Post Tagged with: "virani"

Arif Virani, MP for Parkdale-High Park by Nicole Contois https://flic.kr/p/ThAyBg CC0 1.0

Government Gaslighting Again?: Unpacking the Uncomfortable Reality of the Online Harms Act

The Online Harms Act was only introduced two weeks ago, but already it appears that the government is ready to run back the same playbook of gaslighting and denials that plagued Bills C-11 and C-18. Those bills, which addressed Internet streaming and news, faced widespread criticism over potential regulation of user content and the prospect of blocked news links on major Internet platforms. Rather than engage in a policy process that took the criticism seriously, the government ignored digital creators (including disrespecting indigenous creators) and dismissed the risks of Bill C-18 as a bluff. The results of that strategy are well-known: Bill C-11 required a policy direction fix and is mired in a years-long regulatory process at the CRTC and news links have been blocked for months on Meta as the list of Canadian media bankruptcies and closures mount.

Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act, offered the chance for a fresh start given that the government seemed to accept the sharp criticism of its first proposal, engaging in a more open consultative process in response. As I noted when the bill was first tabled, the core of the legislation addressing the responsibility of Internet platforms was indeed much improved. Yet it was immediately obvious there were red flags, particularly with respect to the Digital Safety Commission charged with enforcing the law and with the inclusion of Criminal Code and Human Rights Act provisions with overbroad penalties and the potential to weaponize speech complaints. The hope – based on the more collaborative approach used to develop the law – was that there would be a “genuine welcoming of constructive criticism rather than the discouraging, hostile processes of recent years.” Two weeks in that hope is rapidly disappearing.

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March 13, 2024 24 comments News
Internet Safety by Alan Levine https://flic.kr/p/aupWJP (CC BY 2.0)

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 195: Vivek Krishnamurthy on What You Need to Know About the Online Harms Act

The Online Harms Act is the culmination of years of public debate over whether – or how – the government should establish a regulatory framework for Internet platforms in dealing with online harms. Bill C-63 is already attracting considerable controversy, particularly over proposed changes to the Criminal Code and the Human Rights Act. To help unpack the bill, Vivek Krishnamurthy, an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Law School, joins this week’s Law Bytes podcast. Vivek is a former colleague and Director of the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic and he served as a Commissioner on the Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression and was a member of the government’s Expert Panel on Online Harms.

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March 11, 2024 11 comments Podcasts
Say No to Hate Crime! by Mike Gifford CC BY-NC 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/Nc2Xsb

Why the Criminal Code and Human Rights Act Provisions Should Be Removed from the Online Harms Act

Having a spent virtually the entire day yesterday talking with media and colleagues about Bill C-63, one thing has become increasingly clear: the Criminal Code and Human Rights Act provisions found in the Online Harms Act should be removed. In my initial post on the bill, I identified the provisions as one of three red flags, warning that they “feature penalties that go as high as life in prison and open the door to a tidal wave of hate speech related complaints.” There is no obvious need or rationale for penalties of life in prison for offences motivated by hatred, nor the need to weaponize human rights complaints by reviving Human Rights Act provisions on communication of hate speech. As more Canadians review the bill, there is a real risk that these provisions will overwhelm the Online Harms Act and become a primary area of focus despite not being central to the law’s core objective of mitigating harms on Internet platforms.

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February 28, 2024 21 comments News
Technologize Responsibly by Wesley Fryer CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/2qaY4b

My First Take on the Online Harms Act: Worst of 2021 Plan Now Gone But Digital Safety Commission Regulatory Power a Huge Concern

After years of delay, the government tabled Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act, earlier today. The bill is really three-in-one: the Online Harms Act that creates new duties for Internet companies and a sprawling new enforcement system, changes to the Criminal Code and Canada Human Rights Act that meet longstanding requests from groups to increase penalties and enforcement against hate but which will raise expression concerns and a flood of complaints, and expansion of mandatory reporting of child pornography to ensure that it includes social media companies. This post will seek to unpack some of the key provisions, but with a 100+ page bill, this will require multiple posts and analysis. My immediate response to the government materials was that the bill is significantly different from the 2021 consultation and that many of the worst fears – borne from years of poorly thought out digital policy – have not been realized. Once I worked through the bill itself, concerns about the enormous power vested in the new Digital Safety Commission, which has the feel of a new CRTC funded by the tech companies, began to grow.

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February 26, 2024 28 comments News
lets start over by andrew j. cosgriff CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/6jStC

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 193: The Online Harms Act is Nearly Here – A Backgrounder and Preview

The government plans to introduce the Online Harms Act later today, bringing forward long-delayed legislation that will include new responsibilities and liabilities for Internet platforms alongside an extensive complaints and enforcement governance structure. What is likely to be Bill C-63 will focus on protecting children online and will be the most contentious of the government’s Internet regulation bills given the challenge of balancing safeguards with freedom of expression.

This week’s Law Bytes podcast features a combined backgrounder and preview of the bill as I walk through the years of failed consultations, expert panels, changing ministers, and challenges in bringing it forward, highlight the key issues at stake, and contrast the online harms bill with Bill S-210, which seems destined to share the spotlight.

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February 26, 2024 7 comments Podcasts