Child Abuse on the Web – Time to Act

By   Professor John Walker
Visiting Professor , Trent University (NTU) | Sep 01, 2014 05:04 pm PST

In the wake of Rotherham, Leicester, and Derby and others, where there have been gross failings to protect the young and innocent from what has been, in the last case in particular, neglect and abuse on an almost industrial scale, we as a caring society are called upon to act and act now. We must also recognise that the mishandling of child abuse images and other such related materials, not to mention the lack of engagement with the appropriate authorities, is only further feeding those engaged in these illicit activities and is thus allowing the offenders to carry on sharing such disgusting materials unchecked.

I personally feel that such matters as this go well beyond any consideration with respect to privacy protection, for the offences are criminal. If the correct steps are not followed, then all those individuals who could have helped put an end to the abuse might be implicated in the crimes.

It is for the aforementioned reasons I find cases like those which are documented below so painful to accept. I also find it disturbing that there are manifestations of child abuse images on parliamentary assets within the Houses of Parliament and that they are tolerated, merely considered to be a matter relating to the members, which are subject to Parliamentary Privilege. Honestly, if we are not able to curtail exposure at that level, then I am left wondering just where we should go next.

That said, and not wishing to be a bystander, I have decided to raise this topic in the Parliamentary Domain myself by writing to many MP’s. As of this writing, I have not received a single response, answer, or acknowledgment.

In addition to within government channels, there are also many child abuse images on corporate networks [Eluded to in a recent report by Net Clean]. There was, for instance, a Nottingham-based company that had its CISO preview images. They were shared and shown to other members of the security team. That brings us to CEOP, which is empowered to seek out and defend the young against this type of proliferation of abusive images. But this notwithstanding, there has been scant effort by the major search engines, including Google, to address this issue.

To conclude, I am aware that the majority of good-minded people will watch these sickening news stories unfold and wonder, “How could this of been allowed to happen?” Well that is where we as security professionals, and hopefully MP’s, can help — by discovering, reporting, and working with the local law enforcement agencies to remove this disgusting blight from our society and technical systems.

As for our MP’s – please, please look at this as a matter of urgency, and if nothing else can be achieved, at least clean up your acts for the sake of public opinion.

[su_box title=”About Professor John Walker – FMFSoc FBCS FRSA CITP CISM CRISC ITPC
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john_walkerVisiting Professor at the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Visiting Professor/Lecturer at the University of Slavonia [to 2015], Independent Consultant, Practicing Expert Witness, ENISA CEI Listed Expert, Editorial Member of the Cyber Security Research Institute (CRSI), Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS), Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA), Board Advisor to the Digital Trust, Writer for SC Magazine UK, Originator of DarkWeb Threat Intelligence, CSIRT, Attack Remediation and Cyber Training Service/Platform, Accreditation Assessor and Academic Practitioner and Accredited Advisor to the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences in the area of Digital/Cyber Forensics.
Twitter: @SBLTD

John Walker is also our Panel member.  To find out more about our panel members visit the biographies page.[/su_box]