Many vaguely remember past efforts from the American government to try and regulate the internet. With the protections of Section 230, the country was thrown into a middle-ground situation where regulators and lawmakers tried to work within those boundaries.
It’s not the case in Canada. With the push for the passage of Bill C-10, the country’s politicians are attempting to push their thumb on the scales of digital daily life.
An open letter from the tech critics representing what’s left of the internet’s “free world” are all but ignored.
To summarize the implications, consider what Conservative MP Rachel Harder asked Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault:
“Will the CRTC be given the responsibility under C-10, the power to regulate the algorithms used by social media platforms to decide what type of content people can and cannot see on their Facebook feeds or the information they see on Google or YouTube?”
The response waffled but it came down to yes. Thus the problem. Canadian lawmakers are pushing forward with their bill despite a survey of the Canadian public showing that it goes against their wishes.
As discussed in the Toronto Sun, the Canadian government’s Liberals, Bloc Quebecois, and NDP are apparently all in. This comes after Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet appeared on the Tout le monde en parle talk show proclaiming “this law must pass.”
The outlet sums up the implications of the situation succinctly in pointing out that nobody cared too much about it until “user-generated social media content” was removed as a protection by Liberals.
There were several warning signs already that the path of C-10 is wrong. Freethinker Jordan Peterson being a Canadian whose reach and influence far surpasses that of the Canadian establishment is a prime example. Beyond that we have the fact that C-10 was paused as it was examined for potentially violating freedom of expression rights.
Even when the Canadian Department of Justice came back saying it’s “consistent,” that doesn’t solve the vague terminology applied by C-10 in the first place. It leaves the exact same censorship opportunity often used by Big Tech companies like Facebook and Twitter in of themselves, when it comes to policing content.