CRTC Asked To Order Hate Sites Blocked

Lawyers for Richard Warman, Canada's leading online hate fighter, have filed an application with the CRTC requesting that it issue an order enabling carrier ISPs to block two foreign hate sites that have issued death threats against Mr. Warman.  One of the sites – a blog hosted on blogspot – has since been removed.  Assuming it proceeds, the case raises some interesting questions:  the two sites are vile, but is the CRTC the right place for this to happen?  If the CRTC does issue such an order, will it face a regular stream of similar requests?  Can the sites be blocked without also blocking dozens or hundreds of additional sites hosted at the same IP address? More on a case worth watching at Mark Goldberg's blog.


  1. If, technically, the CRTC is the governing body that controls access to the use of commercial telecommunications (like the FCC in the US), then I suppose they are the right people to complain to.

    The traditional way to deal with idiots on the web is to complain to their ISP. I’m guessing this is what happened to the blogspot page. All you have to do is point out to the carrier that some user is breaking their agreement, and the private company that hosts the stuff is often turfed without further comment.

    While I’m no free-speech zealot (I feel the all-or-nothing approach taken in the US doesn’t actually lead to more free speech, just more polarization on issues, and plenty of “speech” I can simply do without) I think we have to consider this sort of action carefully. I find a good chunk of what I see on television offensive. If the test is whether the majority of citizens feel something is appropriate or not, we ought to be careful that we don’t simply set up tyranny by majority.

    Conversely, I’d like to be able to critique media and government on my own web site.

    The real problem here is that, even in the US, very few of us have free speech on the web. Unless we are talking about a publicly available web forum or something, everyone is hosted by a private company that is only nominally controlled by some local governing body (i.e., the CRTC). That private company has all the rights in the world to quash what their subscribers do and say.

    I’d rather Warman took the approach of contacting the providers, which would highlight the corporatization of so-called free speech while also probably getting what he wants. It is my understanding that uttering threats under the right circumstances is illegal in Canada. The RCMP should be notified, along with the provider(s) in question.

    The offending sites can complain all they want if they are shut down then, since the argument would no longer be about government suppressing freedom, but the law of the land being upheld, and corporate interests wanting to exercise their own end-user license agreements with their customers.

    The CRTC should just be involved to assist the legal system as appropriate in this case.

    The fact is that it is easy to suppress speech on the web you don’t like in this country. Just show their providers some text from an email or web site that violates their terms of use, and they are gone.

  2. What kind of moronic comment is the one above? Is it a quote from someone or is this guy for real? “I hate to smack Jews with reality” hardly comes as a comment, as I’m not Jew and still read that “I hope they do (kill Richard Warman)” sounds like a suggestion AT THE VERY LEAST.

    The worst part, the freak writes LOL as if something in the whole episode is funny.

    Revolution, yeah… maybe dropping intolerance would be a revolution he should be aiming for.

  3. The CRTC was set up in the day when a public property, bandwith/spectrum, was limited, and inherently one to many. It isn’t any more, and I am frightened and sick that anyone will give them a new lease on life. Will Canada join the Saudis and Chinese in telling us what we can and cannot read?

    No matter how disgusting the material, I deeply resent ANYONE telling me that I cannot access it for the good of my mental/political health. I’ll be the judge of what is bad for me, thankyou.

    The essence of democracy is a degree of trust in your fellow citizens; without that, everything else is meaningless. Evidently Mr. Warman feels it is meaningless.

    I feel like I have been spit upon.

  4. Hate Laws
    This is a copy/paste from the CRTC’s web site:

    Offensive content on the Web
    The CRTC does not regulate content on the Internet. For content that is generated in Canada, appropriate tools for dealing with what may be offensive already exist. These include Canadian laws, industry self-regulation, content filtering software, and increased media awareness.

