TikTok may be enormously popular, but according to the growing number of government, there are concerns regarding links between the app and the Chinese government. That has led to a rapid spread bans of the TikTok app on government devices not only at the federal level, but at provincial and municipal governments and even at universities for university-owned devices. But is TikTok unique in this regard? How to reconcile the government’s insistence that TikTok contribute to Cancon in Bill C-11 with it banning the app due to security risks? Are the privacy concerns more about TikTok or the government’s inaction on privacy reform?
Fenwick McKelvey is an Associate Professor in Information and Communication Technology Policy in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University and the co-director of the Applied AI Institute. He returns to the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the TikTok bans, the state of Canadian policy in addressing the concerns, and why we may be heading for more geo-political battles over digital policy.
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Weeks into a high profile debate over Bill C-10, the issue of discoverability of Canadian content has emerged as a policy tug of war between supporters that want the CRTC to intervene by mandating the discoverability of Canadian content on sites such as Youtube and Tiktok and critics that argue the approach would raise significant freedom of expression and net neutrality concerns.
But what exactly is “discoverability” and how would it impact both users and the thousands of Canadian creators that have already found success on digital platforms?
Fenwick McKelvey is a communications professor at Concordia University who has written more about the discoverability and algorithmic media than anyone in Canada. He has regularly participated in CRTC hearings and was the co-author of a leading study on the issue commissioned by Canadian Heritage. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about discoverability, his frustrations with its implementation in Bill C-10, and the potential consequences for Canadian creators.
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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s hearing on basic telecommunications services launched earlier this week with the Commission continuing its effort to engage the public with an open discussion forum that will allow for comments to placed on the record (comments outside of the CRTC universe – op-eds, blog posts or social media comments do not count). While CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais has emphasized his interest in hearing from Canadians, the recent experience of Concordia University professor Fenwick McKelvey highlights how more work is needed to remove barriers that may inhibit independent experts from participating in the process.
McKelvey told me he was very happy to participate, yet consider the barriers faced by academics or other independent experts seeking to contribute to the CRTC process. First, McKelvey (along with other academic intervenors) faced questions from Telus about their background, expertise, and funding. Telus demanded that each answer the following questions:
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