Personally I'm more creeped out by the idea of customs grabbing my laptop as I cross borders and peering over every single file in it looking for an excuse to lock me up.
Leaving the issue of the loli manga aside, do you really think that if a sufficiently annoyed legal official went over your computer they wouldn't find SOMETHING you had done SOMETIME that looked questionable? Can you prove you own every bit of software on the machine? Every MP3? What about your search history? Ever looked for something a bit dodgy for research purposes? Will I be accused of pirating games that I have written because I ran searches for them?
I do not like blind search and seizure.
I'm with Papillon. Searching computer files seems obsessive and unreasonable. I can't think of anything that justifies it. What is the worst thing someone could do by bringing a computer file into a country that they couldn't do from OUTSIDE the country? Barring that, how easy would it be to just not bring the files on your laptop and then pull them from the internet (maybe your own private ftp source) or from a data cloud, each little piece encrypted? It is over-zealous paranoia wrapped in moral righteousness and it creates "Knight Templars".
From TV Tropes:
"Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart, for his purity, by definition, is unassailable."
— James Baldwin
"Nothing worse than a monster who thinks he's right with God."
— Captain Malcolm Reynolds from the Firefly episode "Heart of Gold"
Sometimes the Forces of Light and Good get too hardcore. In a deadly combination of The Fundamentalist and the Well-Intentioned Extremist, they get blinded by themselves and their ideals, and this extreme becomes tyranny.
Tyranny is exactly where things like this lead. It doesn't matter if you agree with the Canadian officials that the material was immoral or not, you shouldn't support their actions. Drawings are just thoughts, they are not actions and never have been. Child pornography laws were created to protect actual children from harm, real people whom a crime was committed against to produce the material. No real children are harmed in the creation of drawings - the images are imaginary thought constructs made manifest as imagination in your mind from a combination of lines, just as a word is a combination of lines and shapes that produce an image, meaning, or thought in your head. So already we can see that treating DRAWINGS of naked children as actual child pornography is absurd.
The Canadian law, and similar laws around the world are stupid. For example, under the law I could draw two stick figures having sex, label one a child, post it here, and I would suddenly be guilty of possession of child pornography, just as you would be since the image would then be sitting in the cache of your computer. Isn't it degrading to the real children harmed by sexual assault or forced to do child pornography when their horrible experience is said to be equal to that of an imaginary cartoon character scribbled on a page?
Policing thoughts is the action of a tyrannical state. Again, it doesn't matter if you like or agree with the thought being policed. You let people start regulating what can be thought and what can't, they will do it more and more and eventually start policing thoughts you have.
As to discussion of the specific material and thoughts in this case, you may think looking at drawings of naked children is an indication of a sick mind, or just awful, and you may be right, but taking away the right for someone to do that isn't protecting or helping anyone. Many of you might think that access to such material might induce actual crime against children, but the research says just the opposite.
Access to porn has been shown to drastically reduce rape. Violent crime has decreased more and more with the advent of violent video games. It has been shown that particular violent movie releases INSTANTLY reduce the violent crime rate of a city while they are playing. In other words, if a person has thoughts that are inappropriate to act on, being able to release them in a fictional sense is a catharsis that prevents the thoughts from manifesting into action. Having access to "fake" child porn may be keeping this man from seeking out real child porn, the production of which would harm real, living children. Or, God forbid, seek out physical sexual contact with children to satisfy those urges. Prosecuting possession of fake child drawings may actually be putting more real children in danger.
It is the same principle as a drug addict - cut them off from any form of a fix and they become desperate and consumed with getting one, whether that means crime to pay for it or robbing pharmacies. Give them regular small doses of a weaker pharmaceutical drug like many drug rehab clinics do, and they can function much better in society and commit fewer crimes, regardless of still being "addicts". In the case in question, we have the ability to provide a fix to the people who have these thoughts of children, just by letting them look at and enjoy fake drawings - it costs us nothing but being uncomfortable and potentially protects a real child from being that fix.
To those that think such material should be regulated because it might "convert" someone, all I have to ask is whether or not playing violent games or movies or watching a rape scene in a movie or game has made you a criminal or a rapist. I somehow doubt it.
No government or body of people in the world should govern morals - that is a slippery slope. In many Muslim countries women must be covered up when in public, cannot drive, must be stoned to death for being a victim of rape, etc. all in the name of "morality". And lest anyone forget, many of the terrorists attacking us these days are doing so because they believe we and our culture are "immoral". The Crusades were to take back the Holy Land because medieval Christians believed the Muslims living there to be "immoral". Homosexuals were rounded up and put to death during the Holocaust become Nazi command viewed them as "immoral". Time and again we have seen the enforcement of morals have horrible consequences for everyone involved.
If someone just has thoughts, no matter what they are, and exercise them with books or drawings or stories that harm no one, then they should be left alone. Thoughts should never be crimes. If those thoughts turn into ACTIONS? Then by all means, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Until then, follow the old advice: "Live and let live".