The National Police Agency plans to set up an online hotline for the public to report illegal or harmful content they spot on the Internet, such as that related to drug trafficking, child pornography or the production of explosives, NPA officials said Friday.

The NPA will commission a private-sector organization to operate the Web site. Several experts will handle the reports and determine whether to pass them on to the police or urge Internet service providers to delete the content.

A database of the content will also be compiled and shared with similar databases overseas.

It is impossible for the police to keep an eye on everything on the Internet and reports from the public should improve monitoring, they said.

The NPA is asking the organization to maintain the Web site partly to lessen the burden on the police, who might have to deal with a massive volume of reports, as well as to address the concerns of citizens who are hesitant to file a police report or who are unsure where to report the information, according to the officials.

People will be asked to provide the address of Web site containing the problematic content and classify it as child pornography, obscene, related to drug trafficking or other content.

The designation of content as “illegal” or “harmful” will be determined by a panel, which will include executives of Internet service providers, the officials said.

Police investigated 1,612 alleged Internet-related crimes in the first half of 2004, the highest number since data was first collected in 2000, according to the NPA.

There were also 50,479 requests for advice concerning potential Internet crimes during the same period.

Of these, 58 percent concerned fraud, 17 percent dealt with Internet auctions; and 5 percent involved child pornography, murder or suicide threats, and other illegal or harmful content, it said.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.