What the Future Holds: Weekly Update from OpenMedia.ca
Here's Lindsey with your update:
In big news this week, Canada has a new CRTC chair! The CRTC's new chair, Jean Pierre Blais, will shape many upcoming decisions about Canada's digital future. Among the first will be a framework for national rules to protect cell phone customers, and a decision about what information Big Telecom is allowed to keep secret. Stay tuned for news on how and when you can remind Blais that Canadians want an open, public interest-oriented model for the CRTC.
Thanks for watching and reading,
- The OpenMedia.ca Team
An upcoming deal with the U.S. could expand the warrantless surveillance in the proposed bill C-30 to apply to U.S. authorities, allowing them to access Canadians' private information. As the article below shows, after we revealed the U.S. connection in our latest letter to supporters (subscribe here) the momentum has grown significantly. The hugely popular blog Boing Boing posted it, that post hit the front page of popular online news site Reddit with thousands of votes, and then it received the Canada.com coverage below.
Our video now has over 20,000 views thanks to you, and as the Canada.com article notes, "there are currently 79 MPs on Open Media’s list, including Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth May, Bob Rae and Andrew Cash." It's working. Keep spreading the word (try using this Facebook share link) and take the next step by joining our petition drive challenge.
Article by Russ Martin for Canada.com:
Bill C-30 is still alive and well, according to the pro Internet group Open Media.
In February the bill caused a public uproar and was then sent to the Committee on Justice and Human Rights to be amended before a second reading. Read more »
Various international efforts are currently in the works to lock down the Internet, but University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist reports that the global pro-Internet movement made some gains last week on the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
ACTA is an international copyright enforcement treaty, primarily lobbied for by big industry in Europe and the U.S. According to the EFF, ACTA is concerning for a whole host of reasons. It threatens civil liberties and privacy as deep packet inspection will likely be used to spot copyright infringement. It limits innovation by restricting the free flow of information and is a problem for legitimate commerce. And it forces developing countries to implement policies that may not suit their domestic priorities and level of economic development.
A final vote on the treaty is not expected from the European Parliament until July, but recent events suggest that the anti-ACTA movement is posing a serious challenge to the secretive agreement.
Canadians have been among those speaking out against the Internet Lockdown, and while the anti-ACTA movement seems to be making gains in Europe, we still need your help to combat it, as well as other challenges to the freedom of the Internet. Say no to the Internet lockdown. Read more »
It’s been over a year and a half since we at OpenMedia.ca launched the StopTheMeter.ca campaign. After the CRTC decided to allow Big Telecom to impose usage-based billing—Internet metering—on their independent competitors in November 2010, thousands of Canadians came together to push for online choice and affordability, and managed to change politics and policy in Canada forever.
After the November 2010 launch of the now-famous petition, it took four months to go from one thousand to four-hundred thousand participants. By the end of February 2011, the government had ordered the CRTC back to the drawing board on usage-based billing. A hearing took place over two weeks in July of that year, and by the following November, the half-a-million strong community of StoptheMeter.ca had come out largely victorious. Find an infographic with a more detailed StopTheMeter.ca timeline here. Read more »
What is ACTA?
The Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement is a secretive international treaty for the enforcing of new copyright and intellectual property laws. Not much is known about the actual content of the agreement, but we do know that it conflates intellectual property infringement like the production of illegal and dangerous counterfeit medicines, with citizens’ sharing of information and culture.
International Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge asserts: “the idea is to create legislation through the back door, where only rich monopoly-defending corporations get a say, against the interests of the people”.
As a result, the EFF says that ACTA raises "significant potential concerns for consumers’ privacy and civil liberties for innovation and the free flow of information on the Internet legitimate commerce and for developing countries’ ability to choose policy options that best suit their domestic priorities and level of economic development”. Read more »
Canada's pro-Internet community has been working hard to push back against threats to Internet openness—including invasive online surveillance and Big Telecom price-gouging—but restrictions coming from outside the country could be the front of the next major battle.
For one, the UN’s International Telecommunications Union is vying for control of the Internet, which as Vint Cerf says in this article, "would subject the Internet to the whims of many nations whose commitment to democracy and free speech is questionable at best, including China and Russia." Read more »
It's no secret that the Big Media lobby has been pushing for an Internet lockdown, with excessive restrictions on the way we use our own electronic services. Big Media has targeted Canadians' online choice through legislation like Copyright Bill C-11 and the trade agreements like the TPP, but those aren't the only fronts in the fight against an Internet lockdown.
Article by Timothy B. Lee for Ars Technica:
Anti-piracy efforts in the United States have been so successful that they should be imported to Canada. At least, that's the view of the Canadian Intellectual Property Council, an arm of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce that represents the interests of major content companies in Canada. A white paper urges Canadian policymakers to introduce domain seizures, criminal prosecutions and asset seizures of online sharing sites, and even SOPA-style regulation of intermediaries. Read more »
Canada has a new CRTC chair: Jean Pierre Blais. This five-year-long government appointment is set to take effect June 18. We wish Blais the best of luck in his new position, and hope that he will in fact turn out to be a champion of a strong digital future for Canada.
We were hoping to publish this blog post before the decision was made, but here’s a now-somewhat-late rundown of the contenders who could have been chair: in addition to the somewhat-unknown Jean Pierre Blais, interim chair Len Katz, and commissioners Tom Pentefountas and Timothy Denton had applied for the position.
I should note before proceeding that this write-up is flavoured by the bias I’ve gained in my capacity as Communications Manager here at OpenMedia.ca. We strongly believe that the best guarantee of an open Internet is policy-makers who value processes that are open, citizen-centered, and public-interest oriented. We also feel that the criteria for appointments to the CRTC should include significant experience in the public interest or consumer advocacy community. Read more »