The Canadian government must have sufficient in-house, or in-government, capacity to address and evaluate changes in the knowledge-driven economy, from a Canadian public interest perspective.
By Natasha Tusikov (Department of Social Science, York University) & Blayne Haggart (Department of Political Science, Brock University)
The Hill Times
April 05, 2021
After years of public concern about the largely unchecked spread of online hate and illegal content on social media platforms, the Canadian government is introducing new rules to govern online content. The legislation is expected to include a new regulatory body, new law enforcement powers, and the new ability to audit platforms’ algorithms—their valuable “secret sauce” that determines what users see. This legislation follows on the heels of Bill C-11 that proposes to modernize Canadian privacy law by setting controls on a data economy fuelled by the massive collection and processing of people’s personal data.
These bills are part of a rising global awareness that democratic governments have to be more active participants in governing the digital economy, a decisive move away from what has been a 40-year trend toward smaller government. Australia, for example, recently introduced legislation that would require Google and Facebook to pay media organizations for the news content used in their online search and social media services. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is signalling its intent to regulate Big Tech by nominating critics favouring anti-trust measures to break up platforms’ monopoly power to key regulatory positions.