Don’t Toews Me, Bro

I feel like I owe you an explanation.

Especially if you follow me on Twitter and want to know why in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks I felt so inclined to Tweet you all a lovely photo of my lunch today.

Remember back on January 18th when everyone participated in a blackout in protest of the American Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)?

Well, just one day without Wikipedia and the  House Judiciary Committee postponed further discussion until a better solution is figured out.  It was great to see the online community band together to protest SOPA.  And now we’re doing it again – but with an essential Canadian ingredient: passive aggression.

First, there is Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill.  The major problem with C-11 is the inclusion of a digital lock provisions.

As explained in the Montreal Gazette:

“Bill C-11 would make it illegal to break digital locks on media like DVDs and CDs, even if it is to make copies of content for backup or personal storage purposes. In some cases, critics say, it would even make it illegal to alter the format of a DVD bought in another region to enable it to play on a computer or DVD player. […] It would make it illegal to jailbreak an iPhone, or to copy a movie or DVD to your hard drive; it defines what you can and can’t do with media that you bought.”

In addition to the digital provisions, concerns also arise about what it may mean for the copying of texts for educational and research purposes by students and instructors.

Source: Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights (CCER.ca)

BIll C-11 has been slated to go to committee where it could undergo further revisions.

But what’s really heating up right now is Bill C-30 (formerly Bill C-51).

The bill has been dubbed the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act by the Conservative government, which I’m sure sounds very perplexing because who in their right mind would protest that?

You’re right: no one.  But the means to that end is the problem.

As explained by the Calgary Herald:

“The law would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to install equipment that would allow them to monitor and preserve the Internet surfing activities of their customers. The providers could then be asked by police to collect and preserve surfing data of anyone suspected in engaging in criminal activity.

[The bill] would make it easier for law enforcement authorities to activate tracking mechanisms within cellphones so they can know the whereabouts of suspected criminals. If they’re suspected of being international terrorists, the law would allow such tracking to go on for a year, rather than the current 60-day limit, according to a previous incarnation of the law introduced last year.”

That’s right.  The handing over of personal information, without a warrant.  And now your personal information is being collected and stored by the authorities.  What could go wrong?

theglobeandmail.com

Conservative MP and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who does not participate in gutter politics, has accused those in opposition to Bill C-30 as standing with the “child pornographers”.

Our fearless leader and Prime Minister, Stephen Harper – ever the beacon of party unity – followed up with: “with regard to child pornography, our party is totally against it and I encourage the NDP [opposition] to adopt the same position.”

NationalPost.com

And now, even after saying he will “entertain amendments”, our pal Vic is the receiving the brunt of the Bill C-30 backlash.

VIc wants to read through all your personal information?  Let him.  In fact, let’s help out and get started early!

That’s the reasoning between #tellviceverything and #donttoewsmebro on Twitter; if the Public Safety Minister is so concerned with our actions, let’s ensure he’s in the loop – about everything!

Twitter users (yours truly included) are copying the MP in Tweets (cc @toewsvic), and I’m given to understand others are also copying him on their personal emails, leaving him detailed voicemails, and faxing copies of their grocery lists (seriously? people still fax things?).

A step even further has been the release of Vic’s own less-flattering and personal (but already public) information into the Twittersphere by the anonymous @vikileaks30, presumably giving him a taste of his own medicine.

The drama escalates as the source of @vikileaks30 was traced to the House of Commons and the Progressive Conservatives blame their political opponents while Vic demands an inquiry. [Update: the @vikileaks30 account has voluntarily shut down with the final message “I am shutting down before any other innocent people are targeted. Please keep up the fight against #C30 Canada.”  An unaffiliated mirror account has appeared reiterating many, if not all, of the original posts: @vikileaksmirror.]

“As we have said over the last number of days, we are not interested in any details of [Toews’] private life,” said NDP MP Chris Charlton to the National Post. “His public statements are troubling enough.”

So if you’re also not a fan of potential warrantless collection of information and being lumped in with pedophiles – and are even less impressed by the unlikely case that the government will be able to keep that large store of personal information safe and confidential – make sure you sign the petition here: http://stopspying.ca/ and tell your MP.  And Mr. Toews, of course.

Actually, just tell Vic everything.

Liberal MP, Justin Trudeau