Earlier tonight, I posted on the government’s attack on freedom of expression with its astonishing plans to regulate all user generated content posted to sites such as Youtube, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. But the danger doesn’t stop there. For months, the government insisted that it was not going to regulate video games as part of Bill C-10. In fact, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault told the House of Commons:
Bear in mind that we are imposing a number of guardrails. As I said earlier, user-generated content, news content and video games would not be subject to the new regulations.
It turns out none of this is accurate. I’ve blogged about how news is caught by the legislation and the Heritage committee just eliminated the guardrail on user generated content. Now it appears that the government plans to introduce a motion to bring apps under the scope of CRTC regulation.
During today’s hearing, Liberal MP Marci Ien inadvertently let slip that the government will be introducing a motion to regulate apps. Speaking about the wrong amendment (which is presumably forthcoming at the next meeting), Ien stated:
Yes, a new clause, Mr. Chair, because we live in a new world and it is a digital one. This clause is adding apps. Right now, the CRTC can regulate conventional channels. This would make sure that apps are regulated as well. Things like Crave and other apps. This clause is also about discoverability and for more on that I’d like to go to the department for why that’s important.
The department gently responded that Ian was talking about the wrong amendment.
However, in letting it slip that the government now wants the CRTC to regulate apps, the scope of Bill C-10 expands even further by potentially covering hundreds of thousands of apps that include audio or video that might qualify under the definition of programs. The previous assurances that video games are off the table is apparently gone with plans to have the CRTC regulate practically anything digital including user generated content and apps.
At this stage, it is impossible to trust the government on almost any claim related to Bill C-10, which has been the subject of a barrage of misleading claims and now expansive regulatory plans to have the CRTC regulate all things digital. I repeat: Bill C-10 must be defeated.