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Secret Photos Of Kids To Be Banned

Photographers would be banned from taking pictures of children without parental approval under a proposed crackdown following the discovery of a website with hundreds of images of minors taken secretly at Queensland's parks and playgrounds.
Queensland Attorney-General Rod Welford yesterday confirmed the Government was considering the plan, which could also involve making it illegal to post "in- offensive pictures" of children on websites in any way linked to Internet pornographers. The mooted overhaul follows revelations Brisbane resident Paul Michael Bartram had secretly taken pictures and videos of Queensland children and posted them on his website.
Police are now investigating possible links from the website, found during a Courier-Mail investigation, to an international pedophile ring.
But police have not laid any charges against Mr Bartram who has denied any links to child pornography because the website did not contain nudity or pornography.
Mr Welford said: "There were several issues that came out of the articles in The Courier-Mail last week as to whether our existing laws need to be expanded to look at situations where the photographs of a child are, of themselves, not offensive.
"I think the public might want further controls on so-called inoffensive photographs that are being taken for improper or offensive purposes.
"And that means if the pictures are put on a website that is explicitly linked to sexually explicitly or child pornography websites."
Mr Welford said the "more difficult issue" was that of privacy and the possible legal need for photographers to seek permission of a guardian or parent before taking a child's picture.
"That is an issue to do with privacy laws and I think that could be further examined."
The proposed legal changes would come on top of moves by Australia's attorneys-general to tackle the proliferation of cameras in mobile phones in recent years.
Last year, the state and federal attorneys-general commissioned a working party to develop options to deal with mobile phones that will be considered at a meeting on the Gold Coast in March.
Liberals acting leader Bruce Flegg yesterday welcomed Mr Welford's comments, saying more needed to be done to protect children's rights.
Queensland police said they were still investigating Mr Bartram.
Separately yesterday, it emerged that a 20-year-old man had been reported for indecent behaviour after taking "inappropriate" pictures with a mobile phone of small children at a shopping centre in Adelaide. He will be summonsed to appear in court.

Courier Mail (1-2-2005)
Michael McKenna





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