Borders Conference - Rethinking the Line: The Canada-U.S. Border / Child Pornography on the Internet Session

Session Proceedings

Session Proceedings

Jacquelyn Nelson (Moderator) – Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia

Opening Remarks

Good afternoon, my name is Jacquelyn Nelson and I've been asked to introduce this session and be the moderator because I am the co-chair of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Working Group on Offensive Content on the Internet. I'm also with the Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia, Policy Sector.

The F/P/T Working Group on Offensive Content on the Internet is developing recommendations to address child pornography and luring over the Internet. In addition to considering options for law reform, we are also trying to examine how to work with other sectors in order to make the laws effective. We are considering how best to partner with industry, for example, and to ensure some cooperation from industry in matters such as keeping logs, reporting offenders, and also just raising awareness among industry itself regarding problems on the Internet. In other words, we're trying to link with them to develop some solutions.

We are also reviewing issues regarding the needs of the police. These issues include how to better link police and specialists who have expertise in Internet crime, how best to do training, and find out what other things are needed to support police when they are investigating Internet crime in general, and particularly child pornography and luring.

Finally, our Working Group has taken the approach that we need to have an integrated approach to this issue, which includes education of the public regarding what the dangers on the Internet may be, and what they can do if they encounter some of these dangers.

I know that our panel today is going to be covering many of these issues. I'm pleased to be here to introduce them to you. I will start by introducing each of the panellists by name and right before they speak I will provide you with some more detail about who the panellists are.

To my immediate right is Max Taylor, followed by Emmett Milner, then Wayne Harrison, Frank Goldschmidt, and Andrew Oosterbaan. Before I introduce the first speaker I would like to introduce Professor Max Taylor who is going to serve as the discussant throughout the session.

Max Taylor is a professor of Applied Psychology at University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland, and has been head of the Department since 1983. He is also the director of the Child Studies Unit at UCC, which focuses on research, training, and policy to address the needs of vulnerable children. Max is also the director of the COPINE Project, which is a project to combat paedophile information networks in Europe. Professor Taylor's current work with COPINE involves the maintenance of a reference database on child pornography, the assessment of the dangerousness of paedophiles through their collections of child pornography, and the nature and incidence of child sex tourism and child trafficking in Europe. Professor Taylor is also a member of the Irish government's Internet Advisory Group, and the Working Group on Illegal and Harmful Uses of the Internet. Professor Taylor, as mentioned, will be commenting on the presentations made in this session.

Our first presentation is by Emmett Milner. Sergeant Milner has been with the RCMP for 26 years, and prior to that he served with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Royal Hong Kong Police. He is the National Coordinator for the Sexual Exploitation of Children Initiative with the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC). In this capacity he has directed the implementation of a national strategy across Canada, guidelines for all law enforcement agencies in Canada, and has been instrumental in developing an international network to ensure that investigators around the world are equipped to fight exploitation through the use of the Internet. Emmett…

Sergeant Emmett Milner (Panellist) – Criminal Intelligence Service Canada

Thank you very much. I am presently attached to Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC). A lot of people may not know who CISC is. You might look at CISC as a national task force that looks at organized crime and other specific issues. We in the central bureau have, for example, an officer from the Vancouver police seconded to us for three years, OPP members, Sûreté du Quebec, Montreal Police, Customs, Ottawa Carleton Regional Police, Calgary and so forth. So we have a cross representation of law enforcement in our office and we look at particular issues. What we are talking about today is child pornography on the Internet. My particular project goes a little farther than that; it's to combat the sexual exploitation of children.

First a bit of an historical background on CISC for you. In 1996, the Commissioner of the RCMP had a vision of where it was we were going to go and how it was we were going to coordinate investigations on the Internet in regards to child pornography and the exploitation of children and so forth. Along with the Commissioner, another person that was instrumental in putting this together was Chief Fantino who worked to bring law enforcement together and to rethink how we bring law enforcement together to ensure a coordinated effort in this initiative. By 1998 the CISC executive decided that CISC would carry the mandate to coordinate law enforcement across Canada. This was when I came on board. We brought together a strategy that was introduced to all law enforcement across Canada. The CISC executive is made up of the Commissioner of the RCMP (who's the Chair Person), the Commissioner of the OPP, and all your major police departments across Canada. They bought into this and agreed that CISC would command a leading role.

Now, to situate you in the regional areas across Canada, each province has a sexual exploitation coordinator that works for the province on a regional basis and we work in conjunction with them. It goes from the municipal level, to the provincial level, and then up to the national central bureau where I work. I actually work out of the RCMP national headquarters. We could be in another office, but for cost purposes and so forth our central bureau is situated right at the RCMP headquarters. So that's a basic overview of how we brought the program together and how we're trying to bring law enforcement together.

