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The most pernicious criminal activity online has finally spread to the bustling, brand-friendly image board.

It was bound to happen. Pinterest, the bustling, brand-friendly social image board that investors value at several billion dollars, has a kiddie porn problem. Utah's Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force is investigating 12 cases of what it calls "brazen" instances of child porn being shared on the hugely popular image board.

Just how brazen were they? ICAC chief Ken Wallantine told the Desert News:

People have actually posted on Pinterest — on non-password protected pages — actual images that are known child pornography ... and put that out there saying, 'Hey, this is what my hobby is.' Essentially, it's fishing for other images: 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours, and by the way, here's mine right up front.'

Investigators said they were honestly shocked to find the images on a Pinterest, whose bulletin boards are better known as hubs for sharing recipes and shopping ideas and gorgeous photographs found on the Web. But child porn, arguably the Web's most pernicious criminal activity, eventually infects every site that relies on user-generated content. To Pinterest's credit, the company's taking an "honorable pro-active" approach, according to the ICAC, and all the cases it's currently investigating were first reported by Pinterest employees.

A Pinterest spokesperson told Valleywag:

In terms of process, we report potentially illegal content to theNational Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). They decide the right law enforcement agency to which the content should be sent. This is the way it works with every user-generated content site.

The vast majority of activity on Pinterest is positive and constructive but we have zero tolerance for any child exploitation. We actively search the site for offending content, report it to law enforcement, and help prosecute those responsible.

H/T Valleywag | Photo by mkhmarketing/Flickr

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