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Germany Searches Credit Cards For Child Porn Payments 283

Posted by kdawson
from the variable-pricing-coming-soon dept.
narramissic writes "According to an ITworld article, police in the German state of Sachsen-Anhalt have teamed with credit card companies to sift through the transactions of over 22 million customers looking for those who may have purchased child pornography online. To date they have identified 322 suspects." From the article: "German data privacy laws allow police to ask financial institutions to provide data about individuals but only if the investigators meet certain conditions, including a concrete suspicion of illegal behavior and narrowly defined search criteria, according to Johann Bizer, deputy director of the Independent Center for Privacy Protection... In the case under investigation, police were aware of a child pornography Web site outside of Germany that was attracting users inside the country. And they asked the credit-card companies to conduct a database search narrowed to three criteria: a specific amount of money, a specific time period and a specific receiver account."
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Germany Searches Credit Cards For Child Porn Payments

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  • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hrodvitnir (101283) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @03:11PM (#17527336)
    Who says they use their own credit card?
  • I have paid for porn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @03:11PM (#17527352)
    I cant comment on why people pay for child porn as that is not my cup of tea but as for paying for porn in general, I have done so.

    Why, well first is convenience. I am busy and would rather be able to go to one website, enter in my search (usually redhead, teen and anal) and get the movies they have right there without having to sift through the results to see what is good. I feel my time is worth more then the money it costs to pay for the porn.

    The second is guaranteed quality. I never wonder if I am getting garbage resolution, a misnamed video, or some other piece of crap. That is why I pay, the company takes care of all that.

    The final reason is guaranteed download speed. I want my porn fast, regardless of how many other people are willing to share it.

    Also it is not illegal, I am supporting the "artists" by paying for it, and lets face it, these people are getting fucked all the time (pun intended).

    So there you do, those are the reason I have paid for porn.
  • Re:Moo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @03:11PM (#17527354) Journal
    I have to agree with your sentiment... to a point. The government IMO has no business telling anyone what to think or fantasize about. On the other hand, it is likely that children are being exploited in one way or another. The existence of the childporn website, and the fact that German citizens are paying for this only helps promote its existence.

    I also feel that spending the money working with the appropriate foreign government to arrest the purveyors of the child porn for sale is the better course of action.
    Without buyers, it would not be up for sale. Without sellers it would not be purchased. Neither options stops child exploitation and pornography, so I think it is more effective to stop those who are selling it.

    They may have the buyers on an 'importing child pornography' type charge, but I still don't think that is wrong... at least not the act of buying. Yes, I know there are those that will disagree. I'm more or less all for the police just posting a list of those who bought the child porn and let society takes its normal course of false morality and prejudice against them. Lets spend the money stopping the source of the child porn rather than try to choke off a small portion of their income and punish people that more than likely represent no harm to society at large.

    Perhaps, in a lenient society, the list of buyers might be used to offer them counseling? That's probably a bit optimistic though.

    With all the medical discoveries regarding genetic contribution to other human circumstances, perhaps they will one day find a cure for pedophiles? Oh, wait, we should probably cure other non-normal traits too... homosexuality, people who like country and western music, and things like that. Yes, sarcasm, but this whole thought police thing is moronic.
  • by flaming error (1041742) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @03:27PM (#17527730) Journal
    > it is likely that children are being exploited in one way or another
    Really? You mean kids don't like being kidnapped, enslaved, and raped?

    Get a clue, dude. Child Pornography is the most vile and evil industry hell has concocted. Maybe there's a cure for pedophiles; if so, please cure them. But until then, the children's needs trump the pedophiles', and most certainly trump their exploiters. Those who'd rape a child for profit deserve the most severe justice.

    Every civil society feels this very strongly, and rightly so. Unfortunately, that's why societies tolerate their government eroding civil rights - in the name of fighting child porn.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @03:45PM (#17528230)
    This sucks, Germany's catching up with us in the UK ...

    We need a strategy for staying in front. How about forcing all citizens to work in the mines while chanting "Politicians are God" over and over ....

    Oh wait minute, peeps in the UK aren't citizens at all, just Subjects of HM the Queen. Maybe we are still ahead after all! .... :-(
  • by Incadenza (560402) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @03:54PM (#17528442)
    Someone steals your number, buys kiddie porn, and now you're the suspect.
    A friend of mine had his computer confiscated for three months because somebody tried to sign up to a Yahoo! mailing list (where kiddie porn had been discussed) using his stolen or guessed or just randomly typed e-mail address. They are not the brightest of the block, these German cybercrimefighters.
  • by TransEurope (889206) <eniac.uni-koblenz@de> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:05PM (#17528708)
    Or better 90% of them. The Spiegel says that 90% of the
    322 suspects are not punished before, so they'll receive
    fines instead of prison. It's unusual in germany to go
    to prison for your first misdeed. Except really hard crimes
    like homicide, second degree murder, forays, raping of course.
  • Re:Done correctly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dfenstrate (202098) * <dfenstrate@gmail ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:17PM (#17528988)
    Given the behavoir and expansion of the government since FDR's "New Deal" (some would say the civil war) and the War on Drugs, this is hardly an attitude uique to the current Administration.

