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Irish internet child pornography alerts led to arrests in Bulgaria and US

Minister Alan Shatter warns against complacency as report shows lower level of illegal child abuse content.

File photo of Filipino children show slogans during a rally as part of Universal Children's Day in Manila in 2008.
File photo of Filipino children show slogans during a rally as part of Universal Children's Day in Manila in 2008.
Image: AP Photo/Aaron Favila

SUSPICIOUS WEB content reported in Ireland last year led to arrests in Bulgaria and the US, according to a new report by a group which combats child pornography online.
Hotline.ie’s annual report also shows a drop of 28.2 per cent in the level of content considered illegal under Irish law.

Although the number of complaints reported anonymously to the organisation rose last year in comparison with 2009, less of the reported content was considered illegal.

Last year there were 204 reports of such content, while in 2009 there were 284 reports. Of those 204 reports in 2010, 183 were assessed as being sexually abusive of children and were sent forward to the gardaí for investigation as they appeared to be hosted in Ireland.

Hotline.ie’s annual report for 2010 says that the results could show that average internet users are not coming across material they suspect is illegal as frequently as before, but that this does not necessarily indicate that the level of child pornography on the internet has fallen. The report notes that criminals are using more sophisticated measures to avoid detection and exchange images.

The majority of the content considered “probably illegal” by Hotline.ie after receiving complaints from the public was traced to the US, while the Netherlands came second and Russia a close third. The organisation says that content reported by users in Ireland led to separate investigations being launched in Bulgaria and the US, which resulted in arrests.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter warned that there is “absolutely no room for complacency” and that people using the web must “be ever-vigilant and ready to take necessary action” in order to protect society, particularly young people and children.

Shatter also called for the continued support of internet service providers in “an essential part of the concept of an effective Hotline”.

For more information on Hotline.ie or to anonymously report any suspicious internet content, visit the organisation’s website.

Read Hotline.ie’s annual report for 2010 in full >

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