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Canada Supreme Court Broadens Internet "Luring" Offense

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the should-get-together-with-the-cctv-folks dept.

Privacy 596

An anonymous reader points out this report that a Canadian Supreme Court has broadened its interpretation of an existing law designed to punish adults who attempt to meet children online for criminal purposes; under the court's interpretation, says the article, that would now "include anyone having an inappropriate conversation with a child — even if the chats aren't sexual in nature and the accused never intended to meet the alleged victim." The story quotes Mark Hecht, of the organization Beyond Borders, thus: "If you're an adult and if you're having conversations with a child on the Internet, be warned because even if your conversations aren't sexual and even if your conversations are not for the purpose of meeting a child and committing an offence against a child, what you're doing is potentially a crime."

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So... (1)

Ipeunipig (934414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351692)

Does this include forums and the like? I didn't see anything defining what a conversation is.

Re:So... (2, Informative)

bluesatin (1350681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351834)

I'm sure the actual law has some more rigorous definitions (not necessarily any less ridiculous mind you) of what a conversation consists of.

Now what I'm wondering is, how can I know what age someone I'm talking to is?

Do they have to announce their age before I have to stop talking to them, or am I supposed to find other means?

Bearing in mind that just about any way of finding out someone's age would probably be a bit suspicious: asking for photo, asking for a webcam session, asking for a voice chat, or even just asking them their age in text.

I ask this because I know a lot of kids that sound more mature than a majority of the 'adults' I chat to online, although a few things give them away.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351884)

A/S/L/Scan of government issued id?

Re:So... (4, Funny)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352224)

Fake ID's are easy for kids to get, so it would be best to get a scan of credit cards, checks, bank statements, etc. That way when you start talking to them, you know that they're a great identity theft target in addition to not being a child.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351836)

How do we know you're not a child? Or the poster for that matter! Merely answering a slashdot story could be a potential offense.

Methinks we're going to see less Canadians around here for a while...

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

dintlu (1171159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352018)

The obvious legislative solution to this problem is to ban kids from using the internet until they are at least 18 years of age.

Much like children aren't allowed in bars, children should not be allowed on the internet.

Re:So... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352160)

You've been modded insightful... you were being sarcastic right?

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352172)

The obvious legislative solution to this problem is to ban kids from using the internet until they are at least 18 years of age.

Much like children aren't allowed in bars, children should not be allowed on the internet.

Best solution yet. And if a child is found to be using the Internet, the parent(s) are charged the equivalent of 100 lifetimes of earnings based on the last 5 years of employment. And the child is sold at auction.

Re:So... (1)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352246)

I think it's impossible to enforce that ban. Children can benefit from the internet, because it has learning materials, games, videos, etc. The potential danger is undeniable, but a massive prohibition is not the way to protect them. There have been teachers who abused their students, and children still go to school. IMHO the overall damage of banning the internet altogether is so big that it just won't happen.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352268)

You might as well ban them from libraries, in case they read age-inappropriate books.

Re:So... (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351868)

I'm looking at her bebo profile.

What can you see? Can you see anything?

Nothing...there's nothing. Wait...there are markings.

It's some form of l33t speak...I can't read it.

There are few who can...the language is that of 13 year old girls, which I will not utter here.

Re:So... (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351988)

Good point. Lending help with a kids computer via an IRC chat session could suddenly get very dangerous, and without defining what a conversation is the Ubuntu help forums (to name an example that came readily to mind, please don't stone me) could suddenly land a lot of people in trouble...

Re:So... (0, Troll)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352116)

If you are having conversations on ubuntu's forums that police would deem "Inapropriate conversation with a minor", you probably shouldn't be posting it there...

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352154)

If you'd read the article, "inappropriate" is apparently synonymous with "any," now.

Moral of the story (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351708)

Moral of the story: Don't do anything ever that isn't specifically approved by big brother.

Re:Moral of the story (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351878)

Do you have anything you'd like to tell the children before we go?

Yes... ...conform,consume obeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!

Re:Moral of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351964)

You almost forgot .

Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351710)

So I would have to leave Halo matches instead of insulting 12-year olds about their moms?

Yeah, sucks..

