Academic journal article Houston Journal of International Law

Is This the Global Community, We Must Be on the Bad Side of Town: International Policing of Child Pornography on the Internet

Academic journal article Houston Journal of International Law

Is This the Global Community, We Must Be on the Bad Side of Town: International Policing of Child Pornography on the Internet

Article excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

II. BACKGROUND

III. HOW AND WHY CHILD PORNOGRAPHY IS ON THE INTERNET

A. Ease Of Access, Production, and Distribution in a Global Market

1. Access

2. Production

3. Distribution

B. Anonymity

C. Limited Ability of Detection by Authorities Due to Encryption

D. Further Ramifications of the Globalization of Child Pornography via the Internet

1. Creation of New Consumers of Child Pornography

2. Computer-Generated Child Pornography

IV. HOW THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IS RESPONDING TO THE ENFORCEMENT CHALLENGES PRESENTED BY THE INTERNET

A. Legislative Responses of Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Singapore, Germany, the United States, and Australia

1. Canada

2. The United Kingdom

3. Sweden

4. Singapore

5. Germany

6. The United States

7. Australia

B. Other International Cooperative Responses

1. Interpol

2. Self-Censorship by Commercial Providers of the Internet

3. Law Enforcement Operations Against Child Pornography on the Internet 232

4. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

5. World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

C. Other Proposed Solutions

1. Registries

2. Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

3. Draft Optional Protocol

4. Europol

V. CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

This Comment discusses child pornography as it exists on the Internet and the global battle by nations against its proliferation. It addresses the development and mechanics of how child pornography began appearing on the Internet. The remainder of the Comment discusses various nations' and international organizations' attempts to stop or at least control child pornography through legislative and law enforcement policies. Other alternative solutions such as international registries of names are also considered. The theme throughout this Comment is what an incredibly arduous battle that is developing, when one takes into account that curtailing child pornography on the Internet involves the policing of citizens with widely differing domestic laws, cultures, and social mores on a worldwide scale.

In the summer of 1996, a U.S. federal grand jury indicted thirteen individuals from the United States, and three from Australia, Canada, and Finland were charged with orchestrating and participating in an on-line molestation of ten-year-old girls.(1) The defendants took part in real-time photo shoots where they typed messages requesting photos of the girls in certain poses, while one member shot photos with a digital camera and transmitted the photos back to the group.(2) The defendants were members of the "Orchid Club," a private, on-line child pornography group that shared sexually explicit images and videos of girls as young as five.(3) To be a member of the Orchid Club, members had to know the password to access photos and on-line chat sessions.(4) Initiation to the club required a potential member to describe a personal sexual experience with a child.(5)

At any given time, there are, on average, around one million sexually explicit pictures of children on the Internet.(6) In just one week in December of 1995, 5,651 messages about child pornography(7) were posted on just 4 electronic bulletin boards.(8) Included in these messages were over eight hundred graphic pictures of adults or teenagers engaged in sexual activity with children between eight and ten years of age.(9)

These statistics and the perverse meld of crime, technology, and subculture evidenced by the Orchid Club were hardly contemplated by the nations that ratified the United Nations 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). …

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