Ah, the mating call of the armchair fascist. “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear! You’re either with us or you’re against us!” An all or nothing plea-to-irrational-emotion to swing the debate onto your own grounds. It’s all a load of garbage, but that doesn’t stop people from falling for it. Every time.
The problem as it stands now, is that Canadians don’t just have to deal with John Badopinions in his living room, yelling at the news man on TV that “the country has gone to hell” because of a bunch of “frou-frou, soft-on-crime, liberal pinkos” actually think protecting basic human rights and human dignity means “pandering to the criminals.” No. John Badopinions lives and works in the Halls of Power. He makes the rules now. This is what you wanted, Canada. Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.
If you recall our show a few weeks ago, in the twilight of the SOPA/PIPA outrage, we had Dr. Michael Geist on to discuss Bill C-11, which is essentially the Canadian version of the much maligned (for very, very good reasons) Stop Online Piracy Act. Bill C-11 would treat average Canadians as criminals in order to protect very wealthy, very powerful and very influential media companies from some 15 year old kid in his bedroom.
This is the new criminal. Billy Torrent, pimply-faced and bleary-eyed at 2 AM, downloading the newest episode of some anime or another that he could get on DVD, if only his folks upped his allowance.
Hey, the Conservatives said they’d get tough on crime, and ya gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette (In this metaphor, the eggs are people who are not guilty of any crimes whatsoever and the omelette is the prison system).
So C-11 is awful.
But poised to be pushed through the House, as Harper remakes the country in his own image is another bill, called C-30, or the disgustingly saccharine and patronizingly named Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. Really? Really? God, why not just call it the “Maple Syrup and Hockey For Everyone Because We’re All A Big Happy Family Act”? What, did “Letting The RCMP Spy On You Whenever They Want Just Because We Said It’s Totally Okay And Also We’re Going To Frame The Debate As ‘Think Of The Children’ In Order To Make Our Opponents Look Like Pedophiles Act” not fit into your tweet, Vic Toews?
[You] can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.
-Vic Towes, Public Safety Minister of Canada
So that’s it. That’s the dichotomy. You either support warrantless surveillance of your every move or you support child porn.
You either support the ability for police to get all your personal info: your phone number, your address, your IP address, anything, from your ISP, without a warrant, or you support child porn.
That faint clapping sound you hear is our good friend John Badopinions cheering the government on, bellowing “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” from the tree-tops in an attempt to attract a mate. “Way to stick it to those perverts, Vic! I don’t commit crimes, so this has nothing to do with me. I have literally nothing to hide.“
And thus, we come all the way to the top of the roller coaster. Have you enjoyed the ride so far? I wanted this to be fun; a bit of a different experience from my usual blog submissions. Are you ready? Here’s the drop. (You ARE tall enough to be on this ride, yes? I hope so!)
EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO HIDE. IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU A CRIMINAL TO ADMIT THAT.
Here, I’m going to ask you a few questions and I want you to answer them all honestly in the comments:
1. What is your address?
2. Where do you work?
3. How much money did you make last year?
4. How often do you have sex with your significant other?
5. When was the last time you got something for free at a restaurant because your server forgot to put it on the bill and you didn’t correct them?
6. What’s your primary e-mail address?
7. What’s your mother’s maiden name?
8. What are the names of every website with which you’ve registered a private account?
9. Can I go through your mail?
10. What school do your kids go to? And when is their recess, usually?
Rest assured, I do not intend to do anything nefarious with this information. On the contrary, I’m going to use it to make you safer. But you need to willfully submit this information to me. If you don’t answer the questions to my satisfaction, though, or if you don’t answer some at all, I’m going to assume you’re hiding something. And since you’re hiding it, it means you’re afraid. And if you’re afraid, after I just said I want to protect you, you must be the very kind of person I’d be protecting you from! I will now contact the authorities and send them after you. See how it works?
Keep in mind, that I’m actually asking you up front, which makes my invasion of your privacy optional, even if I’m twisting your arm. Bill C-30 wants to move in with you and isn’t even going to take you out to dinner first.