U.K. Legislator Wants to Regulate Pre-paid Cards Because of CP Threat

Rhett Pardon
LONDON — A U.K. legislator wants credit card companies to identify buyers of pre-paid credit cards and fine them heavily if consumers use them to buy online images showing child porn.

Raising the issue in Parliament, legislator Geraint Davies said he wanted an end to anonymity for the cards used to pay to download images of illegal content.

Davies said that pre-paid credit cards are "the new route for [child porn viewers] is to hide their identity."

"All the buyer has to do is put in a name and address — say Donald Duck and Buckingham Palace — and away he goes," he said.

Davies recommends that pre-paid credit card consumers should have to provide proof of identity such as passport or driving license. In addition, he said credit card companies should be liable for penalties when their cards were used to download abusive images.

"The simple fact is that we can't rely, as some people think we can, on the credit card industry itself to police itself," he said. "The credit card companies are simply not taking pre-emptive action. There is a lot of money involved and no appetite for voluntary industry action."

Both Visa Europe and MasterCard Worldwide said they both work aggressively to identify and eliminate any illegal activity involving the use of their respective payment networks.

ASACP CEO Joan Irvine told XBIZ that one tool is already in play over the fight against child pornography — the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography (FCACP), which helps combat credit cards from being used to purchase CP.

"Because of the coalition's efforts and the credit card industry’s voluntary efforts, commercial child pornography website operators’ access to billing services, especially domestically within the U.S., have been severely limited," she said.

"ASACP Technology and Forensic Research Director Tim Henning is active in the FCACP and the Technical Challenges and Analytics workgroups. As it relates to alterative or anonymous pre-paid cards, the companies in that industry are already taken action to address the misuse and develop strategies to prevent it."