I want to talk a bit about the volume of the work we have. I want to talk about our priorities and I want to talk about some challenges that we are faced with.

If you look at Canada in terms of the Internet, we are the second most connected country in the world. In 1997 there were 31% of households connected; in 1998, we were up to 37%; and, in 1999 we were at 42%. I imagine that this figure will increase as time passes. Schools and libraries, for example, in 1994, there were 0% connected and in 1999 they are all connected. So that gives you a good indication of what is happening.

There's an overwhelming volume of child pornography on the Internet. I think that we have to ensure that we create some sort of priority in regards to tackling the problem. It's impossible to investigate each and every case of child pornography on the Internet because it would just exhaust our resources. We have a partnership that we've developed with Interpol and we meet on a biannual basis. This week is actually the biannual meeting in Belgium. We actually hosted the meeting in Ottawa two years ago. There can be a particularly heavy cost factor in these investigations. Investigations may go on very long and there could be travel involved, so you have to decide how you're going to tackle the investigation. However, the other most important point is identifying the victims in the child pornography. Basically, the volume aspect becomes a global problem because there are no borders here when we are talking about crime on the Internet. It's a brand new area for a lot of us.

Our priority in CISC, which has been agreed upon by the executive committee of CISC, is the sexual exploitation of children, and child pornography on the Internet is part of that priority. Also, within this priority is child prostitution and sex tourism. We in CISC put out an annual report as we are mandated by the government to do so. If you are interested you can retrieve a copy of the report from CISC or off of our web page ( I have a note here on prioritizing child abuse. First is child pornography and it's a problem that most of us face. I think it's a real sensitive type of question we have to ask ourselves. How are we going to target it? Can we be more proactive by going online and working on an undercover basis? This is something that has to be tackled on an individual basis and each individual department will have to look at it.

Now some of the challenges. We have to look at the legislation aspect. The Sharpe decision is going to be coming down probably after the election now. This decision is going to affect our possession charge. Our possession charge under section 163 of the Criminal Code is basically what I call a foot in the door. If we find out that the individual has child pornography it gives us a foot in the door, and from there we will often find child abuse and it will give us some extra ammunition. If we lose that section under our legislation the Justice Minister has discussed luring, which might be a way out, but I'm just throwing this out right now and we could discuss this further.

Training is a real important part of keeping our investigators up-to-date. It's a continual thing. If you're in the high-tech field today you'll know that people are requiring updated training as technology is changing every couple months. So the training aspect is really, really important.

Structurally, the ISP monitoring of Internet activity is really really important. We have a pretty good liaison with the ISPs. Our biggest problem I guess is tracking and obtaining the evidence that is required. So logs would be the most important part that we would be looking at. Right now there is no policy. ISPs are not regulated in Canada and I don't think they are regulated in very many countries actually. It's a very difficult thing to do. We do work with CAIP (the Canadian Association of Internet Service Providers). We have developed a rapport with them and they are one of the groups we continually strive to keep in contact with to assist investigations and investigators.

Basically, the investigations on child pornography go from Interpol, through our office, and then to the more regional offices. In 1999 we had 164 requests that came through – 103 were international, and 61 were national. This year so far we are up to 180, and 120 were international, and 60 were national.

Jacquelyn Nelson

Thank you Emmett. One thing that Emmett mentioned was the possibility of luring legislation in Canada, as a possible foot in the door depending on the Sharpe decision. You may or may not be aware that in early September the Federal Justice Minister had committed to bringing in luring legislation. What that means in view of the Federal election, I don't know. But that is something that she has mentioned.

The next speaker is Wayne Harrison. Wayne has been a police officer for 22 years and is a Detective-Sergeant with the Vice Squad at Winnipeg Police Services. He has investigated child pornography and pornography offences since April 1996. He has been involved in over 100 investigations of this type. Some of these investigations involved linkages with officers in various U.S. centres, Germany, Australia, and Sweden. Detective-Sergeant Harrison has been involved in training police personnel on issues of child pornography on the Internet, as well as making presentations at numerous conferences. In 1998 he received a provincial crime prevention award from the province of Manitoba Department of Justice for his Internet safety presentations. He is also involved in a Manitoba committee, which is advocating a change to the Criminal Code to make Internet luring of children an offence.

Detective-Sergeant Wayne Harrison (Panellist) – Winnipeg Police, Vice Squad

Thank you. First of all I would like to thank the Federal government, John Fleischman's office and his co-workers for inviting me here to make a presentation. It's a privilege for somebody who's a street cop turned cyber-cop to be able to attend a convention such as this and actually speak to the researchers and policy-makers who actually make the decisions that affect how we have to do our work. So hopefully our message and our concerns and what we would like to see done is acted upon in some manner if not, just information given to you. I really appreciate the opportunity to have our say, if you will, on how things are conducted and what would make our job easier.

