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Researchers Use Computer-Generated 10-Year-Old Girl To Catch Online Predators

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the trawling-the-dark-corners-of-the-internet dept.

Crime 545

mrspoonsi writes "Dutch researchers conducted a 10-week sting, using a life-like, computer-generated 10-year-old Filipino girl named 'Sweetie.' During this time, 20,000 men contacted her. 1,000 of these men offered money to remove clothing (254 were from the U.S., 110 from the U.K. and 103 from India). Charity organization Terre des Hommes launched a global campaign to stop 'webcam sex tourism.' It has 'handed over its findings to police and has said it will provide authorities with the technology it has developed."

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545 comments

profile = evidence? (1)

MonkeyDancer (797523) | about 5 months ago | (#45338799)

Researchers used evidence including profiles on Skype and social media to identify the suspects.

These guys probably deserve what's coming to them but to say that a profile is evidence is a bit extreme.

Re:profile = evidence? (3, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45338829)

Well, Europol thought that they exceeded the appropriate investigative behavior for civilians. So you might not be the only one to think so.

Re:profile = evidence? (5, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 5 months ago | (#45338873)

What are they charged with? "Molesting under age pixels"?

Re:profile = evidence? (4, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 5 months ago | (#45339225)

What are they charged with? "Molesting under age pixels"?

No need to charge them with anything... publicizing their real names and locations would do as much damage as charging them with anything would. Of course, there lies the lynch mob....

Re:profile = evidence? (3, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#45339247)

"Evidence" is anything that supports a premise. An IP address or profile is "evidence" as is an eye witness and DNA evidence.

Re:profile = evidence? (2, Interesting)

Notabadguy (961343) | about 5 months ago | (#45339331)

20,000 men contacted a piece of software.

1,000 of those men expressed interest in either having a piece of software remove it's clothing, or utilizing its interface port in a method not intended by most software developers, but apparently intended by these developers.

Questions of entrapment aside, let alone questions of intent, I'd think the obvious defense to this would be, "I thought it was an interesting chat program and was testing it's capabilities and responses."

More scary are the ramifications if any of these people are prosecuted. Unwrapping software has never been illegal, but these Dutch apparently think that not only should it be illegal, but that its actionable to even request to unwrap software. Does that mean when I buy a new game and rip off the cover, it's non-consensual rape?

The numbers (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45338803)

The numbers there are roughly proportional to the number of internet users from each country(just under 1 per million). So... sick-fuckitude crosses all races and cultures.

Re:The numbers (3, Insightful)

znanue (2782675) | about 5 months ago | (#45338993)

Suggests we could do more to manage the problem of child molestation than just crime and punishment. In that vein, maybe we can drop the disgust and stigma long enough to figure out something that works better?

Re:The numbers (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45339021)

Well, no. It's okay to be disgusted with crimes that harm others. Wanting an empirical approach to addressing crime doesn't mean the crime itself is intrinsically more OK.

Re:The numbers (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 5 months ago | (#45339145)

What's considered "harm"? To some folks, a 17-year-old hearing the word "penis" is a disgusting crime that should be prosecuted. The way I've seen it most often handled, it's the parents of the child who get to decide whether something's harmful. Usually, the minor has no input on the matter at all.

Almost all law involving minors is based around the ancient notion that people don't start thinking until someone else tells them to. Until that time, the father/owner/king knows best, right?

Re:The numbers (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45339183)

Laws about minors revolves around the fact that, by necessity, not all of them are capable of rational consent, and any line used would be arbitrary, so an arbitrary one is used. It's not tyranny to seek limitations on those who would take advantage of naivete.

I mean, it's almost like your arguing against the existence of childhood.

Re:The numbers (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about 5 months ago | (#45339227)

It's not tyranny to seek limitations on those who would take advantage of naivete.

most corporations would beg to differ

Re:The numbers (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45339265)

No, I think this is not the place to have yet another extended debate about how wrong neo-liberalism, consumerism, or corporatism are as an approach to economics.

Re:The numbers (4, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | about 5 months ago | (#45339197)

Would you agree that parents generally know better what is good for 2 year old than the child? If yes, then it is matter of setting minority age right and/or make acquiring legal rights and responsibilities more gradual. Notion that people don't have full capacity for rational thinking right from birth may be ancient, but it also happens to be right.

