Child porn, drugs lead Internet content complaints in Japan

Complaints regarding illegal content almost doubled in Japan in 2009

Complaints to a Japanese Internet watchdog regarding illegal content almost doubled in 2009, led by a surge in reports related to child pornography and illegal drugs.

The Internet Hotline Center received 27,751 reports of illegal content, which is a jump of 95 percent on 2008, the country's National Police Agency (NPA) said on Wednesday.

Just over half the complaints concerned pornography, a jump of 81 percent on the year earlier, with those related to dating Web sites, bank account phishing and cell-phone related fraud also seeing similar below-average rises.

A total of 4,486 cases regarding child pornography were recorded, a rise of 140 percent on 2008, while those related to illegal drugs jumped 150 percent to 2,555 cases, according to the NPA.

Some of the complaints resulted in the pages and information being deleted upon a request from the Internet Hotline Center with over 20,000 complaints referred to the police. Of the remainder, 5,419 cases related to information residing on servers outside of Japan and so beyond the reach of Japanese agencies. These cases were referred to the International Association of Internet Hotlines.

An additional 6,217 reports were received related to issues of public safety, such as solicitation of members for group suicide and messages regarding murder.

The Internet Hotline Center was established in 2006 and is run but the Internet Association of Japan. It receives reports on illegal or harmful Internet content. It doesn't deal with complaints regarding intellectual property infringement such as peer-to-peer file sharing or download sites.

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Martyn Williams

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