Freezenet’s Official Podcast: September 2022: The Bill C-11 Senate Hearing Special

In the 47th episode of the Freezenet official podcast, “The Bill C-11 Senate Hearing Special”, we take a look at the news and reviews we covered in September 2022.

Welcome to the public version of the Freezenet Official Podcast for September, 2022. This month’s episode is named “The Bill C-11 Senate Hearing Special” because of the heavy focus on those hearings this month (they are getting a LOT of attention).

Along with the Bill C-11 hearings, we are also covering the racism accusation scandal as well as the new impossible to comply with California law that could see the future of websites in that state get put at risk.

We also note the addition of our brand new vlog, cover several other stories as well as all the usual music and video game reviews. We even cover the curious story about how a car rental company thought someone drove over 500KPH for three days straight. All this and more on this month’s podcast!

One thing to note, unlike previous episodes, this month’s episode won’t be posted to SoundCloud because it’s, well, way too massive. This monster weighs in at an hour and 44 minutes. So, it’ll have to be an Anchor exclusive this time. The Soundcloud limit doesn’t play well to something like this. Sorry about that!

You can check out our official podcast on Anchor. Alternatively, you can take a listen below:

What follows is a transcript of this month’s episode.


The Bill C-11 Senate Hearing Special

Hi, I’m your host, Drew Wilson.  Welcome to episode 47 of the Freezenet official podcast for September, 2022.  Here are your top 3 headlines:

The Top 3

Bill C-11 hearings begin in the Canadian Senate as lobbyists flood the chambers

Chris Bittle walks back apology and accuses Michael Geist of making him falsely accuse Geist of being racist

… and website owner anxiety rises in California after new impossible to comply with law is signed into law

Top Stories

Before we get into the top three stories, I wanted to point out that I have created a new vlog on our official YouTube channel.  The first episode offers a quick overview of my background and also talks about the threats of Bill C-11. The vlog was created as an emergency to the situation at hand.  The vlog itself might actually be killed by the legislation if the bill is passed as-is.  I was actually years away from taking this next step as I am not actually adequately prepared to create these.  Time, however, was of the essence.  So, I created the vlog anyway.  There is no fixed schedule, but I plan on covering crucial updates with this as well as offer monthly analysis of the developments happening.  You can check out my vlog directly on YouTube or in the official posting.

Now to the top three stories.

Things are heating up with the Bill C-11 debate.  A big question on a lot of observers minds is whether threats from the US would slow Canada’s rush to break the internet.  This month, we got an answer.  That answer was a very solid “no”.  While the Senate was not due back until the 19th, an early schedule showed that the senate was jumping the gun by a whole week and initiating study before the first sitting day.  As a result, the rush to crack down on internet free speech is not only not slowing down, but accelerating as well.

In the leadup to the early hearings, Senator Paula Simons, who has taken a rather complex neutral position on this legislation, published an op-ed saying that misinformation is plaguing the debate.  In that op-ed, Simons commented that she found it hard to embrace legislation that treats Canadian content as something that is spoonfed to consumers because it’s “good for us”.  She further comments:

“I worry too that the discoverability provisions could backfire. If YouTube, for example, keeps serving up CanCon you aren’t interested in, and you don’t click, you could actually prejudice a Canadian artist’s chances of being seen, by sending the algorithm the message that this isn’t content people want.”

This is absolutely true.  Click Through Rate does count towards the algorithm deciding whether or not to recommend your Youtube video.  By exposing content to users who don’t click on that content, the click through rate plunges, negatively impacting global performance overall.

However, later on, things get, well, complicated in separating fact from fiction when she writes this:

“This disinformation campaign has convinced many that C-11 will allow the government to remove their Twitter or Facebook posts, to censor their YouTube videos, to control everything they watch or read or listen to online, even to punish them based on vaccination status. None of that is true. The bill has nothing to do with text-based sites such as Twitter. It specifically exempts video posts made by non-commercial users. It has no provisions that censor anything. It does not regulate political speech. Yet the hysteria has reached such a fever pitch that politicians have been receiving threats of violence.”

This paragraph really mixes a lot of technically true aspects of the legislation and aspects that I agree is absolutely untrue.

Simons is correct in saying that Bill C-11 does not remove speech.  There is absolutely no provision in the bill that removes speech.

At the same time, if Twitter and Facebook posts involve multimedia content (and posts can incorporate such content), then those posts can, in fact, be subject to regulation.  If we are talking about a text only post, then Simons is correct that the legislation doesn’t touch those posts.

Simons is also correct that, under Bill C-11, posts won’t get regulated based on political opinion or vaccine status.  However, content of all types can get regulated based on whether someone made money on it.  The CRTC can also use other, more broad, considerations of that content thanks to the legislation.

