The sexually abusive images produced horror among even veteran law enforcement officers. A girl, about age 3, stood on a bed wearing only red, fairy-like wings on her shoulders, as if participating in a dress-up game with a very sick twist. These images, discovered during the search of a pedophile’s computer by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) after an arrest in Boston, set off an international effort to save a little girl whose whereabouts were completely unknown.
As a Political Officer at USEU, I participated in the inaugural U.S.-EU Cyber Dialogue, which was held here in Brussels on December 5. The discussions’ candor and collegiality made clear just how much our values and interests converge across a range of important cyber issues, even if some of the specifics sound rather technical! The many areas we are in agreement may not make for the most scintillating headlines, but they will go a long ways toward ensuring the Internet remains open, interoperable, secure, and reliable. To put that in more human terms, as we approach the holidays that means making sure the Internet is there when we need it—now and in the future—to help us purchase tickets home, video chat with far flung family members, and find just the right gifts. More broadly, it’s helping to ensure people around the world can learn, express themselves, and grow small businesses.
Throughout the holiday shopping season, consumers hunt for good bargains. Unfortunately, transnational criminal organizations are happy to offer opportunities through the sale of counterfeit goods, often sold through genuine-looking websites.
Organized crime groups have long been involved in the sale of counterfeit goods, which is very often tied to other criminal activity such as human trafficking, health and safety violations, and tax evasion. Over the last several years, counterfeit luxury goods, apparel, DVDs, and other fake items are increasingly sold through websites that mimic the sites of the manufacturers.