Warning system eyed to prevent child porn
July 29, 2013
The Yomiuri Shimbun
An Internet watchdog group is considering introducing a system under which anyone sharing child pornography-related material from their personal computers or other devices would be urged to delete the content, according to sources.
The system is being studied by the Internet Content Safety Association (ICSA), an organization comprised of mainly private-sector Internet service providers, to keep such material from being spread online via file-sharing software.
The system, which the sources said the ICSA hopes to put in place next spring, will require the collaboration of the National Police Agency.
Under the system, prefectural police authorities nationwide will use their cyberpatrol systems to identify Internet protocol addresses of users sharing child pornography using file-sharing software.
This information will be passed on through the NPA and ICSA to Internet service providers, who will then send e-mail messages to the users in question, urging them to delete the content.
Although it is not illegal to download such data, some file-sharing software users may be unaware that they are sharing child pornography through such applications.
If the users do not delete the questionable data and leave them available to be uploaded, they could be charged with public display of child pornography or other acts in violation of the law banning child prostitution and child pornography.
The ICSA, the NPA and the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry plan to hold discussions on the sharing of information on potential violators, as well as sending warning e-mails.
The Shiga prefectural police and service providers have conducted a similar countermeasure against the spread of child pornography since September, targeting users of the file-sharing software Share.
As of May, they sent warning e-mails in a total of 90 cases, with all of the users deleting the questionable content, according to the police and companies concerned.
The ICSA comprises major Internet service providers and other Internet firms. The association has mainly relied on a measure called “blocking” to forcibly terminate access to websites containing child pornography-related material. However, the measure cannot be used to block access to such content through file-sharing software.
The NPA said it investigated a record-high 1,596 cases of child porn last year. Of them, 519 cases involved the use of file-sharing software, up 40 percent from the previous year.
In May this year, the government compiled a second round of comprehensive measures against the spread of child porn. It also outlined tasks that required special consideration over the next three years, saying, “Measures to prevent the distribution and browsing [of child pornography], including through file-sharing software, should be strengthened.”
File-sharing software is used to exchange data files, such as images and videos, directly among an unspecified number of personal computers, without going through servers.
Some types of software automatically allow downloaded files to be accessed and uploaded by other PC users. There are thus cases in which users are unaware of data being publicly displayed, a major factor in the online proliferation of child porn.