This is where I believe Simons is wrong.  While the legislation does not remove posts, it does permit the CRTC to meddle with algorithms and indirectly order content not granted explicit government blessing to be downgraded and demoted.  The CRTC is part of government and is ordering, under threat of penalty, a platform to indirectly demote content that is considered ‘not Canadian enough’.  This is what is known as suppression of speech.  Since the suppression of speech was initiated by an action of the government, freedom of expression has been infringed.  In fact, the Justice Department’s own website notes the following:

“Where the purpose of a government action is to restrict the content of expression, to control access to a certain message, or to limit the ability of a person who attempts to convey a message to express him or herself, that purpose will infringe section 2(b) […] Even if a purpose is compatible with section 2(b), an individual may be able to demonstrate that the effect of the government action infringes his or her section 2(b) right. In this situation, the individual must show that his or her expression advances one or more of the values underlying section 2(b), e.g., participation in social and political decision making, the search for truth and individual self-fulfillment” and so on and so forth.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds to me like YouTube or TikTok video’s would very easily fit that category.  By posting that vlog on YouTube, there are probably a lot of examples where that post involves “the search for truth and individual self-fulfillment”.

By the CRTC ordering that content to be demoted for failing to reach currently unknown standards of “Canadianness”, the government is restricting access to a certain message.  This is because fewer audience members are able to reasonably access that message, thereby ghettoizing that speech in the first place.  By suppressing that speech so that fewer people will be able to otherwise readily access said message, that is a form of government censorship that violates the Canadian charter.  Therefore, Bill C-11 is a censorship bill.  So, I respectfully disagree with Simons assessment on that front.

After that, I took a look at the flip side of content under Bill C-11.  While it is easy to show that content produced by Canadian’s that is not certified by the CRTC will be negatively impacted, what about content that is certified “Canadian”?  We already pointed out that the pool of just certified “Canadian content” is inherently smaller than the broader pool of content simply uploaded onto a platform like YouTube.  This can more easily lead to recommendations and search results that are less relevant to users.

If recommendations on a platform becomes increasingly less relevant, this will inherently train users to view recommendation sections as less useful.  As a result, they will be less likely to even look at the recommendations knowing that their preferences will likely not be respected.  Because of this, users will be more likely to ignore the recommendations even if a certified “Canadian” content video appears that is relevant to their interests.

This is a phenominon that has been known since at least 1998.  In fact, it has been referred to as “banner blindness“.  It is typically inspired by banner messages on web forums.  There is also a similar effect known as ad blindness where users are trained to look away from banner ads on websites.  Such a phenominon has been linked to ads going unviewed even though they are displayed among a host of other problems.  This same problem can occur on sites like YouTube should users be trained not to look at recommendations altogether.  This hurts those who are certified Canadian content because the net results is lower click through rates and worse performance on the world stage.

Ultimately, the conclusion is that Bill C-11 will hurt everyone involved, not just those who fail to achieve the certified status of “Canadian” content.

After that, we took a look at the schedule of hearings destined to take place the following week.  There were four hearings scheduled and I concluded that, based on my knowledge of the witnesses, the overall week had hearings that is somewhat tilted towards those supportive of Bill C-11.  While this sounds bad, it is a marked improvement over the House of Commons committee where a vast majority of witnesses called were supportive of the bill.  This as only one or two witnesses, who were opposed to the bill, were called in seemingly for the purpose of lobbing insults at rather than for the purpose of hearing a different side of the debate.  Ultimately, the situation went from a hopeless situation to a grim situation, but I’ll take any improvement I can get my hands on at this stage.

Another piece I published on the leadup to the hearings was asking where the evidence is that Canadians are being suppressed on social media platforms today.  Looking through as much evidence as I could dig up, I was unable to find any evidence that Canadian creators are actively being suppressed by platforms.  In fact, I found quite the opposite, finding numerous creators who are, in fact, finding success online.  Further, there are plenty of video’s on these platforms showcasing that digital first creators are actively opposed to this legislation.  This is because they fear it will be detrimental to the success that they have already achieved.  So, in doing this research, the claims that platforms are somehow suppressing Canadian creation simply never held up.  In fact, the opposite is true in that I found that Canadians are not only surviving, but thriving on the platforms.

On the back of that leadup, we began our special coverage of Bill C-11 hearings by offering rather detailed summaries and analysis of the hearings.  It’s worth noting that all of this is much more abbreviated than the actual postings themselves.  So, points are invariably going to be missed simply because I didn’t want this to be a 10 hour podcast.  With that said, here’s some highlights of the hearings themselves.

