Too much information on the internet can be good and, at the same time, bad. This is why governments are considering censoring some information from their citizens. The main culprits are Canada, the UK, Europe, and the US. The relevant federal governments are in charge of enacting the censorship law. Some governments have already proposed internet censorship bills, and it is only a matter of time before they are passed into law. Here are four countries to watch as this debate takes center stage:
Canada is one of the countries to enact an internet censorship bill. The bill, dubbed c-11, is a modification of the c-10 proposed in November 2010 but failed. The main reason for failure back then is its contents could have made more sense to some people. The bill re-emerged in February 2022 as c-11 and was passed by the Canadian House of Commons. Once the bill is passed into law, it is believed to give the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the power to control what Canadians can see on Youtube and social media. This will also apply to user-generated content. One of CTRC’s criteria is inclusion and diversity in content. The bill is currently with the Canadian Senate and will be voted on in February. If it garners enough votes, then it will be debated by the Canadian parliament. There are high chances of the bill turning into law as big Tech giants such as Youtube have failed to convince the Senate to remove user-generated content from the bill.
Unlike Canada, the Uk decided to give its bill a more friendly name. The bill was introduced in May 2021 and is yet to be passed into law. The bill’s goal is to give the UK government the power to censor whatever it considers harmful. In the UK, the regulator of the bill is the Office of Communications (OFCOM) which is similar to Canada’s CTRC. Legal but harmful content was excluded from the bull back in November. OFCOM will, h however, have the power to protect quote content of democratic importance and news publishers. It also plans to do age verification to prevent minors from accessing some information. It will be a requirement for Tech companies to do a KYC for their customers.
This was passed in the summer of 2022 and may be passed into law autumn this year. It will be mandatory to share data with the government. There will also be an artificial intelligence regulation act. Monopolies will be fined in a bid to make the EU competitive. It also aims to increase innovation in the digital markets. Every EU country will have a ministry of truth to censor certain information and fuel government propaganda. Illegal information will be taken down immediately. Offenders of the bill will be banned from the Digital Services Act. It will weed out hate speech, social media crises, etc.
The US has two documents related to online censorship, the kids’ online safety act and the supreme court case. Kids will be protected from inappropriate content. The Federal Trade Commission FTC argued that parents must ensure their kids are safe online. Social media companies will have more liabilities as they will be under watch not to support any illegal activities, propaganda, or crime. Or else, they will have to deal with the supreme court according to section 230.
These bills could drastically change the way people consume the internet in these countries. Seeing that these countries are at the forefront of economic development, it will only be a matter of time before other countries join and start regulating the internet. Once these draconian bills are passed in these countries, they will get to decide what type of content will be considered inappropriate or needs to be moderated.-potentially resulting in a dystopian society with little or no freedom of expression.
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