Monday, March 12, 2012
March 12 marks the annual World Day Against Cyber Censorship. Started by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Amnesty International in 2008, the day is an opportunity to advance and celebrate a free Internet as an open window to the world and denounce the attacks made on the free flow of information online. To coincide with the World Day Against Cyber Censorship, RSF has launched its annual “Enemies of the Internet” report. Although in Canada we do not face the same type of Internet blackouts or direct online censorship and takedowns as many other countries, this does not mean that we can be complacent, or that we do not have reason for concern. There are currently two major pieces of legislation that serve as a threat to Canada’s Internet freedom: Bill C-11 (Copyright Act) and Bill C-30 (Protecting Children Against Internet Predators Act). Similar to the recent threats that were posed by the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protecting Internet Predators Act (PIPA) in the United States, Bill C-11 is geared towards copyright protection and preventing piracy. The problem with the extreme measures being proposed for the enforcement of these regulations is that it makes it incredibly easy for any website to be quickly taken down on the basis of copyright infringement. Sites could be blocked directly through the ISP, without any verification if it is indeed a copyright infringement, or the chance for the problematic content to be removed. This, along with Bill C-30, the government’s Lawful Access legislation that aims to legalize digital surveillance without a warrant, highlights the current threats to free expression online right here within Canada’s borders. While the Internet can be seen to be providing users with access to information and free expression; it can also serve as a tool for oppression. Help CJFE mark the World Day Against Cyber Censorship in Canada by signing the petitions below, and telling the Canadian government that Internet freedom matters to you.