A small change to a parliamentary committee’s official demand for corporate messages placed by Facebook parent Meta has not changed a complaint from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce that the order is a privacy threat.
Matthew Holmes, the chamber’s senior vice president for policy and government relations, said in an interview, “I guess you could say that the committee members upheld the right of individual citizens to expect some degree of privacy in their lives.” Have decided to keep it.” Tuesday “But as far as organizations such as ours are concerned, as well as non-profits, labor unions and private enterprises, we feel that the committee’s move sets a precedent where private sector communications cannot be disclosed by members of parliament.” may be compelled to do.”
He was referring to a decision by the House of Commons Heritage Committee on Monday asking for communication between META and third parties on the subject of Canadian government regulations. The committee agreed to a generous proposal that Meta would not have to make extraneous emails and texts with individuals regarding their views on government regulations. However, META must provide the committee with copies of messages it has on that subject from organizations including associations, companies and non-profits.
This is a change from the original motion proposed last week by Liberal Chris Bittle, parliamentary secretary to Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez. It would have sought all internal and external communications that both Google and Meta had between anyone regarding government regulations as the committee investigates what the two companies are doing to fight Bill C-18.
That law aims to help some Canadian news organizations by forcing major digital platforms to negotiate and compensate news content providers for linking to their sites.
Part of the heritage committee’s anger is that Google, which opposes the proposed legislation as a “link tax”, is testing how it can restrict the display of Canadian news results on searches as a way of protest.
When it came time for the committee to actually deal with a proposal, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather – who is parliamentary secretary to Public Service Minister Helena Jaczek – proposed wording similar to Bitel’s proposal, but with the clarification that companies should be allowed to produce Will not have to communicate with individuals. Nor did it include Bitel’s suggestion that Google and Meta also have a List of all third parties who have received funding from companies to lobby for Canadian regulations.
The change between Bittle’s proposed wording and the Housefather’s offer came after some heated public backlash over the weekend. in a blogUniversity of Ottawa professor of Internet law Michael Geist said the proposal is “a stunning disregard for privacy and one that could have a dangerous chilling effect on public participation.”
Then The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to the Heritage Committee expressing “deep concern”. The demand for messages from outsiders to a company “poses a serious threat to the privacy of Canadians and their rights to hold and express opinions on public issues. In addition, adopting it would result in thousands of associations, chambers of commerce, unions, Legitimate work by social action groups, non-profits and private enterprises will be frozen.
“The proposal sets the stage for a large fishing operation that affects not only the companies’ rights but also the rights of third parties,” the letter said.
In an interview on Monday, Housefather said, “Internal and external communication is all about correspondence. [Meta] This was related to actions having to do with Canadian regulations, such as the blocking of news content under C-18. It was not the comprehensive request for third-party information that was in the original notice of motion given last week [by Bittle],
HouseFather said he did not see the letter from the Chamber of Commerce, but because of complaints from other chambers, he decided to propose different terms from Bittle.
Housefather said, “The type of documents we have been subpoenaed for today and from Google a few weeks ago are normal procedure for parliamentary committees.” “Similar documents have been subpoenaed, and a wide range of documents from McKinseySports Federation, from we donate, This is not a new, innovative thing that we are doing. We are a parliamentary committee with oversight requirements.”
Holmes said that the wording of the original resolution passed by the committee was better than Bittle’s. But. “The principle still stands,” he added.
Meta doesn’t have to provide copies of messages to individuals, he also pointed out, but Google does. “It sounds like very messy policy-making.”
As for HouseFather’s argument that demanding a variety of documents is not new, Holmes said the issue is not about what an organization has done that might be legally wrong, but rather a proposed It’s about government policy.
Apart from seeking documents from META, the resolution passed by the Heritage Committee on Monday was also sought from the META Chairman. Mark Zuckerberg, Nick Clegg, president of Meta global affairs, and Chris Saniga, head of Canada for Meta, to testify for less than two hours in a meeting whose date has yet to be set.
Kent Walker, president of global affairs and chief legal officer at Google parent Alphabet Inc., and Richard Gingras, vice president of news, have also agreed to testify.