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Stop C-10: NO CRTC regulation of online speech or online posting

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
I don't know if any of you have been keeping up with our lunatic Heritage Minister as he attempts to control the Internet itself. His flailing has created a piece of authoritarian legislation called Bill C-10 which will severely impact Internet use in Canada and turn the country into an Internet backwater. It's bad and it must be stopped before it becomes law.

 
Stop Bill C-10

Mondieu

TRIBE Member
I don't know if any of you have been keeping up with our lunatic Heritage Minister as he attempts to control the Internet itself. His flailing has created a piece of authoritarian legislation called Bill C-10 which will severely impact Internet use in Canada and turn the country into an Internet backwater. It's bad and it must be stopped before it becomes law.

The Constitutionality of several parts of this bill will be drawn into question.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
A Globe piece today:

Opinion

The Trudeau government says it won’t regulate user content on social media. Bill C-10 says otherwise​




The Editorial Board

Published 4 hours ago Updated May 4, 2021 Get the article here: Globe editorial: The Trudeau government says it won’t regulate user content on social media. Bill C-10 says otherwise



Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has been exasperated lately by the failure of his political opponents to understand that he has nothing but the purest intentions and would never put his name on a bill that gives Ottawa the power to regulate innocent user-generated content on the internet.

On the contrary, he says. Bill C-10, which is in committee and, barring an election, will eventually come back to the House for third reading, is all about the Trudeau government taking on internet giants such as YouTube, Netflix and Facebook, and getting them to contribute their fair share to Canada’s cultural industries.

“There’s one party … siding with the web giants, and that’s the Conservative Party of Canada,” Mr. Guilbeault said in a television interview last month.

Bill C-10 is the Liberals’ effort to bring internet companies under the aegis of the federal Broadcasting Act, the way television and radio have been for decades.

Where traditional broadcasters are regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), internet streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify, and social media companies such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, are constrained only by copyright rules.

The intent of the law, in Mr. Guilbeault words, is to get “web giants to pay their fair share when it comes to Canadian culture.” The CRTC would be able to set the amount of money companies such as Netflix must spend on Canadian content, and impose conditions on social media companies, as it does with traditional broadcasters.

The problem is that most social media is generated by individuals. It’s “your uncle’s cat video,” as the minister puts it, and so Bill C-10 includes a clause that exempts user-generated content from the government’s proposed amendments to the Broadcasting Act.

Or rather, it used to include such an exclusion. The clause was in the bill first tabled in November – Mr. Guilbeault touted its existence at the time. But it has since been removed by the Liberal-controlled committee reviewing Bill C-10. And for the life of him, the minister cannot explain why.

The Conservative opposition has hammered away at its removal. “If the protection isn’t granted, then there is no protection,” MP Rachael Harder pointed out.

But the change has not been subject to partisan attack only. Peter Menzies, a former vice-chair of the CRTC, called it an “assault” on the freedom of individuals to post opinions on social media. Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and a respected voice in the debate about internet freedoms, has gone so far as to call it “an unconscionable attack on the free expression rights of Canadians.”

As well, a senior official with the Canadian Heritage department told the committee that removing the protection could make user-generated content subject to CRTC regulation, and oblige individual platforms to enforce those regulations.

The minister has also been contradicted by Jérôme Payette, director-general of the Professional Music Publishers’ Association, who says removing the clause is a substantial (though, for him, welcome) change that will allow the CRTC to regulate “professional content being put online by a [music] label on YouTube.”

Mr. Guilbeault has countered with arguments that don’t add up. He insists the intent of the law is not to have the CRTC regulate rants, raves and cat videos posted by Canadians, and thus the protection was unnecessary and removing it changes nothing. But he’s been unable to explain why the clause was there in the first place, or why his own official says its removal changes the nature of the law.

Mr. Guilbeault also makes the startling argument that the CRTC “has never moderated content that we hear on the radio, that we see on TV.” The CRTC does more than moderate content – it enforces it. Broadcast too little Canadian content, or fail to follow other CRTC rules, and you can lose your TV or radio licence.

There is no immediate and direct line between the removal of this key clause and the CRTC regulating online, user-generated content deemed unacceptable by the government.

But it opens a door to it – a door the Trudeau government itself originally recognized needed to be tightly shut. Mr. Guilbeault has never credibly explained why his government changed its mind, and Canadians are right to worry about it.

