OTTAWA, MAY 26, 2021 – At a time when Canadians rely more than ever on the internet, they are very concerned about trust and safety online and want stronger protections. An exclusive poll commissioned by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) shows that an overwhelming majority of Canadians support a crackdown on harmful content on social media platforms and also want to give the Privacy Commissioner new powers to help safeguard personal information.
“The days of the ‘anything-goes’ internet are behind us,” said CIRA president and CEO, Byron Holland. “Hate speech, fake news, and cyber attacks are rampant, and have undermined Canadians’ trust in the open web. The largely unregulated internet has driven incredible innovation, but this has come with significant costs. Canadians want change, so now it’s up to all of us to help design rules that restore trust online while respecting the spirit of the open internet.”
The findings are featured in this year’s Canadians Deserve a Better Internet report, and come amidst a flurry of digital policy debates. Lawmakers are considering changes to Canada’s broadcasting and private sector privacy laws. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is also consulting on a new framework that would allow internet service providers to block web traffic associated with cyber attacks. And the government recently launched a new consultation on whether website blocking should be used to curb piracy online.
- Canadians are worried about their privacy online. More than three-quarters (77 per cent) support providing the Office of the Privacy Commissioner new powers to help protect their personal information.
- Eight in ten (84 per cent) Canadians are at least somewhat concerned that businesses willingly share users’ personal data with third parties without consent.
- 84 per cent of Canadians support ISPs in blocking websites used to launch cyber attacks, but half also agree it’s an extreme measure that should be used as a last resort.
- While there is broad support for a new law requiring social media platforms to remove illegal or harmful content within 24 hours of it being flagged (79 per cent), a majority of Canadians are concerned this could result in the removal of legitimate, lawful speech (62 per cent).
- Most Canadians support government action to stimulate the creation of Canadian content (59 per cent). Support is strongest for requiring foreign streaming services to collect GST/HST and direct some of those funds towards CanCon.
- While Canadians support new funding for news (58 per cent), they are divided on the idea of forcing social media platforms to pay news publishers for linking to their content. Only 52 per cent support the idea, and there is equal support for requiring platforms to collect GST/HST and fund news from general revenue.
About Canadians Deserve a Better Internet
The Strategic Counsel provided CIRA with public opinion research in order to examine Canadian views on issues relating to media literacy, internet privacy, cybersecurity, and governance in support of the Canadian Internet Governance Forum (CIGF). An online panel was used to survey a total of 1,254 Canadian internet users (age 18+) between the dates of February 19 – March 1, 2021. The total sample is proportionate to population by gender, age and region. You can find the full survey results here or consult the full Canadians Deserve a Better Internet report. Findings build on previous research found in CIRA’s Internet Trends and CIGF research from 2016-2020.
About the Canadian Internet Registration Authority
CIRA is a member-based, not-for-profit organization best known for managing the .CA top-level internet domain name on behalf of all Canadians. While CIRA’s core mandate is the safe, stable, and secure operation of the .CA domain and its underlying technologies, the organization also connects, protects, and engages the internet community in Canada and beyond by providing high-quality registry, DNS, and cybersecurity services.