There’s something rotten in the Great White North.
Recently the Conservative Party of Canada, who have a majority in Parliament, introduced the controversial Bill C-30 – the non-hyperbolically named Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. The bill would require, among other things, that Internet service providers surrender customer information (such as name, address, IP address, etc.) to police without being presented with a warrant. The bill received wide spread criticism for the lack of oversight in the new powers that it granted police, or anyone the government deemed appropriate to gather such data.
When faced with the criticism of his bill Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said opponents could “either stand with us or with the child pornographers.” The Internet did not take kindly to this.
His absurd statement resulted in protests that took two very different approaches.
The first was @VikiLeaks30; a Twitter account which has since been deleted. This Twitter account tweeted information about Toews personal life as gleaned from documents relating to his divorce. I’m not too fond of this approach. While the information shared was a) publicly available, and b) somewhat on topic (at least as far as it demonstrates an invasion of privacy which the bill also does) it’s still a bit too sleazy for my tastes and lowers the level of discourse – I realize accusing people of supporting child pornographers isn’t exactly high minded debate either, but that’s no reason to lower ourselves. As such I’m not going to really delve into it too much here. You all know how to use Google anyways if you’re really interested.
The second, and far more amusing, is #TellVicEverything. Toew’s Twitter account has been flooded with tweets detailing every mundane thing about people’s lives. Users figured that since Toews didn’t respect their privacy and wanted to know what they were up to that they’d give him what he wanted. In excruciating detail.
As you can see politicians, and even the media, couldn’t help themselves from joining in.
The hashtag has been trending in Canada for the past few days and even trended world wide briefly. Other ways to contact Toews were quickly distributed tying up his phone line and filling his inbox.
All in all I think I have to agree with
This is the reason the protest has been so successful – and it has been insofar as it’s recieved widespread attention media attention in the country. There’s something so deliciously Canadian about this protest. It’s passive aggressive, deceptively polite, full of dry humour, and slightly absurd. We want to show him how angry we are and call him a jackass, but that would be rude. So, instead we’ll use Twitter as god intended and talk about our lunches and commutes! I don’t mean to deride #TellVicEverything, I honestly love it, but it’s something I’m not sure would work anywhere outside of Canada.
Whether this backlash means that the Conservatives will back down, which they’re showing signs of, is yet to be seen.