Optimus Prime’s funding strategy shows that digital borders need to be protected

I don’t know if I’ve ever expected a national awakening call in the form of a horn bark from an 18-wheeled vehicle. But that’s the situation Canada is currently facing.

The so-called “Freedom Convoy” gave this occasional sleepy country a rude awakening. In part, we also agree with the fact that the definition of freedom is unaffected by small, solid minorities that appear to include freedom from responsibility. And hopefully, you’ll also be warned of the surprising failure of the state’s capabilities. The fact is that Ottawa police and the federal government are probably not ready enough to paralyze the country’s capital by illegal protests.

The fact that a small group of misleading and misunderstood Canadians can cause so many problems will undoubtedly cause a lot of remorse in the coming months and years. .. But what’s particularly tricky is that a significant portion of both online organization and funding seems to come from the United States.

Specifically, we need to consider that some of Canada’s future national security policies need to include protecting digital borders from foreign interference.

Need to be clarified. The convoy itself is a Canadian phenomenon. As Globe and Mail reported, convoy leaders Tamara Lich, Chris Barber, and Benjamin Dichter were all associated with Canada’s far-right cause and shared racist material like Barber. there is.

This kind of prejudice is often swept under the rug and unfortunately is a perennial presence in the country.

But that’s also part of why Optimus was able to raise so much money, raising over $ 10 million in its first GoFundMe crowdsourcing. The company eventually refunded the money after stating that there was reason to believe the protests had become a profession.

Of course, after that, the convoy continued to raise money through another platform called GiveSendGo. It describes it as a Christian funding site.

However, as CTV News reports after conducting its own analysis, donations from the south of the border may actually exceed Canadian donations. This may be a Canadian protest, but it is partially funded by Americans.

It has some meaning. Just as convoys are made up of Canadians, their anti-governmental nature, including small solid white supremacist components, gives them an American taste.

The ability of foreign actors to fund the quasi-seditionist movement seems to be a serious problem. Platforms like GoFundMe are used very often for noble purposes such as helping those in need, but at least sewing holes is our social safety net, but anonymous donations. The ability to collect large amounts of money through is a nuisance.

For one thing, foreign influences can often have a dissonant effect on sovereign states. For example, the far right of Canada could be given both literal and figurative support that would not be available without cross-border input.

Elizabeth May, a former Greens leader, said in her claim to a new fundraising law, “You don’t have to be a political organization and you’re not registered with the Election Commission to find the right kind of dog whistle. , You can launch the GoFundMe campaign. ”

Oversight of how charities or non-governmental organizations are funded seems to need to be updated for the digital age.

As with all potential regulations, the norms of freedom and democracy need to be balanced with the limits that protect their ideals.

But the terrible character of “Freedom Convoy” goes beyond other Canadian failures, not to mention the very unpleasant antisocial minorities in its ranks, especially when they move the digital border from the influence of foreign money. You can import or enhance ideas that are basically non-Canadian, suggesting that you need to protect them.

But it’s more than just money. The American news site Grid reported that a significant portion of Facebook’s popular support for convoys came from the United States as well as through hacked accounts of women in Missouri.

In other words, Canada’s political situation can be subject to interference from social media activities as well as foreign funding.

As such, some of the country’s national security efforts need to consider the state of online discourse and crowdsourcing to protect Canada’s sovereignty.

But beyond that required legal or government intervention, it is important to realize that both the Canadians themselves and they may be affected. Simple stories, politicized exaggerations, and simple demonizations are all mechanisms by which people are manipulated by the distorted views of this country and the world. The so-called “Freedom Convoy” is a call for awakening that our national consciousness can be easily hijacked. It is now our responsibility to pay attention to the warnings.

Navneet Alang is a Toronto-based star freelance contribution technology columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @navalang

Optimus Prime’s funding strategy shows that digital borders need to be protected

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