The BBC, the propaganda arm of the British government, was performing an investigation into supposed child pornography being hosted on Facebook. In the BBC’s zeal to break and scandalous story it inadvertently fell afoul with Britain’s laws against producing child pornography so Facebook reported it:
According to the CPS, extreme care must be taken with illegal material that shows children being sexually abused. Its guidelines state: “Investigation should not involve making more images, or more copies of each image, than is needed in all the circumstances.”
The BBC could have sought help from the NCA or ACPO on how to handle the material, which the CPS says “will give additional certainty to individuals and organisations who are likely to need, frequently, to ‘make’ indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph and, provided the conditions were adhered to, such activities would not be subject to a criminal investigation as it would not be in the public interest to prosecute.”
But it’s unclear whether the corporation did this prior to taking the copied images to Facebook. Facebook’s policy director Simon Milner said in a statement:
We have carefully reviewed the content referred to us and have now removed all items that were illegal or against our standards. This content is no longer on our platform. We take this matter extremely seriously and we continue to improve our reporting and take-down measures.
It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation. When the BBC sent us such images we followed our industry’s standard practice and reported them to CEOP [Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre]. We also reported the child exploitation images that had been shared on our own platform. This matter is now in the hands of the authorities.
I guess the BBC figured that since it’s an arm of the British government that it was above the law. It’ll be interesting to see if the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre extends the BBC investigators professional courtesy or actually enforces the law as it is written.
The United States isn’t unique in having more laws on the books than any individual can realistically memorize. Britain has the same issue. This issue is often heartbreaking to witness because it leads to innocent people being kidnapped and tossed in a cage for years. But when employees of the government that wrote the laws encounters this issue it’s hilarious.