U.S. provides German investigators tens of thousands of references to child pornography

Children seen as sexual objects has been a popular notion for centuries, maybe even millenia. With the evolution of erotic writing and illustrations portraying children, kids have been the focal point of many desires. Unlike art, child pornography through the greater part of the 20th century was highly restricted as it was an illegal activity. Nothing has changed as the taboo and illegality of children involved in recorded sexual abuse of child porn is a terrible part of society.

Child pornography on the internet is dissimilar to most crimes handled by local police divisions. To avoid getting arrested, local citizens access child pornographic images that were produced and additionally distributed or traded in another city or even on another continent. Therefore an investigation that starts in a single police area can probably cross jurisdictional boundaries or even federal and government boundaries. In this way, the vast majority of key investigations of child pornography on the internet have involved cooperation among jurisdictions, often at an international level.

According to information from a German local news source, authorities in 2017 received more data and evidence than in previous years. This, however, eases the fight against the distributors of child pornography on the internet as German investigators benefit from assistance from the United States in the fight against sexual abuse of children.

Actually, the data which was sent from the United States to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) indicates that there is a large disturbing number of child pornographers on the Internet. Last year, German investigators received nearly 35,000 reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which was much more than in previous years. Explicitly, according to Bavarian Cyber-Ermittler, the U.S. help involved with the local state police in their operations, increased from 2016 to 2017.

As reported by the local news source, the NCMEC is a non-governmental organization that works with internet service providers such as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. The major function of these internet service providers is to scan their users’ data for images that display sexual abuse of children. The system has automatically identified known child pornographers, basically by the use of a digital fingerprint.

Furthermore, the NCMEC spreads the reports, by forwarding it to investigatory authorities in Germany and across Europe. Hans-Joachim Leon, who heads the BKA’s Central Office for Combating Child Abuse indicated that “this darkens the dark field significantly.”

The number of criminal cases has increased significantly. The information received by SPIEGEL was that the prosecutors of the Giessen Central Cyber Crime (ZIT) opened 2,347 child pornography proceedings last year, that is, 66% more than in 2016 (1,415 cases).

The ZIT spokesman, George Ungefuk said “a year ago, thus, in 2017, the method was built up with references from the U.S. Nevertheless, in Germany, there are no comparable report requirements for Internet service providers. Indeed, even undercover investigators have it harder here than any place else. For instance, you are not permitted to upload child pornography material yourself. In any case, that makes partaking in Darknet, an exceptional piece of the Internet, regularly a requirement for gaining access.”

Against this foundation, a few federal states are thinking about taking off legal requirements for the police. The Bavarian Minister of Justice Winfried Bausback (CSU) said for this present week that investigators may utilize digitally created child pornography material. Bausback’s Hessian partner Eva Kühne-Hörmann (CDU) said that if this possibility is not achieved, “we will barely have the capacity to handle backers and scene sizes.””

It is more common now for harsher penalties for child porn offenders of any kind. The penalty for the possession of child pornography now levels with or surpasses the punishments for some different serious crimes. For instance, having 20 photos of child pornagraphy can lead to a sentence similar to that of convicted felons, arsonists, burglars and sex offenders.