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Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop more online censorship laws

(LifeSiteNews) — On October 23, the Republic of Ireland and the European Commission signed an administrative arrangement with online regulators to enforce the new Digital Services Act (DSA) on Big Tech companies.  

In a similar deal with France, the European Commission hopes the collaborative online safety deal will help “to support its supervisory and enforcement powers” across Europe in the fight against “disinformation” and illegal content. 

The newly established Irish media regulator, Coimisiún na Meán, will oversee what is being billed as online safety in Europe due to Ireland being the European headquarters for many of the largest social media companies targeted in the DSA regulations.   

According to Irish broadcaster RTE 

The Digital Services Act requires big tech firms to do more to police illegal and harmful content on their platforms.

The DSA requires platforms and search engines to restrict disinformation, quickly remove illegal content and better protect children using the internet.

Under the DSA, companies face fines of up to 6% of their global turnover for violating the rules while repeated breaches could see them banned from doing business in the EU.

The agreement signed with the European Commission will allow for the exchange of information, good practices, methodologies, technical systems and tools.

Since August 25, the largest social media companies (those that have more than 45 million monthly active users in Europe) in the world such as YouTube, Instagram, Google, Twitter/X, Facebook, and TikTok have been required to have strict transparent procedures in place for regulating harmful and illegal content. 

According to the European Commision: “At the end of August 2023, the DSA became legally enforceable for designated Very Large Online Platforms and Very Large Online Search Engines. The DSA aims at empowering and protecting users online, among other things by requiring the designated services to assess and mitigate their systemic risks and to provide robust content moderation tools.”  

“The Member States are obliged to designate their Digital Services Coordinators and other national competent authorities responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of the Digital Services Act by 17 February 2024,” added the European Commission.   

The EU document sets out a series of legal obligations on various topics that large online platforms must comply with to avoid being penalized. Regulators will target so-called “disinformation” on social networks, greater transparency in algorithms, the dissemination of illegal content, and responsibilities on data collection. 

The DSA also requires online platforms to respond promptly to reports of illegal content provided by “trusted flaggers” nominated by member State-appointed “Digital Service Coordinators.”  

While it is commendable that the DSA will target advertising algorithms to child pornography and similar content moderation, many aspects of the Act blatantly target freedom of speech online, with critics warning that the legislation will enable those in power to silence dissent.

Swedish MEP Jessica Stegrud, a critic of the DSA, believes the new European online rules “leaves power in the hands of arbitrary tech giants,” causing “ordinary users to see their comments deleted or their accounts blocked, without any explanation, for views that may challenge those in power.”  

“What is legal to express publicly in the streets and on squares should also be legal online,” added Stegrud.

In a highly critical opinion article, Irishman David Thunder, a Research Fellow for the Institute for Culture & Society at University of Navarra, Spain argued:

One particularly sneaky aspect of this Act is that the Commission is effectively making disinformation illegal *through a backdoor*, so to speak. Instead of clearly defining what they mean by ‘disinformation’ and making it illegal  – which would probably cause an uproar – they are placing a “due diligence” requirement upon large online platforms like Twitter and Facebook to take discretionary measures against disinformation and to mitigate ‘systemic risks’ on their platforms (which include the risk of ‘public health disinformation’). Presumably, the periodic audits of these companies’ compliance with the Act would look unkindly on policies that barely enforced disinformation rules. The only hope is that this ugly, complicated and regressive piece of legislation ends up before a judge who understands that freedom of expression means nothing if held hostage to the views of the European Commission on pandemic-preparedness, the Russia-Ukraine war, or what counts as ‘offensive’ or ‘hateful’ speech.

Since the DSA was enacted, the European Commission has already warned media companies Meta and TikTok over breaches in online safety.  

According to France24: “The commission said the request to Meta related ‘to the dissemination and amplification of illegal content and disinformation’ around the Hamas-Israel conflict. Meta and TikTok have until October 25 to respond, with a deadline of November 8 for less urgent aspects of the demand for information.”

Notably, Hillary Clinton is a supporter of the EU’s draconian Digital Services Act.   

On April 21, 2022, she tweeted: “For too long, tech platforms have amplified disinformation and extremism with no accountability. The EU is poised to do something about it. I urge our transatlantic allies to push the Digital Services Act across the finish line and bolster global democracy before it’s too late.” 

Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop more online censorship laws