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National library seeks guidance on child porn

Sweden’s National Library has sought guidance from the government after determining that a portion of its magazine collection features child pornography.

National library seeks guidance on child porn

After an investigation carried out with help from the National Criminal Police (Rikskriminalpolisen), the library, known as Kungliga Biblioteket (‘The Royal Library’), was able to conclude that it had 21 titles with child pornography in its collections.

The investigation was prompted after the library was reported for violating Sweden’s laws prohibiting the possession and distribution of child pornography.

The library has thus found itself caught between two laws: that of preserving the materials and the prohibition of child pornography.

“We want to know if we should allow them to be available for viewing for research purposes, and if so, how we should determine who should be allowed to see them,” Communications Director Urban Rybrink told The Local.

According to Rybrink, the magazines determined to contain child pornography are locked up and “inaccessible” pending guidance from the government.

The library has sent a memo to the Ministry of Education and Research over whether – and if so how – the library’s collection of child pornography should be managed.

The existence of the National Library’s collection of child pornography emerged after a visit by the writer Valentin Bart in November 2008.

The collection at the library was built up in the years between 1971, when the possession, distribution and display of child pornography was legalized in Sweden, and 1980, when the law was repealed.

All of the library’s pornographic material has been placed off limits since 2009 when the investigation was launched.

Rybrink explained that the library hasn’t altered its practices in light of the child pornography scandal, as it is duty bound to maintain a copy of all printed material published in Sweden.

“That’s a duty we’re given by the government and which we must abide by. We have no influence over that responsibility,” he said.

“If anything, this episode may give reason for the government to think things over again.”

While the library has conducted an ongoing dialogue with the education ministry about the matter, Rybrink said the National Library has no idea how long it may take for the ministry to respond to the memo.

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EUROPEAN UNION

Sweden joins global anti-child porn alliance

Representatives from Sweden and 46 other countries will meet in Brussels on Wednesday to coordinate efforts to combat child pornography.

Sweden joins global anti-child porn alliance

EU countries, as well as the US, Japan and Australia, will form the Global Alliance against Child Sex Abuse Online.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and US Attorney General Eric Holder are the driving forces of the initiative.

They jointly addressed the topic in an op-ed in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper on Tuesday.

Joint police investigations have resulted in the arrest of more than 300 people in the past two years, they wrote.

There are suspects in over 30 countries.

“The fact that child abusers seem to operate globally, disregarding national borders, is a reality that we must face,” Malmström and Holder wrote.

The alliance wants to find offenders and their victims, while also reducing the availability of child porn across the world.

A second aim is to raise public awareness of the risks children face when they are online.

Furthermore, the alliance states that it will ensure the assistance of child porn victims and provide them with support and protection.

“All efforts to monitor child pornography are of course good, and this initiative is really important,” National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalen) inspector Björn Sellström told the TT news agency.

As child pornography is internet-based, cross-border cooperation is much needed, said Sellström.

“If we have a Swedish offender who gets in touch with a victim in Sweden but through American social media, then that site will ask us to get a court order before we can access information about the offender,” he said.

“It means it can take a really long time to investigate.”

The alliance also wants all countries to ban convicted sex offenders from working with children and teenagers.

TT/The Local/og

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