    The Government of Canada has issued a booklet “Illegal and Offensive Content on the Internet” to promote safe, wise and responsible Internet use.
    [ link ]

    And it should stay that way. We don’t need no regulatory body making the decision of what we can see and not see. If I want that, i’ll pack-up and move to China (where MS,Google & Yahoo block web content for the Chinese Gov) and help in the capture of political dissendents.

    There are already laws that govern this. If the laws can’t reach the foriegn land then so be it. Thats the nature of the internet. If you can’t take it, don’t use it. Plain and simple.

    Hate is hate no matter what land you’re in. Is the Bin-Laden family crying because the U.S.A. has wanted dead or alive web sites up? Are they down or blocked from viewing? Are the websites that show films of Arabs killed or being killed blocked by the USA or Canadian gov? (ref: [ link ] )

    The CRTC has no business regulating or dictating what can and can’t be seen or said. Where would it end? This would open a door wide-open to oppress. You want Bell Canada, Rogers, Shaw telus, etc to tell you what the have deemed appropriate viewing for you (as deemed their right to do via new CRTC regulations)?

    If an individual can’t take the heat, unplug the modem, pack it up, and send it back to your ISP with the note, “i don’t like what someone said whaaaa”. Vile or not.

  5. You will forgive me but I am seeing this issue through the eyes of an ordinary citizen. A citizen who cherishes free speech and all that a democracy like Canada gives us. That noted surely this has nothing to do with free speech!!

    Mr (I use the term loosely) White made more than a suggestion, he \”counselled the murder\” of a Canadian citizen then posted his private home address. Now you need not be a lawyer or internet maven to see that this is reprehensible and in all likelihood a criminal offence in any democratic nation. As a Canadian citizen I had hoped that the regulatory bodies established to protect consumers (i.e. CRTC) would do all in its power to protect me from lunatics like Mr. White. I note in an above post the decision by the CRTC in this case in which it seems to rely on a procedural issue to rule against Mr. Warman\’s request. Again I\’m no lawyer, but as I read this decision it seems to indicate that Warman ought not to have made this complaint since he is an individual. The complaint says the decision \”normally\” comes from within the industry. Excuse me!!! Am I then to understand that the CRTC does not protetct consumers as I understood their mandate? To me the CRTC is sucking and blowing while it has left Mr. Warman hung out to dry. I\’m ashamed to be a Canadian today.

  6. Not.
    Canada has laws. This is a matter for the police to investigate and a matter for them to do so internationally if need be. Not the CRTC’s place to decide who gets to see what, say what or have a block on. Or put the onus on the ISP to block the garbage.

    If this is truely a hate crime and truely an invasion of privacy and truely a threat, there are POLICE mechanisms that need to be followed and laws to protect people from this. Again, its not the CRTC’s place or business to regulate what is put on the internet, or to put it in the hands of an ISP to block access to.

  7. When it comes to other democratic nations perhaps one can work with the police though even in this case it seems to be slow and ponderous. What happens if some nut posts a Fatwa from Iran to kill say Canadian Jewish leaders giving all their coordinates, do we work with the democratic Iranian police? Seems to me that the CRTC should frankly be doing all they can to protect Canadian citizens from murder edicts.

  8. Fatwa oppression says:

    “What happens if some nut posts a Fatwa from Iran to kill say Canadian Jewish leaders….”

    This has happened in the UK with Rushdi, and against Bush in the US… not the first time, nor the last time it will happen. Jewish people are not the only targets either. Other Iranians are, other Arabs, Americans on and on.

    If Iran wants that kind of garbage posted within their own country, so be it. Don’t vist their web sites and block it in your own personal firewall. Maybe the US shouldn’t post films on the web showing arabs running from missles and bullets while attack chopper pilots laugh in the background and they die. What do you think?

    Its a police/rcmp/international matter not the CRTC. So what if all sympatico,telus,rogers and shaw has that nut site blocked. Does it prevent 50-million other people from viewing it? No, it doesn’t. Does it prevent me from using a foriegn proxy (or anon relay)to view it? Will it prevent propaganda Emails from reaching Hushmail or other non-Canadian-ISP webmail or 3rd party US mail account? No, it won’t. Will the offencive material just go away because someone is crying foul and its blocked in our country? No, it won’t. But you can bet that hate site will be very popular once its known its a blocked site and it gets millions of hits because “canada blocked it”.

