The Canadian government released its plans yesterday for online harms legislation with a process billed as a consultation, but which is better characterized as an advisory notice, since there are few questions, options or apparent interest in hearing what Canadians think of the plans. Instead, the plans led by Canadian […]
Post Tagged with: "freedom of expression"
Picking Up Where Bill C-10 Left Off: The Canadian Government’s Non-Consultation on Online Harms Legislation
Several weeks after Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault introduced Bill C-10, I started a 20 part blog post series called the Broadcasting Act Blunder (podcast edition here). The series examined many of concerns with the bill, including issues such as over-broad regulation and discoverability requirements that would only garner public attention many months later. I thought about that series yesterday as I watched Guilbeault try in the House of Commons to defend the indefensible: a gag order on committee review of the bill, the first such order in two decades. While the bill is in dire need of fixing, what occurred yesterday was far worse than a blunder. It was a betrayal. A betrayal of the government’s commitment to “strengthen Parliamentary committees so that they can better scrutinize legislation.” A betrayal of the promise to do things differently from previous governments. A betrayal of Canada’s values as a Parliamentary democracy.
Freedom of Expression Under Attack: The Liberal Government Moves to Have the CRTC Regulate All User Generated Content
Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage last month and was asked by Liberal MP Tim Louis about “misinformation that somehow this [Bill C-10] would control, or regulate, or censor social media.” Guilbeault responded:
In the case of YouTube, for example, we’re not particularly interested in what people…you know, when my great-uncle posts pictures of his cats, that’s not what we’re interested in as a legislator.
When YouTube or Facebook act as a broadcaster, then the legislation would apply to them and the CRTC would define how that would happen. But really, we’re not interested in user-generated content. We are interested in what broadcasters are doing.
Guilbeault was referring to a specific exception in Bill C-10, the Broadcasting Act reform bill, that excluded user generated content from the scope of broadcast regulation.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 79: David Kaye on the Challenges of Reconciling Freedom of Expression and the Regulation of Online Harms
Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is expected to soon introduce new legislation designed to address online harms through increased regulation. Reports indicate that the bill will target five categories of illegal content: hate speech, terrorist content, content that incites violence, child sexual exploitative content and non-consensual sharing of intimate content. The details will matter, however, as failure to ensure due process for content removal and strict limits on scope will raise constitutionality concerns.
David Kaye is a clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, and served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression from 2014 until 2020. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the challenges associated with balancing regulation and preserving freedom of expression online, the policy considerations that governments should be thinking about, and the risks that arise from getting the balance wrong.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 77: The Complexity of Internet Content Regulation – A Conversation with CIPPIC’s Vivek Krishnamurthy
Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault seems set to table another bill that would establish Internet content regulations, including requirements for Internet platforms to proactively remove many different forms of content, some illegal and others harmful or possibly even “hurtful.” Few would argue with the proposition that some regulation is needed, but venturing into government regulated takedown requirements of otherwise legal content raises complex questions about how to strike the balance between safeguarding Canadians from online harms and protecting freedom of expression.
Vivek Krishnamurthy, is a colleague at the University of Ottawa, where he is the Samuelson-Gluschko Professor of Law and serves as the director of CIPPIC, the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the complexities of Internet content regulation and the risks that overbroad rules could stifle expression online and provide a dangerous model for countries less concerned with online civil liberties.