Re:The numbers (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#45339217)

Funny thing is, I have heard the AG of my state on the radio being absolutely chewed out by a parent about the fact that our age of consent is 16 (and no there is no age gap law here either), and all she could say was "Well the law is the law". So that 17 year old would be fair game for real sex here.... just don't take any pictures, or sell them any porn..... but stick your dick in as much as they let you...because that is legal.

> Almost all law involving minors is based around the ancient notion that people
> don't start thinking until someone else tells them

I thought it was based on the idea that they are property sold off at time of marriage and thus having sex with them could potentially ruin the value to prospective future buy....er husbands. Then again, maybe I am just....old fashioned :)

Re:The numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339189)

Creates a rather slippery-slope, though, in that you calling them "sick fucks", given there was no child in this scenario, means your statement is the only act that actually has harmed others.

I assume you think being prosecuted yourself on the basis of your own criteria, wouldn't be particularly desirable. Maybe it's a bit more complex than is suggested on the surface.

Re:The numbers (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45339211)

Oh wah, a stranger on the internet judged people for taking advantage of a seeming child. How ever will society live this injustice down?!?!?!

Re:The numbers (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 5 months ago | (#45339287)

Creates a rather slippery-slope, though, in that you calling them "sick fucks", given there was no child in this scenario, means your statement is the only act that actually has harmed others.

no worse than calling anyone who speaks out against the USA a "terrorist"... and then blowing that person up with a missile launched from a drone

Re:The numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339231)

That's missing the point. The point is that we aren't quite rational about this and this is preventing us from coming up with more constructive ways than what's happening now.

This is quite understandable because as a species it behooves us to protect our young and so all sorts of instincts kick in. But it does mean that most people appear to be unable to drop the hysteria and look for more effective ways than frantic attacking of symptoms, and causing a lot of collateral damage in the process.

Re:The numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339095)

While I'm all for these sick bastards being behind bars before they abuse/harass/exploit (another) child, I'm wondering if something like this would actually stand up in court. This isn't like that TV show where they had some bait teenager and a sting operation, there's no real kid here. Granted this robot is special purpose, but I fail to see how this is significantly different than someone trying to flirt/bribe cleverbot.

Does it count as a Turing test if the "offenders" can't tell if it is a real kid or not?

Re:The numbers (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45339123)

Well, I don't think anyone involved has been formally indicted, and, if you read Europol's statement regarding it, it seems unlikely anyone will be.

dateline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45338807)

Hi... I'm Chris Hansen... would you have a seat right over BALEETED!

Does anyone know where you can download her? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45338809)

You know, for research purposes.

Entrapment (4, Insightful)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 5 months ago | (#45338827)

Seems on awful lot like entrapment to me and could also give some people a defence, ie. "I thought she was one of those fake girls, I'd never think of asking a real child to do that!''

Re:Entrapment (4, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45338845)

This wasn't the police. How can you have police entrapment with no police involvement?

I wish people would stop claiming entrapment for stings. They're completely distinct.

Re:Entrapment (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#45338893)

Yep. Entrapment by police and entrapment by well-intentioned vigilante investigators are completely different things. Though if they have done their research, they'll know the importance of never leading the suspect on or enticing them to any action.

Re:Entrapment (4, Informative)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#45339271)

Yep. Entrapment by police and entrapment by well-intentioned vigilante investigators are completely different things. Though if they have done their research, they'll know the importance of never leading the suspect on or enticing them to any action.

I don't think they are on firm legal ground here. Nobody is going to get charged with a crime and when they start naming names they run the risk of being sued for defamation.

I don't like child predators and I want them caught and locked up, but this kind of activity doesn't help that much.

Re: Entrapment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339009)

Indeed this is incitement legally isn't it?

Re: Entrapment (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45339079)

Still no. The sting/entrapment distinction would still apply. Incitement means actively encouraging an illegal behavior. Otherwise we'd arresting attractive rape victims.

The public/private distinction is only one of the two mistakes the OP made.

Re:Entrapment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339041)

The principle of entrapment doesn't change just because the employer of those executing it differ.

Re:Entrapment (4, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45339109)

I think that you'll find that it does.

