A paedophile sentenced to jail in January and under a sexual offences prevention order created a web site called Sparklebox used by teachers in England, Wales, Scotland, and North and South Ireland.
And even though the authorities knew about the site as late as last December, they continued to allow the site to be available to schools.
Samuel Kinge was jailed in Warwick in January 2005 for possession of child pornography, and started the site in February 2006, under the name Daniel Kinge. He was arrested again in September 2009 for possessing indecent images of children and was sentenced to 12 months in prison and served with a 15 year sexual offences prevention order.
According to Catriona Ruane, a Sinn Fein minister in the Northern Ireland assembly, Sparklebox was available through the Classroom 2000 (C2K) network. She said that C2K “became aware of the issues surrounding SparkleBox in December 2009”. But C2K liased with regional broadband units in England and “took the view that sufficient arrangements were in place to ensure the safety of users so, initially, it did not remove access to the site”.
C2K has automatic filters in place but in late January a parent contacted a Belfast primary school which removed access and informed C2K.
A week ago, C2K decided to block the site.
The Northern Ireland Assembly has now issued a follow-up to the circular on Internet safety specifically referring to safeguards that should be in place, in the light of the SparkleBox case. It has also instigated an urgent inquiry into the lapse.