Keywords: Child pornography, detecting and monitoring ICP material, enforcement of the law, Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017
Published on: 17 May 2021
Malaysian law enforcement authorities were previously at a disadvantage in monitoring and investigating ICP cases. They lacked online tools to detect ICP and other cases of child sexual exploitation and relied on information from their international counterparts. The discovery of Richard Huckle and Blake Johnston, two child sex offenders who abused Malaysian children, was only possible with information shared by Australia’s Argos Task Force and the US Homeland Security Investigations. While Malaysia currently practises information and intelligence exchange and collaboration in digital forensics, more action is needed to detect and monitor ICP activities. It is imperative for Malaysia to take all necessary steps to prevent, detect, investigate, punish, as well as address the root causes of ICP. This paper addresses this issue; it focuses on the dilemmas faced by Malaysian authorities in reducing the availability of ICP images and in deciding to prosecute offenders. It conducts an initial exploration of the ways in which authorities can protect children by proactively seeking out ICP images via a victim-identification database and blocking ICP images. The paper seeks to demonstrate that traditional policing methods, such as responding to citizen reports and image discovery through arrest and seizure, while still necessary, can be out-dated. Through semi-structured interviews with key-stakeholders from the Malaysian government and agencies, this study seeks to gain some insight into Malaysia’s implementation and enforcement experience in relation to ICP. The study suggests how the present-day policing response of ICP images can be realigned to other key intermediaries on the internet.