From wikipedia:
Entrapment arises when a person is encouraged by someone in some official capacity to commit a crime.

A private citizen completely lacks the ability to have official capacity. Police posing as civilians are also not entrapping anyone. To be entrapment, there must be a reason for the suspect to falsely believe their actions are legal on the part of someone associated with law enforcement(it doesn't have to be police).

Re:Entrapment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339255)

The civilian risks becoming complicit, though.

Re:Entrapment (3, Interesting)

artfulshrapnel (1893096) | about 5 months ago | (#45339261)

Also, entrapment only applies if they are encouraged to commit the act by someone in some official capacity. Providing a target for a crime =/= encouraging someone to commit a crime.

For example: in theory a person should be allowed to leave their car sitting anywhere in any city with the doors unlocked and valuables in plain view. The fact that they haven't secured their possessions against crime doesn't make theft of the car or its contents legal. So, if the cops parked a car and left it unlocked with a wallet in the front seat, they could arrest anyone who tried to steal it without running afoul of entrapment, because they aren't actually encouraging anyone to commit a crime, they're simply providing an opportunity for the person to decide to commit a crime.

If by contrast they were to put up a sign that says "steal the wallet or a sniper will shoot you", or had an officer standing nearby telling people to steal the wallet, they'd be guilty of entrapment because they're encouraging the person to act.

Re:Entrapment (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45339323)

Actually, I'd make the case "do x or I will shoot you" is simultaneous a crime of actionable threat, and a plausible affirmative defense on the part of the threatened, without necessarily being entrapment. "Do x or I will arrest you" is.

Re:Entrapment (3, Informative)

Alef (605149) | about 5 months ago | (#45339307)

To be entrapment, there must be a reason for the suspect to falsely believe their actions are legal on the part of someone associated with law enforcement [...]

Just a note: That isn't how the laws are written in all countries, though. In Sweden, for instance, it is illegal for the police to "provoke" someone to commit a crime, regardless of what the subject of the action believes or not. The idea is that it is not the job of the police to prosecute anyone with a potential to commit a crime, as that would probably include a large portion of the entire population, most of which would otherwise live peacefully their entire lives. Their job is only to step in when a crime is actually at hand; about to be committed or in progress. They are however allowed to actively facilitate an ongoing crime in order to gather more evidence, but that's where the line is drawn.

Re:Entrapment (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#45338933)

These guys probably deserve what's coming to them but to say that a profile is evidence is a bit extreme.

Except the article points out that they made sure to never actually suggest anything unless it was asked of them (OK, in fairness this one isn't as clear on that point, but I've seen quite a few covering this already).

It's not entrapment when you initiate contact and are the first one to offer to pay to see an underage girl naked.

They just had a fictional 10 year old join a chat room. That a bunch of them immediately started making contact with her ... well, that's their actions. It's not like they went in and said "hey, I'm a 10 year old girl willing to get naked for old men".

And, remembering ICQ ... a/s/l and other immediate responses to the apparent presence of a female, I find this entirely plausible.

Re:Entrapment (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45339071)

Yeah, entrapment depends on the details of how you do it. I don't know what the laws are regarding underage pixels, but in the US the minimum is probably life.

One legitimate use though would be to find out who is interest in such things, and use that as a basis to get a warrant (I'm old-fashioned about those things). Then you could track them to actual crimes.

Of course this overlooks that the 4th Amendment is now toilet paper, you can get everything from the NSA, and one accidental click on a site like that is something that grandstanding prosecutors take as equivalent to being a distribution kingpin. But as a theoretical exercise in the legitimate pursuit of justice, I stand by what I said.

Re:Entrapment (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 5 months ago | (#45338953)

Seems on awful lot like entrapment to me

Except it's not since these people would have done this anyway. They were not forced into doing this.

This web site [tumblr.com] gives a good description of what is and is not entrapment.

Re:Entrapment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339001)

Did the predators get entrapped to sign online? Or tricked into joining a chat room? Did they get tricked into replying to a 10 yr old girl? Did they get tricked into asking the girl to cam? did they get tricked into asking the girl to undress or telling the girl they will pay for them? These are pedophiles, nothing more nothing less. No entrapment.

