QuickLinks - Grooming
QuickLinks - Grooming
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Issue no. 412 - 28 November 2010
Row over Amazon sales of paedophile advice guide
A self-published guide giving advice to paedophiles that was on sale through online retailer Amazon is stirring up controversy, with some threatening to boycott the website. The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct has now been removed from sale. But Amazon had defended the listing, saying it did not promote criminal acts but also avoided censorship. Amazon allows authors to submit their own books and shares revenue with them. Before authors are able to sell a work on the site, they are asked to read a set of guidelines, which bans offensive materials. But Amazon does not specifically state on its website what material it deems offensive, instead saying "probably what you would expect".
Issue no. 408 - 25 April 2010
Facebook puts faith in its software smarts to see off sexual predators
Facebook has developed sophisticated algorithms to monitor its users and detect inappropriate and predatory behaviour, bolstering its latest raft of initiatives to improve the safety of its users. Having launched an education campaign, an improved reporting procedure and a 24/7 police hotline, Facebook told the Guardian that it has introduced a number of algorithms that track the behaviour of its users and flag up suspicious activity, including members with a significant number of declined friend requests and those with a high proportion of contacts of one gender.
UK - Facebook accused of failing to report suspected paedophiles
Facebook has not passed a single complaint about suspected paedophiles grooming vulnerable child users to police in Britain, according to Jim Gamble, who heads the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) Britain's response to safeguarding youngsters online. He challenged the company to reveal the evidence that its staff are working to disrupt devious criminals and bullies who lurk online. Mr Gamble said investigators received 252 complaints about sexual grooming, bullying and hacking from Facebook users in the first three months of this year. But the former National Crime Squad deputy director said none of these were provided by the company itself and some were passed through rival services. His comments were the latest salvo in an increasingly bitter feud over Facebook's refusal to add a "panic" button to its site's most popular pages. CEOP wants the button, which enables users to report abuse, to be given prominent use. Mr Gamble, is heading to a crunch meeting with Facebook bosses in Washington DC on Monday where he will call for them to break the deadlock.
UK - Facebook announces new safety measures, but resists CEOP on safety button
Facebook has opted against adding a safety button on each user's profile page, despite calls from a leading UK child protection agency, as it doesn't believe it is an effective way to encourage children to report abuse. It did announce a raft of new safety measures which it believes will be more effective in protecting children's safety online. Instead of the button, UK users under the age of 19 will now be able to click on the "Report abuse" link on each page and have the option to report the abuse directly to CEOP as well as to Facebook employees. The reason Facebook had not reported any abuse to CEOP direct was because it is a US based business and all UK abuse reports go straight to CEOP's US counterpart, the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Facebook also announced the creation of a new global 24-hour police hotline – which will be manned by Facebook and agency staff. Facebook also announced a five million pound investment in education and awareness relating to child safety online. It has also
adding additional resources for parents, teachers, teens and police to explain Facebook's tools for using the service safely. See also
Facebook has launched a new £5m online campaign
Issue no. 404 - 21 December 2009
Sexual offenders are using the internet to fast-track abuse
Sexual offenders are using the internet to fast-track abuse, according to new research. Previous studies into child sexual abuse had shown that offenders spent months befriending a young person, and in some cases their family, to prepare for the abuse. But latest research, from the European Online Grooming Project, shows that the grooming process by offenders using the internet is much faster. Rather than selecting one vulnerable child to abuse, some offenders also appear to target numerous young people until they find someone willing to meet them. They are increasingly using social networking sites such as MSN and Facebook and are becoming technologically-advanced, often operating in communities sharing indecent images between countries, according to the research conducted by NatCen (National Centre for Social Research), Kingston University and Royal Holloway, University of London - which was presented at the UK Council for Child Internet Safety's (UKCCIS) first annual summit. Prof Julia Davidson, from Kingston University, said. "The research shows that the grooming period has been speeded up with chat room communication becoming almost immediately sexualised".
US - Facebook and MySpace delete NY sex offenders
by Larry Magid. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that more than 3,500 sex offenders from his state have been purged from Facebook and MySpace. Both companies have long had policies against registered sex offenders using their services, but the implementation of New York's new Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act ("E-Stop") has made it easier for the sites to identify perpetrators from the Empire State. Facebook, according to Cuomo, was able to identify and disable the accounts of 2,782 registered sex offenders. MySpace deleted 1,796 accounts.
Issue no. 397 - 8 March 2009
UK - 100 children a month alert police to internet predators
UK Police are responding to more than 100 alerts every month from child internet users who are in immediate danger of sexual abuse or violence at the hands of online predators. Specialist officers from Ceop, the Home Office-funded Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre, are receiving on average four alerts every day from children who are about to meet in the real world a suspicious character they have met online or are suicidal because they have been so comprehensively groomed. The alerts are made through a "report abuse" button, which links directly to a team of specialist police officers trained in handling online child abuse. But the amount of suspicious activity online is likely to be far greater than the volume of complaints suggests because many popular social networking sites, including Facebook, have so far declined to feature the link.
Issue no. 393 - 9 November 2008
US - New laws track child predators online
Child predators will be easier to track online because of two new laws President Bush signed. The Protect Our Children Act sets requirements for Internet companies to report incidences of child pornography. It also authorizes more than $320 million for the Justice Department over the next five years for, among other things, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The president also signed the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act, which requires a sex offender to provide the National Sex Offender Registry with all of his Internet identifiers, such as e-mail addresses. While the KIDS Act does not permit sex offenders' Internet identifiers to be made public, it does require the attorney general to share the information with social-networking Web sites, so the sites can compare the identifying information with that of their respective users.
Issue no. 392 - 5 October 2008
UK - Paedophiles use internet blackmail to claim victims, says CEOP
Paedophiles are publishing an increasing number of sadistic and violent images of younger children on the internet and are abandoning the slow grooming of victims, instead using threats to force them into commiting indecent acts, an intelligence review has found. The review, published by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), also found evidence that individual paedophiles are running multiple e-mail accounts, sending out hundreds of messages a day to children. See
Strategic Overview 2007-2008
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
a free newsletter appearing approximately every two to three weeks. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list.
a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence