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Internet Surfing/child Pornography

The law of the sea.

Internet Surfing/child Pornography

Postby Knoton » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:18 am

Hi Marco,   One final query on this issue(I promise!).    As noted, in our preliminary searches of various pornographic sites to determine if they might be effective places for us to advertise our stress-related CD product, we have been trying to get an idea of their traffic numbers(number of hits, etc.) to help us gauge their relative popularity.  We have been quite surprised to realize that many legitimate organizations, completely unconnected to the pornography industry, appear to have certain common, pornography-related "search" words buried somehow in their websites, obviously to steer as many unsuspecting people to their sites as possible.   In your opinion, if we get to the point where we market our stress-related CD product through its own dedicated website on the Internet, is it considered legitimate business practice for us to have such search words embedded somehow in the actual website in order to divert miscellaneous "shoppers"/ browsers to our product in order to potentially increase exposure and sales?  While the concept of including such words in a site seems kind of unsettling, if it's a common practice, totally legitimate and if it increases sales significantly, I'd give it further consideration.   Thank you again, Marco.  Signing off and awaiting your reply!

Rich    ------------------------- Followup To - Hello Again, Marco,

Hope I'm not abusing the privilege.

My colleague mentioned something regarding Canadian legislation(would Bill C-15A be right?), wherein the mere act of ACCESSING or VIEWING child pornography had been added to the Criminal Code as an offence.  While he thought this was current law, he couldn't be certain.

Also, he felt that even if a site goes out of its way to confirm that all individuals featured are 18+, any images in which an adult was PORTRAYED to be a minor(childlike clothing, etc.) also represented child pornography.  Do you know anything about that?

I'd like to just confirm this one final point: You stated that doing a Google search for even child pornography is legal.  Am I correct in inferring that, in addition to the actual search itself, once that search has been completed and various sites have been discovered through that search, it is legal to "click" onto, enter and view the material in any of those sites AS LONG AS NO intentional DOWNLOADING, FORWARDING OR PRINTING occurs(and "downloading", I'm presuming, means intentionally copying content to the hard drive, a CD, backup drive, or printout)?

Thanks, Marco!  You seem most informed and obliging with your responses, and they are helping me to understand guidelines and parameters within this new field of discovery.

I presume we are discussing Canadian law here, right?  And may I ask, are you a non-attorney volunteer with "Allexperts" or an attorney?  If you're a non-attorney volunteer, may I assume there was some form of legal input to the questions I've asked?

Rich

P.S.:  You reply very promptly!

------------------------- Followup To - -------------------------

Hi Marco,

Thank you for the chance to ask a followup question.

I'd like a bit of clarification regarding your comment about how it is quite legal to conduct any form of Google search.  To use your example, if I purposely sought out, on Google and as part of my assessment of host sites for my product's advertising, a site featuring child pornography, that would NOT be illegal.  You then went on to state that as long as I didn't download any pictures from that searched-out child porn site, it wouldn't be a crime.

Since your related recommendation was that I should get out of such sites immediately and report them, are you sure it's okay to actually initiate a Google search for child porn, click on some of the "found" Google results of the search and then actually look at them AS LONG AS NO DOWNLOADING, saving, transmitting, etc., does not occur?  

Marco, I'm being so precise not to challenge your insight, but rather because I do foresee myself needing to view a variety of potential ad sites for this product, and to do the job right my very own eyes are going to have to decide which sites are suitable and which ones are not...and that will mean ACCESSING AND SEEING certain things that could involve child pornography.  If that seems okay--and if you could address that particular area--I'd be very grateful, since I see I do need to be properly armed for this site assessment in order to have a better idea of what the limits are.

And, in terms of your advice to "Get out of an illicit site immediately...":      If, while on one of those sites, instead of vacating immediately I(as a pretty basic example) left the PC connected to the site while attending to other matters(telephone, client, etc) over the course of, say, 20 minutes(reasonable example), is that a situation I should absolutely, diligently avoid?  That is, to be clear about this, if my screen is showing something clearly illegal and I turn to the phone or to a fax coming in, am I being obsessive about interpreting what you said by asking if my prompt departure from that site is strictly required...or is your point just that I'd get out of there as soon as my assessment was done and not hang out any longer?

I also notice that there are sites which feature a mixture of legal and probably-illicit pictures.  Does that confuse things in terms of legal interpretation; i.e., from a strictly technical point of view, who's to say which picture any given individual is looking at?  