Re:Entrapment (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#45339337)

Did the predators get entrapped to sign online? Or tricked into joining a chat room? Did they get tricked into replying to a 10 yr old girl? Did they get tricked into asking the girl to cam? did they get tricked into asking the girl to undress or telling the girl they will pay for them? These are pedophiles, nothing more nothing less. No entrapment.

You are right, but for the wrong reasons. There is no entrapment because the people posing as the 10 year old girl are not law enforcement and NOBODY is being charged with a crime so NOBODY has been enticed to commit a crime, even if they did all the things you say they didn't...

Re:Entrapment (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 5 months ago | (#45339089)

I don't think you know what entrapment means in a legal capacity.

Not Entrapment: An undercover cop selling cocaine, then busting people that buy it.
Entrapment: Cops busting into your house and destroying stuff until you agree to buy cocaine, then arresting you for it.

Re:Entrapment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339229)

Um, no. Entrapment is when the cop selling the cocaine brings up the topic first. If you ask to buy, it's not entrapment. If he approaches you and ask if you want to buy some, that's entrapment.

Re:Entrapment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339301)

To me a sting would be to set up at 7-11 wait for robber catch him dead bang you provided nothing.
Entrapment is you set up a 7-11 provided hookers busted people for getting a hooker or say left 100 bills on the ground then arrest them for stealing.

Only time it is not entrapment is when you provided nothing more than the recording device.

Just because that is not the way things are it is the way they should be in free countries. What there is not enough crime for them to bust without making it up.

Re:Entrapment (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#45339213)

Given that the people doing this where not doing law enforcement and where not sanctioned by a law enforcement entity, legally entrapment is not an option here. The main reason is that nobody will get charged with a crime where they can use entrapment as a defense.

What these folks are doing is trying to embarrass the nut cases that walk into their trap. Nobody is going to jail based on their efforts, although they might be accused of defamation by the people they choose to name.

The police are passing up a gem (1, Troll)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 5 months ago | (#45338849)

In the article the police agencies from several nations are mentioned, asking the group to stop their work and let the police do it all.

They should be partnering with the group, giving them guidance at how to report the crimes of attempted sex crimes to the right agencies and getting iron-clad evidence to the courts. The group could work wonders in avoiding child sexual exploitation globally, or at least making predators think twice.

Instead the cops are telling them, "Let us do our job, go away." They are throwing away a gem just because they didn't do it all themselves.

Re:The police are passing up a gem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45338963)

It is not a 'gem', it is entrapment. You can set up a 'hologram cheese' in display buy can't prove that anyone taking a bite is a thief. In fact, the only crime committed is you that is doing extortion by publicly shaming stranger. Very a like to the pornography 'piracy' accusation scam that happened recently. It is not surprising to me that the police want no part in this.

TLDR; You are an idiot, and a fascist.

Re:The police are passing up a gem (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 5 months ago | (#45339057)

So it's entrapment by way of having the person initiate contact and make the request to see CP, by third party not affiliated with any police organization?

The article does say the researched never suggested anything, and waited to be asked first.

Also police depts do have cyber crimes divisions like this which do the same deal, but with officers conversing with these people.

Re:The police are passing up a gem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45338977)

Or, the police agencies know that, as is often the case, "clever vigilantism" is not useful for legal prosecution given what their laws actually say.

"We're considering charging these guys with child sexual exploitation."

"Who was the child?"

"Oh, there was no actual child."

"In this jurisdiction, nothing to prosecute that is child sexual exploitation, then."

Re:The police are passing up a gem (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about 5 months ago | (#45338987)

Technically it isn't a crime to chat up under age computers.
No crime has occurred or been proven and there is zero evidence.

Re:The police are passing up a gem (0)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45338991)

Instead the cops are telling them, "Let us do our job, go away."

Probably because too many cops got snared. Personally I want a list of the politico visitors.

Re:The police are passing up a gem (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 5 months ago | (#45339055)

They should be partnering with the group...

You're assuming that the group is sane and competent and honest. When it comes to anti-pornography activists, evangelical fervor often overwhelms all other considerations as people fly off into a moral panic -- especially when children are involved. "OMG won't SOMEONE think of the CHILDREN!!1!"

I'd need to see something far more rigorous -- especially when the group in question has been accused of covering up for real child abusers and used a criminal defamation suit to silence the accuser. [wikipedia.org]

That said: there are creeps on the net and you should not let ten-year-olds out there unsupervised. (Duh.)