Although this presentation will speak about child pornography, the Internet crime I refer to will also deal with other Internet crimes that are occurring such as drug trafficking, hate crimes, illegal gambling, credit card fraud, stalking, and copyright infringement. Consider all these offences as well. Although I will speak about child pornography, all these offences are booming on the Internet right now.

I will present some of the positive developments that have occurred recently, that have assisted us, and are signs that we are moving in the right direction. I will also make some suggestions that I see as an investigator that would assist us in doing our job and making children safer in Canada.

Positive Developments

First some of the positives. Actually having this topic discussed and brought up at this level, at this type of conference, is obviously a positive. As Emmett has described, CISC has taken a lead role. It has initiated the process of making the necessary contacts and liasing with the various outside agencies on behalf of all investigators in Canada. And for that we are thankful to CISC and the related agencies that he works with because it is a very important part of Internet investigations and it's a theme you will probably hear throughout this session. Cooperation and sharing of information is the only way that these investigations can be completed.

Another positive was the enactment of Bill C-40 in Canada. This was a recent change in Canadian legislation, which allows witnesses from in and outside of Canada to give sworn testimony in court via video conferencing technology. They can do this now from the comfort of their own home locations. This will obviously assist in the court process by having witnesses available to testify without actually having to bring them to that jurisdiction to testify. This was used last month in Winnipeg, to our knowledge for the first time, for testimony from a group of seniors who were victimized by a telemarketing scam. During the preliminary hearing, ten seniors testified from four different U.S. states using video conferencing technology. They gave sworn testimony, which the judge accepted, and the judge commented how impressed he was with the use of this technology to get this type of evidence in. It's a very cost-efficient way to conduct prosecutions when the witnesses are from other countries. Obviously, it is something that police services will have to use for taking statements from other police agencies or interviewing other police officers for the purposes of obtaining warrants. That will be the next step: sworn statements from police officers given via videoconference. It's a tremendous tool for police officers. It is kind of ironic that some day an accused will be charged for distributing child pornography over the Internet and the same technology will be used to convict him. Internet transmissions will be accepted in court as part of sworn testimony, and I would say within five years the technology will be there. That's an advancement that we have to take advantage of and we have to be ready to take advantage of. For those of you who are interested in that particular investigation I can give you the name of the officer who coordinated the effort and she can speak to you directly. She is encouraging me to tell you to give her a call for some of the bumps and the kinks that she went through for getting all these witnesses before a court process.

Another positive development is that luring laws are finally in the process of being developed in Canada. This is a must in order to prevent predators from using the Internet to solicit, lure, and victimize children. Currently, in Canada a child must be victimized in order for an offence to occur. There is no provision in current legislation for an investigator to pose as someone under the age of 18 and therefore, investigators cannot be proactive in terms of actually laying a luring offence charge. We have invitation to sexual touching, but it requires the person to actually be under that age and not a person who they believe to be under that age. Complicating this legislation is the fact that in Canada the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 14 years. This means that any 40-year-old or 50-year-old in Canada can have sex with a 14-year-old child. Unfortunately, any new legislation dealing with a luring offence will have to be framed around this age of consent. I think that the age of consent issue is the subject of discussions right now and I think it's very important that it be modified in some way.

Areas for Improvement

Some suggested areas of improvement. The first is to make Internet crime an area of federal jurisdiction. Use a similar model to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) in Canada. For the benefit of any of our American colleagues that are here, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act covers narcotics and all other drugs and their regulations in Canada. It is not actually part of our Criminal Code, but rather a separate Act with its own definitions. The CDSA was made a federal responsibility due in part to cross-border issues involving the trafficking of drugs. This pales in comparison to the number of crossings made every minute across the virtual borders on the Internet. Some of the benefits to creating a new and separate Act are that it will allow for specialization of federal crown attorneys to prosecute and allow access, I believe, to more resources to combat this problem. This will also include modern legal definitions specific to Internet usage for offences such as distribution and possession.

Currently, we are bound by age-old definitions that have been established through years of case law that had no envisionment of what the Internet is. I would like to see distribute defined to include, “Making available via a computer network that passes through or originates from Canada and is now located outside of Canada.” Secondly, I would like to see possession redefined to include password accessed sites or sites controlled by Canadians, even though the site is located outside the country. I will get into some case-related specifics that make us powerless to do our job properly. I would also build in provisions for possession and sending of images by police officers, which will allow officers to send exhibits and notes through secure servers. Currently, officers have no legal expressed authority to even possess those pictures. Contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada, under the CDSA officers are allowed to possess drugs and are even, in the right circumstances, allowed to exchange drugs for money for the purposes of a criminal investigation. We are not even allowed legally, other than a general phrase of “unless it is in the public good,” to hold or to have any child pornography even as police officers. That's something from a police perspective that makes us a little nervous at times when testifying in court.

