O (no!) Canada: Fast-moving Proposal Creates Filtering, Blocking and Reporting Rules—And Speech Police to Enforce Them | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

O (no!) Canada: Fast-moving Proposal Creates Filtering, Blocking and Reporting Rules—And Speech Police to Enforce Them

By Corynne McSherry and Katitza Rodriguez

Policymakers around the world are contemplating a wide variety of proposals to address “harmful” online expression. Many of these proposals are dangerously misguided and will inevitably result in the censorship of all kinds of lawful and valuable expression. And one of the most dangerous proposals may be adopted in Canada. How bad is it? As Stanford’s Daphne Keller observes, “It’s like a list of the worst ideas around the world.” She’s right.

These ideas include:

- broad “harmful content” categories that explicitly include speech that is legal but potentially upsetting or hurtful
- a hair-trigger 24-hour takedown requirement (far too short for reasonable consideration of context and nuance)
- an effective filtering requirement (the proposal says service providers must take reasonable measures which “may include” filters, but, in practice, compliance will require them)
- penalties of up to 3 percent of the providers’ gross revenues or up to 10 million dollars, whichever is higher
- mandatory reporting of potentially harmful content (and the users who post it) to law enforcement and national security agencies
- website blocking (platforms deemed to have violated some of the proposal’s requirements too often might be blocked completely by Canadian ISPs)
- onerous data-retention obligations

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