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Child porn cases on the rise in Ireland

Reports of indecent images of children on the Web are steadily increasing in Ireland, with 2001 set to have double the number of 2000

An incident of child pornography on the Internet is reported in Ireland every day, on average, according to new figures released by the Internet Advisory Board.

In its first annual report, published on Tuesday, the Irish regulatory body reveals that its hotline has received a total of 671 reports of child pornography since its launch in November 1999. In the first half of 2001, 277 cases of indecent images were recorded, whereas a total of 378 complaints were reported in the whole of 2000.

Of the reports received between January and June in 2001, 251 related to indecent images of children, and six related to adult pornography.

"It is clear that no single party, whether at national or international level, can successfully address this kind of problem faced by the harmful and illegal use of the Internet," said Eamonn Barnes, chairman of the Internet Advisory Board.

Reports to the hotline, located at www.hotline.ie, are received by email, phone, fax, Web or post. Once a report is received, it is logged into the hotline database system, and attempts are made to trace the reported material. If the material is found, it will then be assessed to see if it is illegal under the Irish Child Pornography and Trafficking Act 1998. The decision to launch a criminal investigation is a matter for the Irish National Police Force, but the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is required to remove the offensive content from its servers as soon as possible.

In the first half of 2001, the hotline investigations produced 16 confirmed reports of child pornography, one case of child abuse was confirmed, and 18 instances of child erotica were additionally proven. Child erotica is not illegal in Ireland, but the Internet Advisory Board can still advise an ISP to remove such content.


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