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Friday, July 17, 1998 Published at 22:06 GMT 23:06 UK

World: Europe

German call for cyber cops

Germany wants more "cyber cops" to patrol the Web

Germany has called for a nationwide drive to fight child pornography on the Internet after revelations that a suspected international porn ring may have had links in the country.

It wants police in every German state to set up "cyber cops" to scour the Net for child pornography.

The nation has been shocked by the continuing Dutch investigation into a ring believed to have sexually abused children as young as 12 months old and spread the images on the Web.

[ image: Call follows investigation into an alleged Dutch porn ring]
Call follows investigation into an alleged Dutch porn ring
German police said they were investigating links to the Dutch ring and had seized computer disks from two Germans in the northern town of Northeim.

Police in Northeim searched the homes of the two men and found hundreds of images of child pornography on their computers, apparently taken off the Internet.

German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said those responsible for spreading child porn on the Internet should be given harsh jail terms to make an example of them.

"We have to set an example," said Mr Kinkel. "The people who did this must be brought behind bars."

[ image: Kohl: wants increased co-operation between states]
Kohl: wants increased co-operation between states
The government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl has set up a special committee to draft ways for Germany's 16 federal states to improve coordination of the fight against child porn.

It brings together the interior, justice and family ministries.

Policing the Web

The government has urged police to step up patrols of the Internet.

All state police forces should designate "cyber cops" who scan the Internet for illegal content, a government spokesman said.

Bavaria, the most aggressive German state in prosecuting over pornography on the Internet, was the first to appoint the so-called cyber cops in 1995.

The government spokesman said: "The Internet is not a lawless space.

"We must widen our search for these criminals."

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