The hearings started with the one involving the Canadian Privacy Commissioner followed up by a hearing with the Canadian Justice Department and Global Affairs.  The Privacy Commissioner expressed concerns that if personal information is to be collected to enforce Bill C-11, how do we maintain personal privacy?  Based on what is known, there are two points where personal information is collected and stored: at the platform level and at the CRTC, or government, level.  The question is, how do we ensure that this information is properly protected and, further, how does this information get stored in such a way so as to not identify an individual user.

The privacy aspect, I admit, was not really covered that well on my side of things simply because I was more concerned with the expression and censorship angle of the legislation.  So, when I saw these arguments, I wound up pointing to the screen and saying, “Very good point.  That is one angle I fully admit I missed.”  Here’s a part of that testimony.

[privacy commissioner clip]

Bravo to the Privacy Commissioner for catching this.  Seriously, amazing job there.

While the first segment of the hearing was absolutely brilliant, the opposite can be said for the second segment which involved the Canadian Justice Department and Global Affairs.  The reasons for them being called was a bit more clear.  For one, the US was basically threatening Canada with a trade war over the legislation, so that explains the presence of Global Affairs.  For another, there are constitutional questions regarding the bill which explains the presence of the Canadian Justice Department.

Global Affairs just seemed content with repeatedly saying that the legislation meets all international trade obligations, but refused to go into any detail.  This lack of explanation repeated throughout the hearing.  Here’s a sample of that with Senator Housakos (Note that there was a slight feed issue, so the audio also freezes part way through):

[Global Affairs]

You can’t help but get less confident that something bad isn’t going to happen just by listening to that.  I mean, here you have the American’s practically sitting near the border sharpening their pitch forks with angle grinders over the legislation.  Yet, the guy in charge of watching this international relationship is sitting there saying something along the lines of, ‘well, I guess they are expressing interest in this debate.’  No kidding!

Of course, if you think that was bad, the Canadian Justice Department responses was worse.  He simply said that the legislation is compliant with the Charter, but refused to explain and went so far as to repeatedly say that he isn’t there to provide legal advice.  The repeated responses wound up irritating Senators.  Here’s an exchange with Senator Wallin with Senator Housako’s chiming in at the end:

[Justice Department]

Oh snap!  Yeah, suffice to say, senators were not amused.

During the second hearing, the first segment involved numerous members of digital and civil rights organizations.  All of those witnesses openly opposed the legislation.  Tim Denton of ISOC noted the undue harm that such legislation could bring as the bill captures virtually all content.  He noted that the bill does control who can speak and who can hear and that the legislation fails to acknowledge consumer choice.

Matthew Hatfield of OpenMedia pointed out that the legislation was built on a fundamentally flawed premise that the internet can be regulated just like another broadcaster.  The internet, he noted, represents a huge step forward in multi-cultural expression and the legislation was written out of fear for user choice.  He recommended striking Section 4.1 (2) and Section 4.2 or narrowing the scope of what is captured in the bill.  He also called for Bill C-11 to not manipulate outcomes of algorithms.

John Lawford of PIAC suggested a more middle ground approach.  He recommended that users who make less than $150 million per year, video making people who make less than $50 million per year, and people who make audio content that make less than $25 million per year be excluded from the bill.

Another suggestion was to create a requirement for a so-called “static” discoverability system.  This is where users could click on a banner or a button to be taken to an altered version of the site.  In that version of the site, content that falls within discoverability requirements can be viewed separate from the rest of the site.  He said that this would create two streams and satisfy traditional broadcasters who demand mandatory carriage requirements.  This would also satisfy digital first creators and users because it would still maintain the dynamic discoverability of algorithms as per normal.

He also clarified that those who are in one stream should not be part of the other stream because it would defeat the purpose of such a system.

The hearing got interesting when Senator Pamela Wallin asked Denton if the CRTC is equipped to regulate the internet.  Here’s that exchange in all it’s hilarious glory:


That should tell you everything you need to know about whether the CRTC, or any governing body for that matter, is capable of regulating the freaking internet.

It’s worth noting that right after, Senator Wallin mentioned a story about a creator who, despite this legislation not being passed, is already uploading content outside of the country.  Quite frankly, I don’t blame that creator either.  There is significant risk that could be associated with this legislation and mitigating that risk early on is very easily an wise thing to do.  I know others have openly contemplated leaving the country as well to continue their careers as digital first creators.  That should also tell the story about the level of fear independent Canadian creators are experiencing right now.  People are seeing a mass extinction level event for their careers and have every right to be freaking out right now over what is happening.

During the second segment, numerous lobby groups pushing for this legislation also had their say.  Some of them pushed the idea that the goal of the legislation is to regulate social media and that these large platforms are trying to Americanize Canadian culture.  When the lobbyists were asked some of the tougher questions, that’s where the trend of evading questions began.  For instance, when asked by Senator Paula Simons about the golden age of Canadian workers who work on production work, the question was not only dodged, but also met with crickets.

