The Assessment Process
The Hotline's operational process starts when a report is received from the public or from another INHOPE counterpart. All received reports are assessed.
Under the Irish legal system, only a Court of Law can determine that a criminal offence has been committed and that material (i.e. Child Sexual Abuse Material) relating to that offence is actually illegal. Therefore, Hotline.ie can only assess and determine that something is "probably illegal" with reference to the criteria given in the relevant Irish Law. For example, in the case of Online Child Sexual Abuse Material legally know as Child Pornography, that is the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act (1998).
In order for a report to be processed the reporter must have given reasonable indication as to where, or how, the Analyst may find the content in question. If the Analyst has problems locating the content and if the reporter has provided contact details, the Analyst will attempt to contact the reporter and try to get further details that could assist in locating the content in question.
Usually the reports are made anonymously so no follow-up is possible and in many cases where the reporter is contacted they don’t have the necessary details. In this situation, the report is closed as “insufficient details”. For this reason some reports might not make the full assessment process as described above.
In all cases, even if the person reporting has provided contact details, these are not provided to other parties. Only the details of the suspected content and the technical findings of Hotline.ie are transmitted. Once this notification procedure is completed, the Hotline records the action that was taken in the database and closes the report.
Personally identifiable information submitted to Hotline.ie when making a non-anonymous report is stored in a secure database. Once the report has been investigated and closed, the reporters contact data is deleted within a 90 day period. Furthermore, Hotline.ie do not pass on personal details to Law Enforcement without the permission of the reporter or a court order.