December 14, 2010

Times of India

FBI issues warning over Barbie 'Video Girl' which could be used by paedophiles to make child pornography

Parents are being warned that a new Barbie doll that features a built-in video camera could be used as a tool by paedophiles to make child pornography.
The Barbie 'Video Girl', which is on sale in the UK and the U.S., has a hidden camera in the chest and a small LCD screen video display in her back.

A 'cyber crime alert' from the FBI has said the doll, which went on sale in July, could be used to record footage used for distribution by paedophiles.

It said: 'FBI investigation has revealed instances where an individual convicted of distributing child pornography had given a Barbie doll to a six-year-old girl.
The document went on to cite the findings of another investigation which found 'examples where a concealed video camera had recorded child pornography'.
That camera did not involve a doll, FBI agent Frederick Gutt said, but the possible combination of the two in a single device presents concerns for investigators.
There have been no recorded incidents of paedophiles using the Barbie 'Video Girl' to prey on young children.

The alert adds: 'Law enforcement is encouraged to be aware of unconventional avenues for possible production and possession of child pornography, such as the Barbie Video Girl.'
Video Girl can capture up to 30 minutes of footage and the video can be downloaded and streamed live to a computer. There is no indication it can be streamed directly to the internet.

The alert was written in the U.S. for law agencies only, but was mistakenly sent to media outlets in Seattle.
Agent Steve Dupre told CNN: 'It was an inadvertent dissemination of the document.
'There have been no reported incidents of this doll being used as anything other than as intended.'
William Porress, from Tacoma, Washington, said he would not buy one of the dolls for his six-year-old granddaughter.

'That plays into these people who prey upon our children's ideals. It frightens me.
'Oh, she would love it, but she's more important to me than a giggle on Christmas morning.'

A statement from Mattel Inc, which makes the doll, said: 'The FBI is not reporting that anything has happened. Steve Dupre from the FBI Sacramento field office has confirmed there have been no incidents of this doll being used as anything other than its intent.

'Mattel products are designed with children and their best interests in mind. Many of Mattel's employees are parents themselves and we understand the importance of child safety - it is our number one priority.'
The Barbie doll, which costs $49.99 (£32), is aimed at children six and above and has been nominated for the 2011 Toy of the Year Award.

Times of India

Sin city: 4 gangrapes in 2 mnths

Delhi Girl Raped As 600 Policemen Hunt For Car In Vain

New Delhi: In a city that witnesses at least one rape each day433 cases have occurred this year the report of yet another abduction and gangrape of a young woman has raised several questions about the safety of women in the national captial. Sundays gangrape was the fourth in the span of two months. The heinous act also shows the extent to which louts feel emboldened to harass women the resident of Sultanpuri was allegedly raped because she protested against lewd comments by criminals.

To make matters worse, the latest incident has raised questions about the efficiency of the police force. Six hundred policemen took two hours to find the woman even after they received a call that she had been abducted. By the time they found her, the 18-year-old had been gangraped inside a moving car by two men. Four people, including a minor, have been arrested.

As part of her routine, the victim would pick up her mother, who works in a Mongolpuri factory, whenever she worked extra hours. On Saturday night, on her way to her mothers factory, she was accompanied by her neighbour Ravi, said JCP (northern range) Karnal Singh. The accused Rama (28),Chandrapal (23),Dabbu (25) and a 14-year-old boy were out on a joyride in Ramas Hyundai Accent. All the three adults in the group work as drivers. None of the accused had any prior brush with the law, apart from Ravi who was involved in a fight in 2007.Police officers say Dabbu and the boy were not involved in the rape as they got off the car before it happened. The police found beer bottles from the car of the accused. Around 10.15 pm, the victim and her companion reached the Aman Vihar sector 20 park where they were accosted by the car occupants, who started passing lewd comments about her. The victim told us that the accused were drunk. When she protested, an argument broke out, said DCP Chhaya Sharma.

Describing the sequence of events, Sharma said the argument lasted for a few minutes before the accused decided to drive ahead.But the girl was angry and she snatched Ravis factory keys and smashed the rear glass of the car. The accused then allegedly decided to teach the victim a lesson. The four occupants then forced the girl inside the vehicle by tugging at her salwar suit and drove off towards the Nangloi railway crossing. Initially, the accused asked the girl to pay up for the damages. As punishment for her deed, the accused even beat her up. We found several cuts and bruises on her cheek, the DCP said.

About an hour later, after two of the accused Dabbu and the minor got off, Rama and Chandrapal took turns to rape her.