[Sonoda Noble]

It kind of makes you wonder if they even understood the question, really.

The third hearing featured some lobbyists in the first segment.  They repeatedly talked about the need for a “level playing field”, though they didn’t really go into great detail what that even meant.  At most, they commented that platforms need more regulation while broadcasters need less regulations.  They never really elaborated on more specifics then that, though.  The witnesses seemed unsure how to answer some questions whenever things strayed from their talking points:

[Asper Reeb]

Uhh… uhhh… uhhh… pass the legislation!  You can almost hear the internal voice going, “What the heck was that?  That wasn’t the “level the playing field” talking point!  Was I supposed to prepare for this somehow?”

The second segment featured a couple of platforms and organizations that represent them.  Spotify representatives pointed out that a one-size-fits-all approach to regulation could very easily backfire.  This is because the algorithms recommend music people want to hear, rather than what would be the CRTC intervening and inserting songs they feel people should hear.

Disney, on the other hand, noted that Disney is different from traditional broadcasters because they offer different services.  He used local news and sports as an example of what is offered by local producers, but is not offered on a service like Disney+.  So, something that should be considered in these debates.

DiMA pointed out that services such as Amazon and Spotify help Canadian creators find an audience and that services do pay royalties to creator organizations as well.  A real highlight during the segment was the citation of statistics of what platforms pay out in royalties vs traditional radio.  Here’s an exchange between Senator Simons and Levin of DiMA:


So, a really interesting statistic that really runs counter to the assertion by Bill C-11 supporters that says that platforms are not paying their fair share.

The first segment of the 4th hearing features lobbyist organizations from French broadcasters and related organizations.  They were calling for the swift passage of Bill C-11.  They called for funding to be equal for Canadian talent whether they are working with local companies or foreign streamers.  There was also a call for Canadians to get traditional broadcast content who don’t get their content through traditional means.

Things got interesting when Senator Housakos tried to tackle the issue of what counts as Canadian content and what doesn’t.


What this seems to highlight is just how protectionist lobbyists want to take things.  On the one hand, for small producers like myself, we would be unable to qualify as Canadian content because the bar is too high for us.  At the same time, when companies want to come into Canada and invest in the sector, there is also a pushback against that as well.  What you are left with is a very thin line of what can even come close to qualifying as Canadian content.  Conveniently, that thin line just so happens to land squarely on these traditional broadcasters.  These are the same broadcasters who swear up and down that this legislation isn’t a protectionist law destined to benefit legacy broadcasting players and protect them from competition.  Fancy that.

The second segment of the 4th hearing featured more lobbyists from traditional broadcasters.  It was at this point that it seemed like the realization started setting in that supporters are starting to lose their arguments at the senate level.  So, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters called on Senators to dismiss all concerns about social media because the legislation is sufficient.  The lobbyists also accused platforms of skimming money out of the Canadian system.

Things went off the rails when the broadcasters tried to convince Senators that the CRTC is fully capable of regulating the internet.


Yeah, it’s no big deal to expect the CRTC to regulate the internet!  I mean, it’s not the entire internet that we are asking the CRTC to regulate, just the larger platforms and platforms and services and websites that might have video content… or audio content… or streaming content… OK, it’s practically the entire internet- look, can we just move on to a different question now?  We’re tired of looking stupid.

So, we’re admittedly new to following point by point what the Canadian senate is up to.  We actually briefly thought that what we saw on the schedule was it for hearings.  As it turns out, we were wrong and discovered that the week after featured two more hearings.

We then looked at the fifth hearing.  With things already looking pretty bad for traditional broadcasters, Bill C-11 supporters, at that point, were no doubt hoping to turn things around.  So, they got another round of lobbyists in for testimony.  APTN suggested that they are not a for-profit organization and they are unable to negotiate deals with big platforms like YouTube to carry their content.  Last I checked, it’s easy to upload content onto YouTube for free, but I digress.

Others commented that the big bad platforms are out there having a stranglehold on the market.  Thanks to that, culture and language from minority cultures is under threat.  One commented that the platforms are carrying out “market abuses” and said that the CRTC is totally capable of regulating the internet because they are already experts in regulating traditional broadcasts.  I still can’t get over the fact that people honestly believe that, but, again, I digress.

Things, once again, went right off the rails.  This time, however, it happened right off the top of the question period when witnesses began dodging questions pretty much immediately.


The segment in that hearing after that?  It was pretty much all downhill from there.

So, with another swing and a miss for lobbyists, the second segment of that hearing featured, you guessed it, more lobbyists. The lobbyists put forth effort to retreat to the talking point of “level the playing field”.  They also re-iterated the calls for more provisions to maximize Canadian talent usage.  One of them offered the idea that creators use YouTube and TikTok as a proving or training ground, but after finding success, they go to other platforms for more stable and predictable incomes.  Not entirely sure it works that way for all creators, but each to their own.

