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Illegal content on the internet  Open all


The internet is the most important medium for distributing information of our time. But it is also a way to disseminate illegal content, which is just as liable for prosecution as it would be offline. The majority of reports of child sexual abuse material subsequently categorised as actionable by Stopline is hosted on foreign servers. As a result, being part of a strong, international network with non-bureaucratic, direct access to overseas counterparts is essential for effectively combating illegal content. The INHOPE international network of internet hotlines comprises around 50 partner hotlines who cooperate with each other to remove illegal content from the internet.

All that are reported to Stopline which include child sexual abuse material or national socialism, and which are actually hosted in Austria. If such websites are hosted abroad, Stopline immediately informs the partner hotlines in the corresponding countries as well as the responsible Austrian executive authority in order to ensure a rapid response.

The activities of Stopline solely target the publication of child sexual abuse material and national socialist content on the Internet. Tracking down the producers or consumers of this content is the exclusive task of the law enforcement authorities.

An ISP can only deactivate access to content at a particular address. The actual operators of this content often make it available again at a different address.

Unfortunately, some content that is hosted abroad cannot be accessed, e.g. because the content is not subject to a criminal offence in this country. This is especially the case with national socialist content and, sometimes, also with child sexual abuse material.

In certain cases the technical and, thus, geographical origin of an online service is not verifiable.

If there is no INHOPE partner hotline in the country of the content’s origin, international cooperation between the police and Interpol might in some cases result in a delay.

Another possibility is the intention of the law enforcement authorities to keep certain websites active for a certain time in order to be able to track down as many consumers as possible.

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If you could not find an answer to your question, please feel free to contact office@stopline.at.