Re:The police are passing up a gem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339243)

It has to do with evidence, there need to be a confirmed chain. There are some legal issues when the evidence is nothing more than chat logs, and requires a lot of work and admissions by the accused. There are fortunately digital tracks of evidence but still would require a search warrant but we come back to the first part of evidence whether its enough for a search warrant.

There would have to be some law changes, where parts of police work would be privatized to "mercenaries". I don't know about you, it'll probably work in USA but where I live I do not think it's such a good idea, we rather keep our freedoms.

Predators? Call them scum or perverts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45338897)

Predators? Call them scum or perverts. This is what they are.

eww. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45338907)

i'm going to take a shower after reading the article.

Re:eww. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339309)

... and some vigorous fapping

Photography from turn of the century - 19 th centu (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45338911)

I once saw this book of 19 th century photographs of young French girls. Full frontal. It is considered art. If i showed young girls getting their heads blown off - of course it' s specila effects, it's considered enterrkainment. My point? All these anti-pedophile laws were written by, supported by, and passed by closet pedophiles.

Re:Photography from turn of the century - 19 th ce (4, Funny)

firex726 (1188453) | about 5 months ago | (#45339075)

You should try out for the Olympics, that's one hell of a leap.

Re: Photography from turn of the century - 19 th c (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339303)

Leap? You've been programmed into thinking violence is a-ok regardless of the target, yet something as nTural as nudity is Evil. and this nonsense of being arroused - really? The sex laws or anti- sex would be more accurate are something written by an adolescent who gets hard over a hole in a peice of wood. Americans are a bunch of oppressed pre- pubescent children. You people are the ones who go all gagga over bare breasted women on Carribean beaches. Children.

Re:Photography from turn of the century - 19 th ce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339161)

That's why American' definition of pedophilia is rampant in europe and especially France. but of course, child sex slaves is also very rampant and vibrant in that part of the world...

Probably saw the same book (1)

aepervius (535155) | about 5 months ago | (#45339297)

The reason it is considered art today is because there are even today photograph taking picture of young naked teenager (no sex involved) and it *is* considered art. See pornography usually involve much more than a pretty picture of a naked girl alone just in a normal position. But you can bet your ass that back in the 19th century it was considered pornography, because showing more than your ankle was.

I don't see the downside so far (4, Interesting)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 5 months ago | (#45338915)

Asking a 10 year old to get naked isn't a gray area, this isn't a case where a 16 or 17 (or even 15) year old "looked old enough"; this is absolutely a (virtual) child these turkeys are trying to use for their own thrills. More like this and fewer child porno cases against cartoons are what is needed.

Re:I don't see the downside so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339285)

But this is also not a real child, which is probably the same argument you'd bring against child porno cases about cartoons.

Downside? (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#45338931)

A possible unintended consequence of this approach could be that future peda-wannabees could claim they believed they were talking to a virtual victim and not a real one, even if the potential victim is real.Basically, a game to see if they could pick out the virtual being. They would, of course, want to verify they are really talking to a virtual victim, thus the reason for a visit. Who could prove it wasn't just a game?

Re:Downside? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 months ago | (#45338983)

Nice thought, but many jurisdictions have already outlawed even fictitious depictions of children.

Re:Downside? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339067)

Depictions where, in the mind or tangible medium? Outlawing thoughts would be an interesting step for countries that delude themselves into thinking of themselves as "free".

Re:Downside? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339135)

Some have, most notably the UK.

If a US jurisdiction (who the majority was) has, please enlighten us.

Re:Downside? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339025)

How about those 10 year old boys getting all exited about talking to an exotic 10 year old Filipino girl, only to get their hearts ripped out when they find out that she's only an automation.

Re:Downside? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339033)

What's the name of that disease that will have an adult looking like a child? Why don't they claim that they thought a child was an adult suffering from that disease. Talking to a child, real or virtual and asking them to get naked on cam is enough probable and reasonable cause to arrest anyone.

Re:Downside? (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 5 months ago | (#45339259)

Such a defence would be incredibly difficult to pull off outside of very compelling contexts. E.g. the wrongcock was browsing a website where it was reasonable to expect they would be chatting with robochild.

