By Jonas Gagnon
If you’ve been on the internet in the last couple of months you probably saw the SOPA debacle down in the States.
If you haven’t been barraged by internet activists SOPA, an acronym for stop online piracy act, gave the American government sweeping powers to block access to sites, and criminalized the viewing of watching copyrighted videos online.
The sweeping nature of the bill had everyone from Wikipedia to libraries up in arms, not to mention the legions of hackers and everyday people that use the internet. The public outcry seems to have halted it from going any further.
The reason I bring this up is because now Canada’s government is seeking to makesit’s voice heard in the halls of the internet through Bill C-30. Only our government is using child pornography as a boogie man to get everyone to give the government a back door they could use to gather information about Canadians online without a warrant.
If you’ll recall a couple weeks ago Joe Oliver made some comments to the effect that all the people against the pipeline are extremists or foreigners. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews took a page out of Oliver’s book in defending the new bill, telling another member of parliament he “can either stand with us, or with the child pornographers.
There’s a couple reasons why I bring all this disparate mix of laws and conservative rhetoric up.
SOPA and Bill C-30 have two different focuses, but the means are the same: gaining some government mandated control over the internet. Not only is this extremely unpopular, but it’s also near impossible.
When the American government tried to gain some control over the internet, the whole world got involved. International groups and sites set to protesting as soon as news got out. Wikipedia went dark for a day just to make a point. Because we’re a smaller nation, and make less of a splash internationally, bill C-30 hasn’t seen the same international infamy, but it still remains that the internet seems to be held by the general populace as an area where the government should not put boundaries.
Because of that desire there are always ways to slip around imposed fences, and browse the internet as you please. Information finds it’s way through cracks that no one had anticipated. This means the only people the government will really successfully spy on will be those who don’t know, and don’t care, about online malfeasance. They’re trying to sift through the ocean with their hands, and it won’t be successful; at least not the way they see it. It may however be successful in giving the government plenty of information about people doing mundane things on the internet: another pile of useless information to plow through, taking up time and resources.
And second, the rhetoric from this government is like that of a child, or a youtube commenter (and if you’ve read youtube comments you know that’s the lowest forum for debate in the world, sillier even then a kindergarten playground at lunch time). Twice this government has reduced valid conversations down to, ‘if you don’t agree with us you must be evil.’ Not only does that make our government seem inept, it’s a serious step in the direction of creating an inept government.
Our government is based on intelligent conversation, on anybody who wants it to have their say. Rhetoric like that above serves only to stifle conversation.
And finally, well, Bill C-30 seems to contradict everything the Conservatives want to do. They say they want less government, so they scrap the long gun registry completely and do away with the mandatory long form census, only to put forward a bill to push the government into the private lives of its citizens.