This week on Open Sources Guelph, we download the data, which is a dangerous business these days. We will dedicate a segment to all the computer stuff going on and why it’s a danger to our privacy and our democracy, and then we will talk about the Canadian angle, and why the Federal Liberals seem to be doing nothing about it. On the back half, we talk about MPs taking action, and getting into some legal hot water over it, and we talk about whether or not high school juniors and seniors really are too young to vote.
This Thursday, March 29, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:
1) Bad Data. The revelation last week that Cambridge Analytica was able to use ill-gotten Facebook data to target ads on behalf of the Republican Presidential campaign in 2016. Cambridge Analytica was already under the watchful eye of the special counsel investigating Russian interference, in no small part because the company is owned by former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and Trump campaign funder Robert Mercer. Meanwhile, another company, the Canadian-owned AggregateIQ, seemed to be involved with some shady funding when it came to the “Leave” campaign during the Brexit vote. So how can we trust our data isn’t being used for nefarious purposes? And who’s controlling the flow of information?
2) Canada Content. Did you know it’s been 15 months since Canada had a permanent Chief Electoral Officer? It’s no big deal, there’s only something like 18 months before the next Federal election, and it’s not like Canada will likely be the subject to another of Russia’s attempts at disruption. Except it’s a lot like that. Security agencies all say that Canada will not be exempt from Vladimir Putin’s efforts to sew global discord though fake news, fake outrage, and all the nefarious tools in his kit. So what is the Government of Canada doing about it? For that matter, where is the government on any of the changes they promised to secure polls and create a more democratic process in future elections?
3) The Green Knight. Nearly 200 people were arrested last week while protesting at the Burnaby Terminal of the soon-to-be expanded Trans Mountain Pipeline, including Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May. The heat on the pipeline debate has been turned way up in the last couple of months after the election of the NDP government in B.C., who are backed by the B.C. Green Party who are, obviously, very anti-pipeline. We’ve already seen a build-up of tension between the Alberta and B.C. governments, and now it seems that civil disobedience is increasing in response. How long can the federal government sit on the fence while MPs are being arrested?
4) 16 Up. One of the interesting developments following the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida has been the decisive and pointed leadership of the student survivors, almost all of whom are presently ineligible to vote right now. The new political activeness of young people has prompted an examination of our voting rules, specifically the voting age, which currently sits at 18. Ontario MPP Arthur Potts has floated a private members bill to lower the voting age in Ontario to 16, but is there enough support in the legislature to make it happen? Are people still hopelessly hung up on the idea that while 16 is old enough to drive, it’s not old enough to go into a voting booth and choose a government?
Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.