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Canada Ottawa lays out proposal for digital safety watchdogs to crack down on hate online

20:47  29 july  2021
20:47  29 july  2021 Source:   globalnews.ca

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As speculation mounts about a possible fall election, the federal government is laying out a proposal for a new digital safety commission that will have the power to regulate hateful content online.

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The proposal specifically targets major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pornhub under a new legal category that deems them “online communications service providers” and under the authority of a new Digital Safety Commission.

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That would place a new obligation on those providers to remove five categories of hateful content and review complaints within 24 hours. The new regulator would also get a last-ditch power to apply for court orders to have telecommunications companies block access to platforms that persistently refuse to remove child sexual exploitation or terrorist content.

READ MORE: Liberals introduce bill to fight online hate with Criminal Code amendments

Speaking in a technical briefing with reporters on Thursday morning, government officials pointed to the violent attacks on a mosque in Quebec City in 2017 and the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019 as examples where individuals were radicalized by content online or where social media companies failed to remove content related to the attacks.

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The proposal outlined Thursday is being put forward for consultation. Legislation is expected this fall.

The five categories of harmful content covered under the proposed new powers will draw on offences already defined under the Criminal Code: hate speech, child sexual exploitation content, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, incitement to violence, and terrorist content.

Officials said the definition of hate speech would match that proposed under legislation to amend the Criminal Code which has not yet passed, Bill C-36.

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That legislation defines "hatred" as "the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain" and that is "motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor."

That definition specifically excludes content that "discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends."

Polling done by Ipsos exclusively for Global News last year suggested 88 per cent of Canadians believe more needs to be done to prevent and remove hateful and racist content from social media platforms.

As well, 82 per cent said they believe social media firms should be mandated to inform law enforcement of any posts that spread hate or racism, with 80 per cent saying they want to see more regulation of those platforms in Canada.

More to come

Letters to the editor: 'Let us not allow bilingualism to trump competency' .
Good luck to our ‘admirably suitable’ new Governor General Re: Box-ticking diversity appointments aren’t the only way for Ottawa to represent a diverse Canada, Tasha Kheiriddin, July 20; Bilingualism is the enemy of Ottawa’s inclusivity agenda, Chris Selley, July 21; Canada’s self-esteem problem, Conrad Black, July 24; French not required, Letters to the editor, July 23; and Mary Simon language debate highlights tensions between bilingualism and inclusivity, Rupa Subramanya, July 21 Tasha Kheiriddin points out that Mary Simon is not “perfect.

usr: 6
This is interesting!