A First Look at the Internet (Or: Somebody Must Be Responsible)

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Just an extremely brief posting today.

In the past, paedophiles have concentrated on getting into organisations which have a lot of contact with children. The Royal Commission will be looking at how those organisations have responded to this threat to children. However, if it is limited in this way, and not moving with the times, the problem will continue in a new form.

The reality of the new technologies to do with the world-wide-web is that children are among the major users. Parental blocks can be put on unsuitable sites by all means, but this does not protect their children from the on-line predators, often posing as children themselves.

In the mid-1990s, this author was invited to Queensland State Police Headquarters to consult with the newly established child-protection unit, Taskforce Argos. It was amazing, even at that time, how advanced the methods were. What was equally amazing was just how dedicated, and willing to learn, the members of the unit were. From my background, I am not normally likely to praise coppers, since they are authority figures.

Today, their methods are obviously even more advanced. It is true to say that such officers, throughout the country, are the unsung heroes of the fight against child abuse. Unfortunately, their efforts are not being supported, sufficiently, by the web-based companies, such as Google and Facebook. This has become a public issue in the U.K. recently.

Anyone with even rudimentary concerns for privacy will seriously consider all factors before talking about links between internet providers, and government agencies. The recent NSA revelations by a whistleblower in the U.S., makes this point very clear.

The enquiry should, nevertheless, look at how to maximize the efforts of people like the officers of Taskforce Argos, without infringing on innocent people’s privacy. If the right people make the right, informed, submissions then this is likely to become possible.

It is necessary to have this debate, simply because the modern paedophile has more access to children over the net than they will have, through direct involvement with community organisations, if the Royal Commission really does its job in making those organisations institute better screening procedures.

TOMORROW: The Royal Commission announces public hearings

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)

 

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