This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Does Intentionally Viewing Extreme Material Online Constitute Possession Under UK Law?

Question from Sery, Does Intentionally Viewing Extreme Material Online Constitute Possession Under UK Law?

Answer from AI:

In the United Kingdom, the laws regarding possession of extreme material are complex and can depend on various factors. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, specifically Section 63, makes it an offence to possess extreme pornographic images. However, the question of whether viewing such material online constitutes possession can be less clear-cut.

Viewing vs Possession

Generally, simply viewing material online does not necessarily constitute possession. However, the issue can become complicated due to the way web browsers work. When you view a webpage, your browser typically stores a temporary copy of the page in its cache. This is done to speed up the loading of the page if you visit it again. Technically, this cached copy could be considered a form of possession.

Legal Interpretation

The legal interpretation of this issue can vary. Some legal experts argue that a cached copy does not constitute possession because the user does not have direct control over the cache. Others argue that since the cache is stored on the user’s device, it could be considered possession.

Legal Precedents

There have been cases in the UK where individuals have been prosecuted for possession of illegal material based on cached copies. However, these cases often involve other factors, such as evidence that the individual intentionally sought out and viewed the material.

Legal Advice

If you are concerned about this issue, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice. A legal professional can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation. They can also help you understand the potential legal risks and how to mitigate them.


If you unintentionally come across extreme material online, it is advisable to clear your browser cache immediately. This can help to ensure that no cached copies of the material remain on your device.


For more information on this topic, you can refer to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 and the Crown Prosecution Service’s guidance on extreme pornography.

Please note: This information is intended to provide a general understanding of the law. It is not intended to provide legal advice. Always consult with a legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

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