Minister, said the Madeleine McCann case in Portugal illustrated the need for international cooperation against child abusers.

"We simply have to assume that this was done by a gang that passes on these children to be exploited," she told reporters, suggesting that she believes the child may have been taken out of Portugal. Zypries also raised the spectre of children being abducted for adoption rather than sexual abuse.

According to a Reuters report, international enforcers are already mounting a comprehensive push against online perverts. Interpol now reportedly maintains a database of half a million child abuse images, and uses specialist software to analyse them for information on crime scene locations.

Interpol secretary general Ron Noble said his cyber investigators had helped in the rescue of more than 500 children worldwide. He said the mainstream form of child abuse involved Western males travelling to countries such as Thailand or Cambodia where poor children were not well protected.

Some countries, however, have long had a private sector effort against child porn. Sarah Robertson of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) told El Reg that the UK cyber biz had been running an effective anti-child porn campaign for more than 10 years. The IWF is funded by the UK online industry, and considers itself "very much the best-practice model", according to Robertson. ®

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