Ottawa Under Pressure: Weekly News Update from OpenMedia.ca

Hello, 

Here's Lindsey with your update:

As Canada enters the TPP's Internet trap, an industry lobby group is trying to get the U.S. government to push us towards even tighter Internet restrictions. Keep doing what you're doing in standing up to the pressures of the TPP: spread the word about the petition here.

Thanks for watching and reading, 

- The OpenMedia.ca Team


Recent News

BRINGING THE ONLINE SPYING BILL INTO FOCUS

The federal privacy commissioner is speaking out against websites collecting personal information and data, but a larger threat to Canadian Internet privacy still exists in the form of the Online Spying Bill C-30.

Learn how this warrantless legislation could invade your Internet use at StopSpying.ca and read more about this story at CBC.ca. Read more »

 

BELL IS NO ‘DOMESTIC CHAMPION’

Melanie Aitken, now-former head of the Competition Bureau, slammed Bell for using the ‘domestic champion’ argument to justify the growing concentration of Canadian broadcasting and the vertical integration of content producers delivery providers.

Bell claims that Canada “needs companies with the scale to compete against foreign content companies like Netflix, Apple, Google and Amazon,” but Aitken says this attempt at invoking nationalism to justify the centralization media ownership is just “wrapping a deal in the flag”. Read more »

 

NATIONAL POST: HOW BELL'S TAKEOVER WOULD RESULT IN LESS COMPETITION, HIGHER PRICES

As broadcast regulators review Bell's takeover of Astral Media, we're keeping a close eye on Bell's increasing vertical integration that would put Canadian pricing and choice at risk.

Speak out against Bell's tightening grip over Canadian communications by telling the CRTC to StopTheTakeover.ca.

Article by Chris Peirce for Financial Post

Innovation in this digital age is driving transformational change. If Canada acts to harness this transformation, Canadian consumers will be able to access and utilize the content they desire, and Canadian businesses will become more productive and competitive in both the Canadian and global economies. Canadian success at home and abroad for a generation and beyond is contingent upon the decisions we make today to foster a marketplace that drives and rewards this innovation. Read more »

 

BELL'S ASTRAL MEDIA TAKEOVER THREATENS QUEBEC CULTURE

As broadcast regulators review Bell's $3.4B takeover of Astral Media, we've been reviewing how this acquisition would increase telecom prices, saturate Canada's media channels and severely limit consumer choice.

Beyond affecting Canadians on a national level, Bell's takeover could take away from Francophone cultural identity, to which Astral Media has long been a prominent supporter. Speak out in telling the CRTC that Bell's increasing vertical integration is bad for all Canadians at StopTheTakeover.ca.

Article by Allan Woods for The Toronto Star

Quebec revels in few things more than when its artists rise to the top.

Think Celine Dion. Think Cirque du Soleil. Think way back even to Mitsou.

They are the cream-of-the-crop from a tiny French-speaking society that continues climbing within the seemingly bottomless pitcher that is the world.

Think more recently of Academy Award-nominated films like Monsieur Lazhar, Incendies and Barney’s Version. Here, you will find the common link that has Quebec’s actors, writers, directors and technicians — not to mention the newly elected Parti Québécois government — terribly concerned. Read more »

 

OPEN POSITIONS AT THE CRTC

The CRTC announced yesterday that two positions will soon be opening up: Vice-Chairperson, Telecommunications (replacing outgoing vice-chair Len Katz) and Regional Member.

In addition to those vacancies, five (out of thirteen) CRTC Commissioners’ terms will expire this coming spring/summer: Marc Patrone on March 18, Stephen Simpson on June 22, Suzanne Lamarre on June 29, Timothy Denton on July 31, and Louise Poirier on August 10. The Conservative Government will appoint these Commissioners’ successors if their terms are not renewed.

We at OpenMedia.ca 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. To that end, in our Action Plan we recommend that the government include broad stakeholder and citizen participation, and by more accountable and transparent about the appointment process for CRTC Commissioners. Read more »

 

INTERNET ACCESS HINDERED BY THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP

A lobbyist group is pushing for Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiators to force Canada into adopting a 'termination' system that would cut off Internet access for users accused of breaking copyright laws.

Join our campaign to stop the TPP's Internet trap at StopTheTrap.net and read more on this story at the Toronto Star website. Read more »

 

ONLINE SPYING BILL C-30 THREATENS CANADA'S NATIONAL SECURITY

An access-to-information request from The Globe and Mail has revealed that Canada’s Communications Security Establishment has concerns about our nation’s network security. Specifically, the documents show that Huawei Technologies—a Chinese company that has become the world’s leading maker of telecom equipment—has been the subject of national security concerns.

With all these security worries in the air, it seems strange that Ottawa should continue to consider a bill that could leave Canadians’ personal data less secure. Online spying bill C-30—a contentious piece of legislation that has provoked the ire of Canada’s privacy commissioners, legal experts, and wider public—could, if passed, lead to the creation of giant, unsecure registries of every Internet user’s personal data. Read more »

 

GOVERNMENT TAKES SMALL STEP IN SUPPORT OF RURAL BROADBAND ACCESS

The StarPhoenix yesterday called out phone company SaskTel for its sudden announcement of a cancellation of Internet services to rural areas in Saskatchewan. This will leave 8,000 customers without Internet access, at a time when “farmers are relying on the Internet more than ever before for such things as timely marketing”, not to mention the effect on businesses relying on Skype, distance education, and family entertainment.

The StarPhoenix points out that the provincial government justifies its principle of public ownership of utilities because “the private sector cannot be counted upon to deliver reliable services at a reasonable cost to a widely scattered population”. However this development shows that neither the government nor SaskTel were apparently able to plan ahead to ensure uninterrupted Internet service. Read more »

 

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement continues to threaten our free speech, Internet privacy and access to content online. Speak out and join our growing campaign at StopTheTrap.net.

 

CRTC EXEC WHO SPENT EVENING IN BELL BOX OPERATED IN 'GREY AREA'

An ethics expert is questioning the motives of Canada's broadcast regulators, after it was revealed that the CRTC vice-chairman was a guest in Bell's corporate suite at a hockey game late last year.

With the CRTC currently reviewing their decision of Bell's takeover of Astral Media, let's remind them that the best interests of Canadians come first. Sign and share our petition at StopTheTakeover.ca.

Article by Danny Joncas for The Toronto Sun

Nine months after his appointment as vice-chairman of broadcasting at the Canadian Radio-Television and telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Tom Pentefountas placed himself in an awkward situation by spending an evening in Bell's corporate box at the arena that bears its name.

Bell confirmed that Pentefountas attended a Canadiens match at the Bell Centre in the telecom giant's loge on Dec. 8, 2011. Read more »

 

GREAT NEW MEMBERS ELECTED TO CIRA!

Last week we encouraged you all to vote in the 2012 CIRA Board of Directors election, to ensure that the five seats up for grabs would be filled by candidates who will push for improvements in Canadian digital policy.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (or CIRA), is a non-profit organization that manages the dot-ca registry and addresses the day-to-day challenges facing Canada's Internet. It has considerable resources that could be spent on public interest activities and ensuring that Canadians have open and affordable options for Internet access. Read more »




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