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PixAlert: Severe penalties in new UK law for extreme pornographic images

January 2009 by Marc Jacob

British Employers face new challenges to ensure their I.T. resources are free of inappropriate images now classed as illegal under the latest legislation taking effect this month. Specialist risk mitigation software vendor PixAlert is assisting UK employers, both public and private sector, who are seeking to gauge their exposure to sections 63-67 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which make illegal the possession of extreme pornographic images.

The Act introduces a new offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland of the possession of extreme pornographic images, which comes into force 26th January 2009, with penalties of up to 3 years imprisonment and substantial fines. To fall foul of the act, an image must be “pornographic, grossly offensive, disgusting, or otherwise of an obscene character” and portray an extreme act.

“The issue of inappropriate images in the workplace is pervasive,” says Kieran Caulfield of PixAlert UK, “and a proportion of the images found on networks by PixAlert software would be in breach of the new legislation if not removed.”

As the global leader in this field, PixAlert has seen a rise in the volume of inappropriate images stored & circulated on company networks and to external parties. Inappropriate material was found on 29% of the PCs audited and in 14% of e-mail accounts. In over 250 network audits by PixAlert software, all but 4 audits uncovered illicit or inappropriate images. Fully 32.9% of illicit images found were “highly inappropriate”, the category which includes images now illegal under the new legislation.

The need for professional assistance in achieving compliance with the new law is underlined by the fact that simply deleting images may not be sufficient. PixAlert software and services provide for the safe & permanent removal of such material.

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