athens: battling the online porn hydra

Posted on January 11, 2006

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by seawitch

For the past year, newspapers have been reporting a global crackdown on internet child pornography resulting in the arrests of hundreds of paedophiles and child porn racketeers. Dozens of them have been located and arrested in Greece as well.

Although I applaud the efforts being taken by law enforcement to rid these dregs of humanity from our society, I know it’s not enough. The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar marketplace and even though the number of arrests have increased, the police and concerned citizen groups can’t keep up with the number of new online porn sites which appear every day.

New heads on this perverted Hydra sprout up faster than they can chop them off which means parents, like me, have a dilemma on their hands. Do we forbid our children to access the internet and deny them the chance to become part of the Digital Age? Do we allow them access and then monitor their web surfing 24-7?

Both solutions are impossible. No parent can monitor their children around the clock. If you ban them from internet access at home, they will still get online at any of the numerous online Net cafes or even at their friends’ houses. With porn spammers becoming more aggressive, software like CyberSitter, can greatly reduce the amount of garbage kids see from websites and instant messaging. Up until now, anti-porn shields relied on a database of known sites and spammers in order to block questionable content from your child’s eyes. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

Soon, a new product will be on the market to help concerned parents and educators. It’s called Filter X and was developed in Greece by information technology experts at Democritus University of Thrace. What makes this filtering software so special is its ability to scan text and graphics of sites BEFORE your child accesses them and it does it all within a fraction of a second. The software has been tested over the past 2 years in a pilot program in schools across Greece and the EU and will soon be available for purchase. Since brainpower is about the only growth export sector in Greece these days, I only hope that it’s release won’t be delayed by bureacratic red tape and will pave the way for more Greek hi-tech products to hit the market in the near future.