Our government is promising to pass sweeping legislation on ‘harmful content’ on the Internet soon — but if they pass their current proposal, it will be an absolute disaster for our freedom of expression and human rights.1
Under their current proposal, vast numbers of our lawful online posts could be scrubbed from the Internet, including those encouraging participation in protests, raising the alarm about graphic human rights abuses, humour and satire, consensual sexual expression, and more.
Why? Because our government’s current proposed system harshly penalizes any online platform that fails to proactively detect and remove actually illegal content within 24 hours – and all our legitimate posts will be so much collateral damage. What’s even worse, the government has proposed reporting all these posts directly to CSIS and the RCMP - creating an unprecedented surveillance database of lawful user speech in Canada.
You can have fast content moderation, or you can have fair content moderation, but you can’t have both. And the aggressive removal algorithms and cursory human moderation the government is forcing on us in this proposed system will be far from fair.2
But right now, we have a once in a generation opportunity to reform this proposal. Stung by global condemnation of previous Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s harmful content proposal, Prime Minister Trudeau’s new mandate letter for Heritage instructs Minister Rodriguez to develop and introduce legislation that “reflects the feedback” received during recent consultations.3,4
How much will the disastrous proposal we saw last year improve? Only as much as continued pressure from ordinary people in Canada like YOU forces it to!
If you haven’t already, tell Minister Rodriguez that Canada’s harmful content proposal MUST be thoroughly revised BEFORE he proposes draft legislation.