    The ONLY thing it will do is suppress me. prevent me from making my own choice. Opress what an ISP/CRTC may deem inappropriate for ME. Sorry, but i’ll leave the filtering of content to the chinese.

    Don’t like it, get of the net or buy a webfilter software for your OWN use. Don’t block me.

    CRTC or anyone else for that matter shouldn’t block anythying. Its the job of the police. Thats why we have laws that deal with this. If the police are to slow for you, make a complaint and write your Member of Parliment. If you don’t like what a nut in another country has to say, block him in your own firewall or your own parental control program.

    As for a fatwa, you have the right to protection as Rushdi did to be protected by the police, UK state. Shall we have sub-machine gun totting CRTC people out to protect you? Of course not. Its a police matter.

  9. Wow! I didn’t know half of this.

    Thanks for shedding even more like on Warman, Goldberg, Goldeberg and Associates, the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai Brith Canada.

    This Article calls Richard Warman, “Canada’s leading online hate fighter”. Could the article also call Richard Warman Canada’s leading Inciter of hate? leading financer of hate?

    I never heard the name Warman or Goldberd or the Canadian Jewish Congress (I heard of B’nai Brith) till a little bit ago. But they seem no better than those neo-nazi’s from what i’ve just read. The pot is calling the kettle black.

    However, I can’t support either of them for putting private info online with the intent of harming a person. This goes for both parties.

    I don’t think he should be called an “online hate fighter” as well. Seems he is inciting hate of his own.

    Maybe Goldberg, the Canadian Jewish Counsil, Warman and that neo-nazi group should all be blocked as being hate related sites? Put them all in the same leaky boat.

  10. fair-is-fair says:

    Fairness Fairy,
    I hope your comments don’t get moderated. If true, this adds balance to the original article which may or may not have been known.

  11. Fairness Fairy says:

    My comments are 100% true and I have provided both media, photo and other documentation in links to prove every point i try to make. I personally don’t agree with anyone’s address being posted online; it’s a dangerous escalation of problems between two people. But fair is fair and it’s not right to portray someone as an absolute victim when the rest of the ice berg is still sitting in the water.

  12. Fairness Fairy says:

    Just to point out that Mr. Warman did testify during a human rights tribunal hearing that he had given speeches to the Anti-Racist Action as a keynote speaker. In fact that was one of the cases quoted in Mr. Geists’ Aug. 28’06 Toronto Star article (Warman v. Winnicki).

    There is also video footage out from a documentary made about an ex-Green Party member (David Icke) that was on a book signing tour at a small book store in Canada. The book was a more-or-less ridiculous conspiracy rant that Mr. Warman was not in agreement with. Richard Warman was videotaped getting drunk the night before and encouraging members of the ARA to disrupt the book signing and throw a pie which ended up missing Mr. Icke and causing damage in the store along with the damage they did rampaging through it.

  13. Tal
    This reminds me of an earlier incident with Mr. Warman’s friends, ARA Toronto. They circulated pamphlets about a Mr. Zundel with his address and instructions on how to make a molatoc cocktail. The Toronto police chose not to pursue the matter, even after Mr. Zundel’s house was firebombed. I doubt Mr. Warman will get the same treatment, but it makes sense to me that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  14. jeffiano
    right on Fairness Fairy ,this Mr. Warman is a censor and an asshole and i cannot stand him. let the adults make up their own minds and Mr. Warman please stop censoring everything that you disagree with.

  15. Dr.
    But – how does he keep get away with spending taxpayers money on his 50% of Section
    13(1) claims. He claims he works with the Federal Government but will not disclose which one and that suggests \”The Cone of Silence\” for his activities.