#CyberFLASH: Trudeau government to take on cybersecurity threats

keyboardOTTAWA — With Internet-based child sex-ploitation crimes skyrocketing, the Justin Trudeau government intends to launch a “credible and comprehensive” review this spring of cybersecurity threats in Canada.

Officials with Public Safety Canada said Thursday that while the details of that review are still being hammered out by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, a review will determine how Canada can best deal with everything from online predators to digital jihadists.

Kathy Thompson, the assistant deputy minister in charge of the Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch at Public Safety Canada, said while the crime rate continues to decline across the country, “there are some exceptions. One of those exceptions is child sexual exploitation over the Internet — that is going up exponentially, year over year.”

Thompson made her remarks at the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee, where MPs are looking for topics their group can zero in on during the current parliamentary session.

A cybersecurity review that looks at legal gaps and shortcomings in police resources could form a plan for the way the Trudeau government approaches law-and-order issues.

“It is our intent to conduct a review that is going to be credible and comprehensive and reaches out to all stakeholders across Canada. And also to our international partners,” said Monik Beauregard, the senior assistant deputy minister at Public Safety’s national and cyber-security branch.

Liberal MP Marco Mendocino, a former Crown prosecutor who played a key role in putting some of the Toronto 18 terrorists in jail, told the committee he is particularly concerned about financial crime — the use of computers and telecom networks by organized criminals, including terrorists, to move and hide money — as well as the use of social media as a breeding ground for online hatred and incitement.

“The fact that we are now so invested in cyberspace can make us vulnerable,” said Mendocino.

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