Press Releases

Civil society groups call on Trudeau to launch full public consultation before introducing C-51 reforms

Organizations and academic experts say that following last week’s tragic events in Paris, it’s especially important that the government consult Canadians before introducing its C-51 reform package

November 20, 2015 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to listen to Canadians before bringing forward a reform package on Bill C-51. That’s the message set out in a joint letter from a broad range of civil society groups and privacy experts, who say Canadians need to be fully consulted if C-51 is to be effectively addressed. The letter also calls on Mr Trudeau to state whether there are parts of C-51 he wants to keep, his justification for doing so, and a clear articulation of how this will impact our rights and freedoms.

The groups say that in light of last week’s tragic events in Paris and Beirut, it’s more important than ever to strike the right balance between effective security legislation and upholding Canadian democratic values. Warning that Bill C-51 poses “a direct and ongoing threat to Canadian innovation, political discourse, freedom of expression, privacy, and civil liberties,” the letter points out that Canadians have never been meaningfully consulted on the bill.

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Topics: Online Spying

Internet users set to flood public consultation to push back against proposals that would censor free speech and shut down Right to Link

European Commission consultation on the role of online platforms could result in a costly new ‘Link Tax’ and monitoring of billions of posts a day by online services

November 17, 2015Civil society and digital rights groups are sounding the alarm about a public consultation run by the European Commission on the role of online platforms, the result of which could be new copyright rules that would effectively shut down people’s right to freely link online. The 75,000-strong Save The Link network has created an Internet Voice Tool to send feedback to the Commission as part of their consultation.

A recently leaked draft communication on copyright reform reveals that the European Commission is considering copyrighting the act of linking to content freely available elsewhere online. Earlier this year, the European Parliament firmly rejected a proposal that could have resulted in a new EU-wide ‘Link Tax’, and this leaked document appears to be an attempt to raise the issue once more.

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Topics: Copyright

Final TPP text threatens Internet freedom and will force Canada to overhaul copyright – but will Trudeau go along?

Final text includes provisions to censor the Internet, rob the public domain, and force Canada to import U.S.-style copyright rules 

November 5, 2015Over a month since a deal was first announced, the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement has finally been revealed. The text, published today by the New Zealand government, will force Canada to overwrite its current balanced copyright regime with draconian U.S.-style rules, including a 20 year extension to copyright terms. New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to confirm whether Canada will ratify the TPP.

Digital rights group OpenMedia has helped rally over 3.6 million people against the TPP’s secrecy, and warns the deal is a serious threat to Internet freedom. Key features include: inducing ISPs to block websites, a 20-year extension to Canada’s current 50-year copyright terms, threats to data privacy, and criminal penalties for circumventing digital locks. While other countries negotiated a transition period, no such provision exists for Canada.

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Canadians look to newly-elected government for action as CRTC report confirms huge year-on-year price increases for communications services

As monthly household telecom spending breaches the $200 mark for the first time, Canadians will be looking to incoming Liberal government for reassurance and action

October 22, 2015 – This morning the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released the first part of their annual Communications Monitoring Report providing an overview of the Canadian communications sector. The report confirms that average monthly household spending on telecommunications rose 6% from 2013 to 2014, an average of $203 per month.

The report comes on the heels of a federal election–which saw a new Liberal government take a majority of the seats–and shows that Canada has a long way to go create more affordable telecom options. The report once again confirms that Canadians continue to pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world, especially on wireless, where monthly household spending has jumped to an average of $79 a month, an increase of 14% since 2013. Responding to the report, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:

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Topics: Affordability

Litmus test for new government as Big Telecom threatens future of affordable Internet service in Canada

Bell Canada is calling on the new federal Cabinet to overturn pro-customer CRTC requirements to ensure Canadians can access high-speed independent providers

October 21, 2015 – This morning it was reported that Bell Canada (BCE Inc.) is challenging a landmark CRTC decision that promised fair access to fibre Internet facilities for smaller, independent Internet service providers (ISPs), and greater choice and affordability for Canadian Internet users. Canadians are expecting the newly-elected Liberal Cabinet, who will need to rule on Bell’s appeal, to ensure access to a wide range of fast, affordable Internet services independent of telecom giants like Bell.

According to The Globe and Mail, Bell plans to appeal to the new federal Cabinet to overturn pro-customer CRTC requirements around how independent providers are able to access fibre-to-the-home facilities. The CRTC’s original decision was based on expert testimony, and input from over 30,000 Canadians presented by OpenMedia at the proceedings. OpenMedia warns that overturning this decision would threaten to the future of affordable, high-speed Internet in Canada.

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Topics: Affordability

WikiLeaks release of TPP Intellectual Property chapter confirms agreement threatens Canada’s Internet freedom

Confirmed: 20-year copyright term extensions, new rules that would induce ISPs to block websites, and criminal penalties for the circumvention of digital locks

October 9, 2015 – This morning, WikiLeaks released the final version of the TPP’s Intellectual Property Chapter, just days after Trade Minister Ed Fast’s promise to release “a provisional copy” of the text for public scrutiny.

Internet freedom group OpenMedia warns that the leak confirms Internet advocates greatest fears, including: new provisions that would induce Internet Service Providers to block websites without a court ruling, 20-year copyright term extensions, and new criminal penalties for the circumvention of digital locks. Reacting to the leak, OpenMedia’s Digital Rights Specialist Meghan Sali had this to say:

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Revealed: Which party gets the worst grade for digital policies on affordable access, online privacy, and free expression?

As digital rights issues including the TPP and Bill C-51 continue to play major election role, OpenMedia publishes crowdsourced report card assessing the leading parties on policy priorities shaped by over 250,000 Canadians

October 8, 2015 – Days after the announcement of a major Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, and with Bill C-51 and mass surveillance continuing to spark controversy, many Canadians are asking which party is best placed to secure Canada’s digital future. The non-partisan digital rights group OpenMedia set out to answer that question, by assessing how the parties measure up against policy priorities crowdsourced, with the help of experts, from over 250,000 people.

In a crowdsourced report card published today, each party is assigned grades across a range of priorities, spanning affordable access, privacy, and online free expression. The Green Party and the NDP came top of class, while the Liberal Party had a mixed performance, receiving a ‘C’ grade overall. The Conservatives came bottom of the class with an overall ‘D+’, although they received a stronger ‘C+’ grade for their policies on affordable Internet access. A detailed breakdown is available on OpenMedia’s election website.

“This election is a crossroads for Canada’s Internet,” said OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher. “There’s so much on the line: repealing C-51, ending mass surveillance, lowering our ridiculous Internet and cellphone bills, and protecting free expression. Today’s report card helps ensure Canadians know where the parties stand on these issues.”

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Trans-Pacific Partnership countries announce agreement reached, posing serious threat to global Internet users

Largest and most secretive agreement in the world’s history covers 40% of global trade and contains provisions to censor the Internet and rob the public domain

October 5, 2015 – The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement reached today comes as the result of over five years of negotiations and poses an extreme threat to free expression online.

Although the full text of the deal won’t be available for a month, recent leaks of the TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter show Canada faces an overhaul of copyright legislation, including: 20 year copyright term extensions, new provisions that would allow ISPs to block websites due to alleged infringement, and new criminal penalties for the circumvention of digital locks and rights management information.

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Margaret Atwood teams up with Paul Haggis, Dan Mangan, and over 200 Canadian artists to send message to party leaders about C-51’s attack on free expression

Artists, writers, musicians, and film-makers including Mark Achbar, Hayden, Raffi, Thomas King, and John Dunsworth from the Trailer Park Boys, warn that C-51 will “silence dissenting voices” and announce “we will be voting for the repeal of C-51”

September 28, 2015 A group of over 200 Canadian artists, led by acclaimed author Margaret Atwood, are speaking out against Bill C-51. In an open letter published this morning by Maclean’s, the artists warn that the legislation “directly attacks the creative arts and free expression in this country”. The group is speaking out just weeks before an election likely to decide the fate of the spying bill.

Signatories include film-makers like Mark Achbar, Paul Haggis (two-time Oscar-winning director of Million Dollar Baby fame), and Brett Gaylor; Musicians like Dan Mangan, Hot Hot Heat, Hannah Epperson, Hayden, and Raffi; authors like Margaret Atwood, Cory Doctorow, Thomas King, Judy Rebick, and Antonia Zerbisias; and actors like John Dunsworth (renowned for playing Mr Lahey on the Trailer Park Boys).

