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Another stupid and useless law

Canadian government is proposing a new legislation against internet child porn. The new law requires service provider report offending website. I believe the government make the law out of good intention, but the law itself is plain stupid and totally not enforceable. The law make it a criminal offense if an ISP fail to report child porn sites to the police, if and only if the ISP happen to come across it or someone notify them.

The law does not require the ISP actively scan their hosting website for child porn and they are not responsible for hosting contents. The law only comes in effective if they happen to come across child porn they are hosting. Since no ISP would actively scan their hosting website, first it is against customer’s privacy and second scanning cost a lot computer power hence money, it is almost pretty sure ISP won’t come across any child porn. Even they come across it in regular maintenance, there is not record to prove they really come across it. The first clause in new law is toothless.

The second part of the law require the ISP report to the police if someone notify there are child porn sites in their server. It would be too time consuming for the ISP to verify every complain. The most cost efficient approach is simply forward the report to the police and let the police determine whether the complained site hosts child porn. Since their is no punishment for sending false-positive report the police, there is no harm forward every single complains to the police and let them deal with it. If the ISP acts as a forwarder, why don’t the complainer send email to the police in the first place?

The new law does not cause any harm per se, it only gives us a false sense of security. The government makes lots of noise and the media think they did a good job fighting child porn, but at the end it just a show which won’t have much effect. I rather the government spend their effort wisely else where to protect our children than making a stupid and useless law. I suggest we tighten up the law to give those child molesters the one punishment they truly deserves, castration. For serious offenders, we should castrate them with no pain killer.

News clip From the Vancouver Sun

The federal government plans to introduce new legislation Tuesday forcing Internet providers to alert police if they encounter any host sites linked to child pornography, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

The federal government plans to introduce new legislation Tuesday forcing Internet providers to alert police if they encounter any host sites linked to child pornography, The Vancouver Sun has learned.
Photograph by: Nicky Loh, REUTERS

The federal government plans to introduce new legislation Tuesday forcing Internet providers to alert police if they encounter any host sites linked to child pornography, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

The Internet companies would also be forced to safeguard evidence if they believe a child-pornography offence has been committed using a server they provide, a senior government official confirmed Sunday.

The new bill also makes it mandatory that any tip received by Internet companies about potential child-porn sites be reported to a designated agency.

The legislation allows for fines to Internet providers who do not comply of up to $100,000 for corporations, and up to $10,000 and six months in jail for companies owned by a sole proprietor.

At present, Internet providers are not obligated by law to pass on information to law enforcement agencies, though many do so voluntarily.

Three provinces — Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia — have made it mandatory under child protection laws for Internet companies to call police if they suspect or have knowledge of online child porn.

The proposed law comes just days after the release of a study that found Canada is one of the leading countries in the world for hosting child-porn sites.

The report, released by Cybertip.ca, examined more than 15,000 child-porn websites worldwide and found Canada ranked second behind the U.S. in terms of the number of commercial porn sites featuring children.

Canada was found to host eight per cent of the sites — far behind the U.S., which hosts 65 per cent of the commercial child-porn sites worldwide.

“As strong as our laws are within Canada, no country is really free from this type of material existing on websites,” Cybertip director Signy Arnason said. “We have 60 countries . . . that were hosting child-sexual abuse content.”

The report also details how child-pornography websites cover their tracks. In one 48-hour period, Cybertip.ca watched a website cycle through 212 unique IP addresses in 16 different countries — making the specific location of the information very difficult for law enforcement to track.

And a recent report by the federal ombudsman for victims titled Every Image, Every Child, said the number of Internet images of “serious child abuse” quadrupled between 2003 and 2007 and that the images are getting more violent and depicting younger and younger children.

The new bill – called “An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service” — is considered to be complementary to two other bills. Those bills — C-46 and C-47 — were introduced last June and are still at the committee stage.

Bill C-46 — the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act — provides police with additional tools to obtain information from Internet providers related to any criminal investigation. The tools include preservation orders to freeze data for up to 21 days, production orders compelling a company to provide a customer’s e-mail or IP address, and tracking orders to require a cellphone company to use its network to assist police in finding a particular cellphone or BlackBerry user.

Bill C-47 — the Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act — allows police to obtain information about clients from Internet providers and forces those companies to have the technical ability to allow police to intercept information.

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