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Teen's Website Provided Safe Harbor for Child Pornographers

Teen's Website Provided Safe Harbor for Child Pornographers
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Dec 8, 2004 10:51 AM PST    Text size: 
BRISBANE – Several years after the fact, a man was charged in District Court for allowing child pornographers to store content on his two image hosting sites.

Gregory John Burridge, 23, pleaded guilty to publicly exhibiting child pornography from Nov. 2000 to Feb. 2002.

Allegations against Burridge, who was 19 at the time, stem from a period of time during which the court claims he knowingly allowed child pornographers to use his site to upload and download child porn. However, the court readily acknowledged that Burridge did not intentionally solicit storage space on his hosting sites to child porn purveyors.

During the years in question, Burridge ran two websites where computer users could store digital files as well as distribute material to other users. The site was reportedly popular among photographers and eventually became a haven for child porn collectors.

Burridge was charged solely on the basis that he did not prevent child pornographers from using his site, although his lawyer contends that Burridge had no idea he was providing a trading post for pedophiles.

Burridge was fined $3,000 and ordered to forfeit his computer and other related items. His lawyer claimed he was "naïve" at the time and was unaware that explicit and illegal materials were being stored on his servers.

The Burridge case is the first-ever court case in Australia in which a business website was used by child pornographers for illicit purposes.

In other news, the very first person in a countrywide child porn raid that yielded hundreds of suspects was sentenced yesterday to 16 months in prison and no parole for a year. The man pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography after police discovered numerous images and movies on the hard drive of his computer.

A recent government study in Britain claims that online pedophiles are the greatest threat facing the Internet, citing peer-to-peer networks and the practice of using online storage to conceal child porn possession as the top ten reasons why the Internet has become a primary facilitator of child porn.

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