Reports of child porn on the internet from Irish net surfers have more than doubled, a new report has revealed.
The second report from the Irish web watchdog, Hotline, showed none of these sites were hosted from Ireland.
Hotline, which investigated child pornography, reported the huge increase over the two years from July 2001 to June 2003.
Children’s Minister Brian Lenihan welcomed the work of Hotline “as a crucial part of our battle against illegal content on the Internet in general.
“Its hard-hitting awareness campaigns are aimed at parents in particular, to help them to keep their children safe while online, especially in the home.”
Over two years Hotline received 1,792 reports of material which members of the public labelled illegal, a 123% increase on the previous two years.
Around 70% of these were suspected child pornography sites and after investigations, Hotline found 213 of these were probably illegal cases.
Hotline’s general manager, Paul Durrant, said: “There’s a lot of pride here in Ireland that none of it is hosted in this country.”
He added: “That’s due to our code of practice.”
The majority of gangs, particularly paedophile rings distributing illegal matter on the internet, are now using techniques to avoid detection.
Durrant added: “With any criminal endeavour, people keep one step ahead of the law.”
The net regulation service, backed by the Irish internet service providers, is associated with the international internet watchdogs, INHOPE.
Of the 213 cases narrowed down by Hotline as probable illegal material, half of these were investigated in a country where an INHOPE member hotline exists.
The Irish watchdog forwarded tracing details to the international regulating authorities to take legal action against the people hosting the child pornography on the website.