In the letter, Margaret Atwood and her co-signatories write that Bill C-51 “allows the government to silence dissenting voices without oversight or accountability.” They go on to state that, “This election we will be voting to protect our artistry, our rights, and our freedoms: we will be voting for the repeal of C-51. We hope you will join us in ensuring that all Canadians are no longer subject to the chilling effects of C-51 and targeted by government censorship.”

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Topics: Online Spying

Massive B.C. Privacy Breach underlines risks of government using C-51 to collect and store our private info

September 23, 2015: A massive data breach in British Columbia has left millions of British Columbians worried about whether their private educational records have been exposed. The government announced last night that it had lost track of an unencrypted drive containing the records, which include deeply personal information about mental health and substance abuse.

Privacy advocates say the loss underlines the risk of empowering the government to store large quantities of our personal information in centralized, insecure databases. Bill C-51 enabled spy agency CSIS to systematically collect and store Canadians’ private information from a wide range of government departments, despite warnings from the federal Privacy Commissioner.

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Topics: Online Spying

Elizabeth May becomes first party leader to endorse OpenMedia’s pro-Internet Action Plan

Digital rights group is calling on all political parties and candidates to endorse pro-Internet plan crowdsourced from over 250,000 Canadians

September 15, 2015 – Green Party leader Elizabeth May has become the first party leader to endorse OpenMedia’s crowdsourced pro-Internet action plan. In an open letter to OpenMedia published this morning, Ms. May promised to completely repeal Bill C-51, end mass surveillance, and ensure all Canadians have affordable access to the Internet.

OpenMedia is now calling on all political parties and candidates to endorse the proposals set out in its plan, which was crowdsourced from over 250,000 people. The digital rights group also launched a new tool this morning to enable Canadians in all 338 ridings to send the plan to their local candidates.

“We’re excited by Elizabeth May’s endorsement, and I hope she’s the first of many party leaders and candidates to sign on to these common sense proposals,” said OpenMedia’s executive director Steve Anderson. “For years, we’ve been held back by spiralling Internet costs, copyright abuses, and reckless and expensive spying. With over 250,000 Canadians shaping a positive alternative to our broken digital policies, it’s time to put residents of Canada in the driver’s seat and for every party to get with the plan. It’s time to do politics differently in this country.”

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Over 250,000 people shape action plan to save the Internet

Digital rights group OpenMedia releases comprehensive election platform packed with ideas crowdsourced from Canadians

August 27, 2015 – It's as if the entire city of London Ontario banded together to save the Internet. Shaped by more than 250,000 people and launching today, Canada's Digital Future is a crowd-sourced election platform packed with ideas from everyday citizens. It’s an initiative of digital rights group Openmedia, which is urging people to consider Canada's digital future when casting their vote this election.

While OpenMedia won’t be endorsing any political party, it does plan to meet the main parties and report back as to which are most committed to implementing its platform. Thousands of people have already pledged to vote for the future of the Internet in the upcoming election.

“Whether it’s telecom price-gouging, reckless spying legislation, or abusive copyright notices, failed digital policies are hurting Canadians,” said OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher. “Young people in particular are speaking up for a better way forward, because Canada can’t afford to keep falling behind our international counterparts. That’s why this election will be the most important Canadian Internet users have ever faced.”

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OpenMedia criticizes police push for warrantless access to private Internet subscriber data

OpenMedia criticizes police push for warrantless access to private Internet subscriber data

OpenMedia is extremely concerned by the proposal put forward by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police that would make it far easier for police to access Canadians’ online records without a warrant. The police proposal flies in the face of a landmark pro-privacy ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada last year.

Yesterday it was reported that police want expedited warrantless access to Canadians’ private Internet subscriber data, proposing three different options that would see them receive information about any Canadian from their telecommunications companies without judicial oversight or accountability.

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Topics: Online Spying

New TPP leak shows Canada would be required to massively overhaul copyright, damaging free expression and censoring Internet

Trans-Pacific Partnership text reveals that U.S. pressure could result in new rules for Canadians that allow for website blocking, and new criminal penalties for copyright infringement

August 5, 2015 – Recently leaked documents from the Intellectual Property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) reveal that the secretive trade agreement would require Canada to make drastic changes to its copyright law, causing significant damage to free expression and restricting access to knowledge. The TPP is already shaping up as a major issue in the recently launched federal election.

