Canada Fights Child Pornography

Stephen Yagielowicz
OTTAWA — New legislation is expected to be introduced in Canada this week that would force Internet service providers (ISPs) to notify federal authorities of any sites they host which may link to illegal child pornography (CP).

The report from Canwest News Service also claims that ISPs would be required to safeguard any evidence that CP was available using a server that the company provides; and to pass on to authorities any tips that the company receives indicating that potential CP sites are being hosted on its network.

The proposed legislation is said to carry penalties for non-compliance of up to $100,000 for corporations and up to $10,000 and six months in jail for sole proprietors — a consideration that takes into account the wide array of hosting companies and their various sizes — from "one man bands" to major business entities.

Currently, ISPs are not required under federal law to forward any reports of suspected CP on their networks to law enforcement agencies; however, the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia do require such notifications if an ISP suspects that it may be hosting CP.

The legislation closely follows the release of a report by watchdog group that found that Canadian networks are a dominant source of CP sites.

According to Cybertip director Signy Arnason, as strong as the laws within Canada are, no country is really free from this type of material existing on websites hosted within its borders.

The bill, entitled "An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service," is designed to work in conjunction to two previous bills that are now working their way through committee. Those bills, the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act and the Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act, both provide a wide variety of enhanced forensic and procedural tools for allowing police to identify, track and retain evidence of illegal CP and the criminals who post it to the Internet.