Australian police, Facebook crack child porn ring

Aug 27, 2010 By TANALEE SMITH , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- An international child pornography ring that operated on Facebook has been brought down with the social networking site's support, Australian police said Friday.

Eleven people have been charged in Australia, Britain and Canada in connection with the syndicate, which involved people using to distribute and view graphic sexual images, police said.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported Friday that Facebook management knew about the pornography on its website and had deactivated accounts of people involved, but had not informed police.

Facebook and Australian Federal Police issued a joint statement in response to the report saying the networking site had immediately taken action once a police investigation began, and its assistance was "integral to bringing down this international child pornography syndicate."

The statement acknowledged the difficulty Facebook had in stopping the syndicate, as users would set up false new accounts after their accounts were deactivated.

"Policing in this social networking environment is a challenge, but the cooperation during this operation demonstrates that international law enforcement is united in a global fight against online child exploitation material," the statement said. "It is important that content service providers including Facebook constantly scan for child exploitation material, and then inform law enforcement of their findings."

Australian police said they began investigating the case in March after a covert agent established an online identity on Facebook and was approached by a member of the child pornography ring.

By June, the investigation included police in the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland, police said. The investigation is continuing, they said.

Facebook has no staff in Australia. Joe Sullivan, Facebook's chief security officer, said a member of his team would visit Australia in September for meetings with police and child safety advocates.

He said Facebook and the Australian police were working on protocols to ensure that illegal activity would be reported more rapidly to .

Explore further: Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

4.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook fugitive caught after 105 days

May 27, 2009

The long arm of the law finally caught up with a New Zealand fugitive whose 105 days on the run inspired a Facebook fansite, a song and a line of tee shirts.

Watchdog: Facebook violates Canadian privacy law

Jul 16, 2009

(AP) -- Canada's privacy commissioner says the online social networking site Facebook breaches Canadian law by keeping users personal information indefinitely after members close their accounts.

Australia denies targeting Google over Web filter

Jun 07, 2010

Australia on Monday denied waging a campaign of vengeance against Google after launching a police probe of the web giant, a strong critic of plans for a nationwide Internet filter.

Australian charged with infecting 3,000 computers

Aug 13, 2009

(AP) -- A 20-year-old Australian man has been charged with infecting more than 3,000 computers around the world with a virus designed to capture banking and credit card data, police said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Net neutrality balancing act

6 hours ago

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

Apr 16, 2014

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

Apr 16, 2014

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...