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The Trouble With Bill C-13: Why the “Cyberbullying Bill” is About Much More than Cyberbullying

Earlier this week I appeared on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin to discuss Bill C-13.  While Justice Minister Peter MacKay indicated yesterday that he hopes to pass the legislation this spring, the discussion on the show points to the concerns with the bill including how it creates immunity for voluntary disclosure of personal information without court oversight (thereby increasing the likelihood of such disclosures) and establishes a low threshold for warrants involving metadata, while only marginally addressing the legal framework to combat cyberbullying, which is already well developed. The interview is embedded below and can also be viewed on YouTube.


  1. Keith MacDonald says:

    Lucid Discussion
    Your discussion with Pakin was great. The discussion of the issues was sensible, lucid, and comprehensive. Kudos to you both!

  2. Peter Meldrum says:

    You must understand one thing. All this Govt cares about is getting re-elected. Thus anything that seems to pander to it’s base vote gets done. Whether it is good law or not is irrelevant. All that matters are votes !

  3. What the private sector should be doing is protecting it’s client base from unreasonable requests for sub info. Simply notifying subscribers isn’t enough. Something tells me, the government won’t need to implement private sector immunity for voluntary disclosure. I have a strong suspicion that immunity for telecom sector liability is currently before the courts and will be decided in the months ahead.

  4. charter violations
    it really comes down to what its function is used for , and by the look a this govt it will be to stifle any discussions they deem to “harrass” there message…of fascist behavior

    seriously you dont need a law you need to toughen your kids parents….this is a failure of parenting …i hate to say it what the hell was those parents doing no really?

    i dont need facebook nor twitter nor anything else ot enjoy the internet….NOR DO YOU….and im anonymous as i wish….go on harrass me i place you on ignore/ban you from my existence….we need a law to do this????and what it does is scare anyone to say anyhting negative anymore….

    that is repression of human rights.

  5. note to self
    no liberal nor ndp is talking about it….

  6. RE: charter violations
    Hate speech is not protected under the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms; are you a Canadian Chronoss?
    I ask this only because you reference U.S. laws much more often than Canadian ones.

  7. @Chronoss
    I do agree with some of what you have said. Often times the kids that bully have issues at home of being bullied themselves. It’s a combination of social education around what constitutes bullying, and the dangers of Parents not monitoring kids activities online.

    Computers, webcams, cell phones all hidden away from common area’s in the house, and into the bedrooms of these kids, which I find completely unacceptable as a parent.

    Increased spending on social services to check up on the home environment on kids that produce a regular pattern of abusive behavior is a more responsible approach. Putting everyone under the microscope with lawful access is not only representative of non-responsible leadership, but will also put the blame on victims rights groups socially for enacting and supporting totalitarian legislation that does little to address the real social problems of bullying.

    In the end this government is about to get a real case of “Foot in Mouth” disease considering the recent responses from the EU on privacy. They should have listened to Canadians the last time around on lawful access. I find it rather insulting and unCanadian that this message now has to be delivered around privacy and constitutional rights from the very people we saved in the EU in both world wars from this type totalitarian ideology. This government quite obviously does not represent Canadian views on the basic fundamentals of human rights. That’s going to become quite clear as global politics starts to deal with the NSA revelations surrounding the basic fundamentals of human rights and our Canadian Charter.

    If they don’t drop lawful access from this bill, they are going to bring victims rights groups down the rabbit hole with them in the days/weeks ahead.

  8. @dan lolwhat
    lolwhat we have a charter of rights and freedoms buddy…..and we have hate crime laws…..
    you ask what and give no referance to where ?

    Under the charter if you go read it we re as a right allowed ot have a fair bit a freeodms and rights.

    look up the wiki on it… and then go get a copy and see what someone took off about laws that can’t be enforced are in effect not also legal.
    The sheer cost of trying to enforce that everything i write and say online would dictate that it would be impossible for anyone to afford having any internet. THUS this is another law that will just target people at the descression of those in power to keep greed and power for themselves.

    here are some examples for you.

