Cayman joins fight against online child porn

Anonymous reporting mechanisms in place

Detective Superintendent Mike Cranswick
Detective Superintendent Mike Cranswick

The Cayman Islands has joined a global initiative to help stamp out child pornography on the Internet.

The campaign, rolled out in the British Overseas Territories on Wednesday, allows people to anonymously report images of child sexual abuse online. The content can then be examined by experts who seek to block public access to the site or have it removed completely.

The initiative, launched by British charity the Internet Watch Foundation, involves police, government and private businesses hosting a portal on their websites to allow users to make reports to the charity.

Detective Superintendent Mike Cranswick, who spearheaded the project in the Cayman Islands, said, “Child pornography is sexual abuse, plain and simple. Every time these images are viewed there is a re-victimization of the child.

“While we have no indication that this content has been produced here in Cayman or that it involves children in the Cayman Islands, people in Cayman may unintentionally come across such content from elsewhere surfing the Internet. We want them to know that there is something positive they can do when they see this online, they can report it and they can report it completely anonymously.”

International cooperation

Once reported to the Internet Watch Foundation, the images are viewed by experts who liaise with international law enforcement agencies to remove the content from the Internet. In cases where the content cannot be removed, police, in some countries, work with Internet service providers to block access.

Mr. Cranswick said police were seeking to partner with the Information and Communications Technology Authority and Internet service providers to make blocking such sites an option in the Cayman Islands.

Anyone who finds disturbing images of child sexual abuse online and reports it through the portal would not be liable to prosecution themselves.

Mr. Cranswick said this particular project was targeted at removing content and helping investigate people who created and distributed child pornography, rather than tracing viewers.

He added, “If this helps close down one site or rescue one child, it will have been worth it.”

Goal to remove online images of abuse

Harriet Lester, the Internet Watch Foundation’s technical projects officer, who is working with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service on the project, said the initiative was a step toward the charity’s goal of removing images of child abuse from the Internet completely.

She said, “We’re looking forward to helping Cayman make its corner of the Internet a safer place.”

The initiative is funded through the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Cyber Security Capacity Building Program.

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