Tony Krone, A Typology of Online Child Pornography Offending (July 2004) (full-text).
The paper first presents the legal definition of child pornography as "material that describes or depicts a person under 16 years of age, or who appears to be less than 16, in a manner that would offend a reasonable adult." It is not necessary to prove that a child depicted was in fact less than 16 years of age at the time the image was created. It is sufficient for prosecution that they appear to be under that age.
The paper then examines whether there is a typology of offending online with respect to child pornography. The typology is outlined as social, individual, and technological. The Internet has been used to create a self-justifying online community for child pornography users. The Internet also enables individuals to access material and communicate with others through a computer terminal that provides an apparently private sphere for the expression of sexual fantasy.
Additionally, digital technology and its use on the Internet make it possible for child pornography consumers to become obsessive collectors, such that the collection of images becomes an end in itself. The Internet also provides a ready means of accessing material that depicts and reinforces extreme sexual fantasies that may be acted out through the Internet in online interactions or physical meetings arranged online.
Investigations of online child pornography offenses are necessarily complex and time consuming, because they are often coordinated across jurisdictions and involve networks of offenders who use varying levels of security for their offenses. Priorities must be set, with the highest priority given to networks that market and transmit child pornography, as well as those who create the child pornography. Addressing these priorities is most likely to have a significant impact on the proliferation of online child pornography.