So, things seemed to be finally getting off to a reasonable start for Bill C-11 supporters.  Probably a nice change after the repeated disasters of previous hearings.  Senator Paula Simons asked about smaller streamers serving various ethnicities to allow for the continuation of cultural ties.  The answer, well, uh…


Yup, more question dodging.

Finally, before the cutoff point of this podcast, we were able to cover the first segment of the sixth hearing.  This hearing more or less broke the long chain of lobbyist hearings and changed things up. In this case, they brought in some more platforms.

During the hearing, Jeanette Patell of YouTube told Senators that Canada’s creative ecosystem on YouTube contributed $1.1 billion to the Canadian economy.  Bill C-11, however, puts that cash flow and ecosystem at risk.  She hits on a boatload of points that really makes it impossible to summarize in podcast format, but pretty much every note that needed to be hit was hit.

Steve de Eyre of TikTok, meanwhile, expanded on Patell’s points and even turned the lobbyists talking point around.  He did that by saying that TikTok has actually levelled the playing field and democratized discoverability.  What’s more is that he noted how 44% of Canadians have discovered Canadian content on TikTok.  This as opposed to just 32% on traditional media like TV and radio.  He went even further and pointed out that 41% of Canadians have discovered Canadian indigenous creators on TikTok as opposed to just 27% on traditional media.

Patrick Rogers of Music Canada also added how his member organizations are increasingly relying on platforms to get people listening to their artists.  This in ways that would otherwise be unavailable on traditional TV and radio broadcasting.  He also echoed the sentiments of the platforms on asking the government to not meddle with algorithms.

There was an important point hit on during the questioning.  Some have asked what is so hard about identifying Canadian content because these platforms are so heavily data driven.  The problem with that is that there is a lot of data that is being asked to certify content that is Canadian.  Apply that to the pure scale of content that gets uploaded onto a platform like YouTube and you have yourself a pretty significant problem that is a big ask – even for companies like YouTube and TikTok.  There are other issues with that, but that is two of the big problems trying to get that data.


What I found striking in all of these hearings so far is that lobbyists had pretty much every advantage in the world.  They were called to hearings far more than every other stake holder thus far.  They had opportunity after opportunity to make the case for Bill C-11 and explain what the problem is, how they hope the problem is going to be solved, and how Bill C-11 is the right approach.  Every single time, it just seemed like they just fumbled on the opportunities, dodged the questions, and were really unable to even start to make a case for their cause.

They’ve had since at least February of 2021, arguably longer since they had their high priced lobbyists working the halls of government before this bill became tabled, so it isn’t as though this was a last minute thing for them.  It’s kind of stunning that they bombed this spectacularly in the hearings.  Meanwhile, you have civil rights organizations and platforms come to the table, have, effectively, only one small shot to get the hearings right, and end up knocking it out of the park.  What’s more is that the moment these lobbyists were directed questions by critics, Bill C-11 supporters just collapsed faster than a house of cards being subjected to a moderate breeze.  It’s kind of pathetic for the lobbyists, really.

Meanwhile, The shocking behaviour of Liberal MP, Chris Bittle, continued to get worse this month.  Bittle has already caught controversy for trivializing sexual assault as little more than “Conservative filibuster”.  This as Liberal MPs attempted to push Bill C-11 through before the Summer break.  Earlier, we brought you another development involving the Liberal government funding an anti-hate organization run by one person many say is basically the organization.  The individual posted anti-sematic tweets which were spotted by other political observers.  After months of inaction after reporting the tweets, the controversy was picked up by University Law Professor, Michael Geist.  That is when we picked up the story.

The added interest caught the attention of larger media outlets who began poking around and asking questions. As the scandal began gripping the Liberal government, the Liberal government finally responded and ended the contract with the organization in question.  While that might have been a welcome development, questions circulated over what took so long and why it took so much attention before the Liberal government did what a vast majority would call the right thing to do.

At that point, notorious Liberal MP, Chris Bittle, had stepped in and launched a campaign of harassment on Geist for what he seemed to think was the source of making the Liberal government look bad.  Geist, for his part, completely ignored the trolling remarks of the Liberal MP, however, things boiled over when Bittle suggested that Geist was the real racist in all of this.  He pointed to an image of black Minister, Ahmed Hussen and asked if Geists hatred stemmed from the minister looking like that.

The shocking and deplorable comments then finally sparked a response from Geist who said, “I’m the grandson of holocaust survivors who thinks it shouldn’t be too much to ask the Heritage Minister to say something – anything – about officials in his department funding an anti-semite despite multiple warnings. Instead, the Parliamentary Secretary suggests I’m racist.”

