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Canadian Court Greenlights Class Action Lawsuit Against YouTube’s Covid Censorship

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

A class action lawsuit against YouTube’s censorship of Covid-era speech on the platform has been allowed to proceed in Canada.

The primary plaintiff in the case which has now been greenlit by the Quebec Superior Court is YouTuber Éloïse Boies, while the filing accuses the Google video platform of censoring information about vaccines, the pandemic, and the virus itself.

We obtained a copy of the order for you here.

Boies, who runs the “Élo Wants to Know” channel, states in the lawsuit that three of her videos got removed by YouTube (one of the censored videos was about – censorship) for allegedly violating the site’s policies around medical disinformation and contradicting WHO and local health authorities’ Covid narratives of the time.

However, the content creator claims that the decisions represented unlawful and intentional suppression of free expression. In February, Boies revealed that in addition to having videos deleted, the censorship also branded her an “antivaxxer” and a “conspiracy theorist,” causing her to lose contracts.

The filing cites the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms as the document YouTube violated, while the class-action status of the lawsuit stems from it including any individual or legal entity in Quebec whose videos dealing with Covid got censored, or who were prevented from watching such videos, starting in mid-March 2020 and onward.

Google, on the other hand, argues that it is under no obligation to respect the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, and can therefore not be held accountable for decisions to censor content it doesn’t approve of – or as the giant phrased it, provide space for videos “regardless of their content.”

But when Superior Court Judge Lukasz Granosik announced his decision, he noted that freedom of expression “does not only mean freedom of speech, but also freedom of publication and freedom of creation.”

Stressing the importance that Canada’s Supreme Court assigns to guaranteed freedom of expression as a key building block in a democratic society, the judge concluded that “If (Google) carries out censorship by preventing certain people from posting videos and prevents other people from viewing these same videos, it thus hinders the free circulation of ideas and exposes itself to having to defend its ways of doing things.”

Google was ordered to stop censoring content because it contradicts health authorities, WHO, or governments, pay $1,000 in compensation and $1,000 in punitive damages to each of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, an well as “additional compensation provided for by law since the filing of the request for authorization to take collective action, as per the court’s decision.”

As for those who were prevented from accessing content, the decision on damages will be the subject of a future hearing.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

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