Saturday, February 18, 2012

Conservatives against online spying & other notes

There is a letter cross-posted at that has been sent to the members of the conservative Free Dominion site. It's essentially an appeal for the Conservative base to contact their MPs and encourage them to speak out against C-30.
This online spying legislation is antithetical to core conservative principles of freedom, privacy rights, and limited government. It is exactly the kind of bill that we conservatives would have fought, tooth and nail, back when we were in the Opposition.

We mustn't let partisan politics become an obstacle to doing what is right for our country.

Conservartive MPs like Tory John Williamson, David Tilson, and Rob Anders have already spoken out on this issue. We need more Conservative MPs to speak out. We need to stop this costly, invasive, and poorly thought-out legislation.

Conservative MPs can't easily ignore us—their own base. We carry incredible influence with a government we helped elect into power.
Good for them, may they have much success. Opponents of this bill, from whatever partisan stripe, need to keep up the pressure. The House of Commons isn't sitting this coming week so it's a good time for MPs to be contacted in their home ridings.

Michael Geist had a good post yesterday on this week's events: "What a Difference a Week Makes: The Fight Against Online Surveillance." He wondered about what made this week's protest different from others that don't take off and stated: "Yet this time I think there is something more happening." He expanded: "The "something more" is the Internet and how over the past month it has emerged as a powerful political force in North America and Europe." Digital issues have been successfully protested elsewhere, for e.g., with SOPA in the U.S. and the associated internet blackout that we Canadians witnessed and expressed solidarity to just recently. Lawful access seems to be our equivalent, Geist is suggesting.

There is more on the question of online protest and its success here where a professor of journalism and mass communications makes some interesting comments:
"We're constantly trying to figure out if online participation has off-line effects," LaMarre said Thursday night. "Are there meaningful consequences? We're getting mixed results. In some instances we find that there's this really strong, fat blip online -- but really, it's just catharsis. (People) are angry, and there's a huge emotional uproar (on social media) for a day or two... but it's just catharsis."

But sometimes, it isn't. Sometimes, LaMarre said, the dialogue builds and grows and digs in deep, and then you have something like the U.S. experienced with the Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial bill that was shelved after online "blackout" protests.

On the other hand, LaMarre said, despite months of stout online opposition, it wasn't until Google and Amazon and other heavyweights started indicating their support for the SOPA protests that U.S. senators began pulling their names off of the bill.

And so it goes: Some online movements take off from the grassroots and push the power brokers into action. But just as many fizzle out, their impact more uncertain, or perhaps non-existent. "We don't exactly know the trigger yet, when it lives and when it dies," LaMarre said. "Twitter will be gone before we know that. So we have to ask that question at the broader level of social media."
Lawful access is clearly one of those issues that has grown and dug in deep in Canada, it's not a fizzler. It doesn't seem possible that the Harper government will be under any illusions about that point after this week.