Westward Independent

LtE – Concerns over Bill S210

by Westward Independent
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“Right now, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) is deliberating on Bill S-210, an age verification proposal that could potentially age-gate most of the Internet. Under the guise of protecting young people, this bill proposes implementing an age gate that could require adults to surrender copies of their IDs or scans of their faces to access everyday online platforms, services, and websites. This approach is not only disproportionate but also sets a dangerous precedent for increased online surveillance. “ – Watchdog Open Media

To the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security,
Hello, I am writing to this committee to express my concern about S-210. As a user of the internet with more hours than almost anyone, I am not convinced this Bill is productive or good for either the minors it claims to help, or everyone else. This bill attempts to use age verification as a one-size-fits-all to prevent minors from accessing content that is adult. The issues are as follows.

Age verification and Privacy: Verifying the age of a user can be faked, and will be faked by minors. Pretending that using a token for authentication would prevent this is amazingly optimistic and inaccurate. Privacy is impossible when a user is asked to verify who they are, and writing “Data will be destroyed” puts the responsibility of that data security on the government staff. There is not only no trust for anyone who actually works in IT for that statement, but it is childish to place that sort of trust in any government, party, MP, or Senator. Another issue with this is that despite claiming to care about children, this bill will also tie that very same data to users, so once a minor becomes an adult the same data could put them at risk of any number of companies and organizations such as their employer.

Internet Freedom and Personal Responsibility: With this change, there is damage to the integrity of the internet and to the ability of any user to make informed decisions. Other bills have already threatened this same ability by enabling the CRTC to mandate what information is actually true and promote it as news. This bill is no different and in fact, is more than censorship in that it will allow anyone with power to demolish the life of someone else who does not. In order to protect minors from adult content responsible citizens have been using the tried and true method of parenting. The government is at best a terrible, cruel and pathetic parent.


This entire issue is parental responsibility, and this bill serves as nothing more than deciding whether citizens should be forced to comply with no privacy from the government or their associates. Personal responsibility is the very fabric of our country, or it used to be when you and I grew up. This is a direct contradiction to everything Canada is supposed to be and is utterly misinformed. As it stands nearly every single adult service has a popup warning minors that they should be of age before they continue. And while this solution is not effective, it is just as effective as the age verification this bill proposes. In direct terms then, neither solution will help the issue because the cause is a disconnect from the family structures that allow a parent to help their child grow into a properly functional but individual adult.

Data Security and Realistic Expectations: This bill made it through the House, which by itself would be shocking if individual MPs didn’t have to hire people to manage their online affairs for them. Senators, MPs and nearly all other government officials have little to no understanding of the Internet, freedom of speech on the Internet, data security, networking, basic web technologies, or any other relevant fields. Why would they speak for all Canadians when they can’t make a folder on the desktop, can they port forward? Most minors when I was growing up could. Data security is also a massive issue given the obvious corruption of the government and the fact that they are likely to be using systems from 20-40 years ago with many known and tested security flaws. How can any reasonable person expect the data collected to be used for its purpose and only its purpose when any investigations done into wrongdoing are cancelled without action? You can’t regulate the internet, because it is every medium, and it is everywhere. Even the great firewall China has can be easily bypassed. Digital IDs are in this same vein, harmful and destructive for the sake of control that is thinly veiled as protection, or convenience. Anyone who knows anything about the internet, its users, the underlying technology, or democracy should be able to see that this bill is not about minors, but rather an excuse to exert more control over the internet to the detriment of everyday citizens.

Thank you for considering my statements as an IT professional.

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