In recent years, the circulation of illegal information on the Internet, such as child sexual abuse and advertisements of illegal drugs; and information that is dangerous to public safety and order including those that could lead to illegal activities such as crimes, etc.; has become a problem of our society.
In addition to the vast amount of new information that is circulating daily on the Internet, there is data that is stored in servers installed abroad. Moreover, Internet has the characteristics whereby copying, altering and deleting of content itself are easy. In order to further the countermeasures against illegal information, gathering of such information through the cooperation of Internet users is effective.
On the contrary, users requested to cooperate may become reluctant to do so because they need to reveal their names, etc. when they make reports on illegal information to the police.
Under such circumstances, in order to effectively and efficiently promote the handling of illegal information on the Internet, IHC was established because it is important to have an organization that will: receive information regarding illegal information from a wide range of Internet users; sort the information according to a set criteria; provide information to the police; and submit requests to administrators of e-bulletin boards to take measures against posting of such information.
With the information received from Internet users, the Hotline will generally carry out the following:
(1) Inform the Police
Information which IHC judges to be possibly in violation of criminal laws when circulated on the Internet, information related to specific crimes (for example, information regarding sales of prohibited goods) and information related to other crimes as well as information regarding suicide, will be reported to the police for the purpose of criminal investigation, crime prevention and protection of life.
(2) Submit handling requests to administrators of e-bulletin boards and providers
For a certain range of illegal information, IHC will request measures to block posting of such information to providers and e-bulletin board administrators.
(3) Inform related institutions
Depending on the reported content, IHC will provide relevant institutions and groups with information so that the shared information can be properly handled by the group of experts in each field.
(4) Handle illegal information through international cooperation
When illegal information on child sexual abuse is stored on a server abroad, IHC will request the removal through International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE).
Reports from Internet users will be received at the IHC's website (https://internethotline.jp/). The website can be accessed not only from PCs but also from other devices connected to the Internet. For the content of reports, after the investigation on the source of the posting by analysts, a legal advisory consisting of several lawyers will judge whether the information is illegal. If, according to those results, the information is found to be illegal, IHC will report it to the police and will request measures to the provider or administrator of the e-bulletin board to block the posting. If the reported information is judged as harmful, the information will be provided to “Safe-line”.
Regarding the state of the response by IHC to the information reported IHC has devised a method to enable the anonymous reporting person to view the status, by entering a Reference number that will appear on the web page at the time of reporting.
Furthermore, in order to prove the authenticity of IHC as the sender of the reporting email, emails to the police, or emails requesting countermeasures to providers and administrators of e-bulletin boards, will be sent with a digital signature including a public key and its certificate attached.
To enable a safe use of the Internet, we hope for the support and cooperation of providers and e-bulletin board administrators, as well as the many Internet users in Japan.