Child Pornography and IT

Child Pornography and IT

Amin Ibrahim (University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-094-5.ch002
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The sexual exploitation of children remains a very serious problem and is rapidly increasing globally through the use of the Internet. This chapter focuses on the child pornography and IT, and the various methods to combat this problem. The ease of acquiring IT and digital equipments, the global reach of Internet and freely available peer-to-peer services have made child pornography a very complex issue to undertake. The borderless nature of the Internet and the lack of unified criminal code among nations further escalated the complexity of law enforcement against child pornography.
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In our technology savvy society, the sexual exploitation of children takes many forms and various means. An image of a child engaged in real or simulated sexual activities is considered a form of child pornography in the same manner as images depicting parts of child’s body with the intention of stimulating sexual arousal or gratification for the viewer of that image. Similar effects are attempted to be achieved in virtual pornography where a morphed or blended artificially created images of children are depicted in sexual activities. Whether these images are limited to a child or involve several children with or without participation of adults, who may or may not be visible to the viewer, they are means of child exploitation and sexualisation of children. While these images are disturbing to most of us, they are used as fulfillment of sexual fantasies by viewers of such images worldwide. As these images are transmitted through electronic means, they are distributed through Internet and test society’s tolerance for what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour involving children of any age.

While child erotica with lewd images of children is not something new, as will be presented in child pornography section to follow, the means of transmitting these images has evolved over time. With this change, the challenges to the legal aspect of child pornography and the magnitude of child pornography is getting vast and complex; and how IT is assisting criminals to disseminate this crime and at the same time help law enforcement to mitigate this issue is discussed. Although it is beneficial to discuss the social and psychological effects of child pornography (for more information on psychological effects of child pornography, please refer to Additional Reading section), the main focus of this chapter remains the electronic distribution of images which portray the illegal sexual interaction of children, current detection and prevention methodologies and legal aspects of child pornography.

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