Sustained law enforcement investigations rather than internet blocks are the best way to tackle internet sex offenders

“The arrest of 660 suspected paedophiles by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the safeguarding of hundreds of vulnerable children is welcome news,” says Dr Martyn Thomas, Chair of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) IT Policy Panel.

“While many say the arrests are only the tip of the iceberg, they are still an important step as they represent an acknowledgement that intelligence-led law enforcement is one of the most important ways in which to tackle child abuse images on the internet. Contrary to popular belief, universal blocking of websites, search terms and content is a blunt and ineffective tool and can easily be circumvented. The serious offenders are likely to already be using encryption and other technical means to hide their activities, which blocking by ISPs will not affect.

“The internet was designed to withstand serious damage and it treats censorship as damage and provides routes around it. That is not to say that internet providers don’t need to be vigilant or that they should ignore this very important issue. But ultimately there is no universal fix they can implement to protect victims. Instead it is more investment in sustained crime investigations like this one that lead to the greatest reduction in harm.”

Robert Beahan
External Communications Manager

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