It's up there with fighting a speeding ticket with the claim that the perfectly normal speed limit sign looked kind of fake.

Re:Downside? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339277)

In some european countries even faked pedophilia is illegal. I.e. pornstars cannot pretend to be preteen, nor can you create comics where preteen engage in sexual behavior (even if it's not a rape). So that defense wouldn't work in i.e. Sweden.

The lure of illusions (2)

jovius (974690) | about 5 months ago | (#45338943)

So it's an advanced, immaterial sex doll. Probably the adult industry will move on to employ similar creations in live web shows.

Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45338957)

Based on the photo in TFA, its pretty obviously CGI*. So are we busting all the people viewing loli websites? Where is the line to be drawn? If they knew, or say they knew it was CGI and we don't have a clear demarcation line (perhaps based upon a 'common person' test), where's the justification for legal action?

*Testable by presenting some PG rated versions to test and control groups along with real human pix under proper double blind conditions.

Of Course! (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 months ago | (#45338967)

"We believe that criminal investigations using intrusive surveillance measures should be the exclusive responsibility of law enforcement agencies," spokesman Soren Pedersen told the Reuters news agency.

People in political or law enforcement power are at least as prone to this sort of activity (and often more considering the typical mental/emotional profile of such child predators) as everyone else. So of course they want to control any investigative activity so that they can filter out the protected 'elite' from those caught in the sting.

Re:Of Course! (1)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#45339101)

This.

We had a pedo case in our town a couple of years back. The local cops were doing nothing*, so the complaint was filed in a nearby jurisdiction. It even made the local news, with a reporter shoving a camera in the chief of police's face and asking what was up. Deer in the headlights reaction.

*It involved a popular church elder, IIRC. The banjo music is powerful in these parts.

Making an underage sex bot (4, Interesting)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 5 months ago | (#45339017)

Will these researchers be convicted for developing an under-age sex bot?

Or does it not count because they were giving paedos sexual titillation "for research purposes"?

I fucking hate child sex abuse. I'm one of those bleeding heart feminists. But this is NOT child sex abuse - and if the authorities spend one moment on it, they are deliberately redirecting resources away from catching criminals, i.e. choosing to take a path which will increase the number of abused children.

Re:Making an underage sex bot (1)

Scott Ragen (3378093) | about 5 months ago | (#45339241)

Child abusers are the lowest form of life. These guys had the intent to commit the crime, possibly believing it was a real 10 year old girl. They should in my opinion be in prison.

What if it had been a real girl?

I hope the authorities can make use of the info (1)

rs1n (1867908) | about 5 months ago | (#45339083)

that was given to them. I find that any number (of people who enjoy the exploitation of children) higher than 0 to be too high.

sweetiebot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339115)

Sweetiebot is from ponyville not the phillypines!

Network 23 (2)

tag (22464) | about 5 months ago | (#45339157)

There's a Max Headroom joke in here somewhere, but I'm still too creeped out to make it.

3D (3)

Spaham (634471) | about 5 months ago | (#45339201)

Am I the only one to see immediatly that this is 3D Computer Graphics ??
It's very realistic but still computer generated...

Is it actually illegal? (4, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | about 5 months ago | (#45339249)

The question is: is doing/seeing something in virtual reality actually a crime? I'm sure Christians would say "Yes, it's a sin" but legally you haven't 'hurt' anyone. As this stuff gets more realistic, how much of the criminals currently exploiting children will simply buy/rent a render farm and become a legitimate business? To put it very crudely: the render farms do not involve the cost and risk of kidnapping, transporting, exploiting and maintaining people (whether they be adult or not) and they can give the same experience without putting anyone either physically or legally at risk.

At that point (if you're "into" that stuff), doing this becomes merely thought crime. I haven't done the research into whether this increases or reduces the risk of actually physical incidents (I hope it would reduce the drive for gratification in the illegal ways drastically) but it could be a boon for a host of people and move a lot of law enforcement activity to other exploitation of humans.

Having sex with a computer isn't a crime (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45339325)

I'm sure the law is (in most countries) that an under-age child must interact in the conversation. If there is no child, there is no crime.

The law is to protect children, not to punish immoral thoughts or expressions of those thoughts.

This is nothing more than oppression by "big brother".

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