The second assault at police hospital

Rape victims at the Nagpada police hospital endure crude forensic examinations with no medical treatment; are subject to bullying by cops and callous hospital clerks; and many find the horrendous medico-legal procedures a nightmare as bad as the one inflicted on them by the rapist.

One December evening last year, four-year-old Priya, the daughter of a construction worker, was out playing near her house in Kalwa, northern Thane. They had only recently moved to a shanty there, after the municipal authorities found their house in Vikhroli to be ‘illegal’ and razed it.

A neighbourhood drug addict spotted Priya playing alone. He kidnapped her, took her to a secluded spot, raped her, and dumped her in a nearby swamp. Priya had lost consciousness and her inert body was fished out from the swamp. The rapist was caught by the police. Priya was taken to the hospital for a forensic examination and treatment — and there, she underwent an ordeal that was perhaps as heinous as the sexual assault she had suffered.

After the incident, the family moved back to Vikhroli, with the idea of taking the girl away from a place where she had undergone such trauma, to help her recover. But two months later, Priya still hadn’t stopped crying — she was in tremendous pain. She could not urinate, her genitals burned, she could not walk, and she could not even sit down without slivers of pain shooting through her body. While the sexual assault was the primary cause of all this, equally responsible was the lack of medical treatment at the hospital she had been taken to.

Manisha Tulbule, a lawyer and social worker who is handling Priya’s case, says the hospital did not give the girl even the basic medical attention any rape victim would require. “Priya had been taken to the Thane Civil Hospital immediately after the incident. But the hospital only did a forensic examination for rape. Vaginal swabs and blood tests were taken, but neither did they give her medical treatment, nor did they refer her to another hospital. They didn’t follow the standard procedures for rape victims, such as checking for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and HIV infections,” she says.

A solution worse than the problem

The hospital that Priya was taken to is not the only one at fault. In fact, treatment of rape victims in most public hospitals is dismal. The worst, according to activists, is the Nagpada Police Hospital, which receives over 1,000 rape cases in a year.

SM Patil is the police surgeon at this hospital, the demigod around whom the hospital bureaucracy revolves. He is a small man with a big moustache and a big pair of glasses. Bigger still is his brightly-lit office, opening on to a courtyard with a separate driveway. Big man that he is, he is naturally a busy man. He is part of a team that is drafting a new manual on how doctors and cops in Maharashtra should deal with victims of sexual assault.

After initial denials, he eventually admitted to this reporter that he was indeed drafting such a manual, along with members from the home department, the department of medical education, and the directorate of health services. But he wouldn’t talk about it.

Why this strange coyness in talking about what, on the surface, seems like a progressive step?

In February 2010, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court against the state of Maharashtra and the Union government. The PIL was based on a study by Dr Indrajit Khandekar, titled ‘Pitiable And Horrendous Quality Of Forensic Medical Examination Of The Sexually Assaulted Victims In India’. Dr Khandekar had scrutinised the manner in which rape victims were dealt with by police personnel and doctors.

In response, the Maharashtra government tried to ‘rectify’ the problem. So in June 2010, the government came up with a directive asking all government hospitals to use the Nagpada police hospital’s pro forma. The trouble is this ‘official’ pro forma is a source of humiliation all over again: it prescribes the two-finger test, takes a broad consent for all tests (no matter that the traumatised victim may not be comfortable with some specific tests), asks for, among other things, the mental state in which the victim reaches the hospital, and the victim’s build.
Of all these, the most execrable is the two-finger test. Researcher Aruna Kashyap published a study in August 2010, showing how the two-finger test is still being conducted in Indian hospitals. She showed how the defence counsel still uses this information in courts (if two-fingers can be inserted into the victim’s vagina) to term the victim a person of ‘loose’ moral character.

Kashyap is also shocked by other elements in the pro forma.
“What is the purpose of recording the victim’s ‘mental state’ and ‘build’?” she asks. “If the victim is small-built and she comes crying, then apparently there is a good chance that she was raped. But what if she has been raped, but is not of small build and is not weeping? Also, the victim should be allowed to decline certain tests that she might be uncomfortable with. One can’t take a broad consent, as is being done now. For instance, not everyone who has been raped just hours before, would be comfortable with the two-finger test.”

In fact, the pro forma is just part of the problem. In November 2008, the research and health advocacy group CEHAT observed for 10 days how the Nagpada hospital handled cases of sexual assault. They were shocked. “The clerk who was supposed to take down the victim’s details was actually talking to her in an accusatory tone. He was asking her, ‘How many times did you go out with the rapist?’, ‘Did you do some wrong thing with him?’, ‘Oh you went with him! Very good’,” says Padma Deosthali, coordinator, CEHAT, who was part of the team of researchers.

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