Bittle backed away from the racist remark, but continued the attack by saying, “Par for the course that you leave out the multiple tweets where I ask why you are misleading your followers about the Minister responsible.

I’m certain you haven’t a racist bone in your body, but the question remains…why keep misleading people? I can’t answer that.”

The comments from Bittle drew widespread condemnation from other Twitter users.

A while later, Bittle issued an apology for his actions, saying in a separate Tweet, “Yesterday, in a moment of anger, I made an implication about @mgeist that was unfounded and inappropriate. I hold myself to a higher standard for the office that I hold and I apologize to Professor Geist. I have deleted the offending tweet.”

While many had hoped the apology would be a sign that the temperature of the MP would finally cool down, that hope was dashed soon after.  Bittle later told the media that he is effectively walking back on his own apology, saying that Geist bullied him into calling him a racist.  Bittle said to media outlet, The Standard, “I got bullied by a bully and got baited into a tweet”.

“There was frustration, there was anger for the suggestion that my friend was antisemitic, even though it’s not his file. It’s all of that wrapped into it. But I did go too far,” he added.

In response to the personal attacks, Geist said that he has muted Bittle on his account.

While the media devoted little attention to the Bittle scandal, the media devoted considerable attention to what happened to Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland.  In an encounter in Alberta, a man was filmed chasing after Freeland to an elevator.  During the encounter, he yelled at her to get out of his province.  Freeland, also from Alberta, commented after that Alberta is a welcoming province and defended the province, talking about the provinces hospitality.

The incident sparked some in the media to openly call for a move forward with the online harms proposal.  This despite the fact that the incident happened in person.  While the media glossed over the facts of the proposal, such as the risks to the internet that the proposal originally had, we didn’t.  We pointed out that the proposal would have called for mass ISP level internet censorship and regulations that would threaten the existence of virtually every small Canadian website.  This thanks to $10 million fines for failing to respond to a report within 24 hours.

In response, we pointed out that what happened to Freeland is, indeed, problematic.  However, burning down the whole internet is no solution.

With considerable activities going on in Canada, there was one particularly worrying story coming out of the United States.  The state of California is known for Silicon Valley and being a hub for online innovation.  This has helped build a massive internet ecosystem within the state.  The reputation of the state supporting innovation was bolstered thanks to the lawsuit filed to retain network neutrality as well.

Imagine our surprise when we found out that the state has pushed through a law that would effectively wipe out the entire internet ecosystem the state has been building up for decades now.  The legislation is known as the Age-Appropriate Design Code Act – or AB 2273.  The legislation targets every site that is “likely to be accessed by children” which is anyone under the age of 18.  Websites would be required to track and collect personal information.  It could even compel websites to prove that the individuals visiting the site are, indeed, over the age of 18.  Some suggest that this would be accomplished via facial recognition scans.

Mike Masnick of TechDirt wrote about the details and, understandably, was pretty annoyed by the legislation.  He said that the legislation is impossible to comply with for many of the above reasons.  Another aspect of the law that would make it even more impossible to comply with involves a so-called “Data Protection Impact Assessment” (or DPIA).  Every function of a website, whether it is comment voting, the ability to listen to the podcast, sharing posts, the search function, the RSS feed, and everything in between would require a separate DPIA.  Worse yet is that those DPIA’s would need to be renewed every two years.

So, it is very easily understandable why Masnick would be so upset about this.

Shortly after that story broke, many speculated that this bill would zoom through the legislative process.  It did, indeed, because shortly after the first story broke, we learned that the legislation passed the California Senate 30-0.  Masnick responded to this by saying that “It’s not good.”

The legislation, at that point, made its way to the desk of California govorner, Gavin Newsom.  It was largely expected that he would sign the bill into law.

Later on this month, it did happen.  Newsom signed the legislation into law.  It was a disasterous moment which no doubt led to more uncertainty to sweep across Silicon Valley.  There was, however, some hope because the law isn’t supposed to take effect until 2024.  This, as many point out, gives plenty of time for an organization or two to file a lawsuit to challenge the law.  While the US Supreme Court hasn’t exactly been adhereing to the US Constitution these days, what choice do those residents have that is more immediate?  Either way, there is a new air of legal uncertainty in a state once seen as a place that supported innovation.

So, a heck of an eventful month this month, that’s for sure.  Now, here are some of the other stories making news this month.

Other Stories Making News

As the Rogers Shaw merger moves ahead, many are raising questions of what the merger would really mean for Canadians.  Many have pointed out the rise in costs while others pointed out poorer quality of service.  A less talked about aspect is the impact of employees doing their part to keep the lights on in these companies.  Well, a story out of the US is offering a rather grim picture of what could happen in Canada should the merger be completed.

