Canadian Court: Sex Offenders Can Be Banned From Web

| by Ray Brown
The Canadian Supreme Court buildingThe Canadian Supreme Court building

The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that convicted sex offenders can be banned from using the internet.

"The record demonstrates that the internet is increasingly being used to sexually offend against young people and that sex offenders who target children are more likely to re-offend," Justice Andromache Karakatsanis wrote in the ruling, reported Agence France-Presse.

The case in question involved a man who was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter in 2013 and sentenced to nine years in prison. The Supreme Court ruled on whether it was legal to retroactively ban him from using the internet.

Not only did the court rule he could be banned, but it also ruled that other convicted sex offenders who abused minors can be retroactively banned if their conviction occurred before 2012. A criminal code was introduced in 2012 that allows courts to ban sex offenders from the internet.

“These new online services have given young people -- who are often early adopters of new technologies -- unprecedented access to digital communities,” Karakatsanis wrote, according to The Globe and Mail. “At the same time, sexual offenders have been given unprecedented access to potential victims and avenues to facilitate sexual offending.”

The judges said social media sites, including Facebook, Tinder and Snapchat, were of particular concern because sex offenders can use them to find children.

"The rate of technological change over the past decade has fundamentally altered the social context in which sexual crimes can occur," the ruling said, according to AFP. And "monitoring an offender's use of the internet can limit an offender's opportunities to offend and prevent this harmful behavior." 

Sources: AFP via Yahoo News, The Globe and Mail / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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