We’ve lost our way with the issue of child pornography and too many costly resources are being used in trying to convict those who download these pictures instead of those who actually produce them in the first place.
In many cases, innocent people are also being convicted of downloading child pornography when they may not have been responsible for doing so.
Let’s remember it’s child abuse we need to stop; downloading indecent images does not directly create victims, but producing the images in the first place does, so we need to get rid of the current pictures and stop the creation of new ones.
So here’s the solution:
Repeal the law which criminalises the downloading of indecent images of children to allow such downloads on the strict conditions that:
Any images downloaded are reported on an official Government web site (the person would report details like the web address, file sharing site, FTP location, etc. as well as details of what the photos were.)
Such reports must be made within 24 hours of downloading (to prevent paedophiles just downloading and retaining pictures and claiming months later that it was their intention to report them)
The pictures must not be distributed to anyone else.
All images must be deleted either as soon as they’ve been reported, or (depending on MP’s preferences when changing the law) kept only until they are officially informed that they can be removed (this may be necessary as technically the pictures would be evidence and deleting them could be classed as destruction of evidence).
Set up the necessary Government Web site to enable people to report pictures found. It would be important that it could handle the demand because many people are quite rightly strongly against child pornography and will probably inundate the web site with reports.
Allow all adults to take part. It’s important to include those already convicted of sexual crimes because it means those who currently break the law by downloading such pictures and, therefore, who know where they are, could actually use their knowledge to help bring about the elimination of child pornography on the Internet.
Once evidence has been obtained by the Government web site, it could be passed to the police and Internet experts who will be able to use the information to track down the pictures on the web and either have the sites closed (and owners prosecuted) or, where the UK authorities have no legal right to do so (on foreign web sites, for example) to have them blocked to UK Internet users.
The idea could be suggested to other EU Member States and, indeed, outside the EU, and if rolled out around the world, it could eliminate child pornography on the internet for good as anyone even considering making such photographs available would not do so as anyone requesting copies from them may well be doing so for the sole purpose of reporting them using the new system.
The UK Government could even make the reporting web site available to the rest of the world, charging a small fee to each Government to mean the entire system would be self-funding. (Foreign reports would simply be forwarded to the appropriate Government by the UK site.)
If producing indecent images is no longer profitable then far fewer children will be abused to create such pictures.
Finally, one has to accept that unfortunately there are (and will probably always be) paedophiles in the world. It’s a sexual preference, which is not illegal in itself but can LEAD to the law being broken if a child is abused as a result. We therefore suggest that the Government also repeals the law criminalising PSEUDO (i.e. those created by computer or drawn where no child is actually abused) indecent images of children. This would mean paedophiles who might otherwise feel the need to actually abuse a child, could turn to pseudo images instead, thus protecting more children.
Why is this idea important?
This idea will massively reduce, and probably eliminate child pornography on the Internet. It would likely only take a few months as thousands of (unpaid!) members of the public will want to assist and the sheer volume of evidence provided as a result will mean the police's job will be easy. (It could then remain in place to reduce the changes that new photos will be produced.)
Child abuse will be dramatically reduced as the market for indecent images will be shattered.
People will finally feel they are actually able to contribute to the reduction in crime against children.
The idea that the Government should ALLOW people to download illegal images might sound odd at first but it’s important to remember the goal: to stop children being abused.
Just think: By the end of 2010, The UK Government, with help from the people they represent, could have virtually wiped out a massive amount of child abuse.