Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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12/20/2005
10:40 AM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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If You Use The Internet, Times' Child-Porn Story A Must Read

The article by Kurt Eichenwald details a new side to the Internet's great shame of child pornography. It describes a 13-year-old boy who posted Web-cam pictures of himself online in an effort to meet friends, and found child predators instead. From a beginning where a man paid him $50 to sit with his shirt off in front of his Web cam, he moved to selling naked images of himself and worse.

The article by Kurt Eichenwald details a new side to the Internet's great shame of child pornography. It describes a 13-year-old boy who posted Web-cam pictures of himself online in an effort to meet friends, and found child predators instead. From a beginning where a man paid him $50 to sit with his shirt off in front of his Web cam, he moved to selling naked images of himself and worse.The Times article details a new arena of child porn, where kids using cheap Web cams, broadband Internet access, and standard PCs set up sites to sell images of themselves or even "private shows" for adults. And, it explains how everyday tools of Internet commerce -- Amazon.com wish lists, PayPal accounts -- provide the platform for commerce, allowing predators to give the gifts and money they use to lure the children they exploit.

Child porn is a social issue for anyone who uses the Internet, since the openness and anonymity that make the Web great also make it an ideal platform for child-porn criminals. InformationWeek has tracked how, by almost any measure, we're losing the battle against child porn on the Internet.

But for IT professionals it's also a potential career issue. The reality is that many child-porn criminals use their work computers and Internet connections. We followed cases of a college professor keeping child porn on his work machine, and even accusations of a CEO accessing child porn from a work PC. There's a legal and moral responsibility IT pros face in such cases, though even when they do the right thing, their careers can suffer. Any company that doesn't have a clear plan of action for its IT pros when they encounter child porn is putting those employees in an unfair and risky position. Because, as The Times story shows, the avenues for committing such crimes are only expanding online. And IT pros are in a position to discover them.

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