But... (2, Insightful)

Mattskimo (1452429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351714)

What counts as innapropriate? Discussing an age-restriced movie with someone below that age rating? Talking about drugs? And who decides what is an isn't appropriate?

Re:But... (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352070)

Crap, now I can't yell at the kids playing counter-strike when they snipe me down with a pistol?

Re:But... (2, Informative)

jittles (1613415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352210)

RTFA. It doesn't talk about inappropriate conversation but ANY conversation which could be used to build trust or friendship with a minor.

What? (2, Interesting)

neoform (551705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351718)

"If you're an adult and if you're having conversations with a child on the Internet, be warned because even if your conversations aren't sexual and even if your conversations are not for the purpose of meeting a child and committing an offence against a child, what you're doing is potentially a crime."

Sorry, but talking to someone (anyone) is not illegal in itself.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351780)

Unless the law is changed to say that it is.

Re:What? (5, Informative)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351858)

It is in Canada evidently....
Although it also is in the US, UK, AUS, and a fair few other places thanks to insanely broad anti-terrorism laws. If you talk to a "terrorist" even if you don't know they're a terrorist and have no intention of conducting terrorism you can be breaking the law.

But then again owning a standard middle school science book is also technically illegal depending on how you read the anti-terrorism act(s). So really it is just a thought crime. If they associate you with it they will nab you for it with or without evidence.

It is the same in this case... They want to make paedophilia a thought crime and thus if you are associated with it by anyone then you are breaking a law...

Re:What? (2, Interesting)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352206)

Not it is NOT. The change is simply removing the "sexual" and "intention to meet" clauses that previously HAD to be involved for the crime to be considered a crime. This allows them to nab online adults who are using the internet pushing drugs, violence (not games, but seriously damaging stuff), emotional trauma and non-sexual abuse on minors. As far as I'm concerned, this is a step forward. There is a lot of damage you can do to a minor that does not involve sex, and it's about time adults were responsible to what they knowingly say to minors.

As for the paedophilia thing, that was settled a LONG time ago. There was a famous case where a man was found with a LOT of illustrated child sexual material and the courts found him not guilty because none of the images were real so no children were actually involved. That's right, of all the countries CANADA has already deemed such content to NOT be a thought-crime or any other crime at all.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351864)

Yet.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352156)

it is now. Welcome to the new world order.

Maybe this law will stop the Italians (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351732)

They thumb their noses at our democracy and leer salaciously at our sons and daughters through their phony moustaches.

So Wait... (5, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351744)

If I'm playing an MMO and strike up a text chat with another character, not having any idea that this person is LEGALLY a "child" (IE: Under 18 years of age) and the conversation turns to drinking, then I could be ARRESTED in Canada?

WTF Canadians? I thought you people were nice and sensible!?

Re:So Wait... (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351806)

Isn't there a clause in most TOSes that you have to be over the age of majority to play/use? (Not that people read those things...) I have a hard time how this could be a foundation for any case at all... you cannot persecute if they do not know the other person was a child (your case falls apart), so you'd end up having to prove whether they knew or did not know this... which is pretty damn near impossible... until they bring out the mind-reader.

Re:So Wait... (3, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351840)

doesn't matter... if someone that is under aged sneaks into a 21+ venue, then it "picked up" by another person, the other person is now guilty of statutory rape, even though the under aged person shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Re:So Wait... (3, Informative)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351936)

3. Eligibility.
You represent that you are an adult in your country of residence. You agree to these Terms of Use on behalf of yourself and, at your discretion, for one (1) minor child for whom you are a parent or guardian and whom you have authorized to use the account you create on the Service.

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/legal/termsofuse.html [worldofwarcraft.com]

So, you are wrong. You can talk to children on WoW.

Re:So Wait... (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352078)

Most of the Alliance seems to be of the mental age, if not the physical age, of 14.

Bring out your mind readers. (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351992)

In the U.S., there is no defense against such crimes. If a girl uses a fake ID, for example, to make you think that she's 18, they will still haul your ass to jail for statutory rape if you meet her in an adults-only club and have sex with her later that night. That's one of the big complaints people have about our laws. You do have to be a mind reader.

