Police watch key Internet privacy appeal in Canadian child porn possession case

Jun 11, 2014
Crime
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Police could lose a valuable tool in hunting child pornographers if a Supreme Court decision goes against them on Friday.

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Matthew Spencer of Saskatoon wants Canada’s highest court to throw out his conviction for possessing child porn because he argues police violated his constitutional rights when they tracked him down by asking his Internet provider for his name and address without a warrant.

“An individual would expect the records of his Internet provider and his identity to be kept confidential and private,” his lawyers told the court.

In 2007, Spencer, 19 at the time, used the program LimeWire to obtain and share child porn online. Investigators with Saskatoon Police traced the file sharer to an IP address and under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA “), asked Shaw Communications for help in identifying the subscriber.

The contract belonged to Spencer’s sister and the telecom company provided her name and address. Police then obtained a search warrant, learned her brother lived there and seized his computer.

They discovered that, at one point, he had 441 still images and 112 videos on his shared folder. “What the images were portraying were disgusting, demeaning, depraved activities of child abuse of the worst order,” the Saskatchewan trial judge said in convicting Spencer.

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[…] They discovered that, at one point, he had 441 still images and 112 videos on his shared folder. “What the images were portraying were disgusting, demeaning, depraved activities of child abuse of the worst order,” the Saskatchewan …read more     […]

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