Edge of Darkness

In the same week that saw ageing pop idol Gary Glitter deported from Cambodia on charges relating to the sexual exploitation of juveniles, further revelations are appearing in today's newspapers that a second 'Rock Legend' has been interviewed by the Police in connection with Operation Ore.

Simultaneously, musician, Pete Townshend has appeared on television, reportedly denying that he has ever been involved in any paedophile activity.

Since a bogus FBI paedophile Web site successfully 'Stung' several thousand UK citizens (Operation Ore) a couple of months ago, we are starting to see the stomach-churning size of a social problem, which the internet facilitates and which no amount of policing can ever defeat. It appears that thousands upon thousands of our citizens are regularly visiting paedophile websites and a 'hard' percentage, which includes police officers, judges, MPs, teachers and other respectable pillars of society, are happy to use their credit cards to fund further exploitation and abuse of children.

It is important to note that the crime or ecrime being discussed here, involves the possession and/or distribution of indecent material and that 'Research', in other words viewing an image on-line, is not the greater part of the criminal offense. Consequently it becomes hard to accept with any degree of credulity that an individual might pass his or her credit card details to a sex website - quite possibly controlled by the Russian Mafia -, simply to research harder core materials. Simply 'Entering' the site in question involves a crime and simultaneousy combines great personal risk and mind-numbing stupidity.

In fact, what images are viewed will invariably finish up as a temporary file in the the Windows/Temp directory and this important detail generally is unnoticed by the user. However, the physical existence of such temporary files, to my understanding, may still constitute a crime of possession under British law and so going anywhere near a paedophile website, however 'genuine' the research intention, is not worth the risk unless one happens to be sitting inside Scotland Yard surrrounded bya dozen Police officers who can vouch for one's reasons for being there.

As a society, we need to think more clearly about the crime, the level of deterrence offered by the courts and indeed, whether the Internet can continue in its uncensored form without a moral consequence to the liberal and developed societies that now depend on it.

NB: Operation Ore is the UK ring of a huge FBI operation which traced 250,000 paedophiles worldwide last year through credit card details used to pay for downloading child porn.


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