Press release

#StopC51 campaigners vow to keep up the fight, after government uses majority to ram unpopular legislation through Commons after just two days of debate

The controversial Bill will now be considered by the Senate, as campaigners promise to turn Bill C-51 into a key election issue in October, if that’s what it takes to overturn the Bill

May 5, 2015: Privacy campaigners are vowing to keep up the fight against Bill C-51, after the government forced the unpopular spying Bill through the House of Commons. Conservative and Liberal MPs voted in favour, while 96 MPs from the NDP, the Green Party, the Bloc Quebecois, and Forces et Démocratie voted against. The Bill, opposed by 56% of Canadians and supported by just 33%, now moves on to the Senate.

Community-based OpenMedia, one of the groups leading the #StopC51 fight against the Bill, says the legislation will greatly exacerbate Canada’s privacy deficit, and that, if passed by the Senate, will become a major election issue. In the coming weeks, the citizen-backed group will launch a comprehensive pro-privacy action plan, based on ideas crowdsourced from Canadians, aimed at addressing Canada’s growing privacy deficit.

“The government and the Liberals may think today marks the end of this matter, but passing this reckless legislation will be an albatross around their neck moving into the election,” said OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher. “We hope the Senate will regain some of their lost legitimacy by killing this bill.”

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Topics: Online Spying

An international network of organizations launches campaign to safeguard the Right To Link

Legislators in European Parliament and Commission are considering updates to copyright proposals that would censor links for Internet users

May 6, 2015 A large network of over 50 organizations from 21 countries is coming together to “Save The Link”. Today, the network is launching a multilingual international campaign aimed at pushing back against efforts by powerful media conglomerates to censor links and stifle free expression on the Internet. One of the proposals being advanced could make users personally liable for the content of websites they link to online.

The campaign launches as legislators in the EU are considering a major copyright review, including amendments to the European Union’s Copyright Directive that experts say would fundamentally undermine the right to link. In addition, a recent leak from the European Commission reveals measures that could force online companies to monitor the activities of Internet users in order to block content in other countries.

In tandem with the launch of the campaign, organizers have set up a Thunderclap social media amplification tool demanding that legislators protect the right to link. The message will reach over 1.4 million people.

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In a win for Canadians, CRTC promises fair rules to promote greater choice and affordability in our mobile phone market

New rules from regulator ensures Canadians will have choices outside the Big Three leading to lower phone bills and more flexible offerings in the not-too-distant future.

May 5, 2015 – A major ruling from the CRTC today signals a significant step toward providing Canadians with greater choice and affordability in our mobile phone and Internet market. Community-based group OpenMedia, which intervened in the hearing, is hailing the decision as a win for people across the country, who have been paying some of the highest prices in the industrialized world. However the CRTC could have gone further by facilitating innovation through new market entrants, such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).

Commons to vote on ‘secret police’ bill C-51 as early as Tuesday after over 205,000 Canadians have spoken out online

MPs are being inundated with letters, phone calls, emails, and tweets in one of the largest citizen campaigns in Canadian history

May 4, 2015: The House of Commons will debate the government’s Bill C-51 today, and a final Commons vote on the unpopular legislation could be held as early as tomorrow evening or Wednesday morning. The government are using a time allocation motion to force the Bill through the Commons, cutting short debate and denying MPs the ability to respond to the serious concerns raised by experts during Committee hearings.

Opponents of the Bill are intensifying their efforts to urge MPs to listen to Canadians and reject the controversial legislation. MPs have already been inundated with tens of thousands of letters, phone calls, emails, and tweets in recent weeks. Over 205,000 people have now signed the petition, making this one of the largest campaigns in Canadian history.

In addition to citizens, experts, the government’s own privacy commissioner, conservative voters; business leaders across the country have sent an open letter to the government to relay their concerns about the bill. According to opinion polls, 56% of Canadians now oppose the Bill with just 33% in favour.

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Topics: Online Spying

Parliament set to debate C-51 today (Friday), as over 200,000 Canadians call for the Bill to be scrapped

Parliament is set to debate Bill C-51 this morning (Friday), a day after a joint petition calling for the bill to be scrapped hit the 200,000 mark, making it one of the largest political campaigns in Canadian history. A large majority of Canadians now oppose the bill.

The report stage debate is scheduled to take place at 10am ET. 

Commenting on the upcoming debate, OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher said: “Business leaders, 200,000 Canadians, and the government’s own top security and privacy experts are all warning that Bill C-51 is fundamentally flawed. It’s completely irresponsible of the government to ignore the experts and ram this reckless legislation through Parliament without a proper debate.”

Christopher continued: “They should listen to Canadians, go back to the drawing board, and this time consult properly about how to keep this country safe while respecting basic rights and freedoms.”

Topics: Online Spying

As government announces costly new copyright terms, leading experts send letter to Industry Minister urging him to fix existing loopholes that are exposing Canadians to threats and abuse

For months, foreign media giants have abused Canada’s copyright system by threatening Canadians with penalties that are impossible under Canadian law, in order to intimidate them into paying extortionate charges

April 23, 2015Leading Canadian copyright experts and organizations are urging Industry Minister James Moore to fix dangerous loopholes in Canada’s copyright rules. In a joint letter to Minister Moore, 17 organizations and experts set out in detail what needs to be done to safeguard Canadians from media giants trying to abuse the system. The letter comes just days after the government quietly announced in Tuesday’s budget that it will extend copyright terms on sound recordings from 50 to 70 years, a move that will cost customers millions.

As a result of a loophole in Canada’s new copyright rules, Canadians have been inundated by threatening and misleading notices from U.S.-based rights-holders. The notices threaten recipients with penalties that are impossible under Canadian law - such as $150,000 lawsuits and disconnection from the Internet. Experts want James Moore to act fast to close the loophole, which he was warned about but chose to ignore, before the new rules came into force in January.

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