Proposed ID Requirements for Internet Access

Two days ago, Professor Michael Geist posted on his blog a succinct rebuttal on why mandating identification to access the internet is a bad idea. While I will leave you with his comments on the legal and privacy aspect, I wish to add some comments from an immigration perspective.

The implementation for the identification requirement for internet access immediately raises questions regarding how foreign nationals and permanent residents would be treated. Would access be tied to citizenship status? Residency? Would visitors be allowed a permit? Would there be a cost? What would the identification requirements be?

If, to borrow the Chief's analogy, the new system would require licensing much like that of a driver's license, then it presents some serious issues for individuals like refugees and those without status in Canada. It would work to isolate these individuals by denying them an important contact point to the broader community. As the world grows to rely upon internet telecommunications, it may also remove their ability to contact their loved ones abroad.

From an immigration standpoint, such an ID requirement brings many more problems than answers.