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Latest Online Guardians News:

July 6th, 2003
We have a new look for the site. We hope you like it :)

Online Guardians has decided not to go along with the current trend of advertising how many suspects we have arrested, or files, equipment etc that has been seized, to us "fame " or whatever you wish to call it is not important. The only thing that is important is the safety of people online as well as offline but especially the children, they come first it's as simple and as plain as that.

Children cannot protect themselves from these "predators" that is why we are here, not to claim we are best at doing something, or the most members in the world. If that's what other organizations wish to do fine, we are not "playing" - like our tagline says Online safety is NOT a game, it's real and so are the predators out there.

With that said I would like to thank our BlackPhoenix team who do an outstanding and extremely difficult job tracking the "monsters" as well as training and teaching other organizations.

Paul Donoghue
Executive Director
Online Guardians

Skirting the Legal Line
When Kid Porn Isn't Kid Porn
Sites loaded with images of naked preteen kids in provocative poses proliferate legally while authorities go after the real hard-core stuff. "It's very frustrating for us," an activist says. By Julia Scheeres.

Online Guardians participated in the above story for Wired News, to read the full story click here


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See our recent mention in the article -,7369,681826,00.html


Porn Hunters Unwelcome in Canada?
By Julia Scheeres

Wired News

Violators of Bill C-15A, which was passed by the Canadian House of Commons and is pending approval by the Senate, would face up to five years in jail.

"This legislation would be a tremendous blow to our group and to the effort to eradicate child pornography from the Internet," said David Ellis, the assistant director of BytesCanada. The Ottawa nonprofit group investigates allegations of kiddie porn reported through its Internet tipline, using programs such as NeoTrace to track down the location of servers hosting offensive images. If the group determines that a tip is legitimate, they forward it to local law enforcement authorities.

Whistle-blowing groups such as BytesCanada that patrol the Net for child porn say they're doing a favor for over-worked police departments that don't have resources to pursue online vice themselves. But the relationship between cops and do-gooders in Canada is dramatically different than from that in the United States.

In the States, volunteers collaborate closely with authorities, trolling the Net for child porn, offering free computer training to agents, and even posing as minors in chat rooms in an attempt to trap sexual predators.

In Canada, the nation's lead child-porn investigator characterized such volunteers as meddlesome vigilantes.

"We don't ask civilians to make drug buys and report it to the police and we don't ask them to seek out child pornography online," said detective Bob Matthews, the head of the child pornography section for the Ontario Provincial Police.

Online crusaders thwart police investigations by tipping off pornographers, Matthews said. Furthermore, his department has arrested several pedophiles who claimed their hard drives were crammed with explicit pictures of children because they were collecting "evidence" to pass on to the police.

But Matthews also admitted that child pornography is a growing problem in Canada and that his department is struggling to keep ahead of smut peddlers. Between 2000 and 2001, the number of cases investigated by his team in Canada's most populous province, Ontario, jumped 250 percent from 169 to 410.

"It's a huge problem and we're only barely scratching the surface," Matthews said. "We are overwhelmed with the number of investigations we're doing at the moment and have more than we can handle without the public expecting us to file each and every complaint they give us."

When BytesCanada director Rebecca Warren offered to send him links to online kiddie porn, he threatened to arrest her. Questioned about the conversation, Matthews was adamant: "If you have child porn images and we find them on your computer, I don't care who you are, we are going to arrest you."

He welcomed the pending legislation, which will enable police to pore through the guts of a suspect's computer for the traces of visits to illegal websites.

Some observers have called the measure the world's toughest crackdown on child pornography -- no other country is known to have targeted the mere act of surfing the Web for underage smut.

The legislation would also criminalize luring children online for sexual encounters offline, and would allow judges to shut down sites that publish -- or even provide hyperlinks to –- child porn.

Neither Matthews or a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canada's equivalent of the FBI) would speculate whether electronic surveillance would be used to enforce the proposed bill.

"We can't comment on investigational techniques or pending legislation," said Sergeant Paul Marsh of the Mounties, who deferred questions to Matthews.

To avoid clashes with Canadian cops, BytesCanada has been forwarding leads to an American group called Online Guardians, based in Savannah, Georgia, which works closely with both federal and local authorities to weed out indecent images of children on the Internet.

"I think the bill is a good intention, but misguided," Online Guardian's director, Cate Donoghue, said. "Working with volunteer groups could give (Canadian authorities) the manpower they need to root out the problem."