    Section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the section that confirms that the rights listed in the Charter are guaranteed. The section is also known as the reasonable limits clause or limitations clause, as it legally allows the government to limit an individual’s Charter rights. This limitation on rights has been used in the last twenty years to prevent a variety of objectionable conduct such as hate speech (e.g., in R. v. Keegstra) and obscenity (e.g., in R. v. Butler). It has also been used to protect from the unreasonable interference of government in the lives of people in a free and democratic society by defining these limits.[citation needed]
    -regarding hate speech

    it has no meaning to if i think your an idiot if that is my opinion to tell you so…that is not limited…
    Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the section of the Constitution of Canada that lists what the Charter calls “fundamental freedoms” theoretically applying to everyone in Canada, regardless of whether they are a Canadian citizen, or an individual or corporation.[citation needed] These freedoms can be held against actions of all levels of government and are enforceable by the courts. The fundamental freedoms are freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.

    now tell me what you think i am referring to in all my above comments …you got it yet?
    Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a constitutional provision that protects an individual’s autonomy and personal legal rights from actions of the government in Canada. There are three types of protection within the section, namely the right to life, liberty, and security of the person.

    are we getting the reasons these laws are bad yet???????
    Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides everyone in Canada with protection against unreasonable search and seizure. This right provides Canadians with their primary source of constitutionally enforced privacy rights against unreasonable intrusion from the state. Typically, this protects personal information that can be obtained through searching someone in pat-down, entering someone’s property or surveillance.
    Under the heading of legal rights, section 8 states:
    “8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.”

    addon….”Reasonable expectation of privacy”
    where is my reasonable expectation of privacy with all this spying and such?
    aha now we’re opening a can a worms aren’t we people….

    and if your going to punish someone for saying that YOU are an idiot caus eyou feel offended and that this is all due to above cviolations of MY rights….then one might also say that to punish me when in fact if as i discussed we as a cimmunity said hey “whats this ignore button for in chat” or “hey mod this guys bugging people lets kick him no one likes him” or ” this guy is posting pics a girls he has no permssion to lets call the cops and also use new copyright laws to get the guy on top of current harrsement and slander and liabel abilities and make such stuff affordable if a majority of a community agrees.”

    well then i might say:
    Section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as part of the Constitution of Canada, is a legal rights section that protects an individual’s freedom from cruel and unusual punishments in Canada.

    if you punish someone for calling you an IDIOT and you htink you are not but everyone else does….look up the qord axiom.
    It states that if everyone said 1 + 1 = 3 , then the law of axiom would mena it does equal 3 and prolly more to these stories then you think

  9. adlib to above
    I am president of one of the longest lived hacker clubs on earth and am in 25 nations around the world with 3000 full members and articles of association etc ….i have dealt with so many troubled kids and kept them out of trouble ….it would be neat if i had a forum to really sit down and talk to adults and parents about why these laws are not needed, what is needed, is proper parenting.

    I’ll add , having govt intrude into parenting is not really gonna work either…you then need to be just as privacy invading as this law to pull it off and the cost will also be awful….

    and before anyone gets on me…ive talked to governers of the usa….lawyers assocated to all parties and large corpations…as well as isps and webmasters of huge online things….

    It would be great to give places for kids online ot create ….and it would be better if when they find a prob you dont toss em into jail for 20 years…we don’t need spyware and ill say i know ways to defeat all the nsa spying….100%….

    i think adding a mandatory parenting class or series of them in highschool might actually help, perhaps even at grade 8 before they get to highschool…

    HECK im not a hacker im a online shrink for your troubled kids….

    Aren’t some of you glad im not a evil little gangster….YET your laws , YOUR rules persecute us all over the world….

  10. anytime the government says it’s going to take action to “protect you”, expect the exact opposite.
    the government doesn’t care about you, or your kids. all it wants is the ability to spy on you at will. anyone who believes otherwise is an idiot. anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

    protection isn’t the name of their game. it’s all about control, and the government having info they can use against people, or groups, that they consider a threat to their staying in power.

