Michael Geist considers new “rules of the road” as lawful access legislation potentially reshapes Canada’s Internet

The lnternet legislation that has been tabled federally, and described so well by Michael Geist in the November 14th, 2010 edition of the Toronto Star, provides important new “rules of the road” that will be hotly debated. Michael provides an important service by clearly presenting excellent summaries of important issues in the online world and his recent column is no exception.

Toronto Star
Lawful access legislation would reshape Canada’s Internet
By Michael Geist
Internet Law Columnist

The Toronto Star
Sunday, November 14, 2010

As Board Chair of the Kids’ Internet Safety Alliance (KINSA), I can certainly support the legislation, subject to a good debate, as it moves through committee discussions. Among other goals, most of the legislation’s provisions strike at the heart of being able to quickly identify and track those who destroy the lives of our children by luring and/or exploiting them online while displaying their sick abuse in action. Many companies with vested interests, and some of the general public, will decry the legislation while using “invasion of privacy” as their screen. But a civilized society needs new “rules of the road” to combat the downside of new technologies. We have had these new “rules of the road” debates many times before, ever since the development of the printing press and probably before then. I am sure we all remember the cries of “invasion of privacy” when seat belt rules were introduced … a simple example, but one of many. We test and license our drivers so we know who they are and where they live, another “invasion of privacy”.

Like all legislation, this legislation needs effective debate and study, but let’s remember the need to “minimize the downside” as we also celebrate the upside of the Internet and its future evolution. One “downside” is the rapid growth of today’s estimated one million crime scene images circulating on the Web of children as they are actually being sexually abused. It’s a horrible image to even mention but not as terrible as the inerasable experience being lived by our children. The images will circulate for years on the Internet while the abuse will forever change the lives of the abused.

Leave a Reply