Whatever happens in the House of Commons is generally not on the minds of most Canadians, especially those under the age of 30. Bill C-30 changed all that last week. The bill aims to give police easier access to information about Internet users. The government says it’s needed as a means to protect children from online predators. The rest of Canada didn’t seem to see it that way.
Within hours of Minister Vic Toews announcing the legislation, the Twitter account @vikileaks30 was launched and used to disseminate personal information about the Minister, including his home life and divorce records. It quickly had over 3000 followers and inspired its own hashtag (#tellvikeverything), which tweeting Canadians used to tell Minister Toews everything from where they were shopping to what they had for dinner.
It was a protest born of the new digital era we live in. As Wikileaks and Avaaz.org have shown, in the western world petitions and protesting has moved online; it’s proving more effective at embarrassing governments and corporate giants into backing down or compromising on points of contention. Physical protests and demonstrations will remain the stalwart of democracy, but the internet is a close second.