Protecting Children Online

The internet has of course transformed most of our lives certainly in the areas of global communication and the various economic transactions that we need in our everyday lives.  However as well as the undoubted benefits it has also brought and made much worse some of society’s biggest problems.  One of the most disturbing is of course the dangers to our children particularly revolving around the proliferation of child abuse images that have been brought online.  Graphic images of child abuse are uploaded and transmitted across the internet every minute of every day, and yet there’s a worldwide consensus that this is illegal.

Although there is an agreement that child pornography is illegal, there’s little international strategy to prevent this taking place.  The majority of countries simply attempt to block and filter this material, using existing technology designed to prevent access or hide this sort of content.  This method although understandable is ultimately flawed for a variety of reasons.  Firstly many countries and organisations have tried to block and filter the internet, and not one has succeeded.   The closest is probably China who for their own political agenda have spent billions on trying to filter the internet and even then people in China can use something like a VPN like this to bypass the vast majority of controls.

The problems with this method is that it becomes a technical battle between those who seek to exchange and distribute child pornography against the authorities who seek to ban it.   Obviously the solution is to both physically remove the content and prosecute those involved in buying, selling and producing this material.  Unfortunately this will usually require intense co-operation between different polices forces, courts and governments sometimes across many countries.   All with have different views and approaches plus widely differing legal systems and structures.    There is hope, there is certainly a desire to remove and prosecute the material and the people who distribute it and organisations like the European Union offer some options across country borders to investigate more efficiently.

Most countries have also vowed to a system called dynamic cooperation which has been consistently raised by international conferences on these matters.  This relies on all countries working together and implementing similar measures to combat child pornography and catching the offenders.  It has proved to be difficult to maintain across international borders though with many countries preferring the easier option of filtering and little changes to legal declarations and conventions.

Further Reading on VPNs

How to Unlock More Movies on Netflix, Faber Press, 2017