***
 
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alexd

Administrator
Staff member
Government Censorship of the Internet Is Tyranny, Not Protection

Posted On: May 4, 2021


John Carpay, The Epoch Times
With Bill C-10, the federal government seeks to regulate video content on YouTube and other social media, the same way it regulates national broadcasting. “Canadians who upload videos to the internet could find that their content falls under the watchful eye of the federal government after proposed changes to Canada’s broadcasting law were modified at the eleventh hour last week,” says an April 26 Toronto Star article.
If C-10 passes into law, the content Canadians upload to social media, whether a funny cat video or serious political commentary about Covid and lockdowns, will be subject to government regulation.

According to Tamir Israel, a technology lawyer at the University of Ottawa, this “could pave the way for future governments to make regulations around user-generated content on the internet, even if the current Liberal government has no intention of doing so,” the Toronto Star wrote.
“This is a poorly designed and not very carefully thought out attempt to pass a law that was initially focused on protecting Canadian content and is now potentially going to be an open-ended censorship regime for the internet,” with “wide potential for misuse in the future because of that,” the article quoted Israel as saying.

The supposed aim of Bill C-10 is to strengthen the Canadian content system by ensuring the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) can force online streamers like Netflix to make financial contributions as well as make a certain amount of Canadian movies and TV shows available to viewers. However, on April 23, the government removed the section of this bill that would have exempted social media content from regulation. This means user-generated video content on platforms like YouTube can be regulated by the CRTC, though individual users themselves won’t be subject to regulation.

“Like many, we were surprised to see the Heritage Committee extend Bill C-10 to include social media and user-upload services and apps. This potentially extends CRTC regulation to all audio and audiovisual content on the internet, which has profound implications for not just social media, but virtually all websites, podcasting, online hosting, and much more,” a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement to the National Post, according to the newspaper in an April 27 article.

“We remain concerned about the unintended consequences, particularly with regards to the potential effects on Canadians’ expressive rights,” added the spokesperson from Google, which owns YouTube.

Even if individual Canadians don’t have to report to the CRTC, the fact that government would have control over content posted by Canadians still undermines our freedom of expression.

“Granting a government agency authority over legal user-generated content—particularly when backed up by the government’s musings about taking down websites—doesn’t just infringe on free expression, it constitutes a full-blown assault upon it and, through it, the foundations of democracy,” stated Peter Menzies, a former CRTC commissioner, in an April 26 Postmedia article.

According to that article, Menzies said that even if the CRTC, despite its new powers, decides against implementing any regulations covering user-generated content, it is still problematic that the law would now enable the regulator to do so. “They would still hold the hammer of legislative power over everyone’s head, and that would intimidate free expression. Even without conditions, people would still be speaking with the CRTC’s permission,” Menzies said, as reported by Postmedia.

In the same article, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist stated, “In a free, democratic society, we don’t subject basic speech to regulation in this way.” He added that “the idea that a broadcast regulator has any role to play in basic speech is, I think, anathema to a free and democratic society where freedom of expression is viewed as one of the foundational freedoms.”

The bill is spearheaded by Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, who has previously suggested that all media in Canada should be required to obtain a government licence. The Heritage department, in a Dec. 10 briefing note, said it must “protect Canadians online” by censoring internet posts “that target communities, put people’s safety at risk, and undermine Canada’s social cohesion or democracy.”
Guilbeault has said, in addition, that regulations should also target “hateful online content” against public officials and “the damaging effects of [this] harmful content” that diminishes public institutions as well, wrote Blacklock’s Reporter in an April 9 article on the minister’s remarks in a podcast.

Governments never take away our rights and freedoms without providing a good-sounding reason. As former British prime minister William Pitt the Younger so famously said, “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”

Pretexts for violating human rights include fighting terrorism, protecting public safety and public health, combating communism, thwarting the evil enemy country that wants to attack us, and realizing so-called utopian ideals like Germany’s lebensraum, the Stalinist workers’ paradise, and various kinds of theocracies. Currently, health and safety are the pretext for imposing pandemic measures that violate the freedoms of conscience, religion, association, and peaceful assembly, along with the Charter right to leave and re-enter Canada freely.

In this context, Guilbeault is no different from the authoritarians in other countries today, or from those who ruled in the past. He promises to “protect” Canadians by removing our right to think for ourselves and to make our own choices about what is or is not “hateful,” “harmful,” and “damaging.” This is tyranny, not protection. Social cohesion should not be defined as everyone having the same opinions as the minister does, or as everyone thinking alike.

