Open Media: The AI and Privacy Bill C-27 will not do the job it's supposed to do
October 13, 2023
This is important. There’s legislation up for debate at the House right now – Bill C-27 – that could give people in Canada real privacy and AI protections with the right amendments – or WEAKEN those rights, if we don’t act.
New AI technologies are one of the top stories this year, and that’s led to AI regulation being carelessly shoehorned into Privacy Bill C-27. The problem with that? These rules aren’t up to snuff, and need vague definitions clarified and loopholes closed if they’re ACTUALLY going to protect us from AI surveillance and manipulation in the years ahead. As it currently stands, C-27 is another half-baked government initiative, not quite doing the job on two issues – AI regulation and privacy reform – and cramming them together into one confusing mess.
The Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology is currently debating Bill C-27, a private-sector privacy reform bill. If passed, C-27 would become Canada's first AI regulatory bill and might be our only AI regulation for years. Unfortunately, the bill was developed without thorough public and expert consultation, leaving us in the dark about which aspects of AI it will actually protect us from. What about the abuse of AI by our government? Because AIDA is embedded in private sector privacy law, government and law enforcement agencies are entirely excluded.2,3
As the rapid development of AI raises legitimate concerns about its potential misuse, Canadians like you and me deserve comprehensive and thoughtful AI legislation, not half-measures. What we don't need is a flimsy piece of legislation hastily added to an unrelated bill. Best case, our government pulls AIDA from C-27 to give AI the thorough legislative process it deserves. At a minimum, the government must amend C-27 to make its AI provisions more specific and actionable. First isn’t always best; if Canada actually wants to be a leader in AI regulation, we need to take the time to get our regulations right.
Let’s make sure our MPs hear that message loud and clear. Will you email your MP and demand they fix Bill C-27 and make Canada a leader in safely regulating AI?