    Our elected officials in all three of the branches of the government have been disregarding the original intent and meaning of the constitution for decades.

    Congress abuses the "interstate commerce" and "general welfare" parts of the constitution such that nothing is outside their power.

    The executive does whatever the hell it can get away with, and it's alot considering how the lazy legislature unconstitionally delegates lawmaking to various departments (EPA, FCC, etc). Further, Congress hasn't officially declared war since WW2 (Gulf War 1 might be an exception)- which is their duty- but has been happy to authorize the President to do what he likes and pay for things that look like Wars countless times.

    Finally, the Judicial Branch was cowed by FDR and has countless times written tomes of rationalization justifying how the constitution doesn't mean what it says.

    The federal government has been out of line at all levels for generations.

    And you know what?

    We let it.

    Don't cry how the current Administration is so evil because it's been doing what government officials have done for eons. With a little bit of reflection and some serious study of the constitution and it's original meanings you could find several programs you probably support of dubious constitionality.

    But I doubt you'll do that because you have already rationalized the abuses you support and re-examing them would hurt.

    A professor at the University of Edinborough (circa 1787) named Alexander Tyler figured it out. Here's the eight stages of democracy he observed:

    1. From bondage to spiritual faith;

    2. From spiritual faith to great courage;

    3. From courage to liberty;

    4. From liberty to abundance;

    5. From abundance to complacency;

    6. From complacency to apathy;

    7. From apathy to dependence;

    8. From dependence back into bondage.


    He figured this cycle would take 200 years or so. You can argue where along the line we (USA) are but you can see the man has a point. It's pretty clear that a few European countries are solidly at step 7.

  • by MiniMike (234881) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:57PM (#17529926)
    You drive down the highway, and a police officer checks your speed by radar. You're not speeding, so he doesn't stop you. Have your rights been violated? Do you complain that they are checking everyone's speed instead of just the speeders? It's more of a leap to say that the search of credit card records described above is a violation of your rights.
  • Re:WHY?! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by trashbat (976940) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:00PM (#17531148)
    Huh? Try 10$/mo at Easynews and alt.binaries.erotica.divx or cheggit.net (120k+ members) or any one of a ton of other places, any one of which will give you more porn than you could possibly have time to watch. They're so busy posting the constant stream of new dvds released there's hardly ever time for reposts.
    Yup, can vouch for Easynews after using it for the past 7-8 years. The (still-hidden for some reason) Easynews global search [easynews.com] is pretty amazing - just enter your keywords, filter it on movies and select output style as 'Hybrid 1'. Bob's your mother's brother. Even supports regex! :-) Automatically assembles the contents of some RAR files too, try including 'autounrar' in your search term, or the PAR viewer for files that aren't automatically assembled. Also like the SSL option for downloading stuff from work (disclaimer: no, I don't work for them, just a very satisfied customer).

    It's also worth signing up to the Ijsklontje forums [ijsklontje.nl] if you have a decent binary newsfeed, just to see what's on there at the moment.
  • Re:Darwin (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:52PM (#17531952)
    Indeed. I just got done sending in an unauthorized transactions affidavit to my credit card company this afternoon.

    The unauthorized charges? $900 in $200s and $500 to the PLA.

    Yup, *the* PLA...oh, I need to explain?

    PLA -- Is that the Palestinian group?

    Or PLA, the phone phreaking group?

    Now, I'm told PLA was actually a *sewing* store of all things. Now, I do plenty of things, I think that Bleach character with the bow and arrow who name now alludes me is pretty cool, but sewing, stitchery, and quilting I do not.

    Nor do I phone hack or commit credit fraud. Or support possible terrorist, liberation groups.

    But this crap makes me wonder. Who is using your card today, and how many of the 322 correlated to lost cards, stolen cards, identity theft, etc.? Would I have been in "the system" had this been a search for terrorist ties?

    Additionally, there are different standards being applied here. Why are the 322 people suspect, versus a credit card system that does CRAP "identity" protection? Are individuals targetted, while large corporations who look away from charge fraud, held to a lighter standard? I ask because my card company with the PLA charges NEVER QUESTIONED the transactions, but whenever *I* had made a transaction on that card in the past over $200, I had to call in to allow the authorization through, even at places I'd shopped at before (Newegg). But the credit company not allow allowed *3* to go through, all were for high dollar amounts, and all were the same freakin' day, and all perfect large sum amounts ($200, $500, $200, not $197.89, $501.60, $200.51).

    I highly doubt the German authorities will be prosecuting the credit card company that actually DID lend credit and payouts to a child porn site. The 322 individuals so far are only suspects.

    Oh, btw, what were the safeguards in place that the suspects didn't have recurring, automatic payments setup to pay off their cards if they were busy and didn't bother to look at a recent statement? My card company allows me to refute payments up to 90 days from the statement date. Makes me wonder what else could be "screened" and "setup" to make a nice rolling base of cases for the prosecution to point to come election time about how "strong they are against crime."

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