The US is the world's worst offender for online images of child abuse, according to a new report by the Internet Watch Foundation. The IWF has been able to find nearly 2,500 US sites containing illegal images, and has also found that, despite being reported to relevant authorities, some sites that contain the illegal content remain accessible for up to five years.
Laws are eventually beginning to catch up with the problem of child pornography on the Net. New legislation currently being proposed by the US Attorney General would require ISPs to report images of child abuse. Additionally, Microsoft, Time Warner AOL, Yahoo, Earthlink United Online and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have announced plans to work together as a Technology Coalition to tackle online child abuse in the US.
Additionally, following a three-year campaign by children's charities in the UK, Credit and debit providers can withdraw cards from paedophiles that use them to purchase images of child abuse on the Net.
Police will now be able to pass on information on people cautioned or convicted of internet child pornography offences to the card issuers following an amendment to the Data Protection Act. Banks will then be able to cancel the cards and account used to commit the offence as a result of a breach of the terms and conditions of usage.
Although much progress has been made in the UK to remove all such content from UK based internet service providers, it seems to be the case that some people in the UK are still viewing child pornography on servers abroad. Removing the provision of credit and debit cards from internet paedophiles is one positive step in attempting to tackle this.