Canada Feds Want to Toughen Online 'Child Pornography' Laws

OTTOWA, Canada—The Canadian government will introduce legislation Tuesday that will strengthen the country's laws with respect to images of child sexual abuse. Coming on the heels of a report that found "child pornography" on dozens of servers located in Canada, the law will require internet service providers (ISP) to report to the government websites suspected of containing contraband child sexual abuse images.

"The bill will strengthen our ability to protect children from sexual predators," a senior government official told Sun Media. "It will help police rescue these young victims and help prosecute the criminals responsible."

The new bill—"An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service"—is considered complementary to two other bills—C-46 and C-47—both of which were introduced in June and are still at the committee stage, reports the Vancouver Sun.

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-4 —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.

The new law, if passed, would reportedly would impose fines of up to $95,000 on corporate Internet service providers or up to $9,500 and six months in jail for sole proprietors who fail to report child pornography. It would also require ISPs to safeguard evidence if they believe an offence involving images of child sexual abuse has been committed using a server they provide, and would make it mandatory that any tip received by ISPs about potential "child porn" sites be reported to a designated agency.