Pedophile Crackdown Or Breach Of Privacy?February 14, 2012 1 Comment
Eliminating child porn on the web is a noble goal, but Canadian authorities may need to tread lightly in their efforts to search and destroy pedophiles.
Why? If a new bill is introduced requiring “internet service providers to give subscriber data to police and national security agencies without a warrant, including names, unlisted phone numbers and IP addresses,” individual freedoms may be compromised.
If the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act is passed and its strict stipulations come into effect, the public will be even more paranoid about government watchdogging. What immediately springs to mind? Big Brother and the ever-glaring eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg.
But on a more positive note, the proposed changes also remind me of Dateline’s How to Catch a Predator. Tough electronic communications monitoring may actually stop pedophiles before they act. If you look at it this way, children may be spared from the trauma of sexual abuse.
Ultimately, the bill is intensely polarizing. On one side is Vic Toews, Canada’s public safety minister. He seems adamant that anyone who’s against online surveillance is siding with child predators over the health of the general public. And then there’s Francis Scarpaleggia, a critic of the new measures to curb child pornography on the net. He questions the “lawful access” provisions since they give police what he considers to be “sweeping powers” that they could potentially misuse.
Though it is extreme for Toews to say that Scarpaleggia is standing with child pornographers, he does have a point. I mean, who are we trying to protect? Surely vulnerable children are a top priority, and if we can help even a few just by sacrificing a bit of privacy, how can we say no?
Toews also makes a valid point about keeping up with changes in technology. The web has made it easier for pedophiles to communicate and to disseminate porn. It’s also difficult to be so vehemently opposed when every province supports the bill and it’s similar to legislation the Liberals first introduced while in power.
Then again, is it just a matter of removing the red tape? Obviously the government can access any information if and when they need to — the bill will just increase the efficiency of this process.
These questions are hard to answer when we all value our individual freedom and right to privacy. But if it’s simply a matter of removing formalities maybe it’s a concession we must make, especially if it means added security for our youth.
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