  11. ISP’s are no more than Canada Post delivering letter mail. CP doesn’t open every letter that goes through their hands, it’s illegal. The exact same thing should apply to ISP’s. They are no more than a delivery mechanism & have no right to know what they are delivering. As far as I know, you still need a court ordered warrant to eavesdrop on a phonecall. The internet should be treated the same way. There’s absolutely NO difference. We are STILL innocent until proven guilty, these bills presume EVERYONE guilty by trolling the internet. It needs to be made VERY clear to our government that they are overstepping their bounds.

  12. @Chronoss
    Offside of your rant on Charter issues, I have a few points to make. Most of this is OT, but important for public scrutiny of lawful access. You stated:

    “I’ll add , having govt intrude into parenting is not really gonna work either…you then need to be just as privacy invading as this law to pull it off and the cost will also be awful…. ”

    Costing the current legislation is something I think the tax payer needs a good handle on. Hackers quite often then not have the same tools as law enforcement. As with anything online, the power shifts. One will have the advantage, than the other and so forth. This has been going on since the birth of the net. A great analogy would be the cold war between the US and Russia, which essentially through the nets protocols has moved from nukes to digital arms. The EU is currently looking at digital arms proliferation.

    What lawful access legislation does is accelerate that ongoing cyber cold war, into the mainstream. That will explode the costs associated in fighting it. With the EU looking at ways of stopping the spread of digital arms, I think they are going to find our lawful access legislation with interest. How much is the entire NSA budget again? Times that by how many police forces there are in Canada and account for huge inflation costs if this goes mainstream. Essentially the sum of our entire current national budget could very well be spent on these programs within a few years of implementation. Canada can simply not “afford” this solution.

    In the end it will cost less to implement social programs than to keep up with expensive technical innovations on the tax payers dime. Currently tech innovation cycles are approx 18 months and expected to be half that in 3 years). How much exactly will it cost tax payers to wage cyber war on the population, rather than actually help these kids. That would be an interesting question.

    @Chronoss: “I am president of one of the longest lived hacker clubs on earth and am in 25 nations around the world with 3000 full members and articles of association etc”


    @Chronoss: “we don’t need spyware and ill say i know ways to defeat all the nsa spying….100%….”

    The world of tech is not limited, as someone with your expertise should know. If someone was determined to get into any electronic system they can, for the pure logical purpose that humans make mistakes! There’s no such thing as perfect code. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat in tech, in fact there are a billion ways.

    The way to make our society more secure and more cost effective for the tax payer is through enhancing privacy protections. In Tech security and privacy is essentially the same thing, and too often then not governments and private corps are not keeping up with the latest defensive tools because guess what “it costs a lot of money!”. As a result our information becomes less secure. The less secure you make our information through lax privacy laws, the less secure and more exploitable our greatest national defense asset (our national network) infrastructure is as a result. I don’t think even the twits at Defense, the RCMP, police chiefs or CSIS have a grasp of that yet, they are too money hungry to even care. Although the EU seems to be.

    If for an instance we were to raise fines upwards of a million per privacy violation, it may get those in the private sector a bigger “incentive” in dealing with current cyber threats. A lot of black hats are getting into private sector databases because the security applied is extremely outdated. Lawful access is a separate issue, then cyber bullying. The effects of lawful access could have devastating and expensive consequences on our national security. It needs to be debated separately, and carefully.

  13. @jason
    your self deluded ot think i have access to equal tools as law enforcement….

    what i do have is passion and literally a bette rmind to think out of the box and time to spare…and lvoe what i learn and do…
    vs i goto work 9 to 5 and do a job….i may or may not like , or whom ihav eto work with….

    the charter rant is not a rant…its facts regarding antoehr whom said i was speaking of american laws when i was not and then referanced parts i think that all this pertains too.

    seriously you think my hacking tools are weapons now do ya?

    its your mentality that is part of the problem….

    NO what lawful access does is accelerate the loss of all the rights above i spoke of and give BIG BROTHER all the tools ot harrass and intimidate you to do as they say and say as they wish…its just undemocratic and mental health wise it diminishes the self of the person as you cannot express yourself and do so with freedom…

    you have no idea also how extensive my archive runs , when i get some some kid say “i want to learn hacking”, my head nearly explodes …none of you actually knows how vast this really is….i do i have access to 300,000 files and text regarding it….

