Yahoo is thwarting police investigations into online sex predators by shutting down all false profiles on their sites - even those of undercover cops, The (London) Times reports.
"Everybody using our service, regardless of whether they are law enforcement agencies, has to abide by our terms of service and if they don't we will close them down," said Yahoo.
Apparently, Yahoo is quite strict in its interpretation of terms of service, which state that all information used to make up a profile must be "true, accurate current and complete." When Yahoo's UK side discovered that law enforcement had violated the terms of the contract, they closed down the profiles.
The lack of cooperation has been frustrating says Detective Inspector Brian Ward, who runs the high-tech division of the Metropolitan police's child abuse investigation command.
"If you breach Yahoo!'s terms and conditions they pull the plug," Ward said. "They are not alone in not giving the police special dispensation."
Meanwhile, it seems that predators are turning to Skype in increasing numbers.
A 50-year-old father of two young children has been arrested over allegations that he used the messaging software Skype to try to groom children for sex. The man was arrested last Monday by Hampshire police on suspicion of attempted child abduction and attempted grooming and released on police bail.
Two weeks ago The Sunday Times revealed sexual predators were using Skype, which allows free messaging and phone calls, to target children. The arrested man, a professional, met a reporter he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. He told her he wanted to take her to his home to “watch a video” and said her clothes would “look great on my bedroom floor."