The Canadian government unveiled a new law designed to help stamp out child pornography yesterday. But police admit a similar Nova Scotia law already on the books has never been used.

The law would require internet service providers to report evidence or suspicion of child pornography to police. Federal MP Keith Ashfield called it a step towards eliminating or curtailing child porn.

However, ISPs are not allowed to check which websites their customers see and would have to rely on tips.

 

“They can’t actually view the sites because of privacy laws," Ashfield said yesterday in Halifax. "But if it’s reported to them in any way, shape or fashion, or if they suspect that there may be something happening, then it would be forwarded to police."

One year ago, the Rodney MacDonald Tories passed a law requiring anyone who encounters child pornography to report it to authorities.

At the time officers said they weren’t sure how the law could be enforced. Halifax Regional Police Spt. Mike Burns confirmed yesterday no one had been charged under the law in the past year.

But he said the new law could be different. Burns said during investigations it’s possible to discover an ISP new about explicit content. Fines under the new law range from $10,000 to $100,000.

“Strange as it may sound, many times people see something wrong and it’s not always the police they call first,” Burns said.

Burns added he welcomes any law that helps fight the growing and at times overwhelming problem of child pornography. He said some police statistics show the amount of child porn online quadrupled from 2003 to 2007.