There is an urgent need to convene a national conversation about digital rights in Canada and to create a digital rights strategy.
To: All Members of Parliament of The House of Commons of Canada
The development and social adoption of emerging digital technologies (such as social media platforms, mobile technology, smart cities, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, automated vehicles, and others) is happening quickly. Our existing models for data ownership, consent, privacy, and more require reform.
We are calling on the federal government to convene this national conversation and to respond with a strategy for Canadian digital rights. Such a strategy must include a public education campaign and a consultation process on digital rights, technology ethics, equitable access to the Internet, and the ways these issues impact our quality of life, the governance of our economy, and the safety of our democracy.
We suggest that the following principles be considered when convening and framing this discussion:
- Data collection, ownership, use, and rights
- Privacy as a public good
- Equitable internet access
- Fair competition
- Future prosperity
This is not an exhaustive list, rather a suggested starting set of themes that require a broad conversation around issues, opportunities, and the legal and policy responses required.
We believe it is negligent to continue going forward into a digital economy without social consent regarding how technology is impacting our lives. The urgency around this conversation is only increasing as we move into the use of novel technologies with new sets of potential unintended consequences.
The time for action on digital rights is now. We urge the federal government to educate, convene, and consult on this issue.