Yahoo! sued over Group used for child porn

Out-Law News | 13 May 2005 | 2:57 pm |

Yahoo! has been sued by an unnamed minor and his parents after his picture was circulated on a Yahoo! Group that was used by a child porn ring. The portal is accused of doing nothing to stop the distribution of the illegal images.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Monday. According to Reuters, it also targets an individual, Mark Bates, the creator of what was known as the Candyman Group.

Yahoo! Groups allow users to correspond with like-minded persons via e-mail, chat, bulletin boards, and file transfers. They cover a multitude of topics chosen by users, from aquariums to space exploration, but some are inevitably used for less wholesome subjects.

The Candyman Group allowed collectors and distributors of child pornography to use on-line resources to retrieve and distribute child pornography and was the target of a one-year undercover FBI investigation, which led to the site being shut down in 2002.

At the time the FBI estimated that there were over 7,000 group members with around 2,400 residing outside the US.

Bates, the group administrator, was eventually sentenced to 30 years in prison. He now faces more court appearances, according to Reuters, following the filing of the civil action.

The suit also accuses Yahoo! of breaching its responsibilities by allowing the group to distribute child pornography. The company is accused of knowing what the group was doing, but doing nothing to stop the distribution of the illegal images, reports Reuters.

Yahoo! has made no comment on the case.