Parliament must fast-track Bill C-292
Algorithmic transparency for online platforms is long overdue.
April 25, 2023 — Today OpenMedia is calling on MPs from all parties to support Bill C-292, the Online Algorithm Transparency Act. This private members bill would take meaningful steps forward to ensure online platforms report more clearly how they are using algorithms on the feeds and personal information of Canadians and ensure they are not being used for discriminatory practices. It was originally introduced by MP Peter Julian (New Westminster – Burnaby) in February 2021, and re-introduced to the current session of Parliament in June 2022.
"Today we’re urging the government to move forward the Online Algorithm Transparency Act,” says OpenMedia Campaigns Director Matt Hatfield. “ Bill C-292 is an important step towards ensuring Canadians understand how online platforms handle their feeds and data, and are protected from some of the worst potential harmful effects of algorithmic decision-making. We encourage MPs to take C-292 to committee consideration for further strengthening and adopt its goals of promoting transparency, accountability, consumer protection and non-discrimination in the digital space to all their law-making.”
"Algorithms are increasingly determining our life outcomes, from simple ads we see online to critical decisions made about our employment and housing,” continued Hatfield. “Canadians must have the right to know how algorithms are making decisions about them and be certain they are not rewarding some of us while punishing others for immutable characteristics like our ethnicity, gender, or health conditions. We need to open Big Tech’s black box to ensure Canadians are not subject to unfair or discriminatory treatment – that’s why we’re calling on MPs of all parties to further debate and consider Bill C-292.”
Key provisions of the Online Algorithm Transparency Act would require online communication service providers to refrain from using personal information in a manner that results in discrimination against the adverse treatment of any person or group and mandate algorithmic transparency for online content moderation practices.
Similar legislation has been introduced in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. The Online Algorithm Transparency Act is currently under review by the House of Commons, and its fate is yet to be determined. A recent campaign from OpenMedia is calling for online platforms to voluntarily provide better safety and transparency tools for their users.