Mobile World Congress tackles child porn

Mobile World Congress tackles child porn

Initiative to focus on problem of child exploitation on mobile networks

The GSM Association (GSMA), in association with the EU and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has launched a programme to tackle the growing problem of child pornography on mobile networks.

Craig Ehrlich, chairman of the GSMA, told the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the scheme would be open to any mobile operator, irrespective of connection technology or level of sophistication.

"Whether you are a parent or not, you cannot help but be horrified by child pornography," he said.

"The vast majority of this kind of content is viewed on computers, but it is a growing problem on mobile networks. Most digital development is good for our lives, but it is important to stop criminals exploiting children."

Delegates were told that child pornography on the internet grew by 74 per cent between 2005 and 2006, and that the rate of new sites being created had increased alarmingly.

Over 50 per cent of such sites are commercial in nature, indicating a high level of involvement by professional organised crime syndicates.

"This is one crime where there are no differences in ideology. Every culture bans this material," said Hamadoun I. Toure, secretary-general of the ITU.

"Once this global network is in place to block child pornography that same network can be used to fight other kinds of crimes. I applaud the initiative."

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, said that 96 per cent of EU mobile operators had already signed up and that the stragglers were being pitched to get involved.

"I am glad that the secretary-general of the ITU is with us on this, because it is a global problem," she said. "I want to thank the GSMA from parents and children."