Well. If this is one tenth as serious as Macleans is making it out to be, I could be in for a world of hurt by pointing to hate-filled fuckers and laughing at them. Harper’s omnibus legal reform bills evidently slip into law two incredibly wrong-headed and speech-squelching internet laws restricting hyperlinking and pseudonymity.
Clause 5 of the bill provides that the offences of public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred may be committed… by creating a hyperlink that directs web surfers to a website where hate material is posted.
That’s just stunningly ignorant. Let’s put aside the ridiculous leap of reason that equates linking to something with saying something, and instead direct our attention to the sheer stupidity of this law on technological grounds. Namely, we usually do not have control of the things we link to. They can change. So if something I link to later becomes “hate material” then I will suddenly be guilty of a hate crime. Any sound legal advice in a country where such a law exists would be to stop using hyperlinks entirely, as they present too great a liability. And that would sort of kind of make the Internet itself illegal.
…regarding the offences of sending a message in a false name (via) 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.
Wow. No “false names” on the Internet (or through telegrams, which bothers me less). Real names only kids—that’ll thwart the perverts!
On top of the Lawful Access reforms, which allow police to demand info from ISPs without warrants, and the usual gamut of hate speech and child porn reforms designed practically to ensure that everyone must vote for these otherwise onerous laws lest they be painted as kiddie fiddlers and hatemongers, this omnibus law turns pretty much every blogger in Canada into an enemy of the state. If you merely link to someone to point out their stupidity in promoting and promulgating hate, you could be a criminal. If someone changes the destination URL into something hate-filled, you could be a criminal. If you post something without using your real name (the only count I don’t stand to get disappeared over, thank goodness), you could be a criminal.
No wonder Harper wants to spend whatever’s left over from tax breaks for the rich, and those F-35s, on megajails. What say we all meet up in cell block C6 and trade cigarettes and play poker while we reminisce about the good old days when people could fucking well blog without being criminals?
This law is awe-inspiring in its complete lack of comprehension about how the internet works. Even though Lawful Access was originally written as a Liberal bill, it should never have stood muster, and it’s incumbent on any so-called Conservative to keep from criminalizing a whole class of harmless and blameless actors in this country.