UK police chief: Shut down 'abhorrent' Web sites

UK police chief: Shut down 'abhorrent' Web sites

Summary: The Internet is no place for people looking for 'perverse gratification', claims the police officer leading the UK's fight against e-crime

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TOPICS: Networking
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The most senior officer from the UK's Hi-Tech Crime Unit has called for Web sites devoted to subjects such as cannibalism and necrophilia to be closed down, claiming they contribute to Internet criminality.

Detective chief superintendent Len Hynds, who is the head of Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), said on Tuesday that the most vulnerable people in society need to be protected from corrupting influences.

"For the Internet to take the final step to adulthood it must first deal with those fringe elements that choose to promote abhorrent activities like cannibalism and necrophilia," Hynds told the e-Crime Congress 2004 in London.

"For it [the Internet] to continue to grow as a mainstream medium for businesses, education and entertainment, it must design out the minority factors that inhabit cyberspace for their own perverse gratification," Hynds added.

According to Hynds, Web sites devoted to such extreme material are the online equivalent of graffiti and litter. He believes that taking a zero tolerance on this kind of content could make the Internet a more law-abiding place.

But a clampdown on sites devoted to subjects such as cannibalism could be all but impossible to enforce.

Earlier this month, it was reported that a man convicted of murdering a special needs teacher by strangulation has been a regular visitor to pornographic Web sites that included images of necrophilia.

The family of the victim has called on Internet service providers to close down or filter out such material, but the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has already warned that the legal position is complicated.

"At the IWF we do sometimes receive complaints about Web sites and material which contains adult content, but unless they are hosted in the UK and may potentially be 'borderline extreme' in terms of content, i.e. it is unclear as to whether the images may be illegal, it is not within our remit to further investigate these sites," according to a statement from the Foundation.

"Due to the increasing diversity in social attitudes, 'adult' content, the context in which it is viewed and possessed and any 'influence' it may have, is very difficult to govern," the statement continued.

Hynds' statement may also anger those who believe that one of the Web's great strengths is that it accommodates such a wide range of interests, free from censorship.

Topic: Networking

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16 comments
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  • This is a bit 'rich' and borders on 'hypcocracy' from an establishment and successive governments who have continued to water down the morale fabric of this country and now want to vet everything that we say and do. On the 'pragmatic' side just how do they think that this can be enforced - it wasn't christened the "world-wide-web" without good reason. Like all 'vices' they will always find an outlet and a supplier for the depraved and corrupt in society.

    Let's stop wasting our time and effort on what we can't control and go for the organised crime syndicates that peddle this filth !!
    anonymous
  • This is a bit 'rich' and borders on 'hypcocracy' from an establishment and successive governments who have continued to water down the morale fabric of this country and now want to vet everything that we say and do. On the 'pragmatic' side just how do they think that this can be enforced - it wasn't christened the "world-wide-web" without good reason. Like all 'vices' they will always find an outlet and a supplier for the depraved and corrupt in society.

    Let's stop wasting our time and effort on what we can't control and go for the organised crime syndicates that peddle this filth !!
    anonymous
  • Gee... The Internet caused these problems... Reminds of when Led Zepplin records were played backwards. Remember those records contained commands from the devil and made people do things that they should not do.

    The reason why these websites exist is because people are interested in this sick material. If the material were not on the Internet then it would have been available from some underground source.

    The Internet is only a means to an ends, not the problem itself...
    anonymous
  • excerpt form the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Article 19.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
    anonymous
  • The printed book is not a mature medium then, I take it? Or the police don't know how to read? Go to your local library or bookshop and there's lots of information on these topics.
    anonymous
  • No one can stop the Internet
    anonymous
  • Currently, customers of my company are being hit by massive denial of service attacks, followed by blackmail demands.

    The National Hi Tech Crime Unit has (as far as I can see) done nothing about this so far - I'm beginning to suspect it consists of at most four policeman, one computer and a box of donuts.

    I think their ability to censor the entire Internet (or even UK sites) is strictly limited!
    anonymous
  • This police chief is the antithesis of the free internet, and obviously spends too much time worrying about rotten.com when he should be tracking down child pornography rings.
    anonymous
  • Have you got an email address where I can report porn spam to please?
    anonymous
  • These people are just trying to silence the media.

    'abhorrent' is the language of disgust, which is a temporary thing.

    Without freedom of speech a democracy cannot function!

    I haven't experienced a logical argument against Necrophillia yet. It's just emotion.

    Totally ignorant to other cultures. There is a belief in some Ilse in the Pacific that it is spiritually just to consume the dead of your family.
    anonymous
  • Given the state of crime in some areas of Britain I think the public {taxpayers) would be better served by a police force that focused on the job in hand (policing the real world and making the streets safe). This is a role they have 100 years experience of and seem to struggle with, so what chance would they have in the virtual world.
    anonymous
  • The US has exported a lot of bad ideas to the UK and the rest of the world over the years, the EU Copyright Directive is an example.

    Try grabbing our First Amendment that deals with freedom of speech and expression instead.

    Cannibals are a hell of a lot less dangerous to the freedom of a nation than police chiefs in a land where there are no permanent guarantees of freedom of speech. What if your government decides to shut down sites because they belong to legitimate political opposition?
    anonymous
  • I'm not interested in an internet safe for business and entertainment, kind Mr Policeman. I'm interested in an internet that contains the sum total of human experience. I want all the love, joy, straining urges, depravity, and documented examples of government oppression.

    If you want to suppress 'abhorrent' things on the internet, get rid of Dubbya Bush. He's the most abhorrent thing I can think of right now, and that's after thinking of dead babies and rabid dogs.

    What? You don't agree with me, Mr Policeman? How can that be?! Surely there is no more than one acceptable viewpoint, the one true viewpoint that must be forced on everyone. Today I think that viewpoint should be mine, not yours, for a change.
    anonymous
  • Personally I'd much rather the police concentrate their efforts on the things that actually do harm to people than try to block me from sites that I may or may not (the key here is choice) want to look at.

    They could spend millions of the money I'll pay in tax over the years on this futile exercise.

    Since they seem to have so much money spare though, I suggest they use it to track down the idiot who vandalised my car outside my house last month.
    anonymous
  • If the police would concentrate on what they can do outside cyberspace half as much as they do in cyberspace, they'd be doing a lot better in the fight against crime.
    anonymous
  • Would just like to say what aload of tosh i have read on this subject! how can your car being vandalised even compare to the rape of young children so sickos can watch it on the internet!

    I agree that there is a certain right we have to express ourselves, but the line has to be drawn, i mean, can i murder someone just because i want to express myself?? of course not!

    It makes you wonder about the people that are arguing about these sites being shut down, do they fear they will having nothing left to look at on the internet????
    anonymous