Fighting Online Child Porn

The federal, provincial and territorial justice ministers had a meeting for several days this week and in their final press release said, among other things:

Mandatory reporting of child pornography
Ministers agreed that Canada’s response to child pornography could be enhanced by federal legislation requiring any agency whose services could be used to facilitate the commission of online child pornography offences to report suspected material.

Will “any agency” include telecoms? ISPs? Search engines? What others?

Will the response to this problem be ehanced by mandatory reporting? …Are the various “agencies” contemplated here now reluctant to assist, so that legislation is needed? Or is this announcement a method of appearing to be doing something about a serious problem that is hard to do something about?

Is there a way that such legislation could be designed to be useful?

It should go without saying, but just in case .. I have NOT been involved in any part of the preparation or discussion of this material … Just wondering.

Comments

  1. The key question needs to be “What is the problem that this legislation will supposedly solve?” For it to be effective, you have to assume that (a) there are a lot of people out there who are aware of child pornography and not reporting it to the police; and (b) that is an obstacle to police prosecutions of child porn cases.

    As for (a), I don’t see any evidence of that. Maybe some people have the idea that ISPs are somehow watching every bit of internet traffic and seeing child pornography fly by. Hopefully most of us aren’t that naive.

    And for (b), the police have said over and over again that they have tonnes of child pornography cases on backlog that they can’t get to due to resourcing. More reports wont help that problem.

    No question, this idea is just an effort to create obligations in order to look like they’re doing something. That should worry all of us.