Australia may ban posting of children's photos on Internet

Posting photos of children on websites could become a crime in Australia - even if they appear to be wholesome family snaps, reports Australia's The Daily Telegraph. In a proposal with ramifications for schools, sports clubs, and families which make online "brag books" for friends and relatives, state and territory governments will combine to tighten the use of the Internet to ensure predators cannot access Internet images of children.

Australia's attorneys-general have prepared a co-ordinated strategy following the discovery of a raft of suspicious websites featuring children's photos, the article says. Most Australian states currently have legislation against sexually explicit photographs appearing on the Internet. But photos of children in sporting teams, including schoolboy rowers, and young surf lifesavers, have recently been displayed and linked to sexually explicit websites. The proposed legislation would prevent photos from being posted if they could be used for sexual gratification. Parents and community groups could still place photos on websites but if concerns were raised and links to pornographic websites discovered it would become a crime.

  The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General report recommended a dual approach to the problem, the article says. First, action must be taken to ensure young people are not photographed in ways that exploit them and invade their privacy, despite not necessarily being sexually explicit. Second, action must be taken to prevent those images from being published in a way that encouraged sexual predators.

  The report said the smaller size of cameras, ease of downloading digital photos at home, and the advent of cameraphones had all led to a growing ability to take photographs without the subject's knowledge or consent.

Posted: Thu - August 11, 2005 at 12:31 PM