Under the TPP, Canada’s copyright system, which underwent a review as recently as 2012, would be amended with no public consultation. Today’s leaks reveal how the TPP would lengthen copyright terms, propose new criminal penalties for circumventing ‘digital locks’, and introduce site-blocking rules at the behest of U.S. media giants.

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New video sets out action plan to tackle Canadian privacy deficit, as hundreds of thousands continue to speak up against Bill C-51

Plan lays out tangible steps for federal government to take to restore Canadians’ digital privacy

July 23, 2015 – Today OpenMedia released a new online video, based on input from over 125,000 Canadians, which outlines a clear plan to address Canada’s stark privacy deficit. With Bill C-51, warrantless spying, thousands of privacy breaches, and a multi-billion dollar government spy palace, Canadians have serious reasons to be concerned about their privacy rights — and have stepped up to build a solution.

Watch the video here:

The video sets out three key priorities for how Parliament should strengthen Canada’s privacy safeguards, by 1) requiring a warrant to spy on Canadians’ personal lives, 2) ending mass surveillance, and 3) embracing accountability for Canada’s spy agencies. It’s all part of Canada’s Privacy Plan, which found that over 80% of Canadians support wide-ranging pro-privacy reforms, and over 94% want a comprehensive parliamentary review of surveillance oversight mechanisms.

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In a win for Canadians, CRTC promises fair rules to increase independent choice and affordability for fiber Internet access

New rules ensure that Canadians will be able to access an affordable range of services from a variety of providers outside Canada’s telecom giants

July 22, 2015A major ruling today from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) signals a significant step forward for Canadians’ ability to access affordable Internet options independent of Canada’s large telecom providers, says

In late 2014, OpenMedia delivered crowdsourced input from over 30,000 Canadians as part of the hearing that informed today’s decision–and is claiming victory.

The ruling is the first step towards ensuring small independent ISPs are able to sell fibre Internet in Canada, which should expand access and affordability for users. Canada currently lags behind most developed countries when it comes to fibre access. Canada’s Big Telecom operators currently control 92% of the Internet market and Canadians face some of the highest prices for Internet in the industrialized world.

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European Parliament rejects ‘Link Tax’ proposal, in big win for Internet users

75,000-strong Save The Link Campaign welcomes the rejection of proposal that could have resulted in severe repercussions for free speech online

July 9, 2015 Today the European Parliament firmly rejected a proposal that could have resulted in a new EU-wide ‘Link Tax’ with costly implications for Internet users across Europe and the world. A similar ‘Link Tax’ was introduced in Spain last December, where it forced Google News to shut operations, and resulted in web traffic to Spanish news sites plunging.

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Topics: Copyright

Canadian cell phone users won't be satisfied with Rogers/Mobilicity deal

Rogers $440 million takeover of Mobilicity will mean fewer choices for Canadian cell phone subscribers when wireless prices are already increasing at 3 times the rate of inflation


Update: Since this release was issued Industry Canada has released additional details about the Rogers/Mobilicity deal, which can be found here. OpenMedia has updated this release and statement with consideration of these new details.  [June 24, 2015: 12:22PM pst]

June 24, 2015 – Mobilicity has accepted a $440 million takeover from Rogers, Inc., according to documents filed with the Ontario Superior Court. The deal, approved by Industry Canada, appears to conflict with the government’s promises to increase mobile provider choice and affordability. The deal will see some of Mobilicity’s AWS-1 spectrum acquired by Wind Mobile, while a substantial amount of spectrum previously set aside for new entrants will go to Rogers.

Community-backed OpenMedia prefers for all spectrum set aside for new entrants to remain outside of the hands of the Big Three. The government previously promised it would not approve any spectrum transfers that decrease competition in the wireless market. However, the takeover still requires approval from the Competition Bureau. Responding to today’s news, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:

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Mobilicity employees’ MVNO proposal deserves serious consideration, although wireless prices will rise even further unless indie spectrum is kept out of Big Telecom’s hands

Reports over weekend suggest government is poised to allow Rogers and Telus to acquire Mobilicity’s valuable wireless spectrum, despite promises it would be set aside for affordable, independent providers

June 22, 2015: Mobilicity’s employees and founder are calling for government action to ensure their business can continue as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), even if their valuable wireless spectrum is acquired by other operators. Community-backed OpenMedia, which is running a sustained campaign for lower wireless prices, insists any deal must ensure that Canadians’ wireless choices are not further reduced.

