Liberal “Online Harm” Proposal Warning Defender of Freedom of Speech


A law proposed by the federal government to combat “online harm” is worried about defenders of free speech. It May limit discourse on social media platforms.

The framework proposes the establishment of Canada’s Digital Safety Commission, which includes three organizations: the Digital Safety Commission, the Digital Recourse Council (DRC), and the Advisory Board.

Together, they monitor what the proposal calls an online communication service provider (OCSP) such as Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Pornhub. The superficial goal is to eliminate malicious language, terrorist content, content that incites violence, intimate images shared without the consent of participants, and sexual exploitation of children.

OCSP should implement measures to proactively monitor harmful content, such as through automated systems. You must respond to user complaints within 24 hours, such as removing content if it is deemed harmful.

In addition, OCSP must meet confidential reporting requirements to protect information such as privacy, national security, or commercial interests. Restrictions include allowing OCSP to specify certain information as sensitive information. This prevents you from notifying affected users.

Non-compliant platforms may face a fine of up to $ 10 million imposed by the Digital Safety Commission or 3% of the world’s total revenue, whichever is higher. Alternatively, the commissioner can refer the crime to the public prosecutor. In that case, the fine could be up to $ 25 million, or 5% of the platform’s total global revenue, whichever is higher.

Commissioners have also applied to federal courts to give telecommunications service providers access to all or part of Canada’s services that repeatedly refuse to remove sexual exploitation of children and / or terrorist content. You can also request to block or filter. Commissioners also collect and share information with other agencies and agencies.

The Proposal Discussion Guide is a Canadian Security Intelligence Service to help CSIS obtain subscriber information more quickly for those involved in disseminating “idealistically motivated violent extremists” content online. We are requesting a change in the Information Bureau Law.

Commissioners can also send inspectors to work or home to investigate or obtain relevant documents and other information, such as computer algorithms and software.

Section 35 of the proposal’s technical paper tells the commissioner, “The specific needs of groups that are disproportionately affected by harmful online content such as women and girls, indigenous peoples, members of racial communities and religious minorities, and LGBTQ2. Our mission is to address and consider the barriers we face. Gender diverse communities and people with disabilities. ”

The DRC reviews complaints from people affected by OCSP’s content moderation decisions and determines if the content is actually harmful, as defined by law. The council consists of three to five members appointed by the governor of the council, and in making the appointment, the council “importance of experts in diverse subjects” from the aforementioned minority group. “Consider.

The Commissioner and DRC may conduct confidential hearings if this is deemed to be in the public interest, such as when there are concerns related to privacy, national security, international affairs, defense, or confidential commercial interests. ..

“The problem of freedom of expression”

Cara Zwibel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has expressed concern about the law.

“Of course, there are some things I wanted not to do. There is a 24-hour removal requirement. It allows for blocking websites, so there are a lot of things we are pretty worried about, Canada. I think people will be worried too, “Zwibel said in an interview.

“The big problem with the proposal is that these things can be interpreted very broadly, and by creating these 24-hour removal requirements, social media companies make mistakes on the removal side. This is clearly a problem for freedom of expression. “

Zwibel is also concerned that the task of processing such a large amount of content could ultimately create a bloated bureaucracy without achieving its purpose.

“This content just moves around. People try to remove it from this platform, it appears on another platform. Try removing them from one, it appears on another. Therefore, these I’m not sure about the effectiveness of the tool, “she said.

“One of the most annoying things about the proposal involves the compulsory sharing of information between social media companies and law enforcement …. Adopting a private company as a form of law enforcement is It’s a development of concern that we need to pay very close attention to. “

Proposals that the government intends to submit the bill in the fall are advertised as a regulatory supplement to bill C-36. In summary, Lisa Bildi of the Judiciary Center for Constitutional Freedom (JCCF) is in trouble.

“This is, frankly, one of the worst attacks on free society in living memory. It is an important law like freedom of expression, market of ideas, constitutional neutrality, and presumption of innocence. It undermines the liberal legal order that protects the protection, “Bildi told the era.

She said the proposal was in line with other “dangerous legislation” that the JCCF was already preparing to challenge as unconstitutional.

“They all seem to be related. Bill C-36 proposes to punish a much wider range. Hate speech In a disturbing way. And Bill C-10, with the help of the new Digital Security Bureaucracy, guarantees that it will be immediately withdrawn from the Internet. The entire scheme treats freedom of expression as a threat rather than a characteristic of liberal democracy. “

After passing the House of Representatives in June, Bill C-10, deliberated in the Senate, is about to amend the Broadcasting Act to begin regulating audio and audiovisual content delivered over the Internet via digital platforms. Critics fear a controversial bill that could lead to daily censorship of Canadians for posting on social media.

and Recent blog postsMichael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, also blamed the law.

“Rather than constructing a Canadian-made approach, the government has put together some of the worst from around the world,” Geist wrote.

“The government says it will accept comments until September 25, but given the framework of the document, this is just a notification of the regulatory plan, a true solution for developing a solution based on public feedback. Obviously it’s not an effort. “

Zwibel believes that the expected federal elections can provide another valuable opportunity for Canadians to participate.

“If there is an election, it will probably be a topic of debate, [as to] What we want is to regulate social media companies, “she said.

“The Canadians have the opportunity to say,’This is not what we want. This is not what we think is effective.” Or “We think it has dangerous consequences.” I am. “

Lee Harding

Lee Harding is a Saskatchewan-based journalist and think tank researcher and contributor to The Epoch Times.