Cyberbullying victims' parents split over privacy concerns in online bill

Parents of Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd, Jamie Hubley react to victims of crime Bill C-13

Carol Todd, the mother of B.C. teenager Amanda Todd, who took her life in 2012 after enduring two years of
torment that she described in a video a month before her death, is among the parents in Ottawa on Tuesday
 to speak about the government's bill to protect Canadians from online crime. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The parents of three teenagers who took their own lives because they were bullied gave emotional pleas before a Commons committee today in favour of legislation to protect Canadians from online crime, but appeared divided on whether Bill C-13 violates the right to privacy.

Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, Jamie Hubley’s father, Allan Hubley, and Glenford Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, are in Ottawa on Tuesday to give MPs on a Commons justice committee their views on a bill to protect Canadians from online crime.

Carol Todd said she applauded the government's efforts to address the problem of cyberbullying, but had reservations with some of the provisions in the bill.​

Measures in Bill C-13 include giving police easier access to the metadata that internet service providers and phone companies keep on every call and email.

"I don't want to see our children to be victimized again by losing privacy rights. I am troubled by some of these provisions condoning the sharing of Canadians' privacy information without proper legal process."

"A warrant should be required before any Canadians' personal information is turned over to anyone, including government authorities," Todd said.

By contrast, Canning said while he respects privacy "as much as any Canadian," Bill C-13 "is not about an invasion of privacy."

"It's about allowing police officers to effectively address the many challenges of instant mass communication and abuse.

"It seems so out of place to complain about privacy while our children openly terrorize each other to death for 'likes' on Facebook," Rehtaeh's father said.

Remove 'controversial positions'

Todd called on the government to remove the more controversial measures from the bill so that it could pass with broad agreement.

"I have one request: if there is any way that we can separate these controversial provisions from the law ... this would allow this bill to be free of controversy and to permit a thoughtful and careful review of the privacy related provisions that have received broad opposition," Todd said.

Hubley did not raise any privacy concerns during his opening statement. Instead he urged MPs to pass the bill to give law enforcement the tools they need to do their job.

"C-13, in my view, is meant to help reduce cyberbullying and help police obtain the evidence needed to punish those among us who prey on our beautiful children," Jamie's father said.

The committee examining Bill C-13 also heard from Alycha Reda and Kimberly Chiles​, two victims and survivors of cyberbullying.



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