Here in Georgia not too long ago, we had a case of a 17-year-old girl and her 18-year-old boyfriend having consensual sex. I think it was her parents that found out about it, reported him to the police, and he had to spend the next three years of his life in jail and register as a sex offender because of it. Yes, he probably knew that she was only 17, but the point is that when it comes to "protecting" children, never underestimate the stupidity of politicians trying to pick up votes for being "tough on crime."

Re:Bring out your mind readers. (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352130)

Georgia certainly has always had a reputation for very weird laws and law enforcement.
                  I also suspect that enforcement of some of these types of laws depends upon whether you are popular in your community or viewed as some sort of problem type of person.

I call BS (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352214)

Bullshit. Mistake of Fact is a defense in a criminal case. It has to be reasonable. Meeting a girl in a restricted-access adult club, it is reasonable to assume that she is of-age. It's not iron-clad, it's an imperfect defense; if she acts younger, raises doubt, etc, prosecution can certainly raise those issues. But it becomes a question for the jury, rather than the set-in-stone determination you would have us believe. Mistake of Law, on the other hand, is very very rarely a defense. You pretty much have to have a personal letter from the attorney general telling you what he thinks the law is, you follow his advice, and he be wrong, before mistake of Law is a defense.

Secondly, I question the case you talk about in Georgia, since the age of consent there is 16. Are you referring to the tragic case of the 17 year old boy who had (supposedly consensual) sex with a 14 year old girl at a party and ended up receiving 10 years in jail for a felony statutory rape charge? It's tragic and stupid, but not as cut and dry as you mentioned. It and similar cases also elicited a change in the law, because it was so stupid. It's now a misdemeanor in Georgia.

Yes, I AM an attorney. And posting anonymously because I am reading slashdot at work....

False Positves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351748)

The article doesn't specify whether the counterparty in the chat has to have claimed to be a child.

More at 11. (5, Insightful)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351750)

Speaking to children online ruled illegal;

A worldwide shift back to the "Seen, but not heard," philosophy ruins childhood for everyone.

Re:More at 11. (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351822)

In other news, all internet connected houesholds have terminated their service contracts and gone to live in cardboard boxes under bridges.

Re:More at 11. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351894)

And just to drive the point home, discussing anything that the state or the parents don't want you to discuss with the child is "inappropriate". That means, for example, LGBT issues. This is just another form of child abuse; At least in the USA, children are not even really allowed to own property. You are a non-person until you reach majority.

Re:More at 11. (2)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352108)

Whoah, hold on there cowboy. Since when is it "child abuse" to NOT expose a child to sexually charged issues, PARTICULARLY without the parent's consent?

Yes, this ruling is inane, but that doesn't mean that allowing a parent to have the ultimate say over how their child is raised and what they are exposed to is "child abuse".

Also, it's not that children are a non-people, but that they are as-yet INCOMPLETE people in that as children, their cognitive centers are not yet fully formed and they are literally UNABLE to make the best and most informed decisions. Thus their parents and other adults in authority are given charge over them to raise them properly so that they will become healthy and productive members of society when they do reach adulthood.

At least, that's the general concept. It's not perfect, and doesn't always work (See: Geoffery Dahmer) But it's a damn sight better than anything else that's been tried. And it's certainly better than just exposing them to all the crap that's out there before their minds are ready for it.

Heh (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351770)

I can see it now, people being put on the sex offenders register for saying things like "suck my balls" to their opponents in a Call of Duty multiplayer match only to find out they're underage, even though the kids shouldn't legally be playing the game in the first place.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351826)

There's nothing legally enforceable about game ratings.

Re:Heh (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352134)

That depends entirely on which country you're in. I'm not sure about Canada's laws on this, are you sure it's true for Canada?

Re:Heh (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352240)

Yes there are, retailers are not allowed to sell to people below the age rating of the game.

Re:Heh (1)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351830)

I can see it now, people being put on the sex offenders register for saying things like "suck my balls"

Is that something you're likely to say?

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351924)

I take it that you don't play PvP games much online. When you are in the middle of an intense battle is an FPS and you see that someone is using an aimbot then you are likely to say a whole lot of things that may be deemed appropriate in most other situations. "Suck my balls" is considered mild in comparison.

