25 February 2001. Thanks to A.
News of the World (UK) February 25, 2001
TONY BLAIR and George Bush are to lead a global crusade against the internet perverts who peddle child porn.
The new initiative comes after the News of the World launched a campaign against the internet barons who allow paedophiles to post horrendous images of child abuse on the Net.
The Prime Minister and the President sealed the deal during late night talks over dinner at Camp David at the end of their two-day summit.
And Mr Blair's government will immediately reinforce the deal with new tough laws on Internet paedophiles, to be announced in the House of Commons on Monday.
Under the laws, paedophiles who trade in the sickening images of children's suffering will face long jail terms.
Last week, we launched a campaign to purge the net of child pornography with a list of five key demands for Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
The demands drawn up by leading childrens organisations - National Childrens Homes, Childline and the NSPCC - include measures to ensure that all internet users are clearly identified and closer supervision of chatrooms.
Mr Blair raised the question of Internet child porn during dinner with President Bush.
He told the President he was determined to take a lead in the global battle against internet porn after Operation Wonderland, a two-year investigation which uncovered the true shocking extent of paedophilia online.
And Mr Bush immediately promised to commit the full resources of the FBI to the fight.
Under the combined US/British operation, National Crime Squad detectives will work alongside US agents.
Extra cash will be committed by both sides to lead the joint operation.
After the deal was struck, the two men pledged to forge a "high-tech anti-cime union" against internet sex crime.
Last night a Downing Street aide confirmed both governments will also put fresh pressure on Internet service providers to clean out all the child porn from their servers.
That means closing down the chatrooms which deal in child porn.
Mr Blair told Mr Bush the co-operation between British detectives and US Federal agents in Operation Wonderland must be a "starting point" for future initiatives.
Under the deal, NCS and the FBI will swap information and computer training.
They will also mount more joint operations against the paedophile internet gangs who collect and swap thousands of images of sickening abuse on the Net.
A Downing Street aide accompanying Mr Blair on his trip to America told the News of the World the new British-American teams will be fully operational by April.
And after the dinner Mr Blair said: "The Internet provides tremendous opportunities for good, but inevitably there will be a small minority of criminals who will seek to abuse it for their own ends.
"This is mobile crime that recognises no boundaries, so it is vital that countries work as closely as they can to combat the threat.
"The United States and British governments are today sending a strong signal of the importance we both attach to developing ever closer links to fight this sort of crime."
Sources close to Mr Bush said the President was also aware that international paedophile gangs had operated in the United States and Britain simultaneously, and said he wanted to see a joint effort to crush the threat.
By IAN KIRBY