Much has already been written about Bill C-13, the Canadian government’s omnibus legislation that is ostensibly aimed at making cyber-bullying illegal, but which also shovels in a whole bunch of unrelated stuff. Academics, journalists and privacy commissioners alike have roundly criticized it for what it is – a thinly veiled resurrection of the failed Bill C-30, which sought to give authorities all kinds of new spying powers.
C-13, or the “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act,” does actually introduce some welcome rules that would criminalize cyber-bullying. Disseminating a naked picture of someone without their permission, also often known as “revenge porn,” would – for example – be punishable by five years in jail. No one’s disputing the need for such a law.
But there’s a whole bunch of other stuff in there, including exemptions for internet providers from lawsuits for voluntarily giving customer information to authorities, that’s making a lot of people queasy. C-13 differs from C-30 in that police would still require a warrant to forcibly obtain such info, but if the companies can’t be sued by customers for giving it up, why wouldn’t they do so voluntarily?
The bill also updates some of the Criminal Code’s language, but some of those additions are utterly bizarre – not the changes in wording themselves, but the continued existence of the parts in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »