Thursday, December 3, 2020

Child pornography cases spike in Kerala, cyber cell arrest 41 people in a major crackdown

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— Consider reading the article Child pornography cases spike in Kerala, cyber cell arrest 41 people in a major crackdown on OpIndia website —

In a major crackdown against child pornography, the Kerala police’s cyber wing on Monday arrested 41 people, including some IT professionals, and registered 268 cases on the charge of browsing and downloading child pornography.

According to the reports, the Kerala police had carried out a month-long covert online surveillance operation code-named “P-Hunt_20.2”. The operation has culminated in the arrest of 41 persons from across the state Kerala on the charge of “seeking, collecting, browsing and downloading” child pornography.

The police said that most of the arrested persons were using encrypted handles to upload such material and circulating them on social media platforms. The cyber cell has seized many electronic devices and phones from these arrested individuals. Some of the arrested include IT professionals, the police said.

The accused were identified and arrested with the help of Cyberdom (specialised wing of cyber police), Interpol and other agencies, said additional director general of police Manoj Abraham.

Police seized child porn materials from arrested

According to the police, most of the seized material had contained child pornography related to children between the age group of 6-15 years. The Cyberdom officials also found that some of these accused had formatted their smartphones regularly to avoid detection and also used malware to activate the webcams of the victim to steal information of children.

“The biggest impact of the pandemic, besides health issues, is an online crime. True, the lockdown has increased digital usage and this also spiked use in pornography, especially involving minor children. Many think that these acts use will go unnoticed but they are mistaken. In many cases, it looks like a sickness that requires medical treatment as many are repeat offenders,” said Abraham.

The officer added that many obscene pictures, videos captured were taken from Kerala, stating that abuse of children locked up in their homes was quite evident in many cases.

The police also found out that child sexual abuse material (CSAM) content was sourced from security cameras at homes, flats. The accused recorded images and videos of children from webcams.

The Kerala police had deployed used a mix of surveillance software, social engineering techniques and deceptive social media identities to infiltrate into the clandestine child porn sharing circles.

According to country’s penal laws, watching and sharing child pornographic images, videos and literature is a crime and can invite a five-year-jail term and maximum fine of Rs 10 lakh.

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