An integral component of any national cybersecurity strategy is the adoption of appropriate legislation against the misuse of ICTs for criminal or other purposes, including activities intended to affect the integrity of national critical information infrastructures.
The ITU has developed a draft Cybercrime Toolkit. To access these resources please click on the following link.
Canada's Task Force on SPAM, which had a one year mandate, brought together industry, consumers and academic experts to design a comprehensive package of measures to combat threats to the online economy. The Task Force issued a final report entitled Stopping Spam: Creating a Stronger, Safer Internet. The report includes a range of recommendations including more rigorous law enforcement, public eduation, policy development and legislation. Moreover, the Government of Canada established the Task Force on Spam to lead the Anti-Spam Action Plan for Canada. The Action Plan called for consulting Canadians on how to best achieve the objective of curtailing the current flood of unsolicited commercial email.
To this end, the Task Force created the Task Force on Spam Online Public Consultation Forum and convened a Roundtable Meeting with Key Stakeholders on December 3rd, 2004.
The European Union’s Strategy on the Rights of the Child, announced in July 2006, set out a list of objectives and initiatives to promote and safeguard the rights of the child in the European Union’s internal and external policies and to support member states’ efforts in this field.
By November 2009, several achievements were recorded, among which are initiatives aimed at combating child pornography:
- Support for the banking sector and credit card companies to combat the use of credit cards when purchasing sexual images of children on the Internet
- Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (repealing Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA (2009))
- The new Safer Internet Programme 2009-2013 (DG INFSO) which aims to protect children in the online world. The Programme also supports the INHOPE network of hotlines.
- The Daphne III Programme (2007-2013) which co-finances projects to prevent and combat violence against children, young people and women and to protect victims and groups at risk.
The Strategy is based on the legal framework provided by the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), as well as pursuant to the rights enshrined in the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Year of Implementation: 2009
In Singapore, there is no specific legal provision on the offence of child pornography. However, two Acts – the Undesirable Publication Act and the Films Act – cover all forms of pornography. On the other hand, persons commissioning or procuring the commission by any person of any obscene or indecent act with any child, is punishable under Section 6 of the Children and Young Person Act.
Year of Implementation: 1998
In Australia, child pornography is regulated through censorship, customs, crimes and broadcasting legislation. Some of these laws are at federal level, while some are at state and territory level.
At federal level, the Customs Act 1901 prohibits the importation and exportation of, among other things, child pornography and child abuse material in hard copy (section 233BAB), while the Criminal Code Act 1995 prosecutes offences related to both ‘child pornography material’ and ‘child abuse material’, including online offences. Also at federal level, the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 bans films, publications and computer games that “describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not).” On the other hand, the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and the Communications Legislation Amendment (Content Services) Act 2007 regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet Content Hosts (ICHs) (rather than regulating the producers of online content or the persons who upload or access content).
At state and territory level, legislation which prohibits child pornography includes New South Wales’ Crimes Act, Queensland’s Criminal Code, South Australia’s Criminal Law Consolidation Act, Tasmania’s Criminal Code Act, Victoria’s Crimes Act, Western Australia’s Classification Act, Australian Capital Territory Crimes Act, and Northern Territory’s Criminal Code.
Year of Implementation: 1995
In England and Wales, several pieces of legislation regulate against child pornography. These are the Obscene Publications Acts of 1959 and 1964 which make obscene material including that passed over the Internet, illegal. The Protection of Children Act of 1978 makes it a criminal offence to take, distribute, exhibit or possess even one “indecent” photograph of a child. The Criminal Justice Act of 1988 makes the mere possession of indecent photographs of children also an offence, whereas the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 was amended to include in the definition of “photograph” data stored on a computer disc or by other electronic means, which is capable of being converted into a photograph.
Year of Implementation: 1994
Child pornography laws in the United States render child pornography illegal under federal law and in all states. The criminal act is widely considered to be obscene, that is, referring to offensive or violent forms of pornography that have been declared by US Supreme Court decisions to be outside the protection of the First Amendment on free speech. However, various levels of penalties are applied.
The PROTECT (“Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today”) Act of 2003 includes prohibitions against illustrations depicting child pornography, including computer-generated illustrations, also known as virtual child pornography. The PROTECT Act is a response to the Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) of 1996 which was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2002.
The Act, which entered into force on April 30, 2003, prohibits computer-generated child pornography when "(b) such visual depiction is a computer image or computer-generated image that is, or appears virtually indistinguishable from that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct” (as amended by 1466A for Section 2256(8)(B) of Title 18, United States Code).
Through Title 18, the United States Code prohibits the production of child pornography, the selling or buying children for sexual exploitation, the possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography, and the importation of child pornography (sections 2251-2260).
Year of Implementation: 2003
Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA makes certain acts related to the sexual exploitation of children illegal. It also makes the production, distribution, dissemination or transmission, supplying, acquisition and possession of child pornography illegal too, whether undertaken by means of a computer system or not.
Year of Implementation: 2004
Council Decision 2000/375/JHA introduced a specific instrument to combat child pornography on the Internet. It directed member states to take measures to encourage Internet users to inform law enforcement authorities if they suspect that child pornography material is being distributed on the Internet, to ensure that offences are investigated and punished, for example by setting up specialised units within the law enforcement authorities, and to ensure that the law enforcement authorities react rapidly when they receive information on alleged cases of child pornography.
Year of Implementation: 2003
The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse constitutes the highest international standard for protecting children against sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and is the first to establish the various forms of sexual abuse of children as criminal offences. It is said to be filling the gaps in European legislation and harmonising the legal framework.
The Convention (Article 20) requires parties to criminalise the following acts: producing child pornography, offering or making available child pornography, distributing or transmitting child pornography, procuring child pornography for oneself or for another person, possessing child pornography, and knowingly obtaining access, through information and communication technologies, to child pornography.
The Convention was adopted and opened for signature in July 2007, on the occasion of the 28th Conference of European Ministers of Justice in Lanzarote, Spain. It came into force on July 1, 2010.
Year of Implementation: 2010