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Thanks to a single tip-off to a hotline a year ago, one of the biggest child pornography rings was smashed last week in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.



Operation Marcey kicked off on 26 September, involving 1,500 police officers who, over the course of a day, confiscated 745 computers, over 35,000 CDs, 8,300 diskettes and 5,800 videos, all thought to contain illegal child pornography.


German police said that the Saxony-Anhalt raids took place after more than a year of investigation and cooperation with Interpol, the FBI and police forces of other countries. In fact, the operation has seen police forces identify 26,500 suspects in 166 countries around the world who were allegedly trading child porn images over the Internet.


But perhaps the most amazing aspect of the case was its humble beginning. "As a rule the German police don't say where they get tip-offs from, which makes sense since you don't want suspects to know who provides leads. They made an exception in this case and acknowledged that the original tip came from us," explained Irishman Cormac Callanan, who since February has served as the Secretary General of INHOPE, a confederation of child pornography hotlines.


Callanan explained that a child pornography hotline in Spain called Protegeles receive the first tip that someone was distributing illegal sexual images of children over the Internet. That information was passed to German counterparts, the ECO Internet Content Taskforce Hotline and another German hotline called FSM.


After careful evaluation of the material, the INHOPE members alerted the German federal police, the BKA, in May of 2002, leading to initial arrests in Magdeburg. It quickly became evident to the authorities involved in the case that the ring was much larger than they first thought, leading to the year-long investigation.


"This case highlights the importance and effectiveness of INHOPE as the only international association of hotlines fighting the war against on-line child pornography and abuse," commented Thomas Rickert, president of INHOPE. "Working together, with strong support from our key stakeholders in the Internet industry, child welfare, law enforcement and government, we are proud of the important number of successes we have achieved."


According to Callanan, a number of other notable raids have taken place thanks to tip-offs from INHOPE members, including a massive action in Denmark last year called Operation Hamlet. "That one saved about 100 children in Scandinavia who, in some cases, were effectively sold and traded to paedophiles by their own parents," he said.


On 20 November, INHOPE is hosting a one day conference called "The Internet in 2004: Safe or Just Safer? -- An IHNOPE Initiative." The event will take place in the Grand Hotel Esplanade in Berlin. For more information visit the INHOPE Web site.

View article here @ ElectricNews

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Is it just me, or does Germany seem to have a huge podo population? Or just Europe in general?

I almost never hear about pedophile groups in North America?


C++ Should Have Been Called "D"
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that's because big brother is watching over us, chem

bee... bee... bee... bee... bee...
say it with me now!


Back off, man! I'm a scientist... - Peter VenkMann

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