Online paedophiles to lose their credit cards

Professionals who use child porn websites could have their credit cards confiscated under proposed changes to data protection laws.

The likes of lawyers and doctors and other middle-class workers, are being targeted by the plans. Their names and addresses will be handed to banks and credit card companies by police and courts.

The move is thought to be more of a deterrent than other court options.

A draft order for changes to the Data Protection Act, which was made without any fanfare by ministers last month, will be debated in the Commons today.

A report by the children’s charity NCH, which has been lobbying for the change for three years, said: “Many of the individuals who have been convicted are from the professional and middle classes. The prospect of losing a card could be more of a deterrent or more than some current sentencing options.”

There were 31.6million credit card holders in Britain last year, with an average of 2.4 credit cards each. Many low earners can have difficulty getting credit.

NCH’s online child protection expert John Carr added:”Credit card companies will take your card away from you at the drop of a hat if you don’t pay your bill.

“But it is incredible that they cannot do anything if you use it to purchase child porn.”

The Department for Constitutional Affairs said the information would automatically be passed to the offender’s bank or card firm. But it has not yet been decided if this information would be shared between card companies.

Banks would probably not bar convicted paedophiles from holding any cards at all.

The ban would be limited to the card used in the particular offence.

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