Re:Heh (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352128)

I can see it now, people being put on the sex offenders register for saying things like "suck my balls"

Is that something you're likely to say?

IMO "suck my balls" sounds like something a child would say from the saftey of their basement. My children are 28 and 23, they seem to have grown out of the childish insult phase.

Re:Heh (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352282)

Seeing as I was chuckling to myself the other night that some guy on XBox live gave out his home address so that the guy who kicked his ass could come round and fight him in real life because the guy who got beaten, could, I quote "fucking destroy your ass in real life you little bitch" I thought the "suck my balls" quote was actually quite tame ;)

Really, people who take games seriously enough to get so worked up provide great comedy, and yes it's quite frequent that you would hear such things, but certainly the sex offenders register isn't the place for them as much as that might add to the comedy value of the circus that is online gaming.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351920)

If you think you can use something logical like a game's rating or legal limits on consumption of alcohol to protect yourself then think again. Using logic against the "Won't someone PLEASE think of the children crowd" is fruitless. As soon as someone says children/under age/sexual content then you are done. No jury in the western world won't convict you.

Re:Heh (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352270)

And then you go to slashdot and meet the "The government thinks everyone over 19 is evil." crowd. For god's sake, the government removes the "sex" and "attempt to meet" laws around online child abuse/harrasment and slashdot goes completely ape-shit. CALM THE #$(*@# DOWN PEOPLE!

Re:Heh (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352050)

I was about to post something similar about World of Warcraft. Recently we had to boot a player from our guild. He was 10. His age didn't bother us so much because he wasn't in vent so he was missing most of the adult conversations. What makes me wonder is there are several people online that I think act just like that 10 year old....it makes me wonder how old they are. On the other side of the fence, maybe the online services should be held a bit more accountable for not giving the tools to parents. I really hate the fact that to make wow playable for my kids, I have to jump through hoops turning off things like party chat and all the trade channels just to make safer for a little kid. I don't see what is so hard for Blizzard to have parental controls to limit conversations. I really don't want some random stranger to be talking to my 9 year old. Even if I am there to stop it, I really don't want to explain all the insane things jerks say.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352124)

The game is not designed for 9 year olds. Try and find something more suitable for that age group. Didnt disney do something with Toontown or something like that?

so... (1)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351792)

I get mad at you, buy a gun, walk around with it loaded for a few days, never seriously intending to do anything to you or anyone else...and I'm guilty of attempted murder instead of just some degree of weapons charge?

The NRA will not let that happen. (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351928)

The NRA will not let that happen.

also this law seems to be a make any guilty law then can use on you to make say you are guilty to some other law just to keep the sex offenders off your rap sheet.

Question (3, Interesting)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351800)

And just how is someone to know if it's a child one is chatting with?

Re:Question (4, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351860)

And just how is someone to know if it's a child one is chatting with?

If you want to talk about the impact Quantum Mechanics is having on Theology, and she keeps trying to switch the subject back to "Twilight," that's your first clue.

Re:Question (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352026)

Sounds like a rather typical conversation between me and my fianceé...

Re:Question (3, Funny)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352256)

Sounds like a rather typical conversation between me and my fianceé...

You might be a pedophile if...

Take the full step (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351808)

ban children from internet altogether!

Re:Take the full step (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352296)

They should. I'm tired of this kind of crap. Children should include adults that were never taught sticks and stones in school..

Private net (3, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351818)

It seems more and more reasonable to give kids their own version of the internet completely. That way we wont get crazy someone think of the children laws.

Re:Private net (2, Funny)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351892)

I can't see anyone this hurts but pedophiles. I'd feel a lot safer, as a 22 year old, knowing that the people I discuss linux with aren't underage. We all know linux is a euphism for sex.

That's funny. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352230)

I always thought Linux was a euphemism for virginity.

Re:Private net (5, Insightful)

slarrg (931336) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351926)

We need a "get your damn kid off my internet" campaign.

Re:Private net (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352100)

It seems more and more reasonable to give kids their own version of the internet completely. That way we wont get crazy someone think of the children laws.

