Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Backtracking on #C30?

A quick post on the day's the wake of the tremendous backlash to the Conservative internet surveillance legislation, the Harper crew are making noises about amendments to C-30. See "Government willing to consider changes to online surveillance bill," for example, where Conservative MPs Williamson, Anders and Tilson are cited as expressing concerns. Anders is hearing from his constituents in Calgary, the heart of Conservative country. That's likely the case for the others as well. Hope there is titanium in their spines on this issue.

Here was Harper in the House of Commons today, with his vague commitment:
"We've been very clear; we're working with provinces and police to attack problems of online pornography, child pornography. But of course we will ensure that Parliament fully studies this bill and that private life is also protected in this regard," Harper said.
And Vic Toews:
"The prime minister indicated that that would in fact be the case — that we will entertain amendments," said Toews. "But I think that the amendments have to be focused on the fact that we have a problem in respect of the proliferation of pedophilia and child pornography online. We want our laws fixed while striking the right balance when it comes to protecting privacy."
While this has the appearance of a walking back, of course the proof will be in the pudding, as they say.

Special shout out to Ann Cavoukian who is doing yeoman's work in raising the public profile of this issue:
"They're calling the bill 'Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.' Give me a break. The warrantless access does not just apply to cases of child pornography or child predators. It can apply to something that's not even a criminal activity. It's ridiculous to go to these lengths. And why are they doing it? They're doing it because they want to instil fear on the part of the public and say, 'Well, if you don't give us this bill, then all child pornographers, those predators, that's going to be on your head.' And that's what they want the public to fear," Cavoukian told Postmedia News.
Canadians like their internets, that's for sure. Early indications are that they are getting it in terms of the privacy invasions that would be in the offing should this legislation pass. Let's hope that the mailings, emails and telephone calls to MPs, Conservative members in particular, will ramp up on the part of all concerned citizens.