File-Sharing Programs: Users of Peer-to-Peer Networks Can Readily Access Child Pornography Page: 3 of 24
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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for inviting us to discuss our work on the availability of child
pornography on peer-to-peer networks.!
In recent years, child pornography has become increasingly available as it
has migrated from magazines, photographs, and videos to the World Wide
Web. As you know, a great strength of the Internet is that it includes a wide
range of search and retrieval technologies that make finding information
fast and easy. However, this capability also makes it easy to access,
disseminate, and trade pornographic images and videos, including child
pornography. As a result, child pornography has become accessible
through Web sites, chat rooms, newsgroups, and the increasingly popular
peer-to-peer technology, a form of networking that allows direct
communication between computer users so that they can access and share
each other's files (including images, video, and software).
As requested, in my remarks today, I will summarize the results of a review
that we recently conducted to determine
* the ease of access to child pornography on peer-to-peer networks;
* the risk of inadvertent exposure of juvenile users of peer-to-peer
networks to pornography, including child pornography; and
* the extent of federal law enforcement resources available for combating
child pornography on peer-to-peer networks.
We also include an attachment that briefly discusses how peer-to-peer file
Results in Brief It is easy to access and download child pornography over peer-to-peer
networks. We used KaZaA, a popular peer-to-peer file-sharing program, 2 to
search for image files, using 12 keywords known to be associated with
1U.S. General Accounting Office, File-Sharing Programs: Peer-to-Peer Networks Provide
Ready Access to Child Pornography, GAO-03-351 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 20, 2003).
2Other popular peer-to-peer applications include Gnutella, BearShare, LimeWire, and
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United States. General Accounting Office. File-Sharing Programs: Users of Peer-to-Peer Networks Can Readily Access Child Pornography, text, September 9, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294403/m1/3/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.