Which unfortunately will be a magnet for people who do want to have inappropriate conversations with kids.

Segmentation and/or punishment will never compete with the benefits of supervision *and* education

why would an adult talk to another child? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351832)

other than situations where they answer the phone and you ask to speak to their parents or they are visiting your kids. why would an adult need to communicate with someone else's child over the internet?

Re:why would an adult talk to another child? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351888)

How do you know it's a child? Am I a child?

Re:why would an adult talk to another child? (1)

cbeaudry (706335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351918)

Big brother, big sister programs. Neighbour, family friend, uncle or aunt, baby sitter/nanny, teacher, tutor, etc...

There are lots of exceptions to your description, which I hope they made in this law. (though I wish they didint create this law at all)

Re:why would an adult talk to another child? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352012)

Because child are people, not objects to be sheltered and cut off from the outside world until they reach a magical age when they're shoved outside.

What the fuck is wrong with how you see the world that you can actually pose the question "Why would an adult talk to another child?"

Re:why would an adult talk to another child? (3, Insightful)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352110)

other than situations where they answer the phone and you ask to speak to their parents or they are visiting your kids. why would an adult need to communicate with someone else's child over the internet?

For the same reason we talk to other adults? Because we share interests?

The music I enjoy, computer games I play, sports I watch.. plenty of those have an audience that is not exclusively for adults or children. We mix at the physical concerts and stadiums, so why not in on-line discussions? I've talked to plenty of tweens and teenagers who had more intelligent things to discuss than quite a few adults. Since most laws don't distinguish between adolescents and toddlers, should those "children" be off-limits to talk to as well?

That said, I agree there's probably not much adults have in common with pre-teens nor would there often be a reason to communicate with them.

Re:why would an adult talk to another child? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352250)

Since you have no real way of knowing if someone online is a minor or not, you may really never know if:

1. That awesome mage you found in the trade channel is actually a high school kid.

2. The person who posts insightful, analytical comments on the official message board of your favorite author is actually a 12-year old child prodigy.

3. The person spamming your message boards with Chuck Norris jokes is 45 years old.

Re:why would an adult talk to another child? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352148)

A "child" is often defined (incorrectly) as someone below the age of 16-18 and an "adult" is often also (incorrectly) described as someone above the ages of 16-18. But even if you define a child as someone below the age of 11 do you then define a non-child as someone above the age of 11? So if a 12 year old talks to an 11 year old are they then put on the sex offenders register? Or a 17 y/o talking to a 16 y/o?

Also what happens if a child needs to talk to an adult and ask for advice? Like what if they're getting bullied at school? Abused at home? Or just want to talk to someone their own gender (in a single-parent household)?

Re:why would an adult talk to another child? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352158)

Discussion forums are not intended to be restricted areas. If this "child" can participate in political debate or discussions of knowledge, art, games, etc., then there is no reason to lock them out.

Re:why would an adult talk to another child? (1)

2phar (137027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352242)

Asking them to put down the gun perhaps?

Re:why would an adult talk to another child? (4, Interesting)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352290)

Okay, this will probably be taken as a point for the other side, BUT:

In my WoW guid, we have a few members under the age of 18. Mostly, they're the kids of "real" members and their participation is a matter of humoring them. However, we've got at least one kid (14 at present) who is really quite mature for his age. Specifically, he's got three end-game geared characters, and he's capable of being a very effective main tank on what is currently some of the most difficult content in Warcraft.

(translation, this 14 year old kid plays his characters as well as any adult member, and better than some).

We've also got a Ventrillo server (voice chat) to help us communicate during raids and to coordinate other guild activities (as well as being a social space)

So, although you may disagree about the merits of a kid's participation in WoW, I can tell you that I've actually heard our raid leader (A Canadian citizen and ironically, an eighth grade teacher) ask this young raider if he's done his homework before a raid. In some ways, the majority of us adults treat him as a little brother most of the time, and as an equal colleague when raiding.

Where does that leave our raid leader? What about our other Canadian members? How long before the US enacts the "me too" version of this law, potentially exposing us to criminal/civil liability just for letting this kid into our lives?

