‘Report-a-paedophile’ website ruled illegal

A website on which children can expose suspected online paedophiles has been ruled illegal by the Swedish Data Inspection Board.

The site, www.squill.se, allows children who suspect they have spoken to a an ‘unsuitable person’ online to warn others. But the Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen) says that the site, run by children’s charity BRIS, is not allowed to store information about crimes.

“The Personal Data Act basically forbids anyone except state authorities from registering information about crimes,” said the board’s director general, Göran Gräslund to SVT.

Squill has been up and running since last November. Youngsters have been allowed to report aliases or e-mail addresses of people who appear suspect. A sizable database has been built up since then.

Despite being profiled in the press as a forum for reporting online child abusers, of the 1,700 reports received since it started only 20 were for sexual offences. A further 50-60 reports of physical violence or verbal harassment were received.

BRIS says it will change the site so that it only invites children to report aliases of people behaving suspiciously online, not people who have committed crimes or are suspected of doing so.

“We will not accept reports of crimes via Squill. We will instead refer people directly to the police,” said Göran Harnesk, director general of BRIS.