Web smut filter advisor to UK PM cuffed in 'child abuse image' probe

Officers pore over IT systems at Number 10 Downing Street


A top aide who advised British Prime Minister David Cameron on broadband internet filtering in the UK is being investigated over an allegation involving “child abuse imagery".

The man at the centre of the investigation was named last night as 62-year-old Patrick Rock, a powerful advisor to the Conservative Party for 30 years. It's understood Rock, who was deputy head of Number 10's policy unit and tipped for a peerage, was instrumental in Cameron's push for website blockades in the UK.

Rock resigned after he was arrested and quizzed by police. Cops then searched computers and other IT equipment at Number 10. A Downing Street spokesperson issued the following statement today:

On the evening of February 12th Downing Street was first made aware of a potential offence relating to child abuse imagery. It was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency (CEOP). The Prime Minister was immediately informed and kept updated throughout. Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of February 13th, a few hours after Downing Street had reported the matter.

Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into Number 10 have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant.

This is an on-going investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further, but the Prime Minister believes that child abuse imagery is abhorrent and that anyone involved with it should be properly dealt with under the law.

The National Crime Agency's website and social network feeds are silent on the matter, as are the Prime Minister's.

We'll update as the story develops. ®


Other stories you might like

  • The ‘substantial contributions’ Intel has promised to boost RISC-V adoption
    With the benefit of maybe revitalizing the x86 giant’s foundry business

    Analysis Here's something that would have seemed outlandish only a few years ago: to help fuel Intel's future growth, the x86 giant has vowed to do what it can to make the open-source RISC-V ISA worthy of widespread adoption.

    In a presentation, an Intel representative shared some details of how the chipmaker plans to contribute to RISC-V as part of its bet that the instruction set architecture will fuel growth for its revitalized contract chip manufacturing business.

    While Intel invested in RISC-V chip designer SiFive in 2018, the semiconductor titan's intentions with RISC-V evolved last year when it revealed that the contract manufacturing business key to its comeback, Intel Foundry Services, would be willing to make chips compatible with x86, Arm, and RISC-V ISAs. The chipmaker then announced in February it joined RISC-V International, the ISA's governing body, and launched a $1 billion innovation fund that will support chip designers, including those making RISC-V components.

    Continue reading
  • FBI warns of North Korean cyberspies posing as foreign IT workers
    Looking for tech talent? Kim Jong-un's friendly freelancers, at your service

    Pay close attention to that resume before offering that work contract.

    The FBI, in a joint advisory with the US government Departments of State and Treasury, has warned that North Korea's cyberspies are posing as non-North-Korean IT workers to bag Western jobs to advance Kim Jong-un's nefarious pursuits.

    In guidance [PDF] issued this week, the Feds warned that these techies often use fake IDs and other documents to pose as non-North-Korean nationals to gain freelance employment in North America, Europe, and east Asia. Additionally, North Korean IT workers may accept foreign contracts and then outsource those projects to non-North-Korean folks.

    Continue reading
  • Elon Musk says Twitter buy 'cannot move forward' until spam stats spat settled
    A stunning surprise to no one in this Solar System

    Elon Musk said his bid to acquire and privatize Twitter "cannot move forward" until the social network proves its claim that fake bot accounts make up less than five per cent of all users.

    The world's richest meme lord formally launched efforts to take over Twitter last month after buying a 9.2 per cent stake in the biz. He declined an offer to join the board of directors, only to return asking if he could buy the social media platform outright at $54.20 per share. Twitter's board resisted Musk's plans at first, installing a "poison pill" to hamper a hostile takeover before accepting the deal, worth over $44 billion.

    But then it appears Musk spotted something in Twitter's latest filing to America's financial watchdog, the SEC. The paperwork asserted that "fewer than five percent" of Twitter's monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) in the first quarter of 2022 were fake or spammer accounts, which Musk objected to: he felt that figure should be a lot higher. He had earlier proclaimed that ridding Twitter of spam bots was a priority for him, post-takeover.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022