Anyway, in answer to that question, there are many legitimate and wholly innocent reasons. I know that I interact with this particular kind IN SPITE OF HIS AGE, not because of it.

probably no need to worry (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351848)

I love inflammatory comments as much as the next /.er, but I can't imagine this law being used on its own to prosecute somebody. Most likely it'll be used as part of child exploitation cases just to pile on the charges or find something to pin on the defendant. So probably not a big deal...

...unless the local DA (or Canada's equivalent) has a bone to pick with you.

Re:probably no need to worry (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351916)

Well, as long as we'll be protected by the discretion of somebody whose job performance is evaluated on the basis of how many charges he brings, there should be no problem...

This doesn't sound needlessly vague. (2, Funny)

Llamahand (1275482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351854)

I can just see the disaster that is "having an inappropriate conversation" being put to the test.

Defendant "Your honor, all I was doing was talking about which blue cheese tastes best as a pasta sauce."

Judge "Well, that may be the case, but you were on a technical forum. 2 years in Federal Pound You in the Ass Prison."

Lets get this over with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351872)

Can we get this over with and just lock up all adult males? Obviously, we are all sexual predator pedophiles.

How about... (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351876)

How about they make a law stating that parents who let their kids get on these chat pages/programs unsupervised get publically flogged.

It probably won't protect more children (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351890)

Here in the UK the huge overreaction has spawned a child protection industry which, while making promotion opportunities for civil servants, has created a climate in which people will no longer intervene to stop children fighting or warn children about danger in case the children accuse the adults of "inappropriate behaviour".

A society which genuinely wanted to protect children would do things like reduce speed limits in built up areas to 10mph and imprison people who drive while talking on mobile phones - because the proponents of the legislation claim that any level of intrusion is justified if "a single child is saved".

Interestingly, the hysteria is driven by tabloid newspapers who, on other pages, will be moaning about the "Nanny State" - but this Canadian case seems to be about "the evil scum didn't commit an offence! We must create one so that in future similar evil scum can be charged with something!"

A message (3, Funny)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351902)

to Canadas youth: Stop ruining the internet for us adults. Seriously, go fuck yours---------CARRIER LOST

Re:A message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352076)

If you look more closely, it's some idiotic adults that are ruining the internet.

Shit! (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351940)

You mean I won't be able to sell crack on the Barney the Dinosaur message boards anymore? Thats where all my best customers come from!

I have children (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351966)

I have two kids and this is one of those well intentioned potentially good laws. I would want my kids protected as much as possible while they are online, and in "real" life.

I do think though that this is like the death penalty - it is approached from the wrong end, take the death penalty as a metaphor for this law: (I copied this verbatim from a post on the death of the DC sniper over at godgab.org)

I think when people thing "deterrence" they think to far up the chain of human reasoning.

Death penalty or lifelong imprisonment are likely consequences of getting found guilty, and getting found guilty is a likely consequence of getting caught.

So for the average person the death penalty or lifelong imprisonment does not factor in their thinking when committing a crime, they think "will I get caught?"

Increasing the possibility of getting caught will have a greater impact on a person's decision to commit a crime than would increasing the possibility of getting the death penalty.

You see, if a person has a reasonable expectation that they will not get caught after committing a crime, the threat of death upon getting caught does not factor in their thinking. It's almost like Maslow's hierarchy of needs. There is a hierarchy in every person's chain of thought, and the same holds for a criminal.

I would suggest loosely that it goes something like this:

Commit crime:

1. What stops me from committing it in society? (Is crime acceptable in society? What will the societal impact be of being a known criminal? Do I need to commit a crime to survive/fulfil my needs/etc? Has a demographic engendered hate in me (i.e. racism) that I want to commit a crime against them (i.e. murder))
2. What stops me from committing it in this situation? (Security measures, time of day, my immediate needs etc.)
3. What is the likelihood of me being caught? (Effective policing, alert population)
4. What is likely to happen if I get caught during the act? (Is my victim armed, are there others close by to help the victim?)
5. What is likely to happen if I get caught after the fact? (Effective legal system)
6. What is my likely punishment? (Life in prison, death penalty?)