A few years ago, T-Mobile and Sprint merged into one larger conglomerate corporation.  Promises were made to create an additional 11,000 employee positions by 2024.  However, it looks like the exact opposite has happened.  Between 2020 and 2021, roughly 5,000 employees were laid off.  It is expected that the wave of pink slips are going to continue moving forward with the new company as well.

while there is likely little employees within Rogers and Shaw can do about it, this is certainly a warning sign that the same could very easily happen in Canada should the merger move ahead.  A worrying thing to see to say the least.

As the file-sharing debates waned in recent years, so too did the constant barrage of headlines perpetuating the age-old myth of “piracy is killing the music industry”.  A vast majority of my time before starting Freezenet was devoted to busting this myth because the evidence behind it was lacking and even laughably bad.  From exposing forged statistics suggesting that piracy is costing more than the GDP of France to the famed meta-analysis I published, busting this myth was a pretty regular thing for me.

While I thought I had finally rid myself of having to write yet another article about why piracy isn’t killing the music industry, this month, I saw that old nemesis get resurrected from the grave by the copyright industry.  Three US organizations banded together to push the notorious copyright bill, the SMART Act.  They said that without this legislation, piracy will kill the music industry.  You can imagine how irritated I was when I saw this.

The SMART Act would effectively give a blank check to Hollywood and major record labels via the Copyright Office.  Through that, Hollywood can demand any ‘standard technical measure’ for websites to employ.  Whether it is upload filters or who knows what other insane thing they will come up with, anything they dream up could be implemented with little oversight.  The fight against this legislation continues.

The American link tax law, known as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act has been pulled this month.  During markup, Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, successfully added an anti-moderation amendment to the legislation.  After the amendment was added, Amy Klobuchar pulled the legislation.  As a result, the legislation effectively died in the US.

Back in Canada, A new white paper issued by the CCIA is saying that Bill C-18 violates several sections of the USMCA trade agreement.  The articles the white paper says the legislation violates are Articles 14.4 and 14.5 (Investment), 15.3 and 15.4 (Cross-border Services), 14.10, and 19.4.  The CCIA says, “the Online News Act is the wrong answer to the changing news and information-sharing landscape.  The way consumers exchange information and share articles, videos, and other pieces of news is constantly changing, and enshrining a tax on a few technology companies to be paid primarily to a select few large, powerful media companies will do little to nothing to support sustainable quality journalism in Canada.”

One inescapable news story this month revolved around the laying off of CTV News Anchor, Lisa LaFlamme.  Some have called for the speedy passage of Bill C-18 to prevent more so-called “losses” in the journalism field.  However, other market pressures appear to be at play that is clearly beyond the scope of Bill C-18.  Many had speculated that LaFlamme was fired because of her grey hair, but it seems that other factors were at play.  Reports suggest that LaFlamme clashed with Bell executive, Michael Melling on a number of issues.  Melling had bragged that he destroyed the careers of anyone that got in his way in the past and took particular exception to LaFlamme, reportedly in part, because she was female.  Melling has since gone on leave since the story blew up.

While the high profile layoff was big news, it seems as though this was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to layoffs ever since CTV and Bell merged.  Reports suggest that “hundreds” of employees had been laid off with very little notice.  Contractual obligations had apparently prevented many from speaking out about this which is how Bell Media kept this story under wraps for so long.  The revelations seemed to continue the theme of how layoffs so often follow after a big merger happens.  Had it not been for LaFlamme getting let go in a very public manner, these issues might not have otherwise come to light.  Either way, an activity that would not have been prevented with Bill C-18.

Another big story this month is Pierre Poilievre becoming leader of the Conservative party of Canada.  The sweeping victory appears to signal that the political party is taking a hard swing to the right given Poilievre’s close ties with the Freedom Convoy occupation.  We looked at his policies from an internet and digital rights perspective.  While the new leader supports the repeal of Bill C-11, the comments he made were laced with support for the anti-science and anti-environmental movements.  Because of this, it lends support to our earlier observations that the party might not exactly be the guardian of free speech it claims to be.  This given the push to promote misinformation over speech that the movement might disagree with.  Typically, this ultimately takes the form of moderation ban policies.  So, a worrying development to say the least.

Finally, the National Post published an article pushing for the passage of Bill C-18, Canada’s Link Tax law.  The piece was filled with myths and misleading statements of what link taxes mean.  Among the arguments is that even when a publisher posts a link to social media, publishers still need to be compensated in the name of “fair compensation”.  This as opposed to how fair dealing normally operates in this country.  The article even goes into the realms of hilarity by calling for three person panels to create binding agreements that forces platforms to pay for linking.  They brought this up like this is somehow a good thing.  There is, of course, no justification for paying for links in the first place, though.  Still, it looks like media outlets are still trying to push this ridiculous law at all costs – even if it means destroying their credibility in the process.

