Cleanfeed Canada

An undertaking of the Canadian Coalition Against Internet Child Exploitation (CCAICE), Cleanfeed Canada blocks customer access to non-Canadian websites that are hosting child pornography. The purpose is to reduce Canadian’s exposure to child abuse images and create a disincentive for those who access and distribute child pornography.

FAQ

  • How does Cleanfeed Canada work?

    Cybertip.ca receives complaints from Canadians regarding websites potentially hosting child pornographic images. Child pornography websites meeting the necessary criteria for Cleanfeed are amassed on the Cleanfeed Canada distribution list. Cybertip.ca provides that list in a secure manner to participating ISPs (participation is voluntary). The ISPs’ filters automatically prevent access to addresses on the list. There is essentially no "human" intervention on the part of participating ISPs. ISPs do not have input into creating the list nor knowledge of what is contained on it.

  • How does Cybertip.ca amass the URL list?

    Cybertip.ca receives complaints from Canadians regarding websites potentially hosting child pornographic images. Once in receipt, analysts assess and validate the reporting person's information. Reports deemed potentially illegal are forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction. Child pornography websites meeting the necessary criteria are amassed on the Cleanfeed Canada distribution list which is pulled automatically by participating ISPs.

  • Does the system filter legitimate, non-child pornography sites?

    The system is built to only prevent access to Internet addresses specifically containing child pornography images. A minimum of two analysts must review content and approve the URL before submission. Other automated checks are also performed to ensure the integrity and accuracy of information on the list.

    Additionally, while the child pornography provisions under the Criminal Code concern children under 18, the tipline only adds URLs displaying images of prepubescent children that fall within the definition of child pornography in Canada.

  • Are people able to tell which addresses are filtered under this system? Should they be able to do so?

    No. When the URL is launched, a standard message is returned indicating the Internet address is not accessible. The purpose of this initiative is to reduce accidental access, not to highlight problematic content.

  • Are blocked sites limited to those outside Canada?

    Yes. Only those URLs hosted outside Canada are added to the database. Law enforcement proceed with their normal course of investigation for those sites hosted within Canada. IP address lookup software is used to automatically exclude Canadian URLs.

  • What authority does Cybertip.ca have to access child pornography and how is it held accountable?

    In its establishment, Cybertip.ca was mandated by Manitoba's Attorney General to accept reports from the public about the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet. In adherence to policies and procedures approved by the National Law Enforcement Steering Committee and Justice Manitoba, Cybertip.ca analysts obtained Special Constable Status in and for the Province of Manitoba for the purpose of carrying out their respective duties. Letters of support were received from various Attorneys General and the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. In May 2004, the Government of Canada announced Cybertip.ca as Canada's national tipline for the public to report online child sexual exploitation. Cybertip.ca was officially launched in January 2005.

    Cybertip.ca is a national program owned and operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc., a registered charitable organization overseen by a broadly representational Board of Directors.

  • How do ISPs justify blocking content without a court order?

    ISPs do not consider themselves qualified to determine the legality of content. The Criminal Code allows a judge to make such legal determinations for child pornography content on the Internet, and to issue take-down orders if such content is hosted in Canada. ISPs follow this legislation and rely on the courts for direction. There is no such legislation for child pornography content hosted outside of Canada, so filtering access based on the Cybertip.ca list is an effective way to deal with such foreign content.

    Cybertip.ca is recognized by the federal government, provincial governments and domestic law enforcement agencies for its expertise in assessing the likely illegality of alleged child pornography online.

  • Will the police have access to, or be able to obtain through warrant, traffic logs identifying customers who have tried to access sites on the Cleanfeed Canada list?

    No. The system has been deliberately designed to NOT log traffic to the filtered sites on the Cleanfeed Canada list. This initiative is NOT an investigative tool for law enforcement.

  • What is the appeal process?

    In the rare event that a site with no illegal content is mistakenly blocked, an appeal process is in place to address the situation. The customer or content owner would contact their ISP with a complaint regarding their site being inaccessible. Upon receipt, the ISP will determine if the issue concerns a site included on the Cleanfeed Canada list.

    Once Cybertip.ca receives the complaint from an ISP (or directly from a content owner), the material is reassessed. As a final check point, Cybertip.ca may seek independent judgment of the content from a national law enforcement entity. Its decision is final as to whether the URL remains on the list.

    The appeal process is modeled after the UK's Internet Watch Foundation system for addressing complaints arising through the BT Cleanfeed filtering initiative. Since November 2006, Cybertip.ca has received two appeals, neither of which were ever on the Cleanfeed list.

Appeal Process

If any party responsible for the hosting, content or design of material, or any person who seeks access to a URL stored within the Blocking List maintained by Cybertip.ca for the purpose of Cleanfeed Canada complains, appeals or makes representation about the accuracy of the content assessment then the following procedures would apply:

  1. The matter will be referred to the Director of Cybertip.ca who will be personally responsible for compliance with the reassessment process.
  2. The Director will record the complaint and can delegate the reassessment to the tipline's Supervisor providing the Supervisor wasn't party to the original decision. If that were the case then the Director will conduct the reassessment process herself/himself.
  3. The relevant manager (either the Supervisor or the Director) will revisit the URL and reassess the content and consider any evidence retained from the original process to determine if the URL should remain on the Blocking List or not.
  4. If the relevant manager performing the review described in section 3 is not sure if the URL should remain on the Blocking List or not, then the relevant manager will request a second opinion from their own Line Manager. If there is no consensus then a final further opinion will be sought from next most senior Line Manger.
  5. If, after due consideration by all Cybertip.ca individuals involved in accordance with the above procedure, it is determined the URL should remain on the Blocking List, the complainant will be informed accordingly.
  6. If after consideration by all Cybertip.ca individuals involved, it is determined the URL should not remain on the Blocking List, the URL will be removed from the Blocking List and all participating members will be notified of its withdrawal and the complainant will be informed of the decision.
  7. If the complainant appeals the reassessment set out in paragraph 5, Cybertip.ca will seek an independent judgment of the URL from the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre. Its decision will be final.