Yesterday we examined how the Canadian government is planning to effectively outlaw internet linking by making Canadians permanently legally responsible for the content of any webpage they link to using the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act. Today we will look at how the same Act will outlaw internet anonymity.
Clause11: The existing provisions of the Code regarding the offences of sending a message in a false name and sending false information, indecent remarks or “harassing” messages (the French term “harassants” currently used in subsection 372(3) of the Code is replaced by “harcelants” in the bill) refer to certain communication technologies used to commit those offences, such as telegram, radio and telephone. Clause 11 of the bill amends those offences by removing the references to those specific communication technologies and, for some of those offences, substituting a reference to any means of telecommunication. As a result, it will be possible to lay charges in respect of those offences regardless of the transmission method or technology used.
This is an exact duplicate of the process that brought thought crimes legislation, Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, to the internet and enabled the Canadian Human Rights Commission to engage in acts that were finally ruled to be unconstitutional by the very Canadian Human Rights Tribunals that rubber stamped convictions in 100% of the cases brought before it. Only this time it is to be expanded upon and enshrined in the Criminal Code of Canada. If this Bill is passed the Canadian government can throw out the reviled Section 13 of the CHRA, they won’t need it anymore because they will have something even worse to use against us.
Look very carefully at the wording of Clause 11 above. The key word is “and” which follows the words in bold text (text not bold in orginal document). It would be bad enough if the new law proposed making it an additional offense to use a false name (an internet alias) “while” “sending false information, indecent remarks or “harassing” messages”, like using a firearm in the commission of a robbery, but this wording makes “sending a message using a false name” a stand alone crime. Think long and hard about the implications and dangers of this part of this proposed bill.
Where are internet aliases most commonly used by Canadians today? They are almost universally used in internet forums, bloggers’ comments sections, and comment sections of other websites. This law will make using an alias a crime. It is not likely they will try to prosecute everyone using an alias online but it will give the government the means to identify and criminalize anyone who writes anything the government disapproves of. Imagine an internet where Canadians were forbidden by law to speak anonymously.
Think it would never happen in Canada? Never forget what happened with the CHRC and never give those who enabled that disaster the means to do it again.
This bill must be stopped.
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