Press release

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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