Bill S-210 (Age Verification) Seemingly Delayed for the Summer

The Conservatives mass internet censorship bill, Bill S-210, appears to be delayed for the Summer. A temporary reprieve.

Last week, we reported on the worries that Bill S-210, Canada’s age verification bill, could be headed for a final vote as early as last Friday. Well, it appears that the vote didn’t take place. What’s more, there doesn’t appear to be any schedule for when the vote is set to take place. This according to Open Media:

In today’s Thursday question, #BillS210 was NOT mentioned in House schedule for next week! 🎉💪🎉

We’ve won a reprieve; but #BillS210 is NOT done.

Over summer, we’ll continue talking about #BillS210’s problems, and urge MPs to vote against or send back to committee in Sept.

So, definitely a huge reprieve for digital rights organizations and Canadian’s alike. Understandably, the organization is calling for the bill to be sent back to committee for a proper study. The call comes after the Conservatives filibustered the study, ensuring that there are no amendments, witnesses, experts, or evidence of any kind happening with the study. Ultimately, the committee study was really a study in name only.

Really, the only thing that did happen was seemingly the tense exchange between MPs. Conservative MP’s, reacting to concerns about privacy, said that people who support the right to privacy are “shocking” and “disgusting”. Those MPs then proceeded to launch a massive defamation campaign by calling websites a “crime scene” while pushing dubious claims that pornography is inherently harmful to anyone who consumes it. All that did was add more evidence to the arguments that the legislation is pushed by conspiracy theorists who don’t understand how the internet works and are on a mission to trample the Canadian Charter in a bid to crack down on free speech online.

Bill S-210 compels the use of age verification technology that doesn’t yet exist and demands that the internet sector “nerds harder” to come up with the technology they demand. It potentially mandates facial recognition scans, drivers license, or other forms of biometric data for people to use the free and open internet. It then requires that information to be stored in a legally unsecured location where private companies can theoretically do whatever they want with that information with no fear of any legal repercussions. It, additionally, compels every website to adopt that technology or face heavy fines or even ISP level censorship.

Understandably, that has raised considerable concerns from experts and digital rights organizations alike. Experts have repeatedly raised the alarms about the bill and have prompted backlash from digital rights organizations as well.

As Open Media said, the delay is, indeed, a temporary victory, but the battle is far from over. The battle is expected to continue in September when it could move forward through the final vote. Open Media is urging Canadians to continue to sign the petition to put a stop to this.

Drew Wilson on Mastodon, Twitter and Facebook.

2 thoughts on “Bill S-210 (Age Verification) Seemingly Delayed for the Summer”

  1. Maybe people should inundate Singhs office with complaints about s210. They could point out that consumers, especially the poor, will end up paying for the costs of age verification. And that the only beneficiaries will be American tech companies.

    1. I think it’s a great idea, though Singh has sadly been such a suck up to any and every party when it comes to bad internet policy making (as someone who has long supported the NDP, it pains me to say that). With Charlie Angus, the NDP ought to know better about these issues and know to vote against bills like S-210, C-11, and C-18, but they supported it all with Angus being largely silent on everything. I’m personally hoping Singh gets the boot so we can have an opposition party who has a basic understanding on how the internet works again. 🙁

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