BBC Investigation reveals indecent pictures of children being traded by encrypted messaging apps

19 Feb 2019

A BBC Investigation revealed that paedophile are  trading abusive pictures of children  through encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram and Discord. Links to such groups are normally buried in public comments section of YouTube videos and once clicked, take people to these closed groups. The BBC investigation discovered several chatrooms in Discord, promoted as suitable for children between 13-17 years old, but with very sexual descriptions and aimed to persuade children to hand over explicit photos.Ariel Ainhoren, head of research at security firm IntSights confirmed that  they had identified a group where price list for indecent pictures of children were listed. BBC has forwarded the details of the illegal materials found during the investigation to the National Crime Agency.

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Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss. 

Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.

Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.

One of the main sociocultural issues is content policy, often addressed from the standpoints of human rights (freedom of expression and the right to communicate), government (content control), and technology (tools for content control). Discussions usually focus on three groups of content:

Children’s use of the Internet and mobile technology is increasing, and for many children worldwide there is no clear distinction between the online and offline world. Access to the Internet presents many opportunities for their education, personal development, self-expression, and interaction with others.


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