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Police moot online version of 110 emergency call service

DDP/The Local · 7 Apr 2010, 08:32

Published: 07 Apr 2010 08:32 GMT+02:00

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“To get a grip on internet crime and increase the security of users, we suggest an emergency call system – a sort of 110 on the net,” BDK head Klaus Jansen told daily Rheinische Post, referring to Germany’s universal emergency telephone number.

The project, called “Webpatrol,” is already in planning stages, he said, explaining that users who want the service could click on a link that would lead them to special software. The program would take an image of the offending website and automatically send the data to law enforcement officers, the paper said.

“So for example, evidence of a planned shooting or content like child pornography could be reported early,” Jansen said, adding that the new project would require new training for officers.

Parliamentary group leader for the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) Wolfgang Bosbach welcomed the suggestion.

“That’s an idea that we should thoroughly review,” he told the paper.

Story continues below…

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:08 April 7, 2010 by moistvelvet
"users who want the service could click on a link that would lead them to special software"

In principle the idea is good, but who really would want to install software that automatically sends data from your PC to the police?

In comparison to the real world this would be like instead of calling the police, you would have one following you around - obviously nothing wrong so long you are a law abiding citizen, but isn't part of a democracy the freedom of choice in being a law abiding citizen :-) (That wasn't a serious point)
09:18 April 7, 2010 by Kayak
Well... it is kind of logical that un-trained "ordinary" users should be able to easily report suspicious activity to the Police... but the digital world is so much more powerfull and you'd need to access the "illegal" site to confirm that it's illegal and in doing so wouldn't you be commiting a crime so..? Nah, sounds bonkers to me.
10:13 April 7, 2010 by wood artist

While your point is well taken, I think maybe there's more to it than that. How about a couple of easy examples.

Suppose you're looking at facebook, and you happen across a comment that suggests someone is threatening someone else. Given some recent real-life situations, that's not much of a stretch. So...you're doing nothing illegal and yet you've discovered something with problem potential. Maybe being able to easily report that might prevent a school shooting or similar situation.

In the US, there are currently several cases of bullying that involved this very situation, and at least one led to a teen suicide. This might be worth examining closer.

Second possibility. Suppose you're an adult, surfing perfectly legal "porn sites." There's nothing illegal about that. However, you discover a link that takes you to a child porn site. You got there completely by accident, but you could then report it easily. Perhaps even anonymously.

In any case, what you were doing was perfectly legal where you live, but what you found isn't. This would make reporting it much easier, and might even prompt you to do so.

I understand you're concerns, but I think the easier we make it for people to report such things, the more likely we can expect law enforcement to deal effectively with the world out there.

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