CYBERSPACE, 2005 (D.O.T.) – A Europe-wide internet child porn ring has been smashed after a series of raids across the continent. At least 80 suspects are being investigated after police swooped in the UK , Italy , France , Denmark , Sweden and the Netherlands .
DVDs, CD-Roms, video tapes, and memory cards for digital cameras were seized from what is thought to have been a vast network of pedophiles sharing and downloading the same pornographic images.
The suspects were using advanced sophisticated encryption techniques to hide their electronic identities. But cyber-cop technology made it possible to identify, across the whole of Europe , those who had downloaded the same series of images.
British police acted on information from Europol, the EU police force based in The Hague, which coordinated the operation. Codenamed "Icebreaker 2" – the operation followed a previous series of 150 linked raids in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Sweden and the UK.
That first stage of the operation led to 25 arrests in 13 European countries. The latest phase of the crackdown on Internet child porn was announced by Carabinieri, the Italian military police in Rome .
A Europol spokesman said the operation began after police in Italy discovered pedophiles trading child porn images through Internet message boards. Authorities say there will be more arrests even as an intensive, multi-national investigation is underway to find the children abused in the images.
Europol Director Max-Peter Ratzel said: "We will continue to demonstrate to these individuals who, directly or indirectly, are involved in sexual abuse depriving children of their childhood that they can no longer stay anonymous behind a computer screen.
"The perpetrators must realize that they cannot hide in cyberspace nor get away with dealing in child pornography."