Deputizing the Online Industry?

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that the current government plans to introduce a Bill in Parliament tomorrow that will require internet service providers to report suspected child pornography on sites they host or that are linked from sites they host: Ottawa aims to strengthen Internet child porn laws.

The text is not available, but when considered along with Bill C-47, the government appears to be singling out the telecommunications industry to take on additional law enforcement duties. We’ve generally been technology neutral in our criminal laws, but there seems to be a trend emerging to focus on what’s online (perhaps to the exclusion of other venues for offensive activities). If it’s a good idea to report this kind of horrible activity (to the tune of multi-thousand dollar fines for failing to do so), then shouldn’t everybody have the same obligation? I’m just asking …


  1. When Bell, Telus and a few other ISPs made their announcement several years ago about their self-regulation project, I posed the question: Will you be reporting any discoveries of child pornography to LEA. their terse answer was ‘NO’, with nothing offered as reasoning behind that decision. The participating ISPs already have facility in place, and in full deployment to block access to such materials, reporting it would be a simple matter. Additional information could be gleaned from determining those among us who are attempting to access such information, and that too might be worthy of LEA review.

    The usual caveats protecting those possibly wrongfully suspected apply, of course (much hay was made last week in the popular press of some bots incriminating people who were in fact not looking at kiddie pron).

    I expect there will be some who may find my view on such things a tad fascistical, but as a long-time online investigator, I will say this: Several years ago I spent new year’s eve trying to get one of these sites taken down from Canadian host. Nothing I have seen before or since was as disturbing as images of infants being raped.

  2. I would to have some solid, no-spin explanation of how this new law is actually necessary in order to tackle the problem of child pornography. What is it that’s not happening today that will happen if this law is passed? We ask that about every other law, but when you use the terms “child pornography” that analysis just seems to go out the window.

  3. Anonymous: right now, the ISPs are not reporting instances of child porn that they know of, to the authorities. No spin.