I don't want to be on a plane with someone who potentially has a history of clinical depression.
That's fine. You're welcome to stay in your bunker.
Interesting that you got on well with those with whom you shared a common  native language, and didn't with those you didn't, isn't it?
the US governement is obsessed with rule of law ? are you kitting me !?!
Sure the US Government is obsessed with rule of law. Like most governments in most places and at all times (since "rule of law" took hold), it's obsessed with finding ways to get away with circumventing it.
That will almost certainly be a defense if it comes up in court: that the defendants never really believed this was a real person, and knew all along they were offering money for harmless "virtual stripping" of a computer simulation.
In the UK, that "virtual stripping" would be illegal.
As it was reported in the UK, there is nothing that these people can be charged with on the basis of their interactions with the software, but the police will be looking closely at those people. It probably means they will be considered to have reasonable grounds to go rooting around their hard drives and so on.
At least the story seems to have been reported accurately on slashdot. The UK media represented everybody who interacted with the software as being a pedophile, with the charity only being able to identify about 1000. Great. So now if a 10-year-old asks for help, anybody who tries to help must be evil. Oh well, so long H. sapiens, we've had a good run...
"Evidence" is anything that supports a premise. An IP address or profile is "evidence" as is an eye witness and DNA evidence.
Yes and no. You've listed 3 types of evidence with varying degree's of accuracy.
I suspect that was the OP's point. "Evidence" does not mean "proof". A profile is evidence -- very weak evidence, sure, a long way from proof, but it's still evidence.
Ok, I am not a lawyer, and I am not a Canadian, but as far as I can see there are a few different questions:
- Who (if anyone) has criminal liability
- Who can get sued?
- Who can get successfully sued? And
- Do you have a moral obligation independent of the law?
Where I am (the UK) criminal liability is likely to lie with the company that developed the product (or that sold it, if it was misrepresented). If they are selling safety-significant software, they should have appropriate processes in place to ensure the software is of sufficient quality and to ensure that developers are working to those processes,
For "Who can get sued", the answer is "almost anybody", and it can be financially ruining, but as far as I can see a customer who suffers harm is in the first instance likely to go after the company that sold the app and the company that developed the app -- the company would have trouble passing the responsibility down to the developer if they did not have such processes and if they did not make them sufficiently known to the developer. That might not stop them trying, though, if they're desperate to pass the buck.
For "Who can get successfully sued, that depends on local legislation and how the product is represented. It's probably not you, but as I said, I am not a lawyer.
For "moral obligation" I would say that you have an obligation to raise your concerns with your management, and whatever their response to be aware of, and as far as is in your power apply, the appropriate measures that should be applied to safety significant software -- if you can get hold of a copy of IEC61508 or local standards and guidelines it would be a big help.