Things That Go Bump In the Night: Weekly Update from


Here's Lindsey with your update:

This week, the government announced (quietly and late on a Friday night) that it is stalling the introduction of the online spying bill. It appears the Tories are responding to widespread public backlash over bill c-30, but they have still failed to make any strong commitments to amend the proposed legislation. Tell your MP you want concrete changes now:

Thanks for watching and reading,

- The Team

Recent News:

Stop The Cap: Bell holds rural Canada for ransom

As if the threats of warrantless online spying and overly restrictive copyright rules weren't enough, Canada is also lagging when it comes to the cost to communicate: cell phone prices here are among the highest in the industrialized world. However, the government is set to make a decision regarding competition, which has the potential to either force us to fall further behind or allow us to begin emerging as a leader...

Article by Phillip Dampier for Stop The Cap

Bell this week brought out its saber collection for a little rattling in Ottawa over the Canadian government’s consideration of a plan to set aside certain mobile spectrum for new competitors.

A mobile spectrum auction, expected later this year, will increase the number of 700Mhz frequencies available for wireless communications. Read more »


Techdirt: Bill C-30 will open the door to cyber-crime

By Rich Kulawiec for Techdirt

There's proposed legislation in the US (sponsored by Lamar Smith) and in Canada (sponsored by Vic Toews) and in the UK that uses various flimsy justifications for the mass collection of data on telecommunications users. The data covered by these proposals varies, but includes things like URLs, phone calls, text/instant/email messages, and other forms of communication. Some of this proposed legislation deals with communication metadata, e.g., sender, recipient, time, etc.; some of it deals with communication content, e.g., the full text of messages.

I'm going to gloss over the specifics for two reasons: first, they've been covered exhaustively elsewhere, and second, I think it's an absolute certainty that whatever these proposals contain, the next ones will contain more. Read more »


Geist: C-30 and the commercial surveillance industry

By Michael Geist for

Privacy International, one of the world’s leading privacy organizations, last year released the results of a multi-year investigation into the shadowy world of the commercial surveillance industry. Dubbed “Big Brother Inc.,” the investigation placed the spotlight on dozens of companies that specialize in covert surveillance technologies that are typically sold directly to governments and law enforcement agencies.

While governments in Asia and the Middle East have provided a ready market for technologies that can monitor Internet activities, Canada’s new online surveillance legislation features provisions that appear to open the door to bringing such tools here. Read more »


Global: Answers about the Copyright Modernization Act

We've been putting most of our effort into stopping online spying lately, but it's just one of a handful of threats to the Internet on the horizon. Another is what we're calling the "Internet Lockdown": initiatives that put individual citizens' rights last, such as Bill C-11, ACTA, TPP, and the now-defunct SOPA bill.

As we continue to battle the online spying bill (C-30), committee hearings are taking place for the Copyright Modernization Act (C-11). There's a lot to handle, but we need to stay strong on all fronts. Today, we suggest checking out this Q & A on C-11, signing the petition at, and spreading the word.

Article from Global Edmonton:

TORONTO - On Jan. 19, Canadians watched in awe as key players in the digital world – Wikipedia, Wired, Wordpress and Mozilla to name a few – orchestrated what has been dubbed the “largest protest in history.” The tech companies teamed up in an effort to raise awareness about two copyright bills – Bill C-11 in Canada and the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA in the U.S. – that were on their way to becoming legislation. The websites made their point and the U.S. House of Representatives shelved SOPA. Read more »


Schmidt: Government-made consumer awareness tool dropped thanks to Big Telecom lobbying

We've recently made significant headway in our Stop Online Spying campaign—Bill C-30 is finally getting the media coverage it deserves and Canadians are engaging both online and off in this fight for online privacy. Meanwhile, (as is well known) Canadians continue to be gouged by their cellphone providers. Are you curious as to the extent of this unjust gouging?

As we have seen time and again, Telus, Rogers, and Bell do not want consumers to have choices or options. They want your money and they don't want to have to fight for it. This lobbying success (for the Big Three) exemplifies their ability to manipulate our government. But Canadians are pushing back.

Article by Sarah Schmidt for Postmedia News:

OTTAWA - Industry Canada privately defended its cellphone plan calculator as an ``important consumer-education tool'' even as the minister's office publicly claimed the initiative was killed because it didn't work, internal records show. Read more »


Media Roundup of Bill C-11 (Internet Lockdown) Coverage

As of late, Canadians have been extremely captivated by theonline surveillance bill currently being discussed in Parliament. We are, of course, very excited about the level of engagement Canadians have demonstrated.