Finally, are you convinced that my calling the police about the things I consider illicit is practical?  I've seen a half-dozen sites that probably fall into a questionable area(though I'm not truly sure whether they were or not).  I somehow don't see officials as being receptive to this type of citizen intervention on a recurring basis, given their otherwise heavy job demands.

Again, thanks very much for your assistance.

Rich Followup To - Hello Marco,

Thanks for the opportunity to hear authoritative answers to this particular legal area.

I am in the process of researching the marketing of one of our products on the Internet through advertising this product on the sidebars of certain Internet sites.  Because of recent reports indicating that pornographic websites generate the largest traffic, I have been considering advertising this product(a set of stress-related relaxation CDs) through some of those sites to maximize product exposure.

I only recently acquired my first Internet account and thus have very little experience in navigating, what to expect, etc.  As I learn which sites may be best suited to my product, I am of course being bombarded by links to, and the sudden appearance of, illicit sites with objectionable material.  I have seen sites which seem potentially suited to the marketing of my product, but there are sometimes aspects of their popups or links which, I realize once I am in there, I want no part of.

My questions are:    1)  If I conduct a Google-type search for adult-based pornographic sites and, upon entering such a site, find myself in potentially objectionable territory(for example, a site involving children), must I exit that site IMMEDIATELY?  Have I already broken a law or is the viewing, whether accidental or intentional, of child pornography legal as long as there is never any downloading of images, transmitting of data, etc.?  

I need to see what might be a fit for my marketing, but as the person signing the advertising contract and exposing himself to personal liability--as well, of course, as not wanting any other form of legal hassle--I thought it best to determine the specific letter and spirit of the law.

2)  Are there any types of Google searches/site accessing which is clearly illegal?  Or is any Internet search legal as long as there is no such downloading, forwarding, etc.?  Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Richmond W.

ON, Canada
Knoton
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:24 am

Internet Surfing/child Pornography

Postby Galeun » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:36 am

Hi Rich!

It seems as though you've answered your own question.  I can not say whether or not this is legitimate business practice, however I can say that it is definitely not illegal to place hidden words in one's website to attract visitors.  In the real world, I don't think one could get away with doing that in a news flyer however. ;-)

Cheers and good luck on your endeavours!
Galeun
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:53 am

Internet Surfing/child Pornography

Postby Aeker » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:07 am

- Hi Rich,

Unfortunately I am not able to delve into case law as established in court cases, this is not in my field of expertise.  There may have been judgements that have added to case law surrounding child pornography laws that I am not aware of.  The information I give you is based on the Criminal Code.

Your colleague is correct in stating that any person, even though they are clearly over the age of 18, if they are depicted as being under the age of 18(so wearing babies clothes etc.), that is considered child pornography as I had stated in one of my previous replies.

Once again, google searching for child pornography is not illegal.  Accessing child pornography sites is only illegal if a "mens rea" or guilty mind can be established that would conform to the spirit of which the law was intended.  It is not illegal if doing so for research purposes.  You will possibly have to explain your actions however.

I am not a lawyer or attorney of any type.  If you would like, you can review my credentials on my main page.

Marco.
Aeker
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:36 am

Internet Surfing/child Pornography

Postby Welby » Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:59 am

- Hi Rich.  I apologize for being somewhat ambiguous and less than clear in my response.  Let me try to address this more specifically.

Yes, I did state that if you happen across a site displaying what is believed to be child pornography, that you should exit immediately.  The reason for this is more of an ethical and cautious standpoint rather than a legal one.  The police do not actively monitor every child pornography website to see who is visiting so they can make an arrest, so your chances of getting caught viewing child pornography from your own home are low, but not null.  However, if you do leave it up and someone walks by and sees it, it could raise questions as to why it is there(in a more public setting, for example).

The police conduct sting operations on people who are suspected of downloading and keeping child pornography.  They do this over the internet, usually in chatrooms.  I am not yet aware of any websites put up by the police to catch visitors to those sites, that would be illegal and unethical on their part.  People become suspected of child pornography violations usually when they have sufficient reason to believe that this person has several pictures of child pornography.  I can't recall a case where anyone was charged for simply googling child pornography or even viewing a website.  If you subscribe to a membership to one of these sites, that's where it becomes more risky.

Child pornography laws are quite clear in Canada.  In order for something to be considered child pornography it must meet two conditions:

1: The item must be of a minor or someone dipicted as being a minor

2: The minor must be in a sexually explicit position or the dominant characteristic of the picture is a sexual organ or the anal region of the minor, other than for medical purposes.

I will give you a few examples of what is not child pornography:

1. Two children under the age of 18 standing naked looking at eachother or with arms around eachother

2. Two children under the age of 18 engaged in a sexual act, where the picture/video/drawing is deemed to have educational, artistic, medical, or scientific merit.

Many people come across the internet and see someone under 18 naked and say this is child pornography, when infact it's not.  Infact, most "child porn" sites that originate from the US or Canada do use these loopholes to display pictures of people under 18 years of age.  So if you do indeed come across something where it is actually child pornography against the criminal code, then certainly, you should report that to the police, once again using your discretion.  If the website states that all persons depicted are over the age of 18, and all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that this is correct, then this is not child porn.  Remember, there are certain people who are 18 who just happen to look like they are 12.  One must have a keen eye for being able to tell whether or not this person actually is that young(characteristics of bone structure development, hairline, head-to-body size ratio), characteristics that are almost always indicative of a person's age.

As for the google search, there is no charge in the criminal code making it illegal to search for child pornography.  It is illegal to posses, distribute, publish and posess, but it is not illegal to search for.

Once again touching on the "spirit of the law" for 163.1(4) of the criminal code(the section dealing with simple posession of child pornography), police are not going to raid a house because you stumbled upon a child pornography site.  They won't even come if you left it on that site for 2 hours and even browsed around it.  Especially if you can prove you were doing this for business purposes, and keep no copies of the pictures.  (As an other example, people who make internet blocker type software do actively search out these sites so they can add it to the software's banned list).

I hope this clarifies your concerns Rich.  Once again feel free to post a follow up at any time.
Welby
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:26 am

Internet Surfing/child Pornography

Postby EmIyn » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:24 pm

Hi Marco,   One final query on this issue(I promise!).    As noted, in our preliminary searches of various pornographic sites to determine if they might be effective places for us to advertise our stress-related CD product, we have been trying to get an idea of their traffic numbers(number of hits, etc.) to help us gauge their relative popularity.  We have been quite surprised to realize that many legitimate organizations, completely unconnected to the pornography industry, appear to have certain common, pornography-related "search" words buried somehow in their websites, obviously to steer as many unsuspecting people to their sites as possible.   In your opinion, if we get to the point where we market our stress-related CD product through its own dedicated website on the Internet, is it considered legitimate business practice for us to have such search words embedded somehow in the actual website in order to divert miscellaneous "shoppers"/ browsers to our product in order to potentially increase exposure and sales?  While the concept of including such words in a site seems kind of unsettling, if it's a common practice, totally legitimate and if it increases sales significantly, I'd give it further consideration.   Thank you again, Marco.  Signing off and awaiting your reply!

Rich    ------------------------- Followup To - Hello Again, Marco,

Hope I'm not abusing the privilege.

My colleague mentioned something regarding Canadian legislation(would Bill C-15A be right?), wherein the mere act of ACCESSING or VIEWING child pornography had been added to the Criminal Code as an offence.  While he thought this was current law, he couldn't be certain.

Also, he felt that even if a site goes out of its way to confirm that all individuals featured are 18+, any images in which an adult was PORTRAYED to be a minor(childlike clothing, etc.) also represented child pornography.  Do you know anything about that?

I'd like to just confirm this one final point: You stated that doing a Google search for even child pornography is legal.  Am I correct in inferring that, in addition to the actual search itself, once that search has been completed and various sites have been discovered through that search, it is legal to "click" onto, enter and view the material in any of those sites AS LONG AS NO intentional DOWNLOADING, FORWARDING OR PRINTING occurs(and "downloading", I'm presuming, means intentionally copying content to the hard drive, a CD, backup drive, or printout)?

Thanks, Marco!  You seem most informed and obliging with your responses, and they are helping me to understand guidelines and parameters within this new field of discovery.

I presume we are discussing Canadian law here, right?  And may I ask, are you a non-attorney volunteer with "Allexperts" or an attorney?  If you're a non-attorney volunteer, may I assume there was some form of legal input to the questions I've asked?

Rich

P.S.:  You reply very promptly!

------------------------- Followup To - -------------------------

Hi Marco,

Thank you for the chance to ask a followup question.

I'd like a bit of clarification regarding your comment about how it is quite legal to conduct any form of Google search.  To use your example, if I purposely sought out, on Google and as part of my assessment of host sites for my product's advertising, a site featuring child pornography, that would NOT be illegal.  You then went on to state that as long as I didn't download any pictures from that searched-out child porn site, it wouldn't be a crime.

Since your related recommendation was that I should get out of such sites immediately and report them, are you sure it's okay to actually initiate a Google search for child porn, click on some of the "found" Google results of the search and then actually look at them AS LONG AS NO DOWNLOADING, saving, transmitting, etc., does not occur?  

Marco, I'm being so precise not to challenge your insight, but rather because I do foresee myself needing to view a variety of potential ad sites for this product, and to do the job right my very own eyes are going to have to decide which sites are suitable and which ones are not...and that will mean ACCESSING AND SEEING certain things that could involve child pornography.  If that seems okay--and if you could address that particular area--I'd be very grateful, since I see I do need to be properly armed for this site assessment in order to have a better idea of what the limits are.

And, in terms of your advice to "Get out of an illicit site immediately...":      If, while on one of those sites, instead of vacating immediately I(as a pretty basic example) left the PC connected to the site while attending to other matters(telephone, client, etc) over the course of, say, 20 minutes(reasonable example), is that a situation I should absolutely, diligently avoid?  That is, to be clear about this, if my screen is showing something clearly illegal and I turn to the phone or to a fax coming in, am I being obsessive about interpreting what you said by asking if my prompt departure from that site is strictly required...or is your point just that I'd get out of there as soon as my assessment was done and not hang out any longer?

I also notice that there are sites which feature a mixture of legal and probably-illicit pictures.  Does that confuse things in terms of legal interpretation; i.e., from a strictly technical point of view, who's to say which picture any given individual is looking at?  

Finally, are you convinced that my calling the police about the things I consider illicit is practical?  I've seen a half-dozen sites that probably fall into a questionable area(though I'm not truly sure whether they were or not).  I somehow don't see officials as being receptive to this type of citizen intervention on a recurring basis, given their otherwise heavy job demands.

Again, thanks very much for your assistance.

Rich Followup To - Hello Marco,

Thanks for the opportunity to hear authoritative answers to this particular legal area.

I am in the process of researching the marketing of one of our products on the Internet through advertising this product on the sidebars of certain Internet sites.  Because of recent reports indicating that pornographic websites generate the largest traffic, I have been considering advertising this product(a set of stress-related relaxation CDs) through some of those sites to maximize product exposure.

I only recently acquired my first Internet account and thus have very little experience in navigating, what to expect, etc.  As I learn which sites may be best suited to my product, I am of course being bombarded by links to, and the sudden appearance of, illicit sites with objectionable material.  I have seen sites which seem potentially suited to the marketing of my product, but there are sometimes aspects of their popups or links which, I realize once I am in there, I want no part of.

My questions are:    1)  If I conduct a Google-type search for adult-based pornographic sites and, upon entering such a site, find myself in potentially objectionable territory(for example, a site involving children), must I exit that site IMMEDIATELY?  Have I already broken a law or is the viewing, whether accidental or intentional, of child pornography legal as long as there is never any downloading of images, transmitting of data, etc.?  

I need to see what might be a fit for my marketing, but as the person signing the advertising contract and exposing himself to personal liability--as well, of course, as not wanting any other form of legal hassle--I thought it best to determine the specific letter and spirit of the law.

2)  Are there any types of Google searches/site accessing which is clearly illegal?  Or is any Internet search legal as long as there is no such downloading, forwarding, etc.?  Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Richmond W.

ON, Canada
EmIyn
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:28 pm

Internet Surfing/child Pornography

Postby Chasiel » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:17 pm

- Hi Rich, thanks for writing!

In your question you made use of the words letter and spirit of the law, and those are perfect words to describe aspects of child pornography laws.

According to the letter of the law, it is illegal to have in your posession any depiction of a minor in a sexually explicit position, including electronically.  Now, whenever you view a picture on the internet, whether or not you download it, you computer may store that picture file in it's memory so that the next time you visit that site it will load faster onto your computer.  If you happened to have viewed a picture of what you believe to be a minor engaged in sexual acts, it would be best recommended to delete your temporary internet files, leave the site immediately, and contact your local police department to take a look at the site.  So technically, according to the letter of the law, you have committed the offence of having in your posession child pornography.  However, you would be hard pressed to find a jury in this world that would convict you based on that alone.  The spirit of the law is intended for those out there who actually purposely collect and trade child pornography.

As for your second question you can type anything into a google search and that would not be illegal.  SO for example if you're looking for a site with child pornography and you google that but don't download any pictures from the site, then you haven't committed a crime.

I hope this answers your questions!
Chasiel
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:39 pm


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