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GSMA Launches Mobile Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse

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The GSM Association, the global trade association for mobile operators, has launched the Mobile Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Content to obstruct the use of the mobile environment by individuals or organisations wishing to consume or profit from child sexual abuse content. While the vast majority of child sexual abuse content is today accessed through conventional connections to the Internet, there is a danger that the broadband networks now being rolled out by mobile operators could be misused in the same way.

The Alliance has been founded by the GSMA, Hutchison 3G Europe, mobilkom austria, Orange FT Group, Telecom Italia, Telefonica/02, Telenor Group, TeliaSonera, T-Mobile Group, Vodafone Group and dotMobi.

Members of the Alliance will, among other measures, implement technical mechanisms to prevent access to Web sites identified by an appropriate agency as hosting child sexual abuse content. Members will also implement Notice and Take Down processes to enable the removal of any child sexual abuse content posted on their own services, while supporting and promoting 'hotlines' or other mechanisms for customers to report child sexual abuse content discovered on the Internet or on mobile content services.

"As our industry rolls out mobile broadband networks that provide quick and easy access to multimedia Web sites, we must put safeguards in place to obstruct criminals looking to use mobile services as a means of accessing or hosting pictures and videos of children being sexually-abused," said Craig Ehrlich, Chairman of the GSMA. "We call on governments across the world to support this initiative by providing the necessary legal clarity to ensure that mobile operators can act effectively against child sexual abuse content and to step up international enforcement against known sources."

There is a risk though, that procedures can break-down and a media backlash would occur if an incident is traced to the operators. By setting up this program, they may have actually made them more vulnerable to criticism in the future.

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