Canada Wants to Regulate Online Content. Critics Say It Goes Too Far.

Canada has waded into the contentious issue of regulating online content with a sweeping proposal that would force technology companies to restrict and remove harmful material, especially posts involving children, that appears on their platforms.

While the intent to better monitor online content has drawn widespread support, the bill has faced intense backlash over its attempt to regulate hate speech. Critics say the proposal crosses the line into censorship.

The bill would create a new regulatory agency with the power to issue 24-hour takedown orders to companies for content deemed to be child sexual abuse or intimate photos and videos shared without consent, often referred to as revenge porn.

The agency could also initiate investigations of tech companies and impose hefty, multimillion dollar fines. Companies would have to submit digital safety plans, including design features to shield children from potentially harmful content.

The proposal by the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meant to address “the anarchy and lawlessness” of the internet, said Arif Virani, the justice minister and attorney general.

“Right now, you can empower your kids until you’re blue in the face about the internet,” Mr. Virani said in an interview. “If there are no rules on the internet, about how things will happen, how platforms will behave, then we’ve got a problem. We’re here to solve that problem.”

Back to top button