|By Marketwired .||
|December 29, 2013 11:00 AM EST||
OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 12/29/13 -- Department of Justice Canada
This year, as promised in the 2013 Speech from the Throne, the Government took a major step towards protecting children and other vulnerable Canadians from cyberbullying by introducing Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act.
Following the suicides of several teenagers who had reportedly been victims of cyberbullying, many Canadians have urged the Government to take action to address this serious problem. At the same time, many law enforcement agencies have expressed the need for more effective tools to deal with cybercrime, including cyberbullying. A working group of Federal-Provincial-Territorial officials has examined the issue of cyberbullying to identify actions that could be taken. The provisions in Bill C-13 are based closely on recommendations in the working group's report.
The proposed measured response to cyberbullying in Bill C-13 has received strong support from victims' families and from several organizations dealing with child protection.
-- The Bill proposes to address the issue of cyberbullying by: -- Creating a new Criminal Code offence to prohibit the distribution of intimate images of a person without that person's consent; -- Empowering a court to order the removal of intimate images from the Internet; -- Permitting a court to order forfeiture of the computer, cell phone or other device used in the offence; -- Permitting the reimbursement to victims, upon conviction of the accused, for costs incurred in removing the intimate image from the Internet or elsewhere; and -- Empowering a court to make an order to prevent someone from distributing intimate images. -- The Bill would modernize tools to give police the necessary means to fight crime, including the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, while maintaining the judicial checks and balances needed to protect Canadians' privacy. -- To protect privacy, nothing in this Bill will require a person to provide information to the police without an appropriate level of judicial oversight. In fact, Bill C-13 proposes raising the level of judicial scrutiny for obtaining a warrant to track a person, as the Government felt that the current level of scrutiny was insufficient. -- The Bill also updates an existing provision in the law to clarify that information may still be provided voluntarily to police provided there are no legal barriers against it. Those who provide such assistance will continue to be protected from liability.
"Cyberbullying can have a devastating and life-long impact on its victims. Canadians have demanded action to address this serious issue and our Government is delivering," said Minister MacKay. "The legislation we have introduced is comprehensive and intends to modernize the laws to give police the tools they need to effectively investigate and combat online crime."
-- Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., MP for Central Nova, Minister of Justice and Attorney General
"Cyberbullying is an issue that affects us all and demands that Canadians work together to put an end to it. This legislation is an important step in protecting our children online. Along with our current prevention, education and awareness-raising efforts, we are taking clear action to tackle cyberbullying."
-- Steven Blaney, P.C., MP for Levis-Bellechasse, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Internet : www.justice.gc.ca
(English version available)
Cyberbullying and Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images
Bullying and Cyberbullying
Bullying, including cyberbullying, is a form of aggression, usually among children and youth but not always. When the bullying behaviour occurs via electronic means, it is often referred to as cyberbullying.
Bullying, including cyberbullying, can take many forms. Some forms, such as name-calling, teasing, belittling and social exclusion, are common and may be hurtful but are not criminal offences. However, bullying and cyberbullying conduct can escalate to more serious activities that are criminal offences under the Criminal Code, including criminal harassment (section 264), uttering threats (section 264.1), intimidation (subsection 423(1)), mischief in relation to data (subsection 430(1.1)), unauthorized use of a computer (section 342.1), identity fraud (section 403), extortion (section 346), false messages, indecent or harassing telephone calls (section 372), counselling suicide (section 241), incitement of hatred (section 319), child pornography (section 163.1), and defamatory libel (sections 298-301).
More recently, a new form of cyberbullying has emerged that is not covered by the criminal law. It involves the distribution of intimate (sexual) images without the consent of the person depicted in the image. Sometimes the motivation is to take revenge on a former partner (this is sometimes colloquially referred to as "revenge porn"). Young people are increasingly exchanging intimate images consensually. This may become a problem if those images later become fodder for humiliating cyberbullying attacks involving non-consensual distribution
Impact of Cyberbullying
Bullies have been around throughout history, but the widespread use of new communications technologies increases the potential impact of bullying behaviour. Bullies can now expand their audience from the schoolyard to around the globe. Once the bullying conduct is in cyberspace, it may be permanently available over the Internet, where it can spread quickly and often uncontrollably. This may compound feelings of fear, humiliation, and social isolation and have other negative effects on victims. There have been several reported cases of teen suicide where cyberbullying is alleged to have played a part.
At their October 2012 meeting, Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for Justice and Public Safety directed senior officials to identify potential gaps in the Criminal Code on cyberbullying and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. The results of that review were published in a report in July 2013. The report concluded that a multi-pronged approach was needed to address cyberbullying. In addition to education, public awareness, and family and community support, the report recommended that the Criminal Code be amended to address certain gaps in the law and give law enforcement officers better tools to deal with the issue.
Proposed Criminal Code Amendments
In November 2013, the federal Minister of Justice introduced Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act. This Bill proposes several Criminal Code amendments to address bullying, including cyberbullying, more effectively. These proposed amendments are based largely on recommendations in the working group's report.
For example, the Bill proposes to:
-- Create a new Criminal Code offence prohibiting the distribution of intimate images of a person without that person's consent; -- Empower a court to order the removal of intimate images from the Internet; -- Permit a court to order forfeiture of the computer, cell phone or other device used in the offence; -- Permit the reimbursement to victims, upon conviction of the accused, for costs incurred in removing the intimate image from the Internet or elsewhere; and -- Empower a court to make an order to prevent someone from distributing intimate images.
For purposes of the Criminal Code, "intimate image" would be defined as an image that depicts a person engaged in explicit sexual activity or that depicts a sexual organ, anal region or breast. Further, the image would be one for which, at the time of the recording, the person depicted had a reasonable expectation of privacy and, at the time of the offence, had not relinquished his or her privacy interest.
The proposed amendments to the Criminal Code would also modernize existing investigative powers to enable police to obtain electronic evidence from the Internet and other new technologies more efficiently and effectively. However, nothing in this Bill would require a person to provide the police with information without an appropriate level of judicial oversight. See Backgrounder: Modernizing the Criminal Code, for more information on the proposed investigative measures.
Bullying is also being addressed through non-legislative means, including education, awareness and prevention activities. This reflects the fact that bullying is a social problem that needs comprehensive responses from schools, non-government organizations, the police, and community groups. For example:
-- The Government is currently supporting the development of a number of school-based projects to prevent bullying, as part of $10 million that was committed in 2012 towards new crime prevention projects. -- Through the Government's GetCyberSafe campaign, Canadians can get the information they need to protect themselves and their families against online threats, including cyberbullying. -- The Government also supports the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, which operates Cybertip.ca and NeedHelpNow.ca, websites that Canadians can use to report online sexual exploitation of children and to seek help for exploitation resulting from the sharing of sexual images.
Office of the Minister of Justice
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