VICTORY: Canadians Killed Harper’s Internet Surveillance Bill C-30

by Obert Madondo The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 12, 2013:

Anonymous Activists in LA. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Anonymous Activists in LA. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s Internet surveillance Bill C-30 is dead. The demise of the deceptively christened Protecting Children From Internet Predators Act is a victory for the Internet. For Canadian democracy. For Canadians. Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson confirmed it yesterday when he announced that the Conservatives won’t be pursuing the adoption of the police-state-style online surveillance legislation.

According to the CBC News, Nicholson said:

We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30, including the warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems.

And yet, the corporate media tried to credit the Conservatives for the demise of the bill. The Globe and Mail says: Harper government killing controversial Internet surveillance bill. The Montreal Gazette: Conservatives killing off controversial Internet surveillance bill. The CBC News: Government killing online surveillance bill. National Post: Conservatives kill controversial Internet surveillance bill.

But then, you read the stories behind their headlines and the truth stares you right in the face. For example, the CBC News quotes Nicholson saying the legislation “won’t go ahead due to opposition from the public.” Even more to the point, the minister admits: “We’ve listened to the concerns of Canadians who have been very clear on this and responding to that.”

Canadians FORCED the Conservatives to listen.

It began early early last year, when Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews, attacked the Internet and Canadians when he introduced Bill C-30 in Parliament.  The “ugly Canadian” he is, Toews threatened our right to online privacy and to a host of individual freedoms. The backward-looking and anti-democratic legislation sough to grant the police unprecedented powers to acquire the whole nine yards of an Internet user’s online identity – including name, address, email address and telephone number. It would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to install surveillance equipment on their networks, and keep records of their customers’ activities. And, of course, the legislation would allow the police to obtain this information without a warrant.

During debates in Parliament, Toews told MPs who opposed the bill that they were with child pornographers?

Canadians got really upset and employed the lethal muscle of the social media to strike back. From numerous online fronts. On the Twitter front,  we told Vic Toews everything through the #TellVicEverything hashtag. Canadian netizens spoke out through creative videos,  rantsLOL memes and parodies.

Adam Carroll, a Liberal Party of Canada staffer, launched the #Vikileaks feed. The Conservatives dragged him before the parliamentary Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. They hoped to crucify him. Make him an example for all of us who may dare challenge the excesses of abused political power. But Carroll stood his ground. Watch:

Ontario’s Information & Privacy Commissioner put this letter writing tool at our disposal.

Finally, hacktivist collective, Anonymous, joined the assault and called on Harper to scrap the legislation. In one of its numerous messages of solidarity with Canadian activists, the group told Harper and Toews:

You claim this bill is to protect children from internet predators. All this legislation does is give your corrupted government more power to control its citizens. Anonymous will not stand for this.

For Lindsey Pinto, the communications manager of Internet Freedom group, Open Media, credit is due to Canadians. Canadians and their anti-Bill C-30 online campaigns. These, she tells INews880, forced the Harper Conservatives to have abandon the anti-democratic legislation:

This is largely due to Canadians coming together as a public and making their voices heard and nothing could have happened without that happening so we’re glad that Canadians feel empowered to be part of the political process and we at openmedia.ca will continue to work to make sure that remains to be the case.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians signed online petition sponsored by Openmedia.ca.

Canadians responded with such overwhelming online firepower that even with their unassailable majorities in the House of Commons and Senate, the Conservatives could not stand the heat. Canadians killed Bill C-30. Period!

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.