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Special investigation puts pressure on Internet giant

A four-month investigation into child porn on the Internet was today published by the Matlock Mercury.

The paper – with backing from child protection charities – is now challenging firms that run “chat-room” websites to clean up their act.

The research was sparked by news editor Andy Darlington, who was horrified at the number of sexual “chat-rooms” found among areas where people can talk to each other “live” on-screen, via their computer keyboards.

Many are for special interest groups, like football fans or for teenagers – but others provide an easy way for men to swap horrific photos of children being sexually abused.

The special report carried a description of what happens in the chat-rooms, as well as screen shots of what they look like.

Andy carried out the research himself and has put pressure on one of the big internet service providers – Yahoo – to more closely monitor its content.

He wrote: “Yahoo is allowing sick men with usernames like “Daddy for my Angel” and “Like it Little” to swap pictures of young girls being raped.

“In the adult chat section, by far the most popular users’ room is called ‘Hot Incest Chat’. It regularly attracts more than 400 visitors at any one time.

“And there are dozens of so-called clubs with titles like Pigtail Girls, Sex With Younger Girls and Little Girls Seeking Daddies, some with more than 3,000 members.

“Now Yahoo has been severely criticised by charities for not doing enough to stop the problem.”

Yahoo UK spokesman Mel Fox told the Mercury that the firm was “taking the matter seriously” and was liaising with in America, as well as the police.

After being alerted about an Internet club containing rape pictures this has now been taken offline and the chatroom looks set to follow suit.

Yahoo is also appointing a chat inspector to work with its customer care team to take more chatrooms and clubs offline and take legal action against their creators and members – a move supported by the police and Internet Watch Foundation.

To read the full article, click here for the Matlock Mercury.

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