Successive governments have tried to fashion laws to make the internet a safer place for Canadians.
And failed. For good reason.
The government’s own research shows that Canadians reject the idea of placing limits on — or regulating — what is said online. They’ve ignored their own research, and promised new laws to protect Canadians from content that elected representatives and regulators (unelected bureaucrats) decide contain unacceptable views, or that re-state what’s already in the Criminal Code. And platforms will be required to implement proactive mechanisms — artificial intelligence algorithms to examine every image, post and message — to identify and block objectionable content.
People asking for government protection from disagreeable Internet content might not realize that the only way platforms can identify illegal or hurtful text and images is by inspecting all content, including their own. Whether it’s examined while still on the device before it’s sent, or on the platform’s system, being able to do that requires undermining encryption.
If you’re wondering why you should care, it’s simple:
Encryption has allowed us to put our personal, professional, and organizational matters online with the confidence of knowing that we can choose who sees what, when.
Encryption is the foundation of digital privacy — the choice of whether, when, and with whom you share your thoughts, your images, or information about you — and it’s the foundation of democracy, economic stability, national security, and freedom.
Without encryption, our lives are an open book that can be read behind our backs, without our knowledge.
To help understand how something that sounds so good — regulating Internet content to protect children and vulnerable people — can be so dangerous to them and to you, your career, and your life, we’ve created the following to give you a better idea of how important encryption is to privacy. And how laws to regulate Internet content would undermine that foundation.
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