The development of the internet and communications technologies have helped us make almost every aspect of our everyday lives easier, yet we have become more or less dependent on these technologies while also having to deal with their possible negative effects on us. Unluckily, the recent advancements of Tor networks, and other Dark nets, have offered perverts, pedophiles, voyeurs…etc, means to quench their perverted passions, thanks to the anonymous environment provided by the deep web. Nowadays, online environments, especially on the deep web, represent the preferred means for child molesters to publish and distribute child pornography.
A group of researchers from Turkey conducted a study to examine the level of awareness of Turkish public personnel, working in various public institutions, towards the publishing and distribution of child pornography on the internet, particularly the deep web. 100 public personnel from various Turkish ministries participated in the study. Quantitative research techniques were utilized to obtain info from the participants. Participants answered a questionnaire that was submitted to them either via meeting in person, or via the internet, and the data was collectively recorded and analyzed via the SPSS.
The results of the study were interesting as they showed that relatively young participants who have received high levels of education, are experienced in national regulations and are well versed in digital citizenship are uninformed about publishing and distribution of child pornography material on the internet, Darknet, hash databases and P2P networks. The researchers concluded that the lack of awareness towards the aforementioned problem and internet advancements is mainly secondary to problems of the country’s education system and insufficiency of school curricula. The results of the study clearly showed that is it pivotal to create an organic network among various ministries across Turkey to prohibit the publishing and distribution of child pornography material on the internet, whether on the deep web or the surface web. The researchers also proposed building a national hash database for recording IP addresses of individuals who publish and distribute child pornography material on the internet.
Purpose of the study:
The study aimed at measuring the levels of awareness and perception of Turkish public personnel in various public institutions regarding child pornography. Considering experts who work to counter the child pornography problem, the study attempted to determine the participants’ ideas and proposed solutions to the problem. The study focused on answering this question “how can we combat child pornography more effectively as a country?” and to point out which instruments might be useful in this context.
Findings of the study:
The study found out that 42% of the participants had no knowledge whatsoever about P2P networks and 28% had minimal knowledge about them. As a result, the greater percentage of participants didn’t even know that P2P networks existed.
58% of participants knew nothing about Darknet or the deep web in general and 24% had minimal knowledge about these technologies. Consequently, the greater percentage of participants knew nothing about Darknet or deep web in general.
57% of participants were not familiar with how child pornography material is published and distributed online, whether on the surface web or on the deep web. Nevertheless, 43% of participants were aware regarding how child pornography material is published and distributed online.
45% of participants had no knowledge regarding the international conventions of child pornography and 22% had minimal knowledge about the subject. Consequently, we can safely say that the greater percentage of participants did not have any knowledge about child pornography’s international conventions.
41% of participants had no knowledge regarding international institutions that counteract child pornography and only 31% had minimal knowledge about them. Thus, the greater percentage of participants did not even know that there are any international institutions fighting those who try to publish and distribute child pornography material.
The results of the study signaled the need for raising the Turkish public awareness against the problem of child pornography. Attention should be directed towards preventive and remedial measures to protect children who represent the future of humanity. The study proposed the creation of strategic seminars, communication and training workshops that focus on the question “What should school professionals do to protect children?”.