Tell your MP: Don't padlock the Internet!

UPDATE June 11 2024: Bill S-210 has been sent back to the House with ZERO fixes. This is our LAST CHANCE!

The House of Commons is days from passing Bill S-210, a dangerously broad age verification bill that would put an age lock on most of Canada's Internet and threaten every Canadian’s privacy.1

MPs have refused to hear a SINGLE witness from outside government, or consider ANY changes to this disastrous bill. Email your MP to say NO to undemocratic and extreme Bill S-210!

What’s wrong with S-210? It locks up most of the Internet, and forces adults to sign away their privacy to turn the key.  Bill S-210 is supposed to be about keeping young people from seeing adult content – but it doesn’t say anything about how much of that content needs to be accessed through a service for it to be included, or even whether the platform has to know the content is there. Any commercial organization that’s used to access explicit content is included–which would mean age and ID gating the services you use every day like Reddit, Instagram, and even Google search.2

And here’s the thing: even if you’re an adult who is able and willing to tick the box and use the gate, you’re still at huge risk. There’s no guidance in Bill S-210 about what kind of age verification is ok and what’s off limits, meaning that you could be forced by some services to upload your photo ID, scan your face, or even grant access to your social media accounts. That’s creating highly sensitive records of your activities all over the Internet linked directly to your real identity, and S-210’s only protection for you is asking thousands of websites nicely to try and delete those records when they’re done. Nobody in Canada should have to live with this, and the risks for all of us, including disproportionate risks for LGBTQ+ Canadians, are obvious.3,4🚩

There’s no penalties for companies that leak our sensitive data, but a sledgehammer for companies that reject the age gate. To enforce compliance, Bill S-210 proposes mass website blocking for sites and services that don't comply. That’s a crude tool, and likely to censor far more content than just adult material – and Bill S-210 acknowledges that, saying (in Section 9.5) that’s perfectly ok!

So if you’re an Internet company, you either accept you’re going to have to age gate your service, or start to massively over-moderate, using automated tools to remove everything from LGBTQ+ educational material to Michelangelo and the Venus de Milo - content Bill S-210 says should be left alone, but AI tools will likely block.

Bill S-210’s extreme approach is the wrong way to go. From France to Australia, when other countries have studied age verification methods, they’ve concluded the current crop of technology isn’t good enough to protect their citizens’ fundamental rights and privacy.5,6

The Internet has been a powerful platform for marginalized communities to express themselves, share experiences, and find support. Bill S-210, with its lack of nuance and enormous scope, jeopardizes these safe spaces and may stifle the voices of those who need them the most.

UnbelievablyBill S-210 has received NO serious committee study; not a single non-governmental witness was heard, and no amendments were even PROPOSED, let alone passed. Conservative MPs on the Public Safety and National Security (SECU) committee chose to filibuster rather than hear a single non-government witness explain the many problems with this bill.7 In decades of fighting for Internet privacy and freedoms, we've never seen such an important bill treated so unseriously by our representatives. 

Untested, unfixed, Bill S-210 MUST now be rejected. We need legislation that balances protecting young people with balancing everyone’s fundamental rights. Email your MP and tell them to say NO to Bill S-210’s extreme provisions!

Need a deeper read first to make up your mind? Check out our S-210 FAQ!


  1. An Act to restrict young persons’ online access to sexually explicit material - Parliament of Canada
  2. Site Blocking and Age Verification for Twitter, Instagram, Snap and Twitch?: Age Verification Lobby Confirms it Wants Bill S-210 to Cover All Social Media Sites - Michael Geist
  3. The Most Dangerous Canadian Internet Bill You’ve Never Heard Of Is a Step Closer to Becoming Law - Michael Geist
  4. What’s wrong with Bill S-210? - OpenMedia
  5. Online age verification: balancing privacy and the protection of minors - National Commission on Informatics and Liberty 
  6. Government response to the Roadmap for Age Verification - Australian Government
  7. Bill S-210 Study Without Witnesses?: Why a Conservative Filibuster May Lead to New Internet Age Verification Requirements and Website Blocking Legislation - Michael Geist

Press: Matt Hatfield | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0 | [email protected]