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Friday, 12 December 2008 09:28

Minchin also praises AFP on pwning child porn purveyors

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Australian Shadow Communications Minister, Senator Nick Minchin, has also taken the time to congratulate the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on their stellar efforts in tackling the scourge of “peer-to-peer” child pornographers.

The AFP are receiving hearty congratulations from both sides of Australian Federal politics today after catching at least 22 child pornographers in Australia, with more arrests expected.

Just as the Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy has praised the Police, so has his opposition counterpart, Senator Nick Minchin, with both saying “how effective law enforcement is the most powerful way of tackling” illegal online child pornography.

However questions have been raised over “the [Federal Government’s] removal of $2.8 million of Australian Federal Police funding to combat online child sex exploitation and to promote international cooperation” as noted in iTWire colleague Stuart Corner’s recent article, called “Substance and spin over AFP's child porn sting.”

Senator Minchin has also asked whether the money to be spent on a mandatory filter would be better spent on funding the AFP instead.

Senator Minchin said: “The AFP is to be congratulated for its year-long operation which has resulted in the arrests of 22 with more expected.

“Of great significance was the way the AFP was able to crack this network, which operated via peer-to-peer file sharing, through cooperation and support from Brazilian authorities and also Internet Service Providers.

“According to police, these ‘peer-to-peer’ networks enable paedophiles, anywhere in the world, to share files online, including horrendous images and videos, without having to access a central network server and bypassing content filters.

Senator Minchin’s comments and his questions over where the money to be spent on filtering should be spent instead continue on page 2, please read on!


“These sophisticated and insidious underground networks, operating both here and abroad, highlight how Labor’s proposed mandatory filtering at ISP-level would be ineffective against ‘peer-to-peer’ activity.

“ISP-level filtering will do nothing to tackle those areas of the online world where the most predatory and illegal behaviour takes place.

“Mandatory filtering is no silver bullet and when it comes to tackling this behaviour head-on there is simply no substitute for effective and well-resourced law enforcement.

“The Rudd Labor Government is proposing to spend some $75 million on a mandatory filter at ISP-level, but in light of this successful operation, you would have to ask if this money wouldn’t be better spent on increasing AFP resources for tackling unlawful, online behaviour.

“The Coalition is prepared to consider any measures to increase online safety, as long as it can be demonstrated that they are sensible, workable and effective.

“In terms of computer use, adult supervision should be front and centre of any efforts to keep children safe, supported by optional pc-level filters, which are installed in the home and can be tailored to the needs of individual user settings,” Senator Minchin said.

15,000 videos and 500,000 images of child pornography were seized as a result of police efforts, in one of the largest operations in recent years.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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