Press release

One Giant Jumbotron, Millions of Voices: Today the Internet comes together to defend Net Neutrality

With historic Net Neutrality decision imminent, OpenMedia and huge coalition park Jumbotron opposite FCC HQ in Washington D.C., to stream images, messages, and videos submitted by tens of thousands of Internet users

February 25, 2015 – When staff at the FCC look out the window today, they’ll see the Internet looking right back at them. In advance of tomorrow’s crucial FCC Net Neutrality decision, OpