Volume 91, Issue 72

Thursday, February 5, 1998



Tangled Web of porn

By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

Pornography depicting homosexuals and bestiality is decreasing but child porn is on the rise in the Internet's red light district. However, there appears to be no clear consensus on how to deal with the issue.

Matthew Mehta, a professor in the school of policy studies at Queen's University, found there were changes in the types of postings and a greater number of commercial postings when he compared a study of pornography on the Internet conducted in 1994 to a similar study in 1995/96.

In 1994, 14 to 15 per cent of all porn on the Internet was defined as child porn versus a study in 1996 which saw an increase in child porn which is now stands at 20 per cent, said Mehta.

"We need better Internet service provider codes of conduct and better filtering software," he said, adding the Criminal Code of Canada is an ineffective way to regulate this type of conduct.

However, Ian Kerr, assistant professor at Western with a joint appointment to the faculties of law and communications and open learning, disagrees. The problem arises when the pornography is published from some jurisdiction outside of Canada, he said.

"In principle there is no reason to think that the Criminal Code can not be drafted to deal with these jurisdiction issues," Kerr explained.

He said the problem of jurisdiction could be dealt with in two ways: it could be handled in a cooperative manner, similar to how war crimes are dealt with, or by applying section seven of the Criminal Code to treat the action as though it was committed in Canada.

"I don't think it is possible to control [pornography on the Internet]. There is no technology, no law to make this problem go away," said Jim Caroll, co-author of the Canadian Internet Handbook. There are different nations and different moral perceptions that have to be dealt with, he added.

Detective Staff-Sgt. Robert Matthews, in charge of the Ontario Provincial Police Pornography Unit, said the police need more resources to fight this crime and the support of the courts. "Without the support from the courts our society is going to be victimized," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998