However, we would like to quickly take a moment to shine the spotlight on recent action taken by Canadians againstcontroversial copyright Bill C-11. As part of digital watchdog group Access's international day of action against ACTA (11/02/12), citizens across the nation spoke their dissatisfaction with the bill. Read more »


Post: All the people the Tories need onside seem to really dislike the online spying bill

A poll conducted by Angus Reid shows that, as Gurney puts it in the following article, "all the people the Tories need onside" are following the news on the online spying bill, and are opposed to it.
We're winning the battle in the media, and it's what's forcing the government to back down.

Toews is still trying to turn the tables on us—just look at this op-edhe put out Friday—but we're a nimble community that moves at the speed of the Internet. Help keep our ground by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper at, and push against this invasive, poorly thought-out bill.

Article by Matt Gurney for the National Post:

After a strong public backlash, the Tories had originally agreed to send Bill C-30 to a Parliamentary committee for review before Second Reading — a rare step that invited opposition input before the government itself had even signalled its support for the Bill. The government had even pre-emptively declared itself willing to consider what the opposition had to say — and the Tories weren’t particularly good at that even when, as a minority, they needed opposition support much more than they do now. But they might be giving it even more review — Saturday’s Globe and Mail reports that the Tories are taking their foot off the gas pedal. While sources in the government told the Globe that the Conservatives still plan to push ahead with C-30, the timing of their next move is unclear. Read more »


Government to Stall the Online Spying Bill warns delay may be “a hollow gesture” designed to wait out the outcry

February 25, 2012 – The government announced today that they will delay the next step toward passing their controversial online spying bill. Grassroots group—which led the charge against the bill with their Stop Online Spying campaign—says that this appears to be an attempt by the government to quell the widespread public outcry over the invasive and costly nature of the legislation.

While the government has yet to commit to any specific changes, Bill C-30—also known as “lawful access” or “online spying” legislation—was set to go to committee early for amendments. But the government now says the bill is unlikely to be moved forward in the coming weeks. Read more »


PIAC: Rumoured Cap in Spectrum Auction Would Threaten Competition

This latest press release by the Public Interest Advocacy Center (PIAC), is related to's mission to keep the Internet open and accessible for all Canadians. A necessary step to achieving that goal is ensuring Canada has a competitive market by setting aside crucial infrastructure for smaller telecoms, called spectrum.

The rumoured structure of the wireless spectrum auction involves a capping of wireless companies' total spectrum, rather than setting aside part of it for smaller competitors. If true, this would give the Big Three an unfair advantage because, together, they can flex their financial muscles and hoard the wireless spectrum. 

Press Release By Public Interest Advocacy Centre

OTTAWA –The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) noted today that the rumoured structure of Canada’s 700 MHz wireless spectrum auction (capping wireless companies’ total spectrum) would be an abandonment of the Government’s commitment to improve competition in the wireless market. Spectrum was set aside for new entrants to bid on in the last auction and it is even more important to continue with set-asides in this key part of the available wireless spectrum, according to PIAC. Read more »


CBC's The National on the cost of online spying

CBC's The National gave the Stop Online Spying campaign some great coverage! We're picking up steam and winning the battle in the media and it's all thanks to you. Keep it up by sending a letter to the editor of your local paper or otherwise spreading the word about the petition at Read more »


Mythbusting the mythbusting: Our response to Vic Toews' email to Canadians

This blog entry was written with notes, files, advice, and care from Vincent Gogolek of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. Thanks Vince.

The government is on the defence. Fresh from being outed on CBC radio as unfamiliar with his own bill, asked to resign in the National Post, and generally berated via social media, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has been emailing those who signed the Stop Online Spying petition with the same washed up talking points that have been debunked again and again. We’ve decided to go point-by-point through his misleading ‘myth-busting’, and make sure it’s clear how ridiculous this bill—not to mention the force attempting to pass it—truly is.

If you're upset by Toews' unwillingness to listen to Canadians, consider submitting a letter to your local paper. We have a tool for this here. Read more »



The pro-Internet community has won some key battles in pushing for a more open, affordable, and surveillance-free Internet because of thousands of unsung hereos like Connie Fournier and Quincy Lam.

Just 100 days after the Conservative Government took office and announced that it would pass an invasive, warrantless, and costly online spying legislation, aka "Lawful Access," Connie and Quincy decided to fight back the best way they knew how—they started coding.

The result was the development of a cutting-edge engagement tool: an online letter-to-the-editor tool that allows supporters from the pro-Internet community to easily write and submit letters to their local newspaper editors. Read more »