Manitoba Government Proposes Legislation to Protect Children

News from Broadway
[March 14, 2024]

The Manitoba government has introduced two pieces of proposed legislation aimed at protecting children and families from sexual predators, whether it be online or in the community, Justice Minister Matt Wiebe and Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister Lisa Naylor announced today.

“The recent cases we have seen of fake intimate images of children being created and shared online are incredibly disturbing,” said Wiebe. “We know children and women are too often the targets of this type of online harassment. Our government is taking steps to protect them, and all Manitobans, from having AI-generated and altered intimate images shared online.”

Proposed amendments to the Intimate Image Protection Act would strengthen and rename the legislation as the Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act. The definition of intimate images would be expanded to apply to fake intimate images, including images or recordings created or altered by software, AI or other means. Manitobans who have had fake intimate images of themselves or children shared would now be able to access civil remedies provided for under the act, noted Wiebe.

The Manitoba government has also introduced proposed legislation that would prohibit persons who are convicted of sex-related and other serious or violent offences from legally changing their name in Manitoba.

“When someone has survived sexual violence, they want to know the perpetrator cannot simply hide behind a new identity,” said Naylor. “Our government is taking action to make sure that people convicted of serious, violent offences are unable to change their names in Manitoba.”

The proposed amendments would prohibit people who are convicted of a sex-related criminal offence from legally changing their name in Manitoba. The bill would provide opportunity for the development of regulations, in consultation with stakeholders, victims services organizations, and families, that would designate offences that would preclude a name change.

“With the ever-growing number of nude generator apps and sites available, incorporating deepfake/AI-generated non-consensual images into legislation is critically needed. We are on the front lines of dealing with this with youth and are receiving an increasing number of AI-related reports to,” said Signy Arnason, associate executive director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “We are pleased to see the Manitoba government respond quickly to address rapid technological advancements and protect citizens from harm.”

These bills would better protect Manitobans including children, who are at risk of being targeted by sexual predators, Wiebe noted, adding that the Manitoba government is committed to working with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to identify more actions to be taken to prevent the sextortion of children and support families seeking justice.

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