The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has arrested 21 people involved with a peer-to-peer child abuse file sharing network.
The investigation, called Operation Conqueror, began in January 2013 when the AFP, working with state and territory police, identified a number of people using the network.
The AFP executed 36 search warrants in every state and territory in Australia. Hundreds of thousands of images and videos depicting online child sexual exploitation were seized.
The offences range from producing, accessing, transmitting and making available child exploitation material, contrary to section 474 of the <i>Criminal Code Act 1995</i>.
The 21 individuals could face sentences of up to 15 years in jail.
AFP cyber crime operations manager Commander Glen McEwen said it will continue to work relentlessly to prevent further distribution of this material.
“Every image is a crime scene,” he said in a statement. "If you choose to view and circulate child abuse images, you will be investigated, pursued and charged, regardless of where you are located.”
McEwen added that further arrests are anticipated as Operation Conqueror continues.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has powers under the <i>Broadcasting Services Act 1992</i>to investigate illegal online content. It operates a hotline which gives priority to complaints about online child sexual abuse material.
People wanting to report online child abuse material can use ACMA’s online content complaint form.
Reports can be submitted anonymously and in accordance with the Privacy Act 1998, ACMA will treat personal information as confidential.
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