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News and Events19.12.2011
Joint action in 22 European сountries against online child sexual abuse material in the internet269 suspects identified and 112 arrested
The Hague, the Netherlands
Law enforcement agencies from 26 European countries, supported and coordinated by Europol, have carried out a major crackdown against online child sex abuse
The operation targeted those sharing the most extreme forms of video material, which included babies and toddlers being sexually abused and raped. A lot of the material seized during the house searches is awaiting forensic examination in order to support
«This is the latest major success in over 10 years of Europol supporting law enforcement agencies in Europe in their fight against child sex abuse online. This operation shows how the internet is helping offenders to develop better techniques for sharing images on a global basis and for protecting their identity. The problems involved are becoming harder to police and call for sustained efforts
Operation Icarus is the first operation concluded under the auspices of the new action plan of the COSPOL Internet Related Child Abuse Material Project (CIRCAMP)**, an initiative by EU police chiefs led by Belgium and funded by the European Commission.
Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs welcomed the joint action saying «These children are victims of multiple crimes. First, when the actual abuse takes place. Then, when it is filmed. And, thereafter, every time the images are posted, circulated or viewed. The joint action carried out under Europol coordination shows our commitment to backing the fight against this appalling crime. It highlights the importance of cooperation between law enforcement authorities at European and international level to tackle criminal activities that know no borders. We will continue to use all the tools at our disposal, including the recently adopted EU directive on the fight against
Operation Icarus was initiated during a CIRCAMP meeting at the start of 2011. It was agreed that the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Danish Police (DK NITEC) should be the lead country and carry out the investigations because of its expertise in illegal material exchange through file sharing systems, known
Intelligence and additional information was disseminated by Europol through its secure information system in order to guarantee the integrity of data and to ensure a fast reaction in the concerned countries. Europol’s cooperation network will also facilitate further investigations by involving partners such as Eurojust and Interpol when needed.
«Law enforcement agencies have to work together to combat the growing threat of cybercrimes against children, and we have to use the most advanced technology available. The complexity is huge and challenging for example one of the Danish suspects had 29 terabytes of data that we confiscated. This is an incredible amount of data for our investigators to handle. To put it into perspective, that could hold about 9000 hours
* The participating countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Croatia, Norway, Switzerland.
** The members of CIRCAMP are: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Europol and Interpol.
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