I thought I would begin this column by stating that I do not know much about politics, nor do I pretend to. What I do happen to know very well, as a young person with both a Facebook and Twitter account, is the amount of personal information these users give up at every hour, minute and second of the day. It is for this reason that I happen to find the increasingly popular debate about Bill C-30 and privacy so confusing.
I am not going to lie; I am not above this incessant need to post about what I am doing at any given moment of any given day. I have publicly disclosed my fair share of information that some would deem private to my hundreds of Facebook friends, unsure of where this information could end up and who could view it. Think about it, if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, I’m sure you’re just as guilty as me. Don’t deny it—you know you are.
It is crazy to think that just by scrolling down your own news feed that you are privy to so much personal information about people you may not even really know—the majority of who were probably added after a drunken night at a party you don’t even remember attending. Peruse your own news feeds; you’ll see what I mean. We are so willing to post our own personal information, unsure of exactly where this information could reach, that it confuses me of why legislation like Bill C-30 is so threatening to the privacy and security of Canadian citizens, especially young Canadian citizens.
What is Bill C-30 you might be wondering? Well, if you happen to be someone like me who doesn’t read the newspaper as religiously as I should, let me fill you in on what is going on.
Bill C-30 is the proposed legislation, by Conservative Public Safety Miniter Vic Toews, that will require telecommunication service providers (TSPs) to allow access to your personal information upon request by police without a warrant. It will also require these TSPs to organize your information so that it is easier to be intercepted and delivered to authorized individuals. This interception of information is not only limited to your information stored on your computer but also information on your mobile and smart phones like phone calls and texts.
The information this Bill is going to authorize telecommunication companies to hand over is called “basic subscriber information”. This includes your name, your address, your phone number, your email address and the name of your service provider. Funny, is this not the basic information that is required to activate a Facebook or Twitter account? And is most of this information not already displayed on any given Facebook or Twitter profile page?
In regards to the passing of Bill C-30, what the public is most concerned about is the ease of police and government officials to be able to create a profile on us based on our internet footprint. But don’t Facebook profiles and Twitter account not already do just that? Along with our status updates, personal information like our date of birth, our location, our sexual preference, our religious and our political views, are we not already packaging up ourselves and gift wrapping it with a nice red bow?
With the increasingly popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter, young people are constantly keeping everyone “in the know” of what they are doing at every second of every day. So what is this big debacle about the government and the police having easier access to our information? Young people are already very willing to give up every little detail of our lives in order to get others to comment and like what we post. If you happen to be one of these young people who are outraged with the proposed Bill C-30, think about that next time you go to your Facebook or Twitter page to update your status.