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U.S. arrests dozens over Internet child porn distribution


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Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
John Ashcroft
Internet

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with an ongoing federal crackdown on the distribution of child pornography sent over the Internet using peer-to-peer file sharing applications, federal law enforcement sources said Friday.

Attorney General John Ashcroft and officials from the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday announced the results of the latest enforcement actions which have taken place throughout the United States in recent days.

Officials said cybercrime task forces have been targeting distributors of pornographic images on the file sharing networks which have been used by young, potentially vulnerable audiences, who primarily have used the peer to peer applications to share music.

In some cases predators have used the technology to try to lure victims for sex, an official said.

Federal law enforcement officials said the attorney general will highlight the ongoing problem in part to help alert parents of the continuing danger of pornography targeted at minors on the Internet.

"The problem is not new, but it's growing. It's huge," said one federal official.

Undercover FBI and ICE cybercrime investigators have been actively combating the many thousands of perpetrators engaged in pushing the pornography, officials said.

One 19-year-old youth recently arrested and convicted told authorities he started using peer-to-peer applications to share music, but later moved on to sending and receiving images and movies of child pornography.

Interagency task forces of federal, state and local law enforcement officials have been formed to fight what they say is a growing threat to children.


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