You probably saw on the news that a U.S. government agency has been caught secretly spying on the private communications of millions of people like you – through their cell phones,1 and through popular online services like Google, Facebook, and Skype.2
Now, The Globe And Mail is reporting that Canada has its own agency operating in near-total secrecy that appears to be doing the same thing – recklessly collecting and storing our most sensitive private information in giant databases.3
The call was brief, about 15 minutes, and I didn’t get clear answers to many of the questions posed, but here are my notes from the meeting.
Paradis started by saying that today he sent a clear message to the market. He said he hopes they “smell the coffee”, which seemed to indicate that the government intends for spectrum assets set aside for new independent, affordable mobile services should remain set aside.
Paradis affirmed that they will not permit the take over of new entrant spectrum before the 5 year term limit, or after if it creates “undue concentration”. I asked him to define what that means and he elaborated that any transfer that does not leave enough spectrum for new entrants would be considered undue concentration. I again asked him to define what that meant and he committed to very specifically define “undue concentration” when he lays out this policy change in detail by mid-June. Read more »
More good news! Yesterday your OpenMedia.ca team was raising your voice in media outlets across the country noting that the new rules for cell phone customers are a positive step forward for Canadians but not enough to fully fix our broken telecom market.
When we took to the airwaves we called on the government to do its part and stop coddling Big Telecom. It looks like they felt the heat from the media and Canadians speaking out relentlessly over recent months at http://demandchoice.ca and now the Industry Minister has responded to our campaign. This morning Industry Minister Paradis announced he will block Telus from taking over Mobilicity’s public spectrum assets and he will block future takeovers that would create “undue concentration” in the market. Read more »
You won’t believe this. We just found out that anti-Internet lobbyists are hosting happy hour parties in Washington to increase their influence over key TPP decision makers.1 They’re sipping cocktails and literally making their careers out of criminalizing our day-to-day Internet use.
But we have a unique opportunity to push back if we act fast...
We received this letter from a supporter of OpenMedia.ca:
"I am totally blind. I own a company called ebony consulting here in Toronto that specializes in teaching mostly in Ontario, but also a number of clients outside the province who are blind.
The computer is our pencil and paper. Digital cameras are our eyes. And the nerve centre that collates it all is the internet. Using the internet, a blind person can buy an ebook on the day it's released and read it in braille at the same time as their sighted friends are reading in print.
Canadians and even the CRTC know our cell phone market is broken. Canadians pay some of the highest prices for some of the worst service in the industrialized world, and, as we showed in our recent report, we’ve been subjected to systemic mistreatment by the Big Three cell phone providers. Big Telecom lobbyists have responded to these findings by essentially plugging their ears and callously refusing to take ownership over these experiences.
A case in point is the 42-page response to our report (nearly as long as our report itself) that was recently published by Telus’s director of broadband policy, Craig McTaggart. It seems that Telus, as one of three firms that controls 94% of the market, would like to shoot the messenger (which in this case is citizens across the country) rather than treat Canadians with the respect they deserve.
Our findings have been supported by University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist and award-winning technology journalist and commentator Peter Nowak, who were also criticized by Telus recently. Much of McTaggart’s nitpicking and PR spin has been dealt with by Geist and Nowak on their blogs, so we’d like to specifically address the criticisms of OpenMedia.ca in Telus’ long-winded response. Read more »