About that ‘cyber-bullying’ bill

The hashing out of C-13


A week ago, the Harper government introduced, in its own words, “legislation to address criminal behaviour associated with cyberbullying.”

That seems basically to be true: C-13 does, indeed, deal with the issue of cyber-bullying. It’s just that it would seem to also address other matters.

The Chronicle-Herald’s Paul McLeod here and here, the CBC’s Andre Mayer here, Postmedia’s Tobi Cohen here and the Canadian Press here all review the contents of the bill. Parts of C-13 harken somewhat to C-30, the lawful access legislation that went away after Vic Toews said that unfortunate thing he said.

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist offers his thoughts on C-13 here, here and here. The editorial boards of the Globe, Star and Chronicle-Herald explain their concerns.

The bill will come before the House for its first day of debate this afternoon after Question Period. Here presumably is where a committee study should be valuable. A review from the privacy commissioner might also provide some objective consideration.


About that ‘cyber-bullying’ bill

  1. Maybe at some point, proponents of the laws on cyber bullying will ask the Conservatives why they can’t just create a simple bill that would be supported by the Opposition rather than loading it up with unrelated poison pills that will unnecessarily delay or defeat its passage. If it was my issue I’d be some pissed at them for playing politics with this.

    • I owe you an apology tobyornotoby from yesterday. You will have to excuse me, because im not completely aware of who all the players who are here yet. Some people here are not to happy with my progressive comments at times, I thought it may have been a jab at me personally. I will be taking a closer look at who the players are here from this point on and correct that mistake. I will be passing the same apology to fred talk the next time is see him here too. I hope you accept my apology. that’s what liberal people, who make mistakes, do, is correct them and move on.

      • BURN THE COMMIE!!!

      • Glad to see it’s also a Liberal trait to only feel it necessary to be a decent human being to people who are your ideological brethern.

        • Think about that comment in regards to Nigel Wright and Stephen Harper.
          Kind of a warm and fuzzy moment, isn’t it.

        • Whereas disingenuously shouting “CARBON TAX!” at full voice while pointing an accusing finger is a token of courtesy and respect for one’s ideological adversaries?

          • I see that nobody apologized when that “progressive” poster talked about the joys of killing Francien the other day. I don’t often agree with Rick, but in this case he has a point.

          • Didn’t see that comment but this whole thread is absurd. We’re now responsible for each other’s etiquette on comment boards? How silly is that?

          • My point was that the person who made the comment did not apologize in the least, even when it was pointed out to this person that perhaps his/her comment might have been a tad offside. I wasn’t expecting others to apologize or implying that anyone else was responsible.

          • Then, instead of complaining that “nobody” apologized, maybe you should direct your concern to that individual. That’s what the “reply” button is for.

          • He does have a point but if he wears a touque no one will notice.

          • You seem to have missed the qualification that the apology is proffered when a mistake is made.

            My understanding of the pickle-barrel comment was that the only mistake made was you getting your knickers in a twist that somebody would express their frustration in a form that obviously wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.

    • Having read the bill, in this case I think it’s the opposition and media playing with it.

      Yes, some of powers of C-30 are back in there with respect to powers of search and seizure by police, but, unlike C-30, no information need be given to police without a warrant.

      Yes, companies receive immunity from criminal and civil suits for giving information to police. However nothing compels them to do so without a judicial warrant. If you don’t like that your company might, choose one that won’t.

      The only parts of this bill which I find troubling are the imposition of criminal charges for the breaking of civil contracts. If I violate my contract with Sony, for instance, and let my friend use my PSN account at my home then I am not just breaking my contract with Sony, but I am committing a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison under this law.

        • Yes. Immunity is given without a court order to providers who voluntarily decide to hand over information/evidence to the authorities. However, the police have no ability to *compel* evidence be given without a court order. In C-30, police could simply demand ISP’s provide information without any judicial oversight at all.

          • That’s how i read it too. But given it is the Harper govt’s job to watch out for us and ensure the cops or the authorities really do offer up a voluntary option, you’ll forgive me if i remain skeptical.

      • My understanding is that the bar for a warrant is much lower for wireless than it has been historically for other warrants such as wiretaps. Reasonable cause to suspect (what is that?) vs. reasonable cause to believe. No?

        • I’ve seen that reported, yes. But personally, I really don’t know what, if any, difference that meaning has, because in all instances it’s “reasonable cause to suspect/believe that a crime has been or will be committed”.

          Is there a really a significant difference between a suspicion that a crime will be committed as opposed to a belief that it will be? I mean, maybe I’m missing something, but it seems that the two terms are essentially synonymous, especially when talking about something negative, such as a crime, occurring.

          ie, A suspicion, to my mind, is simply a belief about a negative event.

          • I don’t know because I’m not a lawyer, but it does definitely imply a lower threshold. I could for instance have a reasonable suspicion that my car was stolen if the garage door is open and there’s no car in it, but I’m not going to have reason to believe it until I’ve asked my wife and kids if they have it.

            Why use language that is different from the other references in the criminal code and case law if it’s supposed to have the same meaning?

          • Except, if it’s a reasonable suspicion, it’s a reasonable belief, is it not?

            I mean, it’s *reasonable* to believe that your car was stolen, but it’s also reasonable to believe that your wife or kids had it. Holding both beliefs at the same time is entirely reasonable, but only one of them is correct. Which is why you need to seek out additional information from your wife and kids. And this is exactly what a warrant is used for–to acquire additional information.

            As to why use different language, I don’t know. But given the record of the CPC so far, I’d tend to assume this was in ignorance before malice.. if only because they haven’t shown evidence of being bright enough to be this subtle with malice.

          • You really can’t tell the difference between suspicion and belief?

          • When they’re about a possible future negative event.. no. Pray tell what’s the difference?

    • I’ll let you in on a secret. The government doesn’t care about cyberbullying. It is just using cyberbullying as a screen for the real purpose of the bill, to allow unrestricted government monitoring of private communication on the internet. But the screen gives the government the ability to criticize opponents of the bill as heartless monsters that want gay teens to kill themselves.

      • I think you’ve twisted the tinfoil too tight. There’s *nothing* in the bill that allows that.

        Not to mention that if our government really wants unrestricted monitoring of private communication, we’ve already seen plenty of evidence that they’re not going to let legislation stand in their way anyway.

        • Sure there is. They’re giving ISPs cover for violating their privacy policy, on the understanding that all ISPs can be induced to share info. I’m fairly certain all the big ISPs would willingly share data. The smaller ISPs could be compelled, too.

          • Oh! I didn’t realize that you’re not only wearing a tinfoil hat, but that you use it to tune in your crystal ball and read the thoughts of every ISP management team out there.

            It is a shame that not a single ISP in existence, now, or at any time in the future, in Canada would consider *not* providing information as a selling point they could use to a competitive advantage – but hey.. who can argue with the tinfoil-hat tuned crystal ball.

          • Wouldn’t this legislation provide immunity for lying about not providing data? They can all claim to not share information, and then share it secretly, while maintaining civil immunity.

          • Sure. Civil immunity. Tell me, what do you think happens to your customer base, and thus your business, if that’s what you’re billing yourself as and it gets found out?

          • They switch to another ISP doing the same thing?

          • If there’s anything we should take away from the year 2013 on the topic of government surveillance, it is that you can never be too paranoid. It turns out reality was much worse than even most pessimists/cranks suspected at the beginning of this year.

          • As I said. The government doesn’t need legislation to do that, as we’ve seen.

            And this particular legislation doesn’t enable that, your crystal balls notwithstanding.

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