Bavarian Authorities: Police Struggle to Investigate Child Pornography Forums


The Hessian Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General in Frankfurt held a joint press conference wherein they discussed an increase in cybercrime cases and the police’s lack of ability to infiltrate child pornography forums on the darkweb.

The Central Office for Cybercrime (ZIT) faced 2762 new investigations last year, an increase of more than 50 percent over the previous year, according to Attorney General Helmut Fünfsinn. The fight against child pornography is “a particularly important concern,” the Attorney General said. With 2,459 cases, child pornography accounts for the majority of the ZIT investigations.

According to Kühne-Hörmann, child pornography has become “even more brutal, worse, even more frequent” in recent years. The law does not always manage to keep pace with the increased tactics used by criminals using the internet. For instance, the Attorney General pointed out that the maximum penalty for the possession of child pornography is still a prison sentence of three years - even shoplifters are faced with a theoretically much higher sentence.

In addition, the legal situation still does not allow investigators to submit a so-called “chastity test” which is often required darkweb child abuse forums. This is where operators of forums or chatrooms require new members to submit (usually original or new) pictures or videos of child pornography. The Attorney General said that investigators face possible consequences when sharing the same (type of) images that they used in a case against forum members or owners.

The full announcement contained more information on fighting cybercrime. A PDF version is available here: link