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Child Sexual Abuse

One of the most heated issues regarding the connected environment is the protection of children. It raises questions of morality, freedom of expression, religion, culture and more. When we are in the realm of those issues, temperatures inevitably flare. In such a charged environment, the use of precise terminology is incredibility important.

We all recognise the important role we must play in protecting our children from predators on the internet, from content that is not age appropriate or which goes contrary to our particular moral, religious or cultural construct. However, this involves effort on our part. As a result, a lot of the heated emotions relate to the areas where “other people” are supposed to be keeping our children safe. No issue is more emotive than depictions of the sexual abuse of children, or as some call it “child porn”.

Pornography is defined as "Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.” The term originates from the mid-19th century; from the Greek pornographos ‘writing about prostitutes’. It then gets categorised in various ways and with various degrees of approbation or condemnation that led to the famous phrase referenced above: “I know it when I see it”, used in 1964 by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for obscenity in Jacobellis vs Ohio. In explaining why the material at issue in the case was not obscene and therefore, was protected speech that could not be censored.

Stewart wrote:

“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so, but I know it when I see it”.

If anyone has had the misfortune of being exposed to images of child sexual abuse, as a lawyer or investigator, they will know that there is no stimulation or excitement. The activities that lead to the production of these images are crimes, in many cases crimes of the most depraved nature involving pain and torture of the youngest and most vulnerable members of society. The images are evidence of crimes such as rape, assault, and physical and psychological abuse. Calling those images “child porn” minimises the pain and suffering these children endure at the hands of their abusers and when the term “kiddie porn” is used, it is insulting.

I would thus request that we remove the term “child porn” from our lexicon and refer to child sexual abuse images (CSAIs) or child abuse material. Even when these descriptions or images are fictional or simulations, they are descriptions of the most depraved crimes.

I hope the readers never suffer the misfortune of being asked to assist with a child sexual abuse case. However, if they ever do, they will "know it when they see it" and realise these images should never be confused with pornography, as such images are evidence of horrific crimes and we diminish the suffering of the victims by calling it anything else.

This has been accepted in South Africa: See http://www.justice.gov.za/salrc/ipapers/ip30_prj107_SexualOffences-PC-2015.pdf


By: Mike Silber

Editor: Ashleigh Roach

QA: Richard Rosewarne

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Happy 6th Birthday Wolfpack!

It feels like yesterday...but it's exactly 6 years to the day when I left a promising career at Deloitte and started my own cyber security company. I had no funding and it was a bootstrap operation from day 1! My goal was to establish an independent services company and still focus on driving much-needed community projects.

We started with Advisory and built up a small team to provide assessments and remediation work to clients. We then identified a gap in the market for customised Training programmes, rapidly followed by our Awareness line of business. In the last year and a half, we established our Managed Services and now perform threat monitoring of a company's network, brands, social media and employees.

Today we are a pack of 30+ and are really a close-knit family at the end of the day. Many of our team have gone through extremely difficult personal challenges (as life happens!) but as wolves we stick together and live by our creed - protection in the pack!

Thank you to our clients for their ongoing trust and friendship that we have built up over the years. Thank you to our colleagues and partners in the industry for their support. As the security community we have very challenging times ahead and now more than ever we need to work closely together. We need to tackle the challenges of securing our countries and the critical infrastructures that we have become so dependent upon. We need to protect our organisations and their people. Lastly, we need to protect the many innocent men, women and children that each day fall victim to perpetrators.

By: Craig Rosewarne


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