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Child Pornography on the Internet

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James Noble

ISC 300

Child Pornography on the Internet

In this new age of Information, the Internet has made all types of

information readily available. Some of this information can be very useful,

some can be malicious. Child pornography, also known as Paedophilia is

one of these problems. Any one person can find child pornography on the

internet with just a few clicks of the mouse using any search engine.

Despite webmaster's and law enforcement officials' efforts to control child

pornography and shut down illegal sites, new sites are posted using

several ways to mask their identity.

The Internet provides a new world for curious children. It offers

entertainment, opportunities for education, information and communication.

The Internet is a tool that opens a window of opportunities. As Internet

use grows, so do the risks of children being exposed to inappropriate

material, in particular, criminal activity by paedophiles and child


Many children first come in contact with the Internet at a very young

age. Some children become victims of child pornography through close

relatives who may have abused them. Some children become involved

with chat services or newsgroup threads. It is usually through these sites

that they meet child pornographers. Children may be asked to send

explicit pictures of themselves taken either by a digital camera or scanned

from a polaroid. The pornographer will then post the pictures on their web

site, sometimes hiding them through encryption, steganography or

password protecting them using a javascript or applet.

Certain efforts have been made to control child pornography

through legislation. In 1977 the Sexual Exploitation of Children Act was

put into Legislation. (U.S. Code : Title 18, Section 2251-2253) The law

prohibits the use of a minor in the making of pornography, the transport of

a child across state lines, the taking of a pornographic picture of a minor,

and the production and circulation of materials advertising child

pornography. It also prohibits the transfer, sale, purchase, and receipt of

minors when the purpose of such transfer, sale, purchase, or receipt is to

use the child or youth in the production of child pornography. The

transportation, importation, shipment, and receipt of child pornography by

any interstate means, including by mail or computer, is also prohibited.

The Child Protection Act of 1984 (U.S. Code : Title 18, Section 2251-2255)

defines anyone younger than the age of 18 as a child. Therefore, a

sexually explicit photograph of anyone 17 years of age or younger is child

pornography. On November 7, 1986, the U.S. Congress enacted the Child

Sexual Abuse and Pornography Act (U.S. Code : Title 18, Section

2251-2256) that banned the production and use of advertisements for child

pornography and included a provision for civil remedies of personal injuries

suffered by a minor who is a victim. It also raised the minimum sentences

for repeat offenders from imprisonment of not less than two years to

imprisonment of not less than five years. On November 18, 1988, the U.S.

Congress enacted the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act

(U.S. Code : Title 18, Section 2251-2256) that made it unlawful to use a

computer to transmit advertisements or visual depictions of child

pornography and it prohibited the buying, selling, or otherwise obtaining

temporary custody or control of children for the purpose of producing child

pornography. On November 29, 1990, the U.S. Congress enacted US

Code : Title 18, Section 2252 making it a federal crime to possess three or

more depictions of child pornography that were mailed or shipped in

interstate or foreign commerce or that were produced using materials that

were mailed or shipped by any means, including by computer. With the

passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it is a federal crime for

anyone using the mail, interstate or foreign commerce, to persuade,

induce, or entice any individual younger than the age of 18 to engage in

any sexual act for which the person may be criminally prosecuted. The

Child Pornography



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