    Then you go on to say your ideal way to make the world more secure….”and more cost effective” see that part ….that is where you fail…the cost effective fascist way to do anything is an absolute…in this case its to stuff cameras in every house back door every pc and tech device and give no freedom of expression or thought to any person….i won’t mention a certain german leader but that is not democracy.

    corporations laugh at fines….they get absorbed and then passed on to you and me …so we in effect penalize society for punishing bad behaviour? no the way to go forward is to gut all the spying. the nsa admitted that in 15 years all the spying they did was only to get one plot…no details if its one of the fbi setups either….

    You also don’t realize the sheer cost and scope of all this that is already in place like bell canada’s elecoya DPI boxes that already can spy very heavily….i also agree that loss of data as they start to gether more will MAKE us all less secure…

    the fact is this was about bullying and clearly this law is not…its aimed at spying on citizens whom are innocent and that is a charter violation. go read it. your not allowed to INFRINGE my rights when im not doing anyhting illegal…and to presume i am doign illegal means they think we are all guilty that too is a charter violation.

    you have to have some grounds to get a warrant and i want that to be strict and have good darn oversight….this bill gives awful easy ways to get warrants..and judges with this law are just gonna sign and let it carry…that isnt oversight its breach of trust.

  14. @Chronoss
    “your self deluded ot think i have access to equal tools as law enforcement…. ”

    I love you too Chronoss 🙂

  15. @Chronoss
    I don’t disagree with the points you are trying to make, but a few corrections:

    DPI is circumvented by encryption, it’s outdated and not used anymore on wired internet services. People using P2P were able to circumvent DPI for a few months when P2P clients started coming out with encrypted packets. DPI can’t read the headers of encrypted packets in real time. This is why Snowden came out and said that strong encryption still works. DPI is installed on almost every major internet provider in the US. However the data is filtered and captured on site at the NSA and de-crypted manually. This is essentially what the police forces want to do, and the government is trying to get done on a mass scale. The NSA’s main job is to crack code, so no form of encryption is safe from that, not even quantum encryption which was cracked I think within months of being introduced. This is where a lot of the big money comes into play. As encryption evolves, so does the tech to crack it, and that gets extremely expensive. How much is a quantum computer these days?

    “corporations laugh at fines….they get absorbed and then passed on to you and me.” because they are too low. What about the expense of data collection ISPs must adhere to in this? How much is data warehousing going to cost, and don’t forget that data warehouse has to be developed and maintained with the highest security (or wait, they don’t have to because privacy fines are too low). Hackers can than exploit this information based on outdated security as a result, and basically gain access to anyone’s personal data collected. If privacy fines go up, so do the costs of your internet as a result, making it unaffordable to most anyway. Either way you look at this the costs of internet is going to skyrocket due to this, that I do agree with you on.

    Debate on this is pretty much meaningless anyway. It’s not up to you me, or our government now whether this goes through or not. It’s up to the market that’s currently looking for a home with secure data communications outside the five eyes networks (major threat to our IT industry if lawful access gets the go ahead), EU may find this legislation not in line with their privacy expectations, CETA dies as a result. Taxes go up to pay for this, business leave the country as a result. People won’t be able to afford basic internet packages anymore as a result of taxes, and higher net prices, entire economy gets hit. For a government hell bent on getting our economy back on track, lawful access seems the best way to do that don’t you think?

  16. @Chronoss
    Point being…The world has changed since Snowden “sensationalized” the NSA’s “already public” leaks. As the US is finding out, and we will be soon as well in the form of threats from the EU, attacking the privacy of the citizens of a democracy on a mass scale isn’t good economic policy, in fact it’s causing economic harm as a result. I would find it very hard to believe this would even get to a third reading in this global political climate. It sends the wrong message, at the worst time to businesses looking for secure data regions. We will suffer economically as a result, no doubt in that.