Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle

New regulator to stop sexual exploitation of children online: public safety minister

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the government will introduce legislation to create a new regulator that will ensure online platforms remove harmful content, including depictions of children and intimate images that are shared without consent.

Speaking to the ethics parliamentary committee, Blair says sexual exploitation of children online presents jurisdictional challenges because perpetrators and victims can be located anywhere in the world.

He says images of victims of child sexual abuse can be shared on platforms that may be headquartered in one country, but legally registered in another with servers in different countries.

He says this reality affects the ability of Canadian law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute those responsible.

MPs on the House of Commons ethics committee have been weighing concerns around privacy and streaming platforms such as Pornhub.

More than 70 parliamentarians from all parties last month called on the RCMP for a full criminal investigation into Pornhub’s parent company following testimony from survivors.

The lawmakers cite recent evidence by victims and child-protection organizations alleging the Montreal-based company regularly shared child pornography and sexual assault videos as well as content shot or posted without the consent of subjects.

The parent company, MindGeek, has denied all accusations of wrongdoing, saying it is a global leader in preventing distribution of exploitative videos and images.

“MindGeek has zero tolerance for non-consensual content, child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and any other content that lacks the consent of all parties depicted,” the company said in an email this month.

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