Live-stream child sex abuse among ris­ing cy­ber­crime

The Myanmar Times - - World -

LIVE stream­ing of child sex­ual abuse and so-called “re­venge porn” is on the rise on the in­ter­net, Europe’s po­lice agency warned yes­ter­day, say­ing vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren are in­creas­ingly fall­ing vic­tim to sex­ual preda­tors.

“Live dis­tant child abuse is ... be­ing re­ported as a grow­ing threat,” Europol said in its lat­est an­nual cy­ber or­gan­ised crime threat as­sess­ment, re­leased at its head­quar­ters in The Hague, Hol­land.

This “in­volves a per­pe­tra­tor di­rect­ing the live abuse of chil­dren on a [pre­ar­ranged] spe­cific time-frame through video shar­ing plat­forms,” Europol said in the 72-page re­port.

“The abuse can be ‘tai­lored’ to the re­quests of the so­lic­it­ing of­fender(s) and recorded”, it added.

More gen­er­ally “the vol­ume, scope and ma­te­rial cost of cy­ber­crime all re­main on an up­ward trend and have reached very high lev­els”, the agency said in a sep­a­rate state­ment.

Most il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties take place in the so-called “dark­net” or en­crypted peer-to-peer net­works, which of­fer greater de­grees of anonymity.

Tra­di­tion­ally, live-stream child abuse groups were based in South­east Asia, par­tic­u­larly the Philip­pines, but “more re­cent re­ports in­di­cate that it is now spread­ing to other coun­tries”, Europol warned.

“Re­gions of the world with high lev­els of poverty, lim­ited do­mes­tic child pro­tec­tion mea­sures and easy ac­cess to chil­dren are be­ing tar­geted by of­fend­ers,” the polic­ing agency said, with­out nam­ing spe­cific coun­tries or groups.

“The ex­ploita­tion of chil­dren on­line is a huge prob­lem for us,” Steven Wil­son, Europol’s cy­ber crime cen­tre (EC3) chief told AFP in an in­ter­view.

Mr Wil­son added cy­ber crime in­ves­ti­ga­tors have also no­ticed a rise in so-called re­venge porn, where sex­u­ally ex­plicit im­ages are posted with­out an­other per­son’s con­sent in or­der to harm that per­son or cause dis­tress.

To counter these threats, Europol was work­ing on a se­ries of in­for­ma­tion videos on the dan­gers of on­line sex­ual abuse, which will soon be distributed in schools across var­i­ous Euro­pean coun­tries. –

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