Child Pornography and Internet Offences
Internet and Child Pornography Offences cover a broad range of illegal electronic activities.
It is illegal to access, download, produce, or share images of “child pornography” over the internet. It is also illegal use the internet to entice young people into sexual activity. These offences carry mandatory minimum sentences, ranging from 90 days to one year imprisonment.
Child pornography is defined under the Criminal Code as any image which depicts a person under 18 years of age engaged in sexual activity, or otherwise sexualizes the subject. Written material, drawings, and audio recordings which depict child sexual activity will also be considered child pornography, even where no under-age subjects have participated. In other words, a work of complete fantasy may still constitute child pornography.
Technology has made the enforcement of the child pornography laws much more effective. Almost every image of child pornography has a “digital fingerprint” which is known to the authorities. When a person views, downloads, or transmits the image this activity may be caught by internet filters on main servers. Police are notified and the internet address of connected to the image is tracked, eventually resulting in a search warrant being executed at the person’s home.
Other child-internet crimes include internet luring offences which make it an offence to use the internet or any other form of electronic communication in an attempt to engage in sexual activities with the underage person. Like child pornography offences, these too carry mandatory minimum sentences in the same range. Very frequently the police will set up sting operations by posing as young persons on the internet interested in engaging in sexual activity. When an adult contacts them and makes arrangements for a sexual encounter the person is charged, even though no actual sexual activity would ever have occurred, and no children were ever actually contacted.