Child abuse image downloaders could lose credit cards

New powers under the Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2006 will allow banks and building societies to withdraw the credit cards of anyone convicted of downloading images of child abuse from the Internet.

Aug 10, 2006
By David Howell
Haroon Iqbal

New powers under the Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2006 will allow banks and building societies to withdraw the credit cards of anyone convicted of downloading images of child abuse from the Internet.

The order results from collaboration between the Department for Constitutional Affairs, the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS), the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), law enforcement agencies, children`s charities and the Home Office.

The data protection minister Baroness Cathy Ashton said: “This order will help to disrupt paedophile activity and in that way will have an impact on re-offending. It is vital to disrupt, and where possible to curtail, paedophile activities.

Removing the credit cards and closing the accounts of these people are critically important steps.”

Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of CEOP, also commented: “Those who view images of child abuse are responsible for creating the victims of this terrible crime. For every image on line there is a child in the real world who has been abused.”

In 2003 and 2004 around 3,000 people were dealt with for taking or making indecent photographs of children, up from just over 1,000 in the preceding two years. APACS, the UK payments association, welcomed the plans.

Sandra Quinn, APACS` Director of Corporate Communications, said: “No card provider wants to be associated with those who commit these crimes.

“With this change in the law our members will have the information they need to remove offenders` cards.”

The order came into force on July 26. It does not require the card issuer to remove or close an account but will be up to the card issuer to make the decision on the basis of the customer`s breach of contract.

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