The call comes following media reports over the weekend that the government is preparing to allow Rogers and Telus to acquire Mobilicity’s spectrum, despite previous promises that it would be kept out of the Big Three’s hands. Reacting to today’s call from Mobilicity employees, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:

“Ensuring that affordable providers like Mobilicity can continue to offer services is important for Canadians, who for years have been paying some of the highest prices in the industrialized world. Canadians would be disappointed to see Mobilicity’s spectrum handed back to the Big Three given the government’s repeated promises to lower prices and improve choice.”

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Telecom bills are rising rapidly: Government report confirms that cell phone cost increases are running at three times the rate of inflation

Official report finds that wireless prices are still rising steeply, and that overall telecom costs are among the most expensive in the industrialized world

June 18, 2015 – A major government report released this morning confirms that Canadians are still paying among the highest prices in the industrialized world for telecom service. The 2015 Wall Report, commissioned by the CRTC and Industry Canada, found that wireless prices are increasing across the board, with the cost of a standard 1GB monthly plan increasing by 7%, or over three times the rate of inflation (2.3%).

The report also found that new entrants, like Wind Mobile, offer rates that are 26-50% cheaper than the Big Three incumbents (Bell, Rogers, and Telus), and shows that broadband prices, especially for speeds over 15 Mbps, “are at the high end of the group of surveyed countries”, with a standard 16-40 Mbps service costing 64% more in Canada than in the U.K.

OpenMedia’s Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say: “Most Canadian cell phone users don’t need an official report to know that the cost of cell phone service is painfully high - they just need to look at their monthly bills. These high prices are the result of years of regulatory coddling of our unaccountable telecom giants. They are an unacceptable burden on Canadian families and the Canadian economy.”

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“This campaign will continue until Bill C-51 is repealed” vow those who fought the reckless legislation, as government rams it through Senate in final vote

OpenMedia launching renewed campaign at as focus shifts to political arena, with commitment to kill the reckless and unpopular legislation set to become a decisive factor in October’s election

June 9, 2015: The fight against Bill C-51 will continue until the deeply unpopular legislation is repealed. That’s according to OpenMedia, which is helping lead a 240,000-strong campaign against the Bill, which the government has just forced through the Senate 44-28 in the final vote on the bill. The community-backed group is today launching a renewed campaign at calling on leaders of all political parties to make a clear commitment to kill Bill C-51 as part of their election platform.

OpenMedia has worked with residents across Canada and a diverse range of organizations to host the #StopC51 campaign up until now. The Conservatives used their large Senate majority to cut short debate and ram the Bill through moments ago. Most Liberal senators took a principled stand against the Bill, despite the fact that their party leader and MPs supported the legislation, sparking outrage from Liberal grassroots. The NDP and the Green Party have already promised to completely repeal Bill C-51 if elected.

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Topics: Online Spying

Today is Cell Phone Freedom Day: new customer protection rules ensure 2–4 million Canadians can move between providers without penalty

Code contains significant customer protections for mobile phone and Internet users, including an end to 3-year contracts, and caps on roaming charges for data

June 3, 2015 – Beginning today, between 2 and 4 million Canadian mobile phone customers trapped in three year contracts will be able to cancel their agreement without penalty if their agreements have run 24 months or more under the CRTC’s Wireless Code of Conduct. Community-backed group OpenMedia, who worked with tens of thousands of Canadians to shape the rules, has dubbed today “Cell Phone Freedom Day”.

Today’s measures ensure all Canadians enjoy the benefits of the code’s customer protections, and will create millions of “free agents” now able to move between providers, or renegotiate with their current providers. Beyond ending three year contracts, other protections include caps on roaming charges both at home and abroad, the right to unlock your device, and the option to return your phone within 15 days of purchase without penalty.

