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Canada’s Conservatives Realize They Can’t Be Anti Digital ID and Pro Online Age Verification

Online age verification requires a form of digital ID and causes the loss of online anonymity.

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Canadians these days find themselves in quite a bit of pickle, online privacy and security-wise.

The current Liberal government is well known as a radical underminer of those – but what would the future hold if the opposition, i.e., the Conservatives, came to power?

They would – as the Conservatives’ statements this week are reported (or, interpreted – as the party “signaling” its policy) – thread quite lightly, and seek some sort of compromise, such as can be achieved on issues of this nature.

Namely, the party is still opposed to introducing digital ID, but doesn’t mind allowing what’s effectively one of its components – online age-verification.

Regarding the digital ID, the Conservatives maintain that measures imposing it or infringing on people’s privacy and right to access whatever content online they want is wrong.

As of the time of this writing, there seems to be quite a bit of confusion over who said – and meant – what – perhaps, not by accident.

The Canadian Press first cited opposition leader Pierre Poilievre and others from his party as saying the Conservatives support Bill S-210 that would ask for online platforms to – somehow – verify that those accessing porn sites are in fact of age.

But the problem was never the intent, rather the way to technically achieve this, while refraining from infringing on people’s privacy, such as asking for their government-issued ID, and the like.

So – how does one do it? The report, somewhat logically, asserted that a digital ID might do the trick. After all, that “solution” is meant to hoover up so much personal information into one centralized place, somebody’s age would be the least of it.

However, the Canadian Conservatives quickly moved into “damage control” mode to say that while they support the idea of “age verification” – they basically have no idea how it might be done (short of infringing on privacy, that is).

That’s a fair point. Nobody does. One thing the Conservatives made sure to reiterate is, it would be nice to eat a cake and have it, too – but they don’t know how that might work.

Stated Poilievre’s spokesperson, Sebastian Skamski: “[The Conservatives] do not support any measures that would allow the imposition of a digital ID or infringe on the privacy of adults and their freedom to access legal content online.”

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