Last year a group of academics, technologists, and members of the public sent a public letter (.pdf) to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Canadian Parliament. The letter raised concerns in light of the US government’s unilateral pre-trial domain seizures. Specifically, we asked that these institutions develop a plan by December 31, 2011 that would ensure that Canadians would retain a right to self-determination when it comes to digital policy; we wanted these bodies to plan how to limit the harms generated by US domain seizures of web properties.
To date we have not formally heard from any of these institutions. Unfortunately, domain seizures and US digital imperialism has gotten worse, not better, in the interim. In response, a group of us associated with Digital Policy Canada have prepared another public letter for CIRA’s Canadian Internet Forum. It is titled, “Canadian Sovereignty Online – one year later,” (.pdf) and in the letter we argue that Canadian domains could be seized by the American government on copyright infringement grounds, even if a Canadian were legally (under Canadian law) making content available.
To achieve digital autonomy – and thus defend Canada’s sovereign rights – we believe that CIRA should embark not only on policy development, but also technical development of tools that can protect Canadian interests when they are challenged. We also believe that CIRA should invest in educational processes to raise awareness about the threats and challenges facing the contemporary Internet and DNS ecosystem. Such a three-pronged effort would entrench and support national self-determination surrounding sovereign digital policy actions, while also educating Canadians about digital sovereignty. In aggregate, these efforts will serve to protect Canada’s long-term cultural, economic, and political interests, and we maintain that the means of doing so are within CIRA’s organizational mandate.
Click here to download a full copy of the public letter (.pdf)