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Firearms, Principled Conservative and Libertarian groups publish open letter to Stephen Harper and Senators warning that Bill C-51 will create “a long gun registry on steroids”

Letter signed by National Firearms Association, Free Dominion and nearly 100 other groups and individuals from the “conservative and libertarian side of the political spectrum”

June 2, 2015 A group of prominent Canadian conservatives and libertarians are speaking out about how the government’s Bill C-51 will create “a long gun registry on steroids”, by enabling the government to “create databases on all Canadians without oversight”. In a joint letter to Stephen Harper, the group warns Bill C-51 will create an army of “civil service bureaucrats operating covertly without oversight, regulation or accountability.”

Dozens of conservatives and libertarians have signed the letter, including the National Firearms Association, Free Dominion, and National Post columnist Jesse Kline. The letter was facilitated by OpenMedia, a community-based group helping lead a 235,000-strong campaign against Bill C-51 that’s become one of the largest campaigns in Canadian history.

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Topics: Online Spying

Media Advisory: June 3 is Cell Phone Freedom Day: new mobile phone customer protection rules come into effect for 2–4 million Canadians

Code contains significant customer protections for mobile phone and Internet users, including an end to 3-year contracts, and caps on roaming charges for data


Image credit: Mobile Phones And Abercrombie by Garry Knight (CC BY-NC 2.0)


Josh Tabish, Campaigns Manager, OpenMedia

David Christopher, Communications Manager, OpenMedia



OpenMedia has dubbed June 3, 2015 “Cell Phone Freedom Day”, as new mobile phone customer protection rules will come into effect for 2 to 4 million customers through the CRTC’s Wireless Code of Conduct.  

As of June 3, all Canadians, including those who are currently stuck in three year contracts, will be able to benefit from the Code's protections. For example, customers who entered into a 3 year term commitment on June 3, 2013, would have the option of ending their term agreements, without penalty.

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Community-led rallies taking place in Ottawa and across Canada on Saturday as Senate prepares for crucial final vote on Bill C-51

Canadians will converge on Ottawa from across the country to protest the reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible legislation about to be voted on by the Senate

May 29, 2015 – Community-organized events are taking place across Canada on Saturday, as the Senate prepares to take its final vote on the government’s controversial and unpopular Bill C-51. The rallies take place following a months-long campaign that has seen over 230,000 people sign the petition, with tens of thousands also taking action by emailing and tweeting at Senators and MPs, and writing letters in newspapers across the country.

Ottawa will be a key focal point, as Canadians from across the country gather in the nation’s capital for Saturday’s National Convergence against Bill C-51. Marchers will assemble at 2pm ET at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights monument on Elgin Street. Other community-led events are taking place in towns and cities across Canada - a full listing of all events is available at

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Topics: Online Spying

OpenMedia welcomes new CRTC Internet speed measurement program as a win for Canadians and an important step to protect net neutrality

OpenMedia welcomes new CRTC Internet speed measurement program as a win for Canadians and an important step to protect net neutrality

May 21, 2015This morning the CRTC announced a new Internet speed measurement program designed to “measure the performance of their home broadband Internet services,” and is inviting everyday Canadians to participate. Community-backed OpenMedia, which called for proactive audits of Internet performance in its crowdsourced Casting an Open Net report, hails the decision as a win for Canadians, and a key step toward protecting Net Neutrality.

Responding to the news, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:

“We’re thrilled to see the CRTC taking bold steps toward ensuring Canadians get the Internet speeds they are promised. Unfortunately, Canadians have long paid some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for what is widely recognized as slow service. By signing up households across Canada to the program, the data collected can be used to shape broadband policy to ensure all Canadians get faster, more affordable Internet.

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Breaking: CSE and Five Eyes revealed to be targeting popular mobile browsers and mobile App Stores - leaving millions at risk of having their private data hacked

News comes one day after OpenMedia releases crowdsourced report recommending new rules to ban Mass Surveillance and create greater oversight for agencies like CSE 

May 21, 2015Canadian spy agency CSE and its Five Eyes partners planned to compromise popular mobile App Stores to implant spyware on smartphones, and targeted a popular mobile web browser used by millions globally. Accordingly to reports published this morning by CBC News and The Intercept, CSE deliberately sought security vulnerabilities, but failed to inform companies or the public – leaving the private data of millions at risk.

