Conservative MP Joy Smith yesterday introduced the Clean Internet Act (Bill C-427). The private member's bill would establish an Internet service provider licensing system to be administered by the CRTC along with "know your subscriber" requirements and content blocking powers. Just about everything associated with this bill is (to be charitable) rather odd. Smith introduced it by warning against the use of the Internet to support human trafficking and added that "the bill would address the fact that child pornography is not okay to put on the Internet throughout our nation," though the Criminal Code already does that.
The bill itself includes (and I am not making this up):
- an ISP licensing system to be administered by the CRTC that is defined so broadly that it would seemingly capture anyone offering a wifi connection
- a "know your subscriber" requirement where ISPs would be required to deny service to past offenders (though the ISP would escape liability if upon learning of an offending customer, it terminated service and notified the Minister of Industry)
- a new power that would allow the Minister of Industry to order an ISP to block access to content that promotes violence against women, promotes hatred, or contains child pornography. ISPs that fail to block face possible jail time for the company's directors and officers.
- the Minister of Industry can prescribe special powers to facilitate searches of electronic data systems (ie. lawful access)
Given that this is a private member's bill, it is very unlikely to become law. That said, this bill would not look out-of-place in countries that aggressively censor the Internet and it makes the dangerous Jennings lawful access bill look positively harmless by comparison.