ISPAI Hotline.ie Annual Report covering January to December 2013 was made public, today, 28th May during the event “Zero Tolerance to Child Sexual Abuse Online”.
The Opening Address was given by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. In her introduction the Minister pointed out the international dimension of the work done by Hotline.ie “I know that the Irish Hotline was one of the founder members of the international umbrella body of hotlines – INHOPE. I am pleased to see this international dimension of the work of Hotline reflected here today with the presence of Mr. Russell Chadwick, the Executive Director of INHOPE. I know that Ireland has contributed greatly to the INHOPE organisation over the years and I anticipate that this will continue into the future.”
After the Minister’s speech Paul Durrant, CEO of ISPAI and Manager of Hotline.ie delivered the executive summary of the Annual Report covering January to December 2013.
47 Cases of Financial Nature were reported to Hotline.ie in 2013. Out of the 47 cases, 30 were variations of the police “Ransom-Ware” Trojan which freezes the computer and (in Ireland) displays a message purporting to be from An Garda Siochana, ordering that a “fine” be paid for viewing illicit content and when received the computer will be unlocked. Gardaí advised those who have fallen prey to this scam and paid the “fine” to report this to them as soon as possible. 3 cases related to fake Online Shopping sites and 14 were various types of financial scams purporting to originate from Service Providers and State Institutions such as: Revenue (Tax Refund Online), eircom, Microsoft, Vodafone were also reported to Hotline.ie
NOTE: When receiving unexpected eMails or phone calls from Service Providers requesting to perform any activity involving personal data always verify the identity of the sender/caller before following the instructions.
2 Cases of Racism – both were directed against Muslim people and were traced to the United States of America.
1 Case of Child Grooming
185 Cases of Child Pornography also known as Child Sexual Abuse Material
Out of the 185 cases of CSAM only 7 were actually traced to the Republic of Ireland. 5 out of the 7 cases of Child Sexual Abuse Material traced to Ireland in 2013 were Cloud related. These cases of abuse affected one operator’s cloud servers here which are managed from the USA. While not a member of ISPAI, Hotline.ie took action and succeeded, in cooperation with Law Enforcement Agencies, to have the content removed from the Internet.
The reality is that the situation is becoming more complex with the advent of Cloud services and the fact that these straddle jurisdictions, not just adjacent countries but around the globe. Even so Ireland has an excellent record in comparison to most other developed European countries.
2013 Success Story
An extraordinarily successful case during the 2013, demonstrating the power of INHOPE cooperation to combat CSAM, was initiated by a single report to Hotline.ie. The report, submitted anonymously to Hotline.ie via the Online Report Form, contained a link to a Forum page. During the assessment of the content, the analyst uncovered 520 URLs which were likely to be illegal. Following procedures the analysts traced the IP address to Taiwan. This development meant the case now exceeded Irish jurisdiction and therefore Hotline.ie got in contact with its counterpart in Taiwan – Web547.
The Taiwan team reacted promptly and extremely efficiently and a further assessment of the 520 URLs forwarded by Hotline.ie led to another 408 URLs. By the end of the second assessment conducted by Taiwanese officials the total amount of URLs had risen to 928 each leading to a unique cyberlocker space, each containing Child Sexual Abuse Material (image sets or videos) and all this was due to a single report of a single location originating from the Republic of Ireland. All the Material was removed from the Internet and the case is under investigation with the Taiwanese Criminal Investigation Bureau.
On this particular case the Minister commented “The case illustrates the value and significance of having reporting mechanisms in place to allow swift action to be taken regardless of distance and borders. It also illustrates the seriousness with which such illegal material is viewed throughout the world and the high level of coordination and cooperation that happens between jurisdictions to stamp it out.”
The full version of ISPAI Hotline.ie Annual Report covering January to December 2013 is available at http://www.hotline.ie/2013/report2013.pdf