Major child pornography ring busted: Europol

Last Updated: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 22:33

Amsterdam: Police arrested 112 people in 22
countries after a year-long investigation into child
pornography, Europol said on Friday, warning that technology is
making combating the spread of child abuse images ever more
difficult.

The operation targeted people sharing "the most extreme
forms of video material," including images of babies and
toddlers being sexually abused or raped, the European police
coordination agency said.

There are 269 suspects so far and more arrests are likely
after the operation uncovered previously unknown networks of
child sex offenders operating on different Internet chat
channels, Europol director Rob Wainwright.

He called the operation a success, but noted in a
statement it shows "how the Internet is helping offenders to
develop better techniques for sharing images on a global basis
and for protecting their identity."

"The problems involved are becoming harder to police," he
said.

Among other issues, the sheer volume of encrypted
material is daunting, and much of the information seized in
raids is still awaiting analysis.

A single suspect in Switzerland had more than 120
terabytes of data, amounting to thousands of hours of
high-definition video footage.

The investigation, code named "Operation Icarus," was
carried out under the leadership of Danish police, due to
Danish expertise in analyzing the peer-to-peer networks that
were used to share files.

Nineteen men aged 24 to 55 years old are facing
preliminary charges in Denmark.

Denmark`s chief of national police, Jens Henrik
Hoejbjerg, said 59 computers and 2,430 storage devices had
been seized in Denmark alone.

"It`s a huge amount for our investigators to handle,"
said Hoejbjerg.

Europol has its headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

The nations involved in the investigation were Austria,
Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta,
Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Croatia, Norway
and Switzerland.

Investigators said one of the men arrested was in the
process of grooming a young child and was arrested before an
attempted face-to-face meeting. They did not disclose where.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the
operation showed the "importance of cooperation between law
enforcement authorities at European and international level to
tackle criminal activities that know no borders."

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 22:33

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