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Liberal government looks to update fight against online child porn

Liberal government looks to update fight against online child porn
From CBC - January 10, 2018

With online child sexploitation growing "exponentially," the Liberal government is looking at developing artificial intelligence (AI) programs to help relieve officers traumatized by scanning the web for gruesome images of child-porn.

Public Safety officials are also considering new legislation to require all communications providerssuch as website owners, not just Internet Service Providers (ISPs)to report child pornography when they spot it.

The proposed measures are outlined in a memo for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, which also calls for more resources for law enforcement, including better training for Crown counsel and judges.

"Greater investments in technological tools and innovative approaches are needed to better allow industry and law enforcement to respond to the exponential growth in online CSE [child sexual exploitation] material, the growing use of the dark web, and ever-changing encryption methods," says the July 18 memo.

"This could include investments in artificial intelligence to improve the speed with which online CSE material is identified, and incentives for industry to put in place anti-online CSE measures."

"A greater reliance on technology to detect and categorize CSEM [child sexual exploitation material] would also have the benefit of decreasing officer exposure to this material, which can seriously impact personal health and well-being."

CBC News obtained a copy of the memo under the Access to Information Act.

Broad consultation

The document summarizes consultations with interested parties, including industry, prosecutors, police and others, on how to update a 2004 federal initiative. The National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet is currently funded at more than $15 million annually.

Much has changed since 2004, including:

The memo says the Spencer decision, a 2014 Supreme Court ruling that ended the ability of police to demand basic subscriber information from ISPs without a formal production order approved by a judge, has "impeded" child-porn investigations.

And it says investigators remain hampered by legal impediments preventing police from accessing password-protected information on laptops and other devices they seize from suspects.

Further, the document notes the Criminal Code prevents industry, academics or non-government organizations from accessing or possessing CSE material that would help them create sophisticated software that can keep up with child-porn innovations.

"The inability to use CSE material in computer learning/artificial intelligence development limits the effectiveness of such technology in detecting and categorizing CSE material," says the memo.

'Most ISPsare taking at least 30 days to respond to these judicial orders.' - RCMPspokesman Sgt. Harold Pfleidereron delays in investigations into online child porn

Budget 2017 added $1 million

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