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.

Is Viewing Extreme Material Considered Possession in the UK?

Question from Miss, Is Viewing Extreme Material Considered Possession in the UK?

Answer from AI:

In the United Kingdom, the laws regarding extreme material are primarily governed by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, specifically Section 63 which deals with the possession of extreme pornographic images. The legal definition of possession in this context includes not only physical possession but also control over images stored on a computer or other digital devices.

Understanding Possession of Extreme Material

Possession, in legal terms, generally means having personal custody or control over an object. In the context of digital content, such as extreme material, this can include:

  • Having files saved on your computer’s hard drive
  • Storing files on removable media, like USB drives
  • Keeping files in a cloud storage account to which you have personal access

Is Viewing the Same as Possessing?

Simply viewing extreme material on a public website without intentionally downloading, storing, or saving it does not necessarily constitute possession. However, there are a few nuances to consider:

  1. Many web browsers automatically save temporary files to your device. If extreme material is cached as a temporary file, it could potentially be argued that you have possession of it, even if you did not intentionally download it.
  2. If you have taken steps to prevent such material from being saved to your device (e.g., using a private browsing mode), this could be evidence that you did not intend to possess the material.
  3. The intention behind viewing the material can also be relevant. If there is evidence that you sought out the material and viewed it repeatedly, this could potentially be used to argue that you had control over it, and thus, possession.

Legal Advice and Further Steps

If you are concerned about your legal position regarding the viewing of extreme material, it is important to seek personalized legal advice. A legal professional can provide guidance based on the specifics of your situation. They can also help you understand the following:

  • The current laws and regulations regarding extreme material in the UK
  • Any recent case law that might affect how these laws are interpreted
  • Defenses that may be available to someone accused of possessing extreme material

For more information on the laws surrounding extreme material, you can refer to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.


While intentionally viewing extreme material on a public website without downloading, storing, or saving it is not clearly defined as possession under UK law, there are circumstances where it could be argued as such. It is crucial to be aware of how your actions online could be interpreted under the law and to consult with a legal professional if you have any concerns about your activities. Legal advice is essential for understanding your rights and obligations under the law.

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