So, a lot of stuff happening this month.  Let’s relax a little and talk about entertainment.

Video Game Reviews

Before we get into the video game reviews, I wanted to point out the first impression video’s we’ve posted this month.

For the first Steam game we played, we tried Baldur’s Gate II – Enhanced Edition.  You can check that video out directly on our site and YouTube channel.

This month’s Playstation 3 game was Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.  You can check out that video on our site and YouTube.

For the XBox 360 game of the month, we checked out Halo 4.  That video can be seen on our site and YouTube.

Finally, we wrapped up the month with the Steam game, Bioshock 2.  That video can be seen directly on our site and on YouTube.

As always, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and turn on notifications to get realtime updates on what video’s we’ve posted.

Now, here are video games we’ve reviewed this month:

First up is Road Rash: Jailbreak for the Playstation.  Several features stripped out and dumbed down gameplay hurt this game by quite a bit.  So, a disappointing, but decent 66%.

Next up is Double Dragon 3: The Arcade Game for the Sega Genesis.  Repetitive gameplay and some faulty hit detection held this game back.  This one got a very average 58%.

After that, we played Math Blaster: Episode 1 for the Sega Genesis.  Short gameplay and dropping quality as you get deeper into the game leaves a lot to be desired. This one got an average 62%.

From there, we played Hot Wheels Turbo Racing for the Nintendo 64.  A pleasantly surprising good game.  Power ups add a very nice flare.  What’s more, there was good graphics and audio to boot.  This one gets an 80%.

Finally, we played Disney’s Aladdin for the Sega Genesis.  A game that does suffer a bit in the length department, but overall gets a decent 74%.

Music Reviews

As for music we’ve listened to this month, we’ve got…

Mariah Carey – Always Be My Baby

Metallica – Until it Sleeps

Black Light Posterboys – If the Animals Could Talk

Soundgarden – Burden on My Hands

Rush – Test for Echo

The Wallflowers – One Headlight

… and finally, Econoline Crush – Wicked

Picks of the Month

So, that leads us to our pick of the month.  This month, our pick of the month belongs to Hot Wheels Turbo Racing for the Nintendo 64.  Also, be sure to check out Black Light Posterboys – If the Animals Could Talk.


And in other news

A white Florida man who was driving on the highway spotted a black man driving on the road.  The white man drove aggressively around the black man before the black man finally pulled over.  Both men got out and the white man launched a racially motivated attack against the black man.  The problem, for the white man, was the fact that the black man just so happened to be a trained Mixed Martial Artist fighter.  Things didn’t end well for the white racist man.  While family members called authorities, the black man was able to subdue the racist and put him in a choke hold until authorities arrived.  The racist was later charged and found guilty and convicted of a racially motivated road rage attack and unlawful interference with a federally protected activity.  I’ll say this with the caveat that it would have been better had the attack never taken place, but hearing about a racist getting his rear end wooped was awesome!

A Vancouver woman rented a car from Avis for three days.  After using it to transport herself to and from the airport as well as some other things, she returned it.  It didn’t seem like an activity too far out of the ordinary until she got the bill after.  An additional $8,000 charge was tacked on to her bill.  According to the rental company, she supposedly drove 36,482KM over the course of those three days – which is close to the circumference of the entire planet.  She would have had to have driven over 500KPH non-stop for those three days to accomplish this.  Reportedly, Avis did issue a refund after the media was alerted.  Man, that’s some really fast driving.

An Ocean City therapist had to surrender her license after she took her clients credit cards and racked up $40,000 in charges.  Now, try and guess what she used those credit cards to buy.  Don’t worry, you probably aren’t going to guess correctly.  She was using those credit cards on an app that allows you to text psychics.  Yes, psychic readings.  In order to avoid criminal trial, she went to pretrial intervention and is undergoing a program which she must complete.  Is it too late for her to get a refund for failing to see this one coming?


Before we close out this month’s episode, we got one quick announcement to make.  This month, we released the August Wiki content patch.  It was a smaller patch this time around, but we did get some progress on the back archive for Group Therapy.  We managed to get that archive completed all the way up to episode 31.  So, a smaller patch, but certainly a patch with a bit of content.  Also, we got all the latest episodes for Synth City, Future Sound of Egypt, Fables, Resonation, the V Recordings Podcast, and the Random Movement Podcast.

If you’d like to get your hands on some behind the scenes stuff, exclusive content, and early access material, you can check out our Patreon page at  Through this, you can help make Freezenet just that much better all the while getting some pretty cool stuff in the process.  That’s!

Alternatively, you can simply buy us a coffee via!

…and that’s this months episode for September, 2022.  I’m Drew Wilson for Freezenet.  Be sure to check out our website at for all the latest in news and reviews.  You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.  Thank you for listening and see you next month.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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