Posted: Monday 28th July 2014 at 13:06 pm

Controversial sex video: child porn reported to Whatsapp


Adom News can confirm that the controversial home-made sex video involving the son of a minister and the daughter of a university don was indeed blocked by Whatsapp because both characters were children.

A source very close to the minister’s family told Adom News the boy only turned 17 in April this year and the girl is indeed 15 years old as was alleged earlier.

Adom News can confirm that a Ghanaian resident in the US made a formal complaint to Whatsapp, citing a violation of the Federal Laws and California State laws on child pornography.  

Whatsapp is registered to do business in California and is therefore bound by both California State laws and US Federal Laws.

The US Federal Law considers child porn as child exploitation. It defines child pornography as ‘any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (persons under 18 years of age).  Images of child pornography are also referred to as child sexual abuse images.’

It also states that ‘Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, importation, reception, or possession of any image of child pornography.   A violation of federal child pornography law is a serious crime, and convicted offenders face severe statutory penalties.’

Meanwhile, Ghana’s own Children’s Act, Act 560, 1998 is not very clear on what constitutes child pornography, and what the consequences are there for offenders. The law only came as close as protecting children from an environment where prostitution is practiced [Section 18 (i and j)].

But under the US Federal Law, even those who received that video, and those who still have copies of it stored on any devices, are guilty of child exploitation.

Currently a hacked version of the said video is back on Whatsapp and it is being distributed. But the same US-based Ghanaian has filed another complaint to Whatsapp in an attempt to stop the distribution of that hacked version too.

The said video and another one, involving two adults, went viral early last week on some social media platforms, including Whatsapp. But since Friday, July 25, 2014 it has been impossible to share both videos on Whatsapp.

Some Ghanaians suspected the local telcos deliberately blocked the video based on ‘orders from above’.

Indeed, Adom News’ attention was brought to the matter because an insider at one of the leading telcos in the country called a journalist and said ‘we have been instructed to block that sex video’.

But official spokespersons of the telcos denied blocking the video on Whatsapp, saying ‘it is not possible for us to block the sharing of content on Whatsapp.’

One of the telcos spokespersons pointed to child porn as the possible reason for Whatsapp blocking its platform as a channel of distribution.

Meanwhile, Ghanaians living abroad, who had the sex video on their phones, posted messages on social media indicating that they were able to share the video among themselves on Whatsapp as of last Friday. But now they are unable to.

 
Hacked
An IT expert told Adom News what Whatsapp did has rather made things worse for the kids in the video because ‘in the technology world if you play tough you rather infuriate the wiz kids to hack into your system just to prove a point.’

Indeed, even though Whatsapp blocked the video on its platform, another version has been created and it is being distributed on Whatsapp.

‘This thing would have been dead news by now but because Whatsapp played tough and blocked it, now the wiz kids have broken whatever blocking code just to prove a point,’ an IT person said.

Those IT folk also said Whatsapp is violating freedoms on the internet because it is curtailing access to content on the internet by blocking its channel as a means of distribution.

Others say there is no point in blocking the video because there are many distribution channels on the internet.

But the question more moralists are asking now is whether it is responsible adulthood to distribute porn video involving children.

Meanwhile, Whatsapp is still yet to respond to a formal request from Adom News.

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