When Images Matter: Internet Child Pornography, Forms of Observation and an Ethics of the Virtual

Oswell, David. 2006. When Images Matter: Internet Child Pornography, Forms of Observation and an Ethics of the Virtual. Information Communication & Society, 9(2), pp. 244-265. ISSN 1369118X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The arrest of Pete Townshend, lead guitarist for The Who, for downloading and possessing Internet child pornography and the publicity surrounding the case provides an initial point of discussion concerning the emergence of an ethics of the image that is not predicated on the actual evidential status of that image but on more virtual forms of observation. The discussion in this article focuses on three substantive aspects of this event - legislation in the UK and the US, expert psychological discourse, and public discussion in the UK press - in order to present a particular and situated rendering of forms of virtual observation. The context to this discussion concerns the notion that digital imaging technology presages a need for new legislation, law enforcement and social analytical frameworks for understanding and tackling the production, distribution and consumption of images of child sexual abuse.

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Internet child pornography, actual and virtual, ethics, forms of observation, regulation, digital imaging technology, witnessing

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1 April 2006Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2009 15:42

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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