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Canada’s Pirate Party plans protests against Internet regulation
At issue are two controversial bills comparable to the Stop Online Piracy Act in the U.S. and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
Two months after a number of U.S.-based websites went on a massive and successful blackout to protest American legislation that could harm the Internet, Canada’s holding its own protest for Internet rights.
But this one might not have the same impact.
The actual legislation Canadians are upset with could have dire implications. Protesters have three major concerns: two pending bills, C-11 and C-30, plus the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which both the U.S. and Canada have already signed.
Some Canadians fear that C-11, Canada’s Copyright Monetization Act, could be changed in ways to allow the government to block certain websites, similar to the reviled Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S.
C-30, on the other hand is a “dramatic and dangerous attempt to leverage online service providers as agents of state surveillance,” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It would give Canadian police the ability to get private customer data from Internet service providers without a warrant.
The protest is organized by Canada’s Pirate Party, and it appears both ambitious in scope and hastily planned. It was originally scheduled for March 24, but on Tuesday, organizers pushed it back a week so it would coincide with a protest against government corruption.
To be fair, this proposed protest is a completely different animal from the online strike in January. The Pirate Party’s Facebook page, which it uses to mobilize activists, makes no mention of blacking out websites. Instead, it wants physical protesters to march and hand out flyers in 11 of Canada’s biggest cities.
In general, Canadian opposition to these bills appears to not be as unified as the American protests.
Open Media, a Canadian free-Internet advocacy group, is working completely independently from the Pirate Party. Its online petitions against C-30 and C-11 have gathered over 119,000 and 63,000 signatures, respectively.
A representative for Open Media said that while the organization supports the Pirate Party’s initiative, she told the Daily Dot she’s “not confident in the turnout” for the physical protest.
Photo via The Pirate Party/Facebook
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.