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In a wiki page about global legal status of Lolita, there is such a paragraph:

The first of these cases occurred in October 2010, when a 33-year-old man from Idaho named Steven Kutzner entered into a plea agreement concerning images of child characters from the American animated television show The Simpsons engaged in sexual acts. The incident was identified, and reported to U.S. authorities by German Federal Police who were able to obtain Kutzner's IP address.

What does 'the incident was identified' mean? I'm not sure whether it means

  1. the incident was discovered

or

  1. the incident was viewed as illegal by the informant.

2 Answers 2

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In order to "identify" something, one can't merely discover it; one must recognize it as having some identity or property. From the American Heritage Dictionary:

To ascertain as having a certain characteristic or feature: job candidates who are identified as overqualified; children who have been identified with hearing loss.

In this case, the German Federal Police recognized the incident as something that might be of interest to U.S. authorities. Therefore, your second interpretation is correct.

It is possible that the German Federal Police also discovered the incident. In fact, that seems likely. However, it is also possible that someone else discovered the incident and told the German police about it.

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It actually most probably means both. In this sentence it is followed by "and reported", so it is likely that not only was it identified as an actual case to be taken into consideration of the police and reported as illegal.

So:

  1. Police discovered the case
  2. Police recognised the case as "illegal" and to be dealt with
  3. It was serious enough to be brought up to the U.S government

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