So you see, I think the death penalty or not argument is a waste of time. The problem of crime should be approached in a hierarchy from the basic deterrents to the eventual punishment. The punishment alone is not a deterrent, and will never be unless the other pieces of the puzzle have been filled in.

So there you have it. Writing new laws to threaten pedophiles with has no bearing on the crime if there is no reasonable expectation of getting caught. That said, protecting my kids begins with my parenting - if I sit back and let laws do my parenting then I am just as culpable if they get hurt as the person who hurts them, my kids are my responsibility after all, I need to take their well-being to heart and not expect government to do my job for me. Sure laws are necessary, and government obviously has a role to play in the well-being of my kids, but the buck stops with me.

No Children on the Internet (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352002)

I have a better idea. Minors of any age simply cannot use the Internet. Then I can safely assume that everyone is an adult, and all of these "BUT THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!" laws can just go away. After all, think of the children, the Internet is full of nothing but perverts anyways, right?

With a law THAT ambiguous, I'm sure that every single person will at some point be branded some kind of predator. This is ridiculous.

Re:No Children on the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352176)

You are correct that this law is absurd, but banning underage individuals from the Internet is no less so. It is an incredibly powerful tool and to strip the underage of it would be nothing short of ageism. I honestly can't tell if you are being tounge-in-cheek or not, but in case you're not...

As an underage individual to whom the Internet is very valuable (not in the least for participating in FOSS development) I find your ideas bordering on offensive. How would you like it if I kicked off the Internet?

I hope nobody here.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352010)

I sure hope nobody here is underage.

So I guess double jeopardy... (1)

Headw1nd (829599) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352060)

...Is okay in Canada? They can acquit you then just decide "eh, that's not what we wanted. Let's have another trial"?

Re:So I guess double jeopardy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352188)

Yes, just like in the US. It's called "an appeal".

Re:So I guess double jeopardy... (1)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352294)

The State can't appeal a not guilty verdict. They'd have to find another, related charge that wasn't brought up in the first trial.

Back in the day (5, Insightful)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352086)

Back before AOL violated their own TOS by monitoring private chats, back when IM was new, back when IRC was for nerds (It still is, right?), one of the things I, an adult, loved to do was talk to other people online.

Different races, different cultures, different ages, too, provided new perspectives on life. Talking to a Californian and the O.J. case, talked to a German about the fall of the wall, talking to someone in South Africa about relationships, and even talking to kids about music (or anything else for which I found their fresh, sometimes naive perspective eye-opening) were activities I loved because they gave me a different way of looking at things. I consider polite conversation with as many people who are as different from me as possible to be an essential part of the lifelong process of self-education that we should all relish.

Yes, that means I talked to kids online.

I don't do that any more. I don't even try to talk to new people online anymore. So many of the old haunts were slowly invaded by LEOs blundering their way through silly entrapment schemes ("Hi, I'm 14/f/California. I love cheerleading and gymnastics. Do you want to talk to me? I've been having problems with my boyfriend cuz he wants to sex me and I'd like to know what an older guy thinks" was typical, although I didn't misspell nearly enough words.) that all the fun was sucked out of it.

Now, I talk on forums where the whole world can read what I say. That way, no one can accuse me of grooming. When I made the decision to eschew private conversations with strangers, I thought I was being too paranoid but withdrew, anyway, just to be on the safe side.

It seems I wasn't paranoid at all. There really are people out there who think that if an adult says "Hi" to a kid they don't know, said adult must be up to no good.

Sad.

Really, really sad.

Better play it safe... (1)

lga (172042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352118)

I had better ban all under-18s from my Half Life 2:Deathmatch server then. I'm in the UK but some of the players are in the US and Canada and I don't want to end up extradited. In fact, I have no way of checking ages. Better close down the whole server!

Double jeopardy (4, Interesting)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352144)

I RTFA.

I didn't realize they didn't have double jeopardy in Canada.

How many times can a person be tried for the same offense in Canada? Is there a limit? Do prosecutors and courts just keep changing the rules and re-filing charges until they get a conviction?

I'm not being intentionally obtuse, here. I'm legitimately curious.

