Controlling Access to Indecent Images

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Mediated Internet Communications

Professor Ian Walden
Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary, University of London Vice-chair, Internet Watch Foundation

Introductory remarks

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Filtering communications & law enforcement
– As crime prevention (blocking)
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From virus scanning to child sexual abuse images Monitoring content & traffic data

– As criminal investigation (monitoring)
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Interference with rights
– Freedom of expression & censorship
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Impartation & receipt

– Privacy
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Case study: Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

IWF

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Self-regulatory (charitable status)
– Over 80 member companies (since 1996)

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Remit
– Child sexual abuse images anywhere in the world
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Pseudo-photographs, tracings (CGI ?) Extreme pornography provisions Religious hatred and sexual orientation

– Obscene publications in the UK
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– Racist (hate speech) material in the UK
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Objectives
– Remove content/availability & support law enforcement?

Notice & Take Down

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‘Hotline’ reporting service
– Analysis & investigation of source/location

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Domestic content - notification to ISP ‘host’
– From 18% to < 1%

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Foreign content
– Mainly located in the US – INHOPE Network
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Over 30 members e.g. US FTC action against Pricewert LLC (June 2009)

– Law enforcement agencies
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– But not (currently) foreign hosts

Blocking access

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Filtering database – ‘the CAIC list’
– URLs for child sexual abuse images – Taken by ISPs & search engines, e.g. BT’s ‘Cleanfeed’
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95% of domestic internet access service providers
– Government threat of mandation – Children’s Charities Coalition On Internet Safety, Digital Manifesto – EU proposal for a framework decision (March 2009), art. 18

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Filtering web-based traffic, not P2P & other services Deterrent, not a policing tool
– Target population: inadvertent & casual users

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Investigate creator/distributors or remove content?
– Take-down times

Other initiatives

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Domain names
– Registries & registrars
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75% of commercial child sexual abuse domains are linked to just 10 Registries/ Registrars

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Payment providers
– Commercial ‘pay-per-view’ & organised crime
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IWF 2008 Annual Report: 3000 sites Pre-paid credit cards Combating the commercial distribution of child abuse

– European Financial Coalition
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Data integrity

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Source
– Reports received – Internal investigations

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Determination of potential criminal illegality
– Law enforcement trained (e.g. CEOP)
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Court endorsed 5-level categorisation Indecent v obscene material

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Accuracy
– Minimising collateral intrusion
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Wikipedia incident (December 2008)
– Text & image data – Communication attributes

Transparency

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User notification
– Prior notice
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Data protection obligations
– e.g. The Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000

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Publish scheme FAQ & list of participants http://404 (technical error) or http://403 (prohibited page)

– Splash pages
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List appeal mechanism
– e.g. Wikipedia incident (Scorpions album cover)
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contextual considerations

Accountability

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Independent board
– Majority non-industry representatives
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e.g. child protection, legal Periodic independent reviews

– External oversight
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Public function/authority?
– Judicial review, subject to FOI laws – Public law enforcement activity?
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Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) ‘prescribed by law’

– Democratic mandate
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Concluding remarks

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