Winnipeg, Canada — Details on Cybertip.ca reports processed by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) relating to MindGeek-owned websites were presented today to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
Invited by the committee to provide testimony on the state of safety and privacy for children online, C3P representatives outlined the many ways a regulatory vacuum and lack of a coordinated response in the digital space is harming, not only children, but also non-consenting adults.
C3P reported that through the operation of Cybertip.ca — Canada’s tipline for reporting online child sexual abuse and exploitation— several reports related to MindGeek-owned websites were actioned between 2015 and 2020. These included incidents involving child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on their platforms, as well as incidents of sexual exploitation or abuse.
Over that timeframe, 90 processed reports were forwarded directly to law enforcement and in 334 cases a notice was issued to an electronic service provider.
C3P Executive Director Lianna McDonald told committee members platforms that have insufficiently-resourced moderation practices, coupled with a deluge of unverified users generating content, are especially problematic.
“While this committee’s focus to date has been largely been on the activities of MindGeek and their associated websites, it must be made clear that several mainstream companies operating websites, social media, email, and messaging services that most Canadians interact with daily could just as easily have been put under the microscope,” says McDonald. “We would never accept a standard where broadcasters or publishers were allowed to absolve themselves of responsibility for disseminating illegal child abuse images to the masses, and yet our collective inaction in the digital space has effectively done just that.”
C3P also recommended to the committee the creation of a legal framework that would compel electronic service providers to adopt the following practices:
- Implement and use available tools to combat the flagrant and relentless re-uploading of illegal content;
- hire, train, and effectively supervise staff to carry out moderation and content removal tasks at scale;
- keep detailed records of user reports and responses that can be audited by authorities;
- be accountable, from a legal perspective, for moderation and removal decisions and the harm that flows to individuals when companies fail in this capacity; and
- build in, by design, features that prioritize the best interests and privacy rights of children.
WATCH: C3P live testimony at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-2/ETHI/meeting-21/notice