Minister Guilbeault’s aim to stop “the damaging effects of harmful content” that ridicules politicians or diminishes public institutions is particularly frightening. Democracy depends on vigorous public debate to hold politicians accountable and to improve existing laws. Parliament, the civil service, the police, universities, and other public institutions are not diminished by criticism; they depend on it.
The passage of Bill C-10 in its current form would be a further step toward a totalitarian nightmare, where naïve and gullible citizens are “protected” by a government that treats them like cattle to be managed, rather than as human beings whose dignity and freedom are to be respected.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
Don't know if any of you are following this C10 thing, but we have managed to get it shelved temporarily while it undergoes consideration by Justice Ministry to see if it violates our rights and freedoms (it does).
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
They've brought it back and they are trying to ram it thorough into law.

I sat through a 2 hour committee meeting today while they tried to explain it. This Bill C10 is just bad and needs to be withdrawn. It brings everything a Canadian does online under the regulatory control of the CRTC. It avoids targeting the platforms and instead goes after individuals and sites like ours here. Once under the regulatory control of the CRTC , they can make any rules they want at the CRTC take sites down or to shape the discovery of content. They are talking about discovery a lot under the guise of promoting Canadian content on the Internet but it could also be used to suppress dissent or people they don't want heard while promoting their own messages. This is the real danger of C10. That they don't see this is amazing to me. The Bloc and the NDP are supporting this nightmare bill now so it will likely become law. That's horrifying.

If you are on twitter, follow @mgeist because he is on top of what's going on.
 

kyfe

TRIBE Member
Alex

I know you are passionate about this so I'll ask you to explain this in terms I understand.
how does this compare to what AUS did and if it doesn't how does it differ and what can be learned from the AUS approach to internet regulation?

I have an idea but don't know enough to comment.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
Alex

I know you are passionate about this so I'll ask you to explain this in terms I understand.
how does this compare to what AUS did and if it doesn't how does it differ and what can be learned from the AUS approach to internet regulation?

I have an idea but don't know enough to comment.
Both Canada and Australia claim they want to make the platforms pay for a variety of things, mostly for destroying many media businesses, earning money in the countries yet being run out of post boxes in Ireland. Also people now understand these platforms have high social costs like genocide, teen suicide, race, religious and culture wars.

The Australians went after them directly and they immediately started packing to leave the country. Only after global outcry did the platforms start cutting side deals for $$ with various larger Australian media companies to placate the government and put regulation on the extreme slow cook setting. It's window dressing.

Canada came out the gate with lots of bravado and anger from the Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault about how he was going to make them pay. But the law he created, called Bill C10, was written by a handful of lobbyists paid to access the minister. Lobbyists from Canada's music industry mostly. The bill does something interesting. It doesn't target the platforms at all but rather regulates the all content individual users put online. This can be text, email, posts, tweets videos.

All this content comes under the regulation of the CRTC. They apparently will evaluate the Canadian-ness of each piece of content and will somehow (how is yet to be specified) prioritize it's discovery on the Internet.

It is sort of like the CanCon on our radio airwaves, except it's the Internet. Since our government has no way to shape internet traffic on its own, it will probably use Bill C10 to instruct platforms to de-prioritize content and prioritize other content to their liking. They call this discovery. Limiting discovery of some things, boosting discovery of other things. There is no indication the platforms will comply with any of it, but they would have to if it was law or challenge it for years in court.

In our case, as an example, we might get a takedown notice for a post and be subject to fines if we don't remove it. Or have the site's discovery limited in search engines by the government. Or they might not even tell us to remove it but rather issue an order to search engines to cap discovery unbeknownst to us.

The danger here is that the CRTC is not set up for this. The government of the day could use this CRTC power differently - for example to favor one political party's content over another on the internet and social media. Once C10 passes, they wouldn't have to make new laws, the CRTC would just issue a regulation. It amounts to political control of free speech and expression. The worst part is that the nebulous nature of the CRTC makes ripe for abuse.

This bill is very dangerous and needs to be withdrawn. They have to go back to the drawing board and go after the platforms, the original, stated goal.
 
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alexd

Administrator
Staff member
This Bill is still live. The Heritage Minister has got the support of the PQ now to stifle further discussion of the bill. It's a gag order on a free speech bill, WTF. This leads me to believe that the entire purpose of Bill C10 is political. It's just a new power tool, an authoritarian powertool that is quickly becoming a reality and will be used like a club by the government.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
C10 will target all content anywhere if available in Canada with blocking orders and mandated takedowns within 24 hours. No public consultation on the bill and the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois have voted against that. This is bad.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
c10-explained.jpg
 
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