The reports come just a day after OpenMedia released a pro-privacy action plan, crowdsourced from over 125,000 Canadians, that sets out strict new rules that would ban these kind of mass surveillance activities, place spy agencies like CSE under much tighter oversight, and ensure Canadian spy agencies comply with international human rights principles when it comes to privacy.

Responding to this morning’s news, OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher had this to say:

“Let’s be clear about one thing: CSE claims they will safeguard Canada’s security, but instead they deliberately left millions of innocent people at risk of having their private data hacked. These reckless activities weaken the Internet security Canadians rely on to conduct business and communicate online. CSE claims they don’t target Canadians, but there is no way they could have excluded Canadians from spying activities. Remember, they targeted people all around the world, including anybody who interacted with compromised devices.”

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Topics: Online Spying

As government prepares to ram C-51 through Senate, OpenMedia launches crowdsourced Privacy Action Plan to address Canada’s stark privacy deficit

Canada’s Privacy Plan is packed with proposals to restore privacy and roll back surveillance, based on ideas crowdsourced from over 125,000 Canadians

May 20, 2015 – OpenMedia is today launching a crowdsourced pro-privacy action plan, that aims to roll back out-of-control surveillance, and tackle Canada’s growing privacy deficit. Canada’s Privacy Plan is shaped by ideas and feedback from over 125,000 Canadians, and is launched as the government prepares to ram its unpopular privacy-undermining Bill C-51 through the Senate.

The crowdsourcing process that underpins the 96-page report identified three key privacy concerns that Canadians want to see addressed: i) warrantless access to personal information, ii) widespread dragnet surveillance of entire populations, and iii) insufficient oversight and accountability of surveillance activities. 94.1% of Canadians want a Parliamentary Committee to conduct a thorough review of existing oversight mechanisms.

“We wrote this report because privacy matters,” said OpenMedia’s David Christopher, the report’s lead author. “Canada’s growing privacy deficit has alarming consequences for democracy. We’re at a tipping point where we need to decide whether to continue evolving into a surveillance society, or whether to rein in the government’s spying apparatus. This report outlines common sense steps to strengthen privacy safeguards for all of us.”

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Topics: Online Spying

Federal Court of Appeal rejects Big Telecom’s efforts to delay implementation of wireless customer protection rules

Federal Court of Appeal rejects Big Telecom’s efforts to delay implementation of wireless customer protection rules

May 19, 2015The Federal Court of Appeal today has rejected Big Telecom’s efforts to delay the implementation of the Wireless Code of Conduct, stating that the CRTC “...has the right to make the Wireless Code applicable to contracts concluded before the Code came into effect.” The code contains significant customer protections for mobile phone and Internet users, including an end to 3-year contracts, and caps on roaming charges for data.

Community-backed OpenMedia, which represented Canadians throughout the court challenge with legal experts at CIPPIC, hails the decision as a victory. OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:

“This is a major win! By standing together, Canadians fought back against telecom giants in court and won. It took over a year and a half, but today the court is clear: the customer protections that Canadians fought for in the Wireless Code of Conduct applies to all mobile phone and Internet users across the country. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

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OpenMedia calls for Conservative MP Laurie Hawn to apologize to business leaders immediately

The call comes in response to Laurie Hawn attacking and questioning the loyalty of some of Canada’s most accomplished business leaders who signed a letter criticizing controversial Bill C-51. Canadians are speaking out at #SaySorryLaurie

May 8, 2015Internet advocacy organization OpenMedia is calling for MP Laurie Hawn to retract and apologize for statements he made on May 6th that attack some of the most accomplished business leaders in Canada and the thousands of employees they work with.   Canadians are joining the call using the hashtag #SaySorryLaurie.

Hawn’s attack came in response to a letter OpenMedia jointly circulated with Canadian business leaders that pointed out the negative impact spying Bill C-51 would have on businesses. The letter was signed by more than 140 businesses, including some of the country’s most respected and accomplished entrepreneurs.  It was published April 20th in the National Post, and the NDP cited its concerns in the House of Commons.

In response to the letter, Conservative MP for Edmonton Laurie Hawn questioned the business leaders’ values and loyalty to Canada, including this statement: "[They] should seriously reconsider their business model and their lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians." Hawn also insinuated that the businesses are “profiting” off of “horrific material.”  A video of exchange can be found on YouTube.

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Topics: Online Spying

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