Bill to restrict internet wrong approach: experts

Joy Smith, a Conservative MP representing Kildonan-St. Paul, introduced her proposed clean internet act, or Bill C-427, which would allow the government new powers while imposing restrictions and penalties on internet users and operators. The bill's full name is: "An act to prevent the use of the internet to distribute child pornography, material that advocates, promotes or incites racial hatred, and material that portrays or promotes violence against women." The bill's provisions would grant the industry minister special powers to search data as well as the ability to order an internet service provider to block access to content deemed inappropriate. It would force ISPs to exclude service to convicted offenders, and leave company officials facing jail time for failing to comply with some provisions.

While the goals are largely admirable, the approach is wrong-headed, some experts say. "This is not well thought out. I don't think anything is going to happen with this bill given how it's inconsistent with the government's approach," said Ottawa University law professor Michael Geist. The bill even includes an ISP licensing system "that is so broad, it would include even a local store with a Wi-Fi connection." Sam Punnett, a consultant who has advised governments on formulating internet policies, echoed Geist's concerns. "The sentiment's right, but the practicality is out to lunch," said Punnett, president of Toronto-based FAD Research Incorporated.

News source: CBC News

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