An important step in the fight against child sexual exploitation is for the paedophile content distributed over the internet to be quickly forwarded to the law enforcement authorities, which content can be subsequently used as evidence and information in catching those responsible for the recordings and saving the victims. However, such dreadful and illegal content must also be made unavailable as soon as possible, as their public presence grossly infringes the rights and dignity of the victims. Such was the dual task undertaken by INHOPE, the international association of internet hotlines, which has now published its statistics from 2017.
The report shows that last year 87,930 reports were forwarded to INHOPE’s central database from the hotlines of member countries, which identified 259,016 child pornography images and videos. The summary shows that 90% of the content categorised as illegal received by INHOPE featured young girls and 82% of the depicted children were of 13 years of age or younger. The private reporters and hotline employees did a good job in 2017, as 59% of the content stored in Europe was removed by the notified operators within three days, whilst on a worldwide level this was on an even higher, 62% level of effectiveness according to the statistics of INHOPE.
Not stored in Hungary
Statistics show that the servers in Hungary are not attractive amongst criminals distributing paedophile content: only 0.14% of such content stored in Europe is found on domestic servers. According to the experiences of the Hungarian member of INHOPE, Internet Hotline, domestic operators comply with the laws and act when notified by the hotline. According to the annual statistics, the representatives of the operator categories mostly involved in hosting, the global file and image-sharing services do not typically operate their servers in Hungary or under Hungarian law.
Based on the data of European reports, most illegal online content capturing child sexual exploitation is stored in the Netherlands (51%), France (18%), Sweden (10%), Romania (6%) and Bulgaria (5%). Upon examining the data from all member countries, the United States comes in first place (43%), with nearly every second paedophile recording stored on American servers. The Netherlands takes the second place (19%), followed by Russia (7%), France (7%) and Canada (7%).
In 2017, the Internet Hotline received a total of 56 reports in the paedophile content category. Subsequent to the analysis of the content, it turned to other member Hotline through INHOPE on nine occasions to bring the law enforcement authority’s attention to the content stored in its country and to take measures in terms of the removal of the content. They also notified the National Bureau of Investigation of paedophile content stored on domestic servers on twenty occasions in 2017.
Report it. Don’t ignore it.
The effectiveness of hotlines depends, amongst other things, on the people filing the reports. According to INHOPE’s mission statement, it asks internet users encountering visual content possibly considered to have a paedophile nature, not to ignore it, but report it even anonymously to the hotline of their country, in Hungary to the email@example.com e-mail address or through the internethotline.hu website. An atrocious video or image could be the last piece in the puzzle of an investigation, as it might contain information in some detail of the location, background, environment or speech that could serve as a lead for the authorities.
About the cooperation of INHOPE and the Internet Hotline
INHOPE (International Association of Internet Hotlines) is an international association of hotlines combating child sexual exploitation, uniting 48 hotlines from 43 countries. The Internet Hotline service operated by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority in the spirit of social responsibility joined INHOPE in 2012. Thanks to its membership, the Internet Hotline can easily and rapidly initiate the taking down of paedophile content which is accessible in Hungary yet stored on foreign servers and receive notifications through INHOPE’s database established for this purpose on other infringing recordings found on Hungarian servers.
Hungarian internet users may file reports through the Internet Hotline’s online interface (www.internethotline.hu) or via the firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address when encountering paedophile content on the internet.
The INHOPE 2017 Annual Report in English: