Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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And down goes another pedophile ring...


This article started as a discussion of a newspaper article, with a focus on its lack of critical thinking, sensationalist stand, etc. As an off-shot, in particular after my writings on feminism, a more general discussion was added, dealing with the abuse of terms like “pedophilia”, extremist forbidding attitudes towards “under-age sex”, and similar.

A later blog entry on child-porn hysteria, where I discuss some related issues and give a number of links, could be of interest to the reader.

Notably, the word “pedophilia” strictly refers to pre-pubescent persons, while the corresponding term for pubescent persons is “ephebophiliaw” and for post-pubescent (and under-age) persons “hebephiliaw”.

Original discussion

In Swedish media it is a frequent occurrence that a “pedophile ring has been discovered” (or similar). So in e.g. Pedofilring avslöjade, published on 2009-06-29.


As I have later noticed, this is not limited to Sweden, but is quite common in English language newspapers too. (Not necessarily a surprise, but Sweden tends to be a leader in various kinds of reporting, including anti-porn, anti-prostitution, and pro-feminazi, with strong pre-formed opinions, odd claims, and an unscientific approach.)

Among the claims of the article:

  1. More than 2000 persons from more than 78 countries were involved.

  2. Almost 2300 IP addresses belong to the ring.

  3. Formulations are used that many will take to imply that all the (alleged) two thousand pedophiles will be brought to justice.

  4. The Internet, according to UNICEF, contains 14 million websites for child pornography.

Notably, the article also list several other rings of similar sizes that have been discovered or “cracked” (“spräckta”) recently.

A few, somewhat conjectural, observations to the above:

  1. It appears that the author considers an IP address a fix number belonging to a specific person. In reality, however, IP addresses are (with few exceptions) temporarily associated with individual Internet connections; and if the same person revisits a particular site he may register under another IP address. If we, plausibly, assume that most visitors come back for more material and that a non-trivial period of time was covered, then the actual number of persons involved could easily be less than a tenth of the number of IP addresses—possibly a lot less.

  2. It is tacitly assumed that everyone whose address has been registered is a member of the ring (a word carrying associations of active involvement and/or some degree of organisation; several other formulations indicating a close involvement or organisation were used). Most, however, will likely be passive consumers, with the “true” ring consisting of a small number of money-makers (or, less likely, enthusiasts).

  3. Many visitors will have clicked on an image/link outside of the ring out of one-time curiosity, many will have innocently clicked on an image/link with no implication of child porn, some may have been lead there by evil JavaScript tricks and re-directions (depending on the methods and goals of the content providers), etc.

    Consider these articles on how a computer virus surfs on child-porn sitese. and how innocent people are inadvertently caught in FBI “honey pots”e (beware when reading this article that many browsers automatically and without the users doing down-load the contents of some linked pages, say the next page in a forum thread, so that these pages can be displayed faster, should the user click on the corresponding links in the future).

    I note that I, myself, have often been lead astray without my own doing, e.g. in that I clicked on a link promising “Co-ed lesbians” and found myself on a page dealing with gay males, under-18 sex, or (fictional) incest. Toon porn is another thing I tend to enjoy, but unfortunately toon sites almost invariably include under-age characters in their overviews: I have no interest in seeing Bart Simpson have sex, he does not excite me in anyway, and I do not follow image links figuring him—yet, through overviews of toon sites, I have seen more images of him than of any legal-age toon (possibly with the exception of other Simpsons’ characters).


    In other cases involving toons, determining the age of the characters is hard: Is Kim Possible of legal age? Having never seen the non-porn version, I have no idea. Further, the age of the “real” cartoon does not always determine that of the porn version: I have e.g. seen the infamous Bart Simpson drawn in what is definitely an adult-age version—how then can I know that a, hypothetically, seventeen-year old Kim Possible is not draw in a modified eighteen-year old version? How do I know whether the seventeen-year old of one season or the eighteen-year old of the next is drawn?

  4. The claim of 14 million websites seems hard to believe: http://www.domaintools.com/internet-statistics/e claims that there are 110,196,652 domains as of 2009-06-29. This listing is likely not complete (not including all top-level domains and likely being blind to sub-domains), but then again, it will include the many domains that are currently cyber-squatted, domain-parked, whatnot. With a rough approximation of one website per domain, this implies that more than one website in eight (!) would deal with child pornography. Even if we assume that 50 % of all websites are of pornographic nature, then more than a quarter of all porn sites deal with child pornography.


    According to the July 2009 Netcraft surveye there are 239,611,111 websites responding to the survey. If this number is taken at face value, the proportions above are roughly halved—leaving the discussion still correct. Further, I have the suspicion that these numbers are too inclusive, considering references to e.g. Google’s blogging service—not to mention inactive sites of various kinds (cf. above).

    To take another approach, if we assume that a porn-site (on average) needs at least 50 unique visits per day to stay alive (too little for advertising sites, more than enough for monthly-fee sites—assuming that the content is already available), a total of 700 million visits per day are needed. If we further assume that the average visitors manages as much as five sites per day, this requires 140 million pedophiles. Discount people without an Internet connection, people who stay away from porn on principle, those who avoid child-porn for fear of repercussion, those who live in China, etc., and it is clear that a very sizable part of the human population has to be pedophiles for this number to be true. Wikipediaw puts the number of Internet users at less than 1.6 billion (retrieved on 2009-06-30): subtract the above groups and the many non-adults with Internet access, and more than one adult in five may need to be a pedophile for the calculation to hold up.

    Yet another: Following up on a log-file entry where someone had landed on this page after googling “pedophile porn sites”, I did the same. This page was number 72 out of roughly 170,000. All the entries preceding mine appeared to be news articles, blog entries, or similar—not child-porn. (However, I did not look too closely and may have missed a very small minority of child-porn sites.) If there were, in fact, 14 million child-porn sites, then either they are very poor when it comes to marketing, or Google filters the vast majority out. In either case, we have little to worry about. (Again, the true explanation is likely that the number is far smaller than claimed.)

    In all likelihood, some kind of deliberate miscalculation has been made, e.g. by classifying individual porn-blogs on the same site as different sites or by including many “normal” porn-sites in a blanket manner (possibly including many toon or hentai sites, cf. above).


    Since the original time of writing, I have gained more insight into the methods of e.g. feminists: I no longer see this as miscalculation (deliberate or otherwise), but strongly suspect free invention of a number that is “terrifying enough”. (In other words, an outrageous and inexcusable lie intended to bring sufficient support for a political agenda.)


    Obviously, my own calculations above should not be seen as exact numbers, but just as an attempt to get a sufficiently good “order of magnitude” estimate to check the credibility of the original claims.

  5. For obvious reasons, the actual number of people being seriously investigated will be much smaller than 2300—even if that had been the actual number of people involved. The police does not have resources enough to follow up all the small fish, and they are well aware that going after the actual content providers and a limited number of very frequent visitors will give much better value for their money.

    Yet, I cannot but help to wonder what absurdities may eventually befall even innocent bystanders: Apparently, in 2008 an Australian was convictede for having possessed a pornographic image portraying—Bart Simpson (cf. above). Who knows, someday a witch-hunt may occur when even I and other innocents are dragged to court over having accidentally viewed something illegal.

Excursion on child-porn and pedophilia in general

To add a few words on the more general issue: There is a very unfortunate tendency today to consider everything involving people below the age of 18 child porn and pedophilia—while giving it the same rhetorical condemnation as is given to the rape of children of five. Either separate terms should be used, or the moral judgment should be weighed very differently. I note that, while it may be justified to outlaw porn featuring actors below 18 (for very different reasons than for true children), there is nothing morally, humanly, or naturally wrong with being attracted to teenagers—on the contrary, for biological and evolutionary reasons, the teens is a period where many people reach the peak of their sexual attractiveness. Consider, further, that many adult Asian women look very much younger than their Caucasian counter-parts, sometimes even pre-pubescent: Should we condemn being attracted to Asians as amoral? Alternatively, is the fifteen-year old who has sex with his girl-friend a pedophile? Is she one? Is it illegal for him to keep a picture, portraying her naked, that she gave him? Did she commit a crime by taking it in the first place?

