Canadian government advocates widespread use of strong cryptography ELECTRONIC FRONTIER CANADA (EFC) --- PRESS RELEASE
(For immediate release --- Thursday, November 26, 1998)

Electronic Frontier Canada opposes Internet Regulation by CRTC

Electronic Frontier Canada, this country's premier online civil liberties organization, strongly opposes regulation of content on the Internet by the CRTC. David Jones, the organization's co-founder and President, testified today in Ottawa at CRTC hearings on new media.

"The Internet has flourished in the absence of government regulation", Jones noted. "A CRTC-regulated Internet would not be desirable or constitutional."

Jones quoted from a speech given by the late Canadian Supreme Court Justice John Sopinka in November 1994. Sopinka remarked,

"We must be very careful not to unduly restrict free speech simply because it is difficult to control the illegal use of information technologies. Systems such as [the] Internet can enhance an individual's ability to promote truth, political and social participation, and self-fulfilment. Since these goals lie at the core of free speech, one might expect that it would be very difficult for the government to legitimately pass any regulations prohibiting [or limiting] the use of Internet."

(Insertions [in brackets] ours.)
"There is no need, and indeed we think no authority, for the CRTC to enforce content restrictions with respect to obscenity, hate propaganda, defamation, or copyright infringement, since these issues already fall under the Criminal Code and other laws", Jones observed.

Jones cast doubt on the CRTC's understanding of the guarantee of freedom of expression in the Charter, and discussed the CRTC's heavy-handed tactics to suppress the Dalhousie University radio station, CKDU, in 1994.

EFC is also opposed to new taxes imposed on Internet users or service providers, and to "Canadian content" laws being applied to the Internet, Jones said.

Jones read a humorous list of the "Top Ten" changes Canadians would notice if the CRTC were to begin regulating the Internet. Highlights include:

Web sites with adult content are disabled until after 9pm when the kids are in bed. To avoid chaos and confusion, all of Canada will have to adopt a single time zone.

The CRTC determines 90% of all personal home pages in Canada are not of sufficiently "high quality", and gives 60 days notice either to comply with "generally accepted audience standards", or else be shut down.

Sheila Copps creates 20 million web pages, each displaying a Canadian flag. No one visits them.


Related EFC Documents:

EFC's Oral Presentation to the CRTC "New Media" Hearing (26nov98)
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The full text of Jones' remarks, including the "Top Ten" list.

EFC's Written Submission to the CRTC "New Media" Public Consultation (29sep98)
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The full text of EFC's September written submission to the CRTC.

EFC Contact Information:

Electronic Frontier Canada

Dr. David Jones,
phone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 24689, fax: (905) 546-9995
Dr. Jeffrey Shallit,
phone: (519) 888-4804, fax: (519) 885-1208
Dr. Richard Rosenberg,
phone: (604) 822-4142, fax: (604) 822-5485

Electronic Frontier Canada's, online archives:

Related EFC Documents:

EFC's Crypto Page
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