ONLINE CHILD ABUSERS ESCAPING PRISON SENTENCE – Despite the fact that online paedophiles are caught with sickening images of child sex abuse on their computers approximately two out of three are being given community service or handed with a suspended sentence for their crimes.
There has been a lot of debate recently over the amount of child pornography that can be easily found online and Government, Child Protection Agencies and parent groups are putting more pressure on the internet industry to eradicate this vile material.
The UK Government has been appealing to Google to take action; however Google has been attempting to side-step the issue by donating funds to Child Protection Agencies.
The public however has perceived this move as little more than Google attempting to wash its hands of the problem and through continued public pressure it now appears Google is taking direct action.
This year alone we have witnessed a number of ‘high-profile’ court cases where paedophiles have been handed down life sentences for murdering young girls.
The likes of Mark Bridger who murdered 5 year old April Jones after becoming obsessed with child murder and child pornography that he actively sought online. In a similar case there was Stuart Hazell who murdered 12 year old Tai Sharp after his online activity directly revealed his actions were spurred on by what he was viewing online.
Left: Stuart Hazell who raped and murdered 12 year old Tia Sharp | Right: Mark Bridger who raped and murdered 5 year old April Jones
It is now widely accepted that there is a direct correlation to those viewing child pornography online and those actively participating in actual child abuse themselves; even to the point of murder.
The UK Government recently threatened Google with liability for any such case that can be linked to the material the perpetrator has viewed online; something that could have been the catalyst for Google now taking further action over what material it stores on its servers.
Google has now agreed to develop a global database of child abuse images which will make it easier to detect and remove from the internet. It will also allow child protection agencies and the authorities to take action against those involved in producing such vile material.
It is expected that images will be electronically tagged using a hashtag system and whilst Google has been using such technology since 2008 to deal with child abuse material the new system is being slated as far more sophisticated and will allow Google to find, track, remove and report viewing activities to the authorities.
Finally it is a step in the right direction and while Google does deserve some form of recognition it doesn’t alter the fact that Google, with its massive financial resources, could have taken action much sooner; it would also have saved itself from a lot of embarrassment and ridicule from the public.
Considering the Government’s actions over the last few months it would now be deemed appropriate to change the laws so that offenses of this nature can no longer be dealt with by either a community service order or worse a suspended sentence.
The fact that over 1,000 paedophiles where caught in possession of child pornography images and video which resulted in either a community service order or a suspended sentence simply shows just how broken or inadequate the criminal justice has become.
There are many advocates for a free and open web and I am one of them. However with freedom of information, free speech and freedom of expression comes a moral obligation to others and we must protect our children at all costs.
Do you think Google is now taking appropriate action? Please leave your comments below.