A group of 18 financial institutions and internet providers have joined forces with child advocacy groups in the US and Europe in an effort to eradicate commercial child pornography by 2008.
The internet has allowed child pornography to become a multi-billion dollar industry, and the newly formed Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography aims to kill the business model behind the sites by blocking access to payment services including credit cards.
The initiative will help to take down sites which law enforcement officers have identified but are unable to tackle, explained Michelle Collins, director for the Exploited Child Unit at the Center for Missing and Exploited Children (CMEC).
Credit card providers have a legal right to cancel any accounts used in child pornography transactions because they are in violation of their policies.
"Up until now all the information is going in one direction to law enforcement. But the financial institutions get a lot of feedback and they honestly have a lot of impact in being able to choke the money flow," Collins told vnunet.com.
CMEC and other child advocacy groups will act as a clearing house for information, alerting financial institutions about suspect sites. They will also report such sites to the authorities.
Collins said that the companies will share best practices and procedures with smaller online providers in helping to combat online child pornography.
The coalition has set a target date of 2008 to rid the world of commercial child pornography. Collins explained that the year is intended to give the project's backers a date to work towards rather then make it an endless effort.
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