points us to the news that a Canadian "victims advocacy group" called Victims of Crime has put out a report on how the government should deal with "internet-facilitated child sexual abuse."
You should recognize that the recommendations are ridiculous by the way they describe the problem: "internet-facilitated child sexual abuse." Notice that they're including the internet as a part of the problem, rather than just a tool that's being used. The report starts off by making a bad assumption: that the internet is responsible for an increase in child sexual abuse by stating: "internet-facilitated child sexual abuse is growing at an alarming rate. Between 1998 and 2003, the number of charges for production or distribution of child pornography increased by 900 percent...." Now, that could mean that there has been an increase... or it could mean that more resources have been put towards lawsuits or (perhaps) that the internet has enabled law enforcement to collect more evidence
to bring charges. In other words, you could easily interpret that evidence to mean that the internet has been an amazing help in bringing justice to those involved in such evil acts.
But where the report gets really troubling is the suggestions on what the government should do:
- introducing legislation to make it mandatory for Internet service providers to give law enforcement basic customer name and address information upon request;
- requiring internet service providers to keep data and internet surfing records for longer periods to ensure that evidence is not destroyed; and
- making it a criminal offence to refuse to give law enforcement a password or encryption information during an investigation.
In other words, throw all privacy rights out the window, don't require any evidence of wrongdoing or a court warrant and massively increase the costs for ISPs. And do they not think such laws would be abused? If police can simply request detailed information with no oversight, how quickly will it be abused to seek out anonymous detractors? Law enforcement and politicians have tried to seek out anonymous commenters many times, but usually a court is there to try to protect the right to anonymity and privacy. Yes, it's no doubt that child sexual abuse is a horrific crime and we're all for law enforcement doing whatever they can to crack down on it. But throwing out all privacy rights or due process is likely to have many, many, many negative unintended consequences.