More Child Porn Hosted in Singapore

More Child Porn Hosted in Singapore
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by REACH Singapore

06 Nov 2017 12:56PM

Singapore accounts for a disproportionate number of Asia’s webpages containing images of child sexual abuse - 12 per cent of nearly 2,000 webpages hosted across the continent last year.

According to Britain-based charity Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), these Singapore-hosted webpages almost doubled in the first 10 months of this year to 412, up from 211 last year.

The jump, which comes amid a worldwide increase, worries experts here who said an attraction to child pornography could lead to paedophilia if not treated.

"Those who view sexual abuse imagery of children may start off being curious due to its availability online," said clinical psychologist Matthew Woo, who also treats sex offenders. "If they continue, it will escalate, and they could develop paedophilia."

Last year, the Ministry of Social and Family Development investigated 107 cases of sexual abuse involving children, up from 82 in 2015.

Cyber security researcher Lam Kwok Yan said it is easy to use a complex networking approach to hide one's physical location. Others noted that the hosts of the webpages may not be physically based in Singapore, which is a hub for web hosting services. Therein lies the difficulty of nabbing the perpetrators.

When IWF identifies such webpages, it passes the information to Interpol which then liaises with the host countries, its director of external relations Emma Hardy told The Straits Times. Local authorities work with Internet service providers (ISPs) to have the content removed if it is deemed illegal under domestic laws.

When contacted, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said it works with ISPs to restrict public access to a limited number of sites. "Sites that are used to facilitate illegal activities will be restricted for public safety and security reasons", said a spokesman. She added that ISPs are required to exercise judgment to ensure that their content and services comply with the local regulations.

Source: “ Big increase in child porn webpages hosted in Singapore” (The Straits Times, 6 Nov 2017)

Photo: The Straits Times. Copyright © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Used with permission.


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