Conservatives Mass Internet Censorship Bill (S-210) Could Go to Final Vote

The Conservatives effort to censor the internet (S-210) could reach a final vote this week. This according to OpenMedia.

If there is anything that both the Liberals and Conservatives seem to agree on, it’s that speech on the internet needs to be cracked down on. The government, as far as both parties are concerned, needs to crack down on the internet by increasing surveillance and controlling what people can and cannot say. Where the two parties generally disagree is what method they wish to employ in their efforts to crack down on the freedom the internet provides.

For the Liberal party, their method is to soft censor anyone who isn’t part of the establishment through the Online Streaming Act. If you post a video on a social media platform, then your video must be downranked by the algorithms so that the large establishment media can have their videos promoted to the audience regardless of what the audience wants.

For the Conservative party, if you post anything that falls in the category of “icky icky eww eww”, then Canadian’s must be barred from viewing that content completely. You’d only get permission to freely browse the web only if you fork over huge amounts of personal information such as submitting yourself to facial recognition scans, forking over drivers licenses, or other pieces of personal information. This while third parties store that personal information with dubious amounts of security protecting it (after all, the law doesn’t require actually protecting that personal information beyond “pretty please do a good job”).

At any rate, both parties hatred towards free speech is very real. The Conservatives effort to censor the internet could be heading towards a final vote as early as the end of this week. Open Media has posted the rumours of this:

Rumours #BillS210 to get a FINAL House vote this Friday. It:
1) Age-locks most of Canada’s Internet;
3) is passing w/NO input from non-gov witnesses;
2) Has NO guarantee age tech respects privacy- or even works!
3) Got0️⃣ amendments!

💯 Unconscionable! 1/8

Indeed, we reported on the fake “study” at committee. Usually, committee study involves bringing forth witnesses and experts to testify what their thoughts are on the legislation. While the Liberals directly attacked and ignored anyone who dared to disagree with their approach throughout the Bill C-11 and Bill C-18 study processes, the Conservatives have one-upped the Liberals on that front and barred anyone from testifying at all.

As a result, no proper study at the House of Commons level was ever made thanks to the Conservative filibuster. No proper study was ever conducted and the bill got no fixes as well. It just went back to the House of Commons without amendment.

There is no question that the legislation is dangerous to the free and open internet. Among other things, the legislation mandates website blocking at the ISP level (something that has never been proven effective in the first place, but the bill is running with it anyway), demands virtually every website employ age verification technology (likely at great expense), does not have any privacy safeguards in place beyond asking politely to protect that personal information (no fines for those who violate any of those provisions), is often the type of law that is used to crack down on LGBTQ+ content by classifying such material as “explicit” and ordering that content to get blocked, envisions the use of technology that simply doesn’t exist (and there’s no hope that such technology will exist any time soon), and is just plain unconstitutional.

OpenMedia also has a petition to stop the legislation, so Canadians can at least sign that petition to show their opposition towards the bill. Experts such as David Fraser and Emily Laidlaw have also weighed in on the legislation and both have also concluded that it is a bad bill. OpenMedia also offered an FAQ showcasing why they think this is a bad bill as well. So, as a result, you don’t have to take my word for it to realize what a bad bill this is.

Earlier this year, PornHub openly contemplated blocking Canada over this bill, citing the safety concerns that this legislation presents. It wouldn’t be a surprise if other major websites follow suit on this side of things. The irony here is that smaller shadier websites would be left to fill the void left behind, putting everyone at greater risk as a result.

Hopefully, the final vote gets delayed, but if not, the next best place for hope will likely be in the courts to challenge this legislation on constitutional grounds. After all, we are talking about lawful speech being censored by the government, so there would be a case here. Either way, if the rumours are accurate, Canada could be continuing to go further into the digital dark ages.

Drew Wilson on Mastodon, Twitter and Facebook.

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