#CyberFLASH: Omnibus Bill C-13 tackles cyberbullying by eroding digital privacy

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Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, was developed in response to the recent tragic suicides of Canadian teens as a result of online bullying and harassment. Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons serve as reminders of the destructive power of cyberbullying. This bill is an omnibus piece of legislation that plans to criminalize forms of cyberbullying while slipping through provisions that would expand police surveillance. Despite calls to split the bill into cyberbullying and lawful access parts, the debate is moving forward on the two separate issues: how to reduce the worst forms of cyberbullying, and our rights in the digital age.

Bill C-13 makes it a crime to knowingly share intimate images of a person without explicit consent for distribution from the subject. According to Member of Parliament Charmaine Borg, New Democratic Party (NDP) Critic for Digital Issues, “[This clause is] widely supported from all sides of the house regardless of the party colour […] but the main problem with this bill is that there are only three pages on cyberbullying and the rest is essentially about lawful access.”

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