“Law groups urge government to revamp cyberbullying bill”
By: Josh Wingrove
Published in The Globe and Mail on Tuesday May 27, 2014
This article explores the controversial bill C-13 governing the emerging issue of cyberbullying. On Tuesday May 27th a group of lawyers testified that are arguing that the bill is far too vague and that it can be argued that it is a Charter infringement. Wingrove points out that these lawyers support the bill, as he quoted Michael Spratt from the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, stating they are fighting for stricter regulations in regards to police agencies obtaining private information.
Using examples of the recent high profile cyberbullying cases, Wingrove expresses the two sides of the debate. On one hand there is the highly emotionally charged side of people reeling from the recent deaths of young people as a direct result of cyberbullying. This side fuels the need for an immediate change to our legal system and a rapid implementation of legislation to prevent further tragedy from happening. On the other hand there are people, who are weary of such a broad piece of legislation which leaves interpretation very open, and allows police to have free access to confidential information which could ultimately lead to consequences in terms of privacy rights and abuse of power. Wingrove points out that this issue strikes a very large debate, the protection of privacy or the safety of vulnerable children. Wingrove also points out the political debate behind the bill in which Conservatives expressed concerns over the power this bill gives to police and bases the legitimacy of obtaining information on the simple opinion of individual police officers which in turn could lead to the potential abuse of police powers.
Wingrove concludes with recent statistics about police and government involvement in the ascertainment of information, especially from social media sites. He expresses his feelings through a quote from Stephen Harper in which he explains that we must give agencies the power to protect at risk people from being bullied. Not giving police agencies power to obtain information seems to have far worse consequences than limiting it.