Russia Gets First Child Porn Database

Yelena Mizulina speaks during a news conference in Moscow in May 2011.

State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina, both despised and revered for her backing of Russia's controversial anti-gay propaganda law, can now add to her repertoire the creation of a child-pornography database.

At the initiative of Mizulina, the Safe Internet League — a government-affiliated nonprofit group devoted to Internet safety — established "Innocent Images," a database featuring video footage and photography that are considered to be child pornography.

Mizulina, who heads the Duma's Family, Women and Children Committee, said the aim of the database was to assist police in "uncovering and investigating crimes connected with the possession and distribution of child pornography, sexual abuse of children, and to help Roskomnadzor [Russia's media watchdog] more effectively fight the spread of such content on the Internet," according to a statement published on her official website.

Mizulina had repeatedly sounded the alarm over what she says is vaguely worded legislation full of loopholes that allow pedophiles to get away with offenses linked to child pornography. According to the Safe Internet League, she was the driving force behind the new database.  

The organization's press service told The Moscow Times that about 20 people were responsible for creating the database, among them: psychologists, psychiatrists, linguists and lawyers from the group.

"Yelena Mizulina is on the supervisory board of the Safe Internet League. At all meetings of the board, she raised the issue of the database, spoke of how important it was. If not for her insistence, the database probably would not exist," a spokesman for the group said.

The database, compiled over eight months using materials collected by the group, is the first of its kind in Russia and was inspired by an American counterpart with the same name.

To assist law enforcement efforts, each file in the database has been assigned a unique indicator for the purpose of cross-comparisons with other images, Mizulina wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

"The indicators will tell whether or not there is [a particular] child in the video or photo — for example, a child who was reported missing," Mizulina wrote.

It was unclear whether she was referring to facial recognition software, which is used in the U.S. equivalent of the database to identify victims of sexual exploitation.

The U.S.' Innocent Images database is run by a special unit of the FBI that analyzes trends in child sexual exploitation on the Internet in order to combat the phenomenon.

The spokesman for the Safe Internet League said the next step for the Russian version of the database would be to present it to the Interior Ministry's department for computer-related crimes and the government's media regulator, Roskomnadzor.

Contact the author at a.quinn@imedia.ru


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