Post Tagged with: "Censorship"

Montreal.  2019-09-27. by Justin Trudeau https://flic.kr/p/2hoJgMm

Why the Liberals Have Become the Most Anti-Internet Government in Canadian History

The Liberals led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were first elected in 2015 on a platform that emphasized transparency, consultation, and innovation. The signals were everywhere: it released  ministerial mandate letters to demonstrate transparency, renamed the Minister of Industry to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to point to the importance of an innovative economy, and soon after the cabinet was sworn in, Canadians were awash in public consultations (I recall participating in an almost instant consult on the Trans Pacific Partnership). With promises of entrenching net neutrality, prioritizing innovation, focusing on privacy rather than surveillance, and supporting freedom of expression, the government left little doubt about its preferred policy approach.

As I watched Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault yesterday close the Action Summit to Combat Online Hate, I was left with whiplash as I thought back to those early days. Today’s Liberal government is unrecognizable by comparison as it today stands the most anti-Internet government in Canadian history:

  • As it moves to create the Great Canadian Internet Firewall, net neutrality is out and mandated Internet blocking is in.
  • Freedom of expression and due process is out, quick takedowns without independent review and increased liability are in.
  • Innovation and new business models are out, CRTC regulation is in.
  • Privacy reform is out, Internet taxation is in.
  • Prioritizing consumer Internet access and affordability is out, reduced competition through mergers are in.
  • And perhaps most troublingly, consultation and transparency are out, secrecy is in.

Read more ›

April 16, 2021 46 comments News

U.N. Censors Internet Censorship Poster At IGF

The BBC reports on how the United Nations removed a poster promoting a book on Internet censorship by the University of Toronto's Open Net Initiative at the Internet Governance Forum currently underway in Egypt.

Read more ›

November 16, 2009 2 comments Must Reads

Concordia Blocking Access to Facebook

Concordia University has taken the remarkable step of blocking campus access to Facebook for students and faculty connecting via a wired connection (wireless connections can still access the site).  The University claims that it is doing so because of "concerns that the continuing reliability of the Concordia network could be […]

Read more ›

September 11, 2008 39 comments News

Business in the Hotseat over Net Censorship

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen version, Vancouver Sun version, homepage version) focuses on the growth of Internet censorship and the accompanying pressure on the business community to do something about it.  I begin by noting that as the Internet moved into the mainstream in the mid-1990s, John Gilmore, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, coined the phrase "the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."Gilmore’s comments were a reference to the architecture of the Internet, which was designed to ensure that information was delivered by the most efficient means possible and render attempts to block content nearly impossible. Yet years later, a growing number of countries seem determined to challenge Gilmore's maxim.  China is the best known (as evidenced by recent events in Tibet), having implemented both a massive content filtering system that exerts control over external content and demanded that foreign Internet firms establish Chinese-versions of their services that abide by the government's requirements.

China's censorship system may be the most extensive, but it is not alone. The University of Toronto's OpenNet Initiative, a world leader in tracking state-sponsored Internet censorship, recently co-published Access Denied, a book that highlights its pervasive growth.  The book notes that some countries control all public Internet services, thereby creating an easy pipeline to implementing filtering technologies.  Countries such as Syria have sought to chill access to the Internet by requiring cybercafe owners to record the names and identification cards of clients.  Others – including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Myanmar – have tried to censor content by arresting local bloggers who dare to post content that does not meet the approval of the government. In recent months, some countries have also tried to block access to widely popular sites on the basis of a small sample of offending content.  For example, both Turkey and Thailand have briefly blocked access to YouTube due to offending videos, while the United Arab Emirates has blocked access to Facebook.

The growth of government-sponsored Internet censorship has fueled mounting pressure within the European Union and the United States to respond. 

Read more ›

March 20, 2008 7 comments Columns

Face to Face With the Great Firewall of China

My regular Law Bytes column (free hyperlinked version; Toronto Star version, homepage version) reflects on a recent trip to China and the frustrations I encountered dealing with censorship of the Internet. Despite similar appearances with broadband access in my Beijing hotel, I found sites blocked, email downloads short-circuited, and Google searches cut off.

Read more ›

May 2, 2005 1 comment Columns