Law Sould Also Require Mandatory Age Disclosure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352150)

They should also require mandatory age disclosure since you can't know what is the age of somebody else on the InterWeb. Failure to disclose your age should be punishable with jail time, even for minors. After all, it's for the fucking children.

Braindead justice (2, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352170)

"Those who use their computers to lure children for sexual purposes often groom them online by first gaining their trust through conversations about their home life, their personal interests or other innocuous topics."

How many people are going to be arrested for asking children about their "personal interests or other innocuous topics" on the grounds that the person asking the questions might perhaps turn out to be a pedophile?

"[The law] makes it a crime to communicate by computer with underage children or adolescents for the purpose of facilitating the commission of the offences."

...

He said the new Internet luring law "criminalizes conduct that precedes the commission of the sexual offences."

How do you establish the adult's intentions unless the adult has expressed a desire to commit an offense against the child, thus not requiring the broader interpretation of the law? The way the judge's decision is described, it would seem it isn't necessary to establish criminal intent, thus making people liable for conversations that are truly innocent.

There's often been an air of paranoia around many of the laws that are supposed to address the online victimization of children, but this one is about the most ridiculous I've seen. Idiots at the helm is all I can say.

Ban them, all of them. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352190)

Why not ban kids altogether from the internet? That would do both the kids, their parents and the rest of the internet a big service. The kids would be outside more, the parents would have to talk to their kids and the internet would be a much nicer place.

If the internet is such an unsafe place and the parents wont supervise their kids they shouldn't be online.

No children... Really? (1)

KDEnut (1673932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352254)

What a knee-jerk reaction to simply say either: "No children on the internet!" or "I must protect my children at all costs!". The first is a typical knee-jerk, the second just makes coddled children who *Won't* think for themselves, who grow up to be adults who expect the government to continue to coddle them. I have two girls, both under the age of 10. Both have a Facebook account registered under pseudonyms. Both have played MMORG's on my lap. My point? Parenting is more than just protection, it's education. Each of my daughters online sessions is supervised, and used to educate them on what IS and what IS NOT allowed. We repeatedly emphasis that anything done on the net is permanent. We teach how to don and maintain a layer of anonymity between their true selves and the keyboard. tl:dr Summery. Teach your children to use the net like you would teach them to ride a bike. Run beside them in the beginning, grow to riding beside them to teach road-rules with the goal of smart decision making as (mostly) self-sufficient teens.

I had a friend... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352280)

I had a friend once that was caught by the police, but under extremely specific circumstances, and did not go to jail, although the police threatened to put him on some sort of watch list, even though it was all very overblown.
MSN is not just for kids, you can not call it a teen social network, EVERYone uses it these days.

He happened to be on a group forum of some type, and ended up chatting with this perticular adult(?) seeing as when he asked what age she was, she had said she was 19 going on 20 ( I have to admit it was pretty young even for me...)
but legal, so he continued to converse with her, and then after some online courting (if you can call it that) that lasted a few weeks
he was asking to meet her in person to go for a date or something.

I guess the parents were not all that trusting of their daughter and went and followed her to her rendezvous, this in turn lead to them
calling the police when they met my friend who recently turned 30. Apparently she had lied about her age and was 13, but he would not even had known that without at least meeting her first to be then able to deal with her lie.

Long story short, the cops came he explained to the parents and the cops about how he met her online in some place and asked her her age, and luckily she was not that dishonest to lie to everyone, she admitted to saying she was older then she really was.
The cops tries to put some fear into him (wrongly) by telling him about these lists that online predators are kept a close eye with.

I worked as a bouncer in a club where these very young and under aged girls would always offer themselves to be able to earn their
weekly pass into the clubs, and trust me, some really did look much older then they were. At some point you have to realize, they are smart enough to play the game, of lying to get what they want, even sleep around if they can at least get in every Friday into the hotspot club of the town, get fake id etc, etc...

It is up to the parents to be more attentive into their kids lives and be more a part of it then one day just wake up and get smacked in the face with reality that their kid is sexually active, or a drug addict, or gay or being bullied at school, or....the list goes on.
The parents need to be a little more about the kids and less about themselves.

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