Federal police anti-porn operations cut by razor gang

$40 million sliced from cyber safety, anti-child porn initiatives

The Rudd government's razor gang has cut funding from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) anti-child porn operations, including its online capability.

Some $2.8 million will slashed from the Online Child Sex Exploitation Team which last month caught 90 paedophiles in Australia's largest child pornography sting.

A further $37.2 million will be cut from the former government's protecting Australian Families Online initiative over five years.

The now rebranded Cybersafety Plan will allocate $126 million over four years to fund AFP investigations into child porn and recruit an additional 91 officers to online child protection by 2011.

The opt-in NetAlert filter will also be scrapped in exchange for a opt-out national Internet content filtering scheme.

Shadow communications minister Bruce Billson said the cuts will hinder future law enforcement efforts to combat child porn.

"The government razor gang wants to cut funding designed to specifically target online child sex exploitation and to help keep our children safe online," Billson said.

"The Rudd Labor government must reverse these naive and dangerous funding cuts immediately and show that they are serious about online safety."

Up to 2883 Australian IP addresses were identified as having accessed child pornography images as part of Operation Centurion, a six-month long sting in conjunction with an Interpol paedophile investigation spanning 170 countries.

One million images were found in the sting, which identified suspects ranging between 19 and 81 years old.

The international investigation was sparked after a hacker posted 99 child porn images on a reputable European Web site which received 12 million views from 150,000 addresses in 76 hours.

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Darren Pauli

Computerworld
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