The second topic I would like to raise is regulating Internet Service Providers (ISPs). There is a need to develop provincial and state regulations for ISPs, which should include requiring a physical street location for each Internet Protocol (IP) address assigned to them to assist us in the execution of warrants. I was recently involved in an investigation where the making of obscene materials offences were charged against two individuals. They were storing these images on a server that we believed was located in the U.S. In order to locate the physical street location of a server, in order to execute a search warrant, we have to rely on the integrity of the company's employees to provide information and then rely on the employees not to delete this information. Further complicating this was that the laws in Canada and the U.S. differ. So it appeared to us that we have no legal remedy to shut down the server and in fact this business continues to operate in the U.S. on a U.S. server. Also needed is a regulation requiring the mandatory storing of dial-in logs of ISPs for a minimum of three months. It is a length of time that I've come to the conclusion based on investigations and the length of time it takes us to get the materials under the current system, to get us in a position where an execution warrant is possible. Currently, ISPs are under no regulations and we've encountered some that will keep their records for as little as three days, making any type of investigation futile.

Thirdly, I would like to see software enhancements. Facial or filename recognition software needs to be further developed. It's being developed right now in Europe, but it needs to be further developed. Facial recognition software will compare the faces on the computer images of child pornography with the faces of known persons or victims on a master file. Similarly, filename recognition software could compare the name of computer images with a master list of the names of images known to be child pornography. Although these names can typically and easily be changed by the person receiving it, I would say that in 80% of cases they do not change the names, and we're seeing the same titles over and over again. Currently, investigators are spending hundreds of hours identifying thousands of images of child pornography, but due to inadequate software no time is spent identifying the victims in these images or determining when they were created. New child pornography is being created every day, and investigators relocate these images after they have been traded and posted numerous times. We could use filename recognition software to identify the new images and then we could use facial recognition software to compare these images to a master file of children who were reported missing or a similarly maintained database. Arresting the possessors and traders of child pornography is not enough. The number one priority must be to arrest and charge the people that are creating these images and abusing children. This is the only way we can prevent children from being victimized and prevent the further victimization of other children.

A fourth suggestion would be the development of a national task force. Using a model similar to Weisbaden in Germany, create a proactive joint forces team from various regions across the country. In Germany online investigators search the Internet for fileservers and then if they are able to download child pornography from these fileservers, they then forward a copy of the report to investigators from the country where these files were located. A dedicated national task force within Canada could do this type of proactive policing within our own country. Develop virtual offices in each region, using secure servers, to allow these investigators continuous immediate contact. In other words, simply use the technology that the criminals are using for law enforcement purposes. Investigators would be responsible for regional investigations, including the provision of training to municipal services to assist them in completing their own local investigations. In the U.S. I've been involved in investigations with the F.B.I., U.S. Customs, U.S. Postal Inspectors, and several municipal police forces. All are working hard, but certainly efficiency could be improved through a better-coordinated effort.

And lastly, I would suggest the development of a national agency, perhaps using CISC, to oversee all Internet investigations. Their responsibilities could include: being in charge of the national task force; developing and maintaining the facial and filename recognition software; coordinating all international investigations, both incoming and outgoing; conducting all training in the country using the “train the trainers” model; establishing and maintaining national offender registries; and, identifying victims lists and investigators lists. CISC has taken on part of this role already, but giving them a core mandate as the top echelon of investigators would be a very important step in my view. Obviously, this could then be shared on a global scale. In a perfect world there would be one agency coordinating all the global efforts. Although it's physically impossible and very unlikely to occur, that is what is ultimately required.

In closing, bringing the Internet under control is a daunting task. A conference like this could be a catalyst. It will take human and financial resources, as well as a willingness of agencies to put their personal agendas aside and work cooperatively to create a safer and lawful Internet. Any further inaction though, allows the predators continued easy access to children. As the scope continues to increase, it will make it even more cost prohibitive to provide these solutions down the road. For these reasons, I believe an investment now is simply the only answer. Thank you.

Jacquelyn Nelson

Thank you Wayne. I think you raised some very interesting points. I hope that we can have some questions about some of your suggestions, particularly making Internet crime a crime of federal jurisdiction.

The next speaker is Frank Goldschmidt. Frank has been with the OPP for twenty years. He has been with the pornography crime unit since 1991, where he is currently the senior investigator and is in charge of operations for the unit. Detective-Sergeant Goldschmidt investigates child pornography offences in the province of Ontario, many of which deal with computers and the Internet. He has worked face-to-face with paedophiles in an undercover capacity on numerous occasions and is qualified by the Ontario court as an expert in the investigation and identification of child pornography and obscene material. Detective-Sergeant Goldschmidt is also actively involved in police training and has published manuals and guides for police relating to investigatory techniques. Frank…

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