9,000 people linked to child porn network

GERMAN police yesterday said they had smashed a child pornography network which they suspected involving up to 9,000 people in more than 90 countries around the world.

Investigators said the cracking of the child porn ring was thanks to special software that allowed 24-hour monitoring of computer activity.

The material seized by the officers in the Baden-Wuerttemberg region of Germany contained what was described as “images of the most serious sexual abuse, even of toddlers”.

Pornographic images of children were transmitted from more than 1,000 connections in Germany to 8,000 IP addresses in 90 countries including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Austria and Switzerland.

It was unclear last night as to whether the images were sent to Ireland.

Following the discovery of the porn ring, the police carried out raids across Germany, seizing 500 computers and 43,000 storage devices.

As part of the searches a number of people were arrested.

Subsequently most of the suspects were set free while evidence was being examined. However, one man in his 40s was still under arrest late last night in Lower Saxony on suspicion of sexually abusing two children in his family aged seven and 11, the police said.

“According to information from abroad, the investigation... has already led to further suspects being located and arrested,” a police statement said.

Ironically the German Government is expected to today put in place new measures, agreed last month, to make it harder for paedophiles to access internet child pornography were agreed by the German cabinet.

Under those laws, internet service providers (ISPs) would be required to block access to websites containing pornographic images of children. As a result of the move anyone trying to access specific websites would find an empty screen or be redirected to a Stop sign.

For some time, German regulatory officials have been working with Google and other search engines providing them with a blacklist of sites to block. The European Union, following the German example, wants new international laws that would grant national governments the power to force ISPs to block child pornography.


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