Howard to tackle computerised porn

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Indy Politics
ACTION to tackle pornographers who plan to create and trade in computer-simulated paedophile material was announced yesterday by Michael Howard, the Home Secretary.

The move is designed to plug a loophole in the law, which currently only covers indecent photographs, film and video recordings of children under the age of 16. It will be included in the forthcoming Criminal Justice Bill, which already contains measures to toughen existing legislation covering child pornography.

There has been mounting concern among senior police officers and the Home Office following the discovery that pornographic images of women had been scanned on to computer discs, modified to appear more childlike and then had images of children's heads superimposed to create pornography of high photographic quality.

Although the equipment required costs several thousand pounds, officials are concerned that 'cottage industries' could be set up to produce computer images of child pornography for the black market.

Ministers emphasised yesterday that, although only isolated examples of the trend had been identified and a case had not been brought to court, it was necessary to act swiftly because it was possible that such computer-simulated pornography could be outside existing laws, and delay could allow the pornographers to thrive.

Mr Howard said: 'New technology continually presents new challenges to the law. I am determined the law should keep pace with them and I will not hesitate to act whenever those who degrade children find new means of peddling this material.'

The proposals give police powers to arrest, without warrant, traffickers in child pornography and other obscene material, increase police powers of search and seizure, and improve the powers of trading standards officers.

Courts will be given powers to impose sentences of up to three months and/or a pounds 5,000 fine for possessing paedophile material; traders can face a maximum of three years.

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