Internet Censorship Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of the house, The opposition concedes that proctecting children and to enable adults to avoid material which offends their personal & community standards should be one of the goals of the government. Having said that, we must find realistic and practical solutions in order to address this issue. Is regulating the internet the answer? Before answering this question, there are many factors to be considered. As the member of the opposition has stated, no single set of standards is appropriate to all users, how can we regulate and deem whats appropriate for one, everyone is different.
What one may find offensive on the net, others may not. By restricting the flow of information on the internet, the public will not be able to obtain every possible information which is available to them. Although there will always be certain sites which emits offensive material, it gives us a true balance of our society. By making the internet a perfect world will mislead the publics perception of our true society. Mr.
Speaker, the public should have the right to choose which kind of information he or she would like to view. The users should be given the responsibility of private censorship. Like in other cases, adults must provide children with a safe and supportive environment in which to play and learn in. This can be done by subscribing to a filtered Internet Service Provider or by installing a filtering software, it should not be required as the Honorable Prime Minister is proposing. Self-censorship should be decided by the users themselves and not regulated by the government. The Prime Minister has also maintained that there needs to be a rating authority for websites on the internet.
Mr. Speaker, although this may seem appropriate, it would be almost impossible to implement. We must remember that unlike print media, one of the advantages of having the internet is to let individuals who have no access or who cannot afford a publisher, the opportunity to be heard. With the amount of information uploaded every second onto the internet, it would be very hard for a rating authority to anaylize these uploads. If a suitable rating must be given before any information is to be displayed on the internet, webmasters would have to wait a considerable amount of time before their work can be viewed over the internet.
Mr. Speaker, as my member of opposition as stated, by banning or blocking out certain websites will result in a high social cost, this can be controlled locally, but not on a global scale. The effect would be minimal if not noticeable, and the cost of implementing this would be very high. There are no practical ways of restricting the users, in an era of extreme information fluidity in which every barrier to information can be by passed in several ways will make it very hard for the government to make such a restriction on the internet. Any knowledgeable user can log online and use a different proxy server to by pass these barriers. The Minister of the Crown has expressed there are harmful informations available on the internet which should be regulated. Getting information, such as instructions to build a bomb can certainly cause harm to the public if it is in the wrong hands.
However we must realize that by taking such information off the internet will not be the answer. These harmful information can be obtained through many other mediums. Mr. Speaker, information of how to build a bomb can be obtained at your local library, banning certain information on the internet will not be the solution. Stopping and capturing individuals who present harm to the society should be the issue, it would be ignorant to name the Internet as the scapegoat.
As for regulating copyright materials on the internet, the government has not proposed any practical and realistic ways to go about this. Problems for the protection of the rights of the different industries, be it music, print and so on, should be addressed. But once again, The Crown presents a false image to the public, regulating the internet to uphold copyright will not solve the problem at hand. Mr. Speaker, the internet presents a minicul porportion of illegal reproductions.
The problem of illegal reproduction and distribution has been an issue since Cassette recorders, Video recorders and photocopiers have been available to the public. The internet is not a new medium but an extension of the old. Owners of cassetter recorders and video recorders far outweight the owners of computers with internet access. The is a need to address this issue as a whole, and pointing directly to the internet is misleading. The Minister of the Crown has also brought up an interesting problem of Online gambling. She has maintained that this would result in a new generation of gamblers.
Once again, the Crown has used the internet as a scapegoat. Gambling problems which our society faces today can be more attributed to recently barrages of Casino openings. Mr. Speaker, have you noticed how many Casinos have been built in Ontario lately? How can we address the issue of gambling problems when the government is creating them by building Casinos? The Crown has also proposed a taxing internet commerce. The opposition concedes that tax revenue may be lowered due to online purchases, but we must look at the bigger picture.
Online sales or E-Commerce has a great deal of upside for our economy, it creates more jobs and it gives small companies the opportunity to reach the global market. By imposing a tax on the internet would hurt the growth of E-Commerce and perhaps hurt the internet and the economy. Sales of merchandise on the web could plummet if consumers were forced to pay sales taxes According to Dr. Goolsbee an economic professor at University of Chicago. Many of the companies that engage in commerce over the Internet do not have to be physically located in the United States.
If we impose taxes that reduce their business, companies will move to locations that do not tax them. Given the huge growth of Internet-related jobs that we are projected to see in the next few years, any measure that would cause a loss of these jobs would hurt the entire economy. We must remember that the internet is not a broadcast or mass media, it is a bidrectional, point to point, global communications network. Unlike the television, or print, offensive material will not just pop up on the screen, the user has to make the attempt of searching for these materials before they are to be displayed on the screen. Bibliography None.