DANGER INTERNETS AHEAD by Les Orchard (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/cSsSX

DANGER INTERNETS AHEAD by Les Orchard (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/cSsSX

Online Harms

2017 Freedom of Expression Awards by Elina Kansikas for Index on Censorship https://flic.kr/p/Uvmaie (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Failure to Balance Freedom of Expression and Protection from Online Harms: My Submission to the Government’s Consultation on Addressing Harmful Content Online

The government’s consultation on its proposed approach to address harmful content online concluded over the weekend. The consultation was one of several consults that ran during the election period and which raise questions about whether policy makers are genuinely interested in incorporating feedback from Canadians. I submitted to all the various consultations and will be posting those submissions this week.

I start with my online harms submission. The full submission, which touches on issues such as 24 hour takedowns, website blocking, proactive monitoring, and enforcement, can be found here. To learn more about the issues, catch my Law Bytes podcast episode with Cynthia Khoo or listen to a terrific discussion that I had together with Daphne Keller on the Tech Policy Press Podcast. The submission opens with eight general comments that I’ve posted below:

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September 28, 2021 20 comments Committees, News
Arrival of Leaders by NATO https://flic.kr/p/2m5z5hJ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Liberal Election Platform: Government Picks Internet Regulation Over Internet Affordability

The Liberal party released its election platform yesterday and perhaps everything you need to know can be gleaned from the fact that Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault posted multiple tweets about plans for new cultural spending initiatives and Internet regulations in French without a single English language tweet. This is surely not a coincidence since the government’s digital policies have long been designed to curry favour in Quebec, even at risk of angering voters in the rest of Canada. Based on decision to forge ahead with Internet regulations with enormous implications for freedom of expression, alienating voters in the rest of Canada that have raised concerns with policies such as Bill C-10 is not a worry for the Liberal government.

Neither, it would seem, is the affordability of Internet and wireless services, which do not receive a single mention or direct policy measure. In doing so, the party has seemingly abandoned wireless competitiveness as an issue and unequivocally sided with the big telecom companies despite presiding over some of the world’s most expensive wireless services. The party platform is titled “Forward for Everyone” but not everyone moves forward in quite the same way with big telecom companies moving further ahead than Canadian consumers.

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September 2, 2021 17 comments News
DANGER INTERNETS AHEAD by Les Orchard (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/cSsSX

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 99: “They Just Seemed Not to Listen to Any of Us” – Cynthia Khoo on the Canadian Government’s Online Harms Consultation

Late last month – just weeks prior the national election call – Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault released plans for online harms legislation with a process  that was billed as a consultation, but that is probably better characterized as an advisory notice, since there are few questions, options or apparent interest in hearing what Canadians think of the plans. Those plans include the creation of a bureaucratic super-structure that featuring a new Digital Safety Commission, a digital tribunal to rule on content removal, and a social media regulation advisory board. In terms of illegal content, the proposed legislation envisions a myriad of takedown requirements, content filtering, complaints mechanisms, and even website blocking.

Cynthia Khoo is an Associate at the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law in Washington. She is also the author of a ground-breaking Canadian study for LEAF, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, on holding digital platforms accountable for technology technology-facilitated gender-based violence. She joins the Law Bytes podcast in a personal capacity to discuss the government’s consultation and her recent report.

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August 23, 2021 21 comments Podcasts
pour un internet libre by g4ll4is https://flic.kr/p/cNtg63 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Picking Up Where Bill C-10 Left Off: The Canadian Government’s Non-Consultation on Online Harms Legislation

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 […]

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July 30, 2021 49 comments News
Misinformation by 3dpete (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/afAYZL

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 29: Partisan Posts, Social Media, and Misinformation – Taylor Owen on What Actually Happened Online in the 2019 Election

Coming into the 2019 federal election, there were widespread concerns regarding disinformation campaigns, foreign interference, social media advertising and manipulation, and fake news. The federal government enacted legislation designed to foster greater transparency on political advertising, but on the heels of elections elsewhere, the prospect of online harms to the electoral process appeared very real. Taylor Owen of McGill University set out to find out what was actually taking place online. He joined me on the podcast shortly after the election to discuss how social media was being used, political advertising trends, the role of fact checking, and the presence of misinformation and fake news.

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October 28, 2019 4 comments Podcasts