Amazon service popular among pedophiles for distributing illicit images

The rise in child pornography images online has sparked an inquiry.

An investigation from the Internet Watch Foundation has revealed Amazon’s web hosting service is popular among pedophiles distributing unlawful illicit pictures of minors.

The organization, which works to shut down “child abuse content” on the internet, said it received a “tenfold” increase in reports to its hotline regarding inappropriate images, some of which were hosted on hardware provided by Amazon.

IWF says the online retailer is the highest priority in the "hotlist" of targets after they found its web servers were rampant with criminal activities. Approximately 372 unlawful images of child sexual abuse were distributed through the service in the first half of 2013. Some of the images have been categorized as levels four and five on the Sentencing Guideline’s Council’s scale of child sexual abuse, the two most serious categories.

While Amazon is not endorsing or promoting the content, IWF blames the Internet giant for providing the servers to third parties who then host the websites containing illicit content.

Sarah Smith, an IWF technical researcher, says her organization is making immense efforts to curb the rising issue.

It shows how someone, not looking for child sexual abuse images, can stumble across it. The original adult content the internet user is viewing is far removed from anything related to young people or children. We’ve received reports from people distressed about what they’ve seen. Our reporters have been extremely diligent in explaining exactly what happened, enabling our analysts to re-trace their steps and take action against the child sexual abuse images."

Among the supporters of the British NGO include Google, Bing, PayPal and Virgin. There have been calls for other companies – such as Facebook, Samsung and Apple – to join the cause against the obscene criminal activities.

Source: The Guardian, IWF | Image via The Australian 

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