By Jason Pan / Staff reporter
People could be prosecuted for downloading child pornography with peer-to-peer （P2P） software, a top prosecutor said yesterday following the arrests of two suspects through Operation Centurion Plus, an international collaboration with the FBI.
The judiciary would bring charges against people who use P2P apps to obtain pornographic photographs or videos involving children, Taoyuan Chief Prosecutor Hsieh Wen-chi （謝雯璣） said, adding that P2P software uploads the content by default, making users liable for spreading such material.
“When someone starts to download a file on a P2P system, it is also being uploaded. Therefore, a person downloading the file is also uploading it, which is deemed to be circulating the file in violation of the law,” Hsieh said.
Circulating child pornography contravenes provisions of the Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Prevention Act （兒童及少年性剝削防制條例）, which carries a maximum prison term of three years, she added.
When using P2P apps, people must take care to avoid downloading sexually explicit material that violates the law, as well as material that infringes on copyright law, such as films currently showing in theaters, Hsieh said.
The warning came after high-profile arrests on Monday in New Taipei City and Kaohsiung, in which two men, surnamed Wen （溫）, 30, and Ho （何）, 37, were picked up for allegedly downloading and circulating massive amounts of child pornography.
Police touted the arrests, as they were carried out via cooperation between the Criminal Investigation Bureau and the FBI’s police section for protecting women and children under Operation Centurion Plus, which monitors child pornography file-sharing activities worldwide.
The men were ranked 30th and 33rd among the top 100 suspects globally who have downloaded the highest volume of child pornography, bureau officials said.
Twenty terabytes of about 2,500 such videos have been found in two computers and six hard drives seized from the suspects, the officials added.
Most of the files depict sex acts between children and adults, with the majority appearing to originate from US, Europe and Southeast Asia, as they feature Caucasian and Asian people, while others were of young boys and girls having sex, officials said.
There were also videos showing adult men raping children, with one officer saying: “Some of the videos are very deviant — it was really sickening to watch.”
Police quoted Ho as saying during questioning that he was curious about these videos and used P2P apps to download them for his own private viewing, not for sharing, police said.
Ho works at a job bank and is married, but asked police not to tell his wife about the nature of the arrest, investigators said.
Wen lives alone in a rented apartment and works at an electronics factory, they said.
The investigation is still ongoing due to the large volume of material, police said, adding that they would ask prosecutors to charge the suspects.