A particular problem: Combine the body and face of an Asian woman with the automatic perfect skin of an anime rendering, and age sometimes becomes near indeterminable. Then, either the body of a grown-up Asian woman must be illegal for any sexual purpose—or a worsening of skin quality must be considered one of strongest attractive aspects of a woman. Both suggestions are thoroughly and completely preposterous.

It is of paramount importance that the fight against child porn be limited to the true and real-life cases, and that a very clear difference be made between sexual activities with true children (felony and pedophilia) and those who merely are below the age of consent (misdemeanor or infraction, depending on the exact age and circumstances).

I do not want to trivialize the actual problems that are posed by true pedophilia and child pornography—there are many actual cases of child porn, rape, kidnapping, and intra-familiar abuse; however, I cannot help wondering, whether the alleged cure does not cause more damage than the disease. Certainly, a considerable amount of misrepresentation is going on, and the self-proclaimed “good guys” fill the air with lies and rhetoric. If the little toe has gangrene, it may or may not be best to amputate it—to amputate the whole foot, let alone leg, is only justified if it too is highly infected.

Read up on Operation Oree for proof of the witch-hunt that sometimes goes on, or on how media creates online sex predator mythse.


I am currently (January 2010) reading an online edition of “A Thousand and One Nights”, which contains a scene of a 10 y.o. girl having sex with a 12 y.o. slavee. According to some suggested laws (possibly even implemented laws) this scene would be illegal, being a depiction of under-age sex. Yet, “The Nights” is generally considered a cultural heirloom of immense value—and has an accumulated readership (in some cases “hearership”) that likely exceeds that of J.K. Rowling.

Notably, the girl and the slave were protected from consequences by the girl’s mother, and the slave remained a sexual partner of the girl until her death. (While he was turned into a eunuch after her marriage, this appears to have been a precaution to prevent impregnation by the wrong partner, rather than a punishment.)

Just stop for a moment and consider the current legal tendencies in the light of this situation, how attitudes towards sex have been altered; how legislation can have absurd effects on literature, arts, and free speech; and how misplaced hysteria is. (Notwithstanding that non-hysterical measures to prevent sexual activities involving 10 y.o. children likely are a good thing.)

Similarly, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Lifew: Considering the ideas some activists have, I am surprised that there are no major on-going efforts to ban or heavily sensor it—say, the musical number where little girls sing about sperm or the boy-school scene where sexual intercourse takes place between the teacher and his wife in front of a full class-room. Despite (possibly even because of) these scenes, it has gained considerable success and recognition (including a prestigeous Cannes-festival prizew).


In an addendum to the addendum: Now January 2012, I have found that children in a sexual context are far more common than I had noticed when I wrote the original addendum—and my examples correspondingly less noteworthy. Here, obviously, factors like the author’s intents and artistic value vs. pornography have to be considered; however, this still suffices to prove the absurdity of some the politically correct ideas on the issue. Why, for instances, should it be a crime to have an image of a woman who looks as if she could be below 18 voluntarily engaging in sexual acts, when Stephen King’s “The library policeman” contains an explicit account of the rape of a small child?

Consider the likely level of arousal in a real child-rapist when encountering these two examples; which one actually deals with a grave crime, which one (in real life) would be likely to cause psychological (and physical ...) damage vs. which one might be a pleasant half-hour for the “victim”; which one might leave a reasonable (not hysterical, witch-hunting, or being-a-useful-idiot-for-feminists) reader/viewer emotionally upset or disgusted; etc. How can the image be forbidden, when the text stands in millions of homes around the world?