The December Talks | Weekly News Update from OpenMedia.ca
Here's Lindsey with your update:
Starting Monday, delegates in two sets of negotiations, taking place on the other side of the world, are poised to determine the future of Internet freedom. Citizen voices could make all the difference, so stay tuned for how to take action.
For the Internet,
- The OpenMedia.ca Team
According to Internet freedom group European Digital Rights, provisions that would criminalize our Internet use may be dropped from the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA)! While the battle isn’t over yet, this is a huge step forward for the Internet freedom community and the thousands of Canadians who shouted down the same provisions in July of this year, when they were part of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
European Digital Rights has seen leaked documents showing a proposal to delete the criminal sanctions section of CETA; this has been supported by many EU Member States. As a result, it looks like the removal of restrictive, ACTA-like intellectual property provisions will be a central part of Europe’s negotiations with Canada. Read more »
International governments are pushing for Canada to enact Online Spying Bill C-30 – an intrusive piece of legislation that would provide authorities with warrantless access to Internet users' private data.
Law-abiding Canadians shouldn't have to compromise their online security and privacy. Speak out against this invasive and costly Internet surveillance plan at StopSpying.ca. If you've already signed onto our campaign, encourage others to do the same at OpenMedia.ca/SOSChallenge.
Article by Jordan Press for Postmedia News
The Harper government, under pressure at home over its controversial Internet surveillance bill, including a renewed push from law enforcement to pass the legislation, continues to come under international pressure to pass Bill C-30.
The legislation, dubbed the “lawful access” bill, contains provisions that would allow Canada to ratify an 11-year-old convention on Internet crime, which its allies are antsy to see approved.
Bill C-30 created a storm of outrage when it was tabled because it would allow authorities access to Internet subscriber information — including names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses — without a warrant in cases where companies refused to provide it voluntarily. Read more »
When several senior representatives from Telus asked us to meet with them we knew immediately what we wanted the meeting to include: direct citizen stories about disrespectful and expensive cell phone service in Canada. This was clearly a unique opportunity to bring Canadian voices directly to executives running one of the big three cell phone giants.
We shared a story from John, who was unexpectedly hit with a $300 bill from Telus after asking for a voice-only plan and unknowingly using expensive, metered data services. John quite effectively articulated the limited options facing customers: “What do I do to not pay this outrageous fee? Spend more hours on the phone? Spend thousands on legal fees to fight $300? Refuse to pay it, and have my credit rating dinged?”
Reps from Telus discussed the various steps that they have taken to address these kinds of complaints. We highlighted some of the themes we’ve been hearing from you via Cell Phone Horror Stories, and on our Facebook wall: disrespectful customer service with unreasonable hold times; long contract lengths with expensive termination fees; false charges on your bills and a refusal to remove them; and high roaming fees in a context where cell phone service is already very expensive. Read more »
Repressive regimes could gain dominant control over the Internet following next month's ITU discussions. This would mean greater surveillance over everyday online activity, more expensive access costs, and strict censorship that would have governments deciding what citizens can or cannot see.
But what exactly is the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and how would it affect your Internet use? Check out this video by ProtectInternetFreedom.net coalition partners Fight For The Future and Accessnow.org to help provide some insight into how the ITU is putting your Internet freedom at risk. Read more »
Canadians have been speaking out and decision-makers at the CRTC have been listening. We've been heard in gathering feedback for a new wireless code, stopping the initial takeover bid from Big Telecom Bell, and increasing transparency of network costs.
But Big Telecom bureaucrats are attempting to influence decisions back in their favour – a setback that would be felt by Canadians nationwide. Help promote an open and transparent CRTC that is focused on public interest, share our Action Plan with your MP at OpenMedia.ca/Plan.
Article by Pete Nowak
Relatively new CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais was on a tear last week, proclaiming from every rooftop that there’s a new wind a-blowin’ at the regulator. It’s out with the old ways of doing business, where big businesses were all that mattered, and in with consumers, the every-day Joes that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is supposed to protect and look out for.
After so many years of rubber-stamping anti-consumer moves by those big corporations – usage-based billing, anyone? – and muddying up potentially pro-consumer developments (remember Wind Mobile?), the new stance is refreshing to hear. Read more »
A closed-door meeting to be held next month will determine if your Internet use will become governed by a UN agency – the ITU – in imposing greater controls and limiting personal expression.
In response, we've assembled a multi-national coalition of organizations and citizens to express their rights to Internet freedom. Learn more about who's involved and add your voice to this global movement to ProtectInternetFreedom.net.
Article by Paola Totaro and Claire Connelly for News Limited Network
An unfettered internet, free of political control and available to everyone could be relegated to cyber-history under a contentious proposal by a little known United Nations body.
Experts claim that political and religious websites could disappear if the Federal Government backs a plan to hand control over the internet to the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Read more »
The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement is about to get a bit more crowded, with Canada formally joining as 'second-tier' negotiators at next month's talks. These closed-door meetings will include discussions that could censor, criminalize and apply fines to everyday Internet users.
Let the lobbyists and bureaucrats behind the TPP know that citizens worldwide rightfully deserve a seat at the table. Send your message through OpenTheTPP.net – we'll be sharing what you have to say at next month's negotiations.
Article by Maira Sutton for EFF.org
The next round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations will take place from December 3-12 in Auckland, New Zealand, and it will be done with the same level of secrecy as the last 14 rounds. And like all of the previous rounds of talks, it will take place in a luxury venue, only this time in a high-end casino, that itself is embroiled in its own controversy over corrupt dealings. Read more »
A few months ago Canadians sent a loud, clear message to the Canadian government to StopSpying.ca. This followed the introduction of warrantless Online Spying Bill C-30, a bizarre piece of legislation that would grant ‘authorities’ with unrestricted access to Canadians’ private information, leave our personal and financial information less secure, and implement costly spying technology that taxpayers would have to fund.
When Public Safety Minister Vic Toews proclaimed that Canadians who didn’t support his bill were standing with child pornographers, the outrage was palpable, and citizens made sure Parliament heard us. In short order, online spying bill C-30 was quietly sent directly to Committee and it has yet to come back to the floor to be debated again. Read more »
As decision-makers at the CRTC continue to invite citizen input in developing a new wireless code, we're continuing to share some of the stories that Canadians have sent in through CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca.
We're making progress with having digital policy decisions that are made with public interest in mind. If you haven't already, share your Big Telecom horror story to tell the CRTC how to fix our broken telecom market. Read more »
Bell Canada has begun imposing new fees on customers who receive paper copies of their bills. In April Internet customers were told that they would have to switch to online billing by June, or start paying $2 a month for their paper bills. While Bell is trying to brand the move as “part of our ongoing effort to be environmentally friendly and improve the level of billing information,” the NDP has called Bell out on this ‘Pay to Pay’ policy.
NDP MP Andrew Cash is calling on the federal government to prohibit these fees, pointing out the unfairness of charging customers a new fee for an old service. “When’s the last time you bought anything and had to pay extra for the bill it was written on?” asks Cash. Read more »
We’ve had some major victories lately in making sure that the rules around telecommunications keep public interest at the centre. You recently spoke out against Bell’s attempted takeover of Astral Media, and the CRTC listened, denying Bell and demonstrating its new citizen-centred focus.
Today we’ve had some more great news about progress we’re making on an international level—because of the pressure you’ve put on your national representatives, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has decided to make all the proposals for its December negotiations public!
The Internet freedom community—including citizens and organizations from around the world—has been speaking out about the closed nature of these negotiations, and demanding the multi-stakeholder input and public consultation that is so desperately needed in negotiations that could change the way the Internet works. Read more »