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Monday, February 27, 2017

German Authorities Fighting Against Child Porn

The spread of child pornographic content on the internet has always been a big issue law enforcement authorities in the world had to cope with. Like many countries already, including the United States and Australia, Germany is waging a war against online pedophiles.

After the incident in the Diocese of Limburg, Germany, authorities in the country started to turn more focus on darknet pedophiles. The office manager of the Limburg bishop allegedly stored child porn material on the computer at his workplace. The investigation is still going in the case. However, Limburg has enough scandalous surroundings, including the flagrant dismissal of bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

Georg Ungefuk, Chief Prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt, along with the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime (ZIT), is fighting against child porn rings and individual perpetrators.

“Today there are many ways to exchange and attain child pornography. On the Internet, there are some platforms that can only be reached via initiates and via links,” Ungefuk said in a statement. The chief prosecutor most probably refers to darknet child porn websites, however, relevant picture and video material also circulate on messaging services, such as ICQ or WhatsApp.

According to Ungefuk, pedophiles “do not necessarily have to belong to secret groups on the darknet” to acquire such illicit material. Sometimes, cybercriminals obtain child porn from easily accessible online exchanges.

“The size varies greatly. Child pornographic boards come and go, and investigative authorities also cover them and take them off the web,” the prosecutor explained.

By the German law, the possession or the procurement of child pornographic content could be punished with up to 15 years of imprisonment.

According to law enforcement authorities, since the amount of child porn circulating on the internet is vast, there are well-established internationally oriented networks, which language is English in most cases. During the investigations, police regularly find old material that has been circulating for years. However, investigators always discover new photos and videos.

“Then we try to determine which country and which children are affected,” the chief prosecutor added.

Police regularly ask teachers to assist them with identification. This measure is extremely important since it greatly helps authorities in the prevention of such cases. Because child porn rings are also active across the borders, investigators often ask their colleagues abroad for assistance.

The five prosecutors, who specialize in the persecution of pedophiles in the ZIT, also examine each case individually. However, the police and the customs investigation authorities are the ones who do most of the work. The ZIT often receives critical information on child pornography cases from the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA).

At the moment, online pedophiles are using the anonymity of the dark web to set up child porn forums and websites where they can exchange illicit content. However, law enforcement authorities in most parts of the world are focusing on taking these sites down as fast as possible.
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