ring. The cruelty to the children in the pornography stunned many officials familiar with the sexual exploitation of children. Some of the pornography was made with babies that appeared to be no more than 12 to 15 months old. A child psychiatrist said that the children must have been sedated because they showed no reaction to the torture to which they were subjected.74 One film, titled “Oh Daddy,” shows balding middle-aged men raping 5-and 8-year old girls. One girl reportedly was so lifeless she may have been dead.
Officials claimed that almost none of the pornography found in this case was produced in the Netherlands. They think it was produced in Central and Eastern Europe, and posted on the Web in the United States. 75
The Dutch government’s permissive attitude toward the sexual exploitation of women resulted in an inadequate response early in this case. The investigation in the Netherlands was hampered because of lack of trained and ready police for this type of crime. Several years previously the police vice squads had been disbanded. Legalization of the prostitution industry in the Netherlands had done away with the need for a vice squad. About two weeks after the ring was exposed, a top employee in the Justice Ministry in the Netherlands, which was leading the investigation, was fired for downloading pornography with his office computer for personal use.76 The report released to the media did not name the man, and minimized his activity by saying he had only distributed the material to a small circle of acquaintances. 77
German Crackdown on Child Pornography on Usenet Groups
In December 1995 the German government threatened action against the Internet service provider CompuServe because of Usenet groups carrying child pornography. CompuServe responded by withdrawing over 200 Usenet groups worldwide. Usenet is a global electronic bulletin board with over 10,000 special interest bulletin boards or newsgroups.78 The nature of Usenet groups and the Internet does not allow distribution by country, so CompuServe could not selectively exempt Germany from distribution, so they chose to halt distribution of those Usenet groups all together. Almost all of the groups were within the category alt.sex. There was conflicting information on how the 200 groups were chosen to be withdrawn.
The actions drew a quick, sharp response from the libertarian Internet audience, especially in the United States, who made claims of censorship and started a panic that one country was going to be able to dictate the content of the Internet to the rest of the world. The same groups and individuals expressed no concern about the sexual abuse of children, or the use of the Internet to transmit those images. I was one of the few who wrote about the human rights violations propagated and promoted by these newsgroups. Several months later CompuServe restored all but five of the Usenet groups. 79 80
Predators Find Children on the Internet
The number of children online has grown as rapidly as the whole Internet. At the end of 1997 there were an estimated 10 million children online, up from 6 million at the beginning of 1997, and up from 1.1 million in 1995.81 Predators are using the Internet to contact some of those children and abuse them. They find children in chat rooms and