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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

OTTAWA, November 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new bill was introduced by the Conservative federal government today with the intention of requiring Internet service providers (ISPs) to inform police if they discover links to child pornography on their customers' websites. The legislation is entitled “An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service.”

Under the legislation ISPs would also be required to safeguard and disclose to police evidence if they believe a child-pornography offence has been committed using a server they provide, and to report any tips they receive about potential child-porn sites to a designated agency.

The introduction of the bill follows closely on the heels of a report by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection which last week released a new study titled “Child Sexual Abuse Images: An analysis of websites by Cybertip.ca.”

Cybertip.ca is operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and is Canada's national tip-line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.

The study looked at over 15,000 websites containing child porn and analyzed 800 websites where pornographic pictures of children were sold. It found that more than 60 countries were hosting child sexual abuse content, and Canada ranked second behind the U.S. in terms of the number of commercial porn sites featuring children.

“What makes this particularly concerning is the very young age of the children in the images. These children are most likely being accessed and sexually abused by someone they know. Not only is it devastating for a child to be abused, but to have the abuse recorded and distributed on the Internet adds another layer of trauma,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

“This is a call to action to all Canadians to learn to recognize the signs of abuse, and to report their suspicions of abuse. We need to disrupt and hopefully stop child sexual abuse and prevent it from being memorialized and traded on the Internet.”

Though the new 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, some child safety and pro-family groups say the legislation does not go far enough to stop the spread of child pornography on the Internet.

“This legislation – in fairness to the ISPs – only obliges them to report if they are aware. So there is a huge volume of traffic that they can not be aware of that is child abuse image-related,” David Butt of the Kids' Internet Safety Alliance told CTV.

Brian Rushfeldt, Executive Director of Canada Family Action (CFA), praised the Conservative government for taking active and positive steps toward dealing with child sex Internet crime, but called for much stiffer penalties for those who exploit and harm children.

“Remember,” Rushfeldt said, “sex images of children are criminal content; and production, distribution, importation and downloading are all criminal activity.”

“We ask the government to go beyond their current proposed legislation affecting ISPs. It will be of little value to have these pedophile criminals investigated and caught if our justice system continues to release them back into the community where they are harming children. In the current criminal code, Section 163, the minimum sentence for production of these horrendous criminal sex images is 90 days. For possession of it, a whopping 14 days. Does that sound like justice?” asked Rushfeldt.

“CFA wants mandatory minimum sentences for production of child sex abuse images of ten years in jail, for distribution seven years, and for possession of these criminal images three years. The government must take every action possible to protect defenseless children,” the group states in a press release.

Julian Sher, author of One Child at a Time, the Global Fight to Rescue Children from Online Predators, said it's about time Canadian lawmakers started to crack down on child porn.

“Canadians are among the biggest users of the Internet,” he told the Edmonton Sun.

“All of the major cases (of child porn) that I've covered, Canadians are always involved. And yet, we have some of the weakest legislation.”

Sher related covering the prosecution of an international child porn ring where the US citizens convicted in the case got upwards of 10-year sentences, while the Canadians got off with as little as 14 days.

“People have to realize that this is not simply pornography,” Sher said. “It's child abuse. When they see pictures and videos of this nature, they're not just pictures. They're crime scene photos.”

Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia already have provincial legislation making it mandatory under child protection laws for Internet companies to call police if they suspect or have knowledge of online child porn.

The federal bill is expected to pass with near unanimous support from the House of Commons.

The full text of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection “Child Sexual Abuse Images” report is available of the group's website and on the national tipline at www.cybertip.ca. Please be advised that the content of the report is very disturbing.

See related LSN articles:

Ontario Law Makes Reporting Child Porn Mandatory
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030204.html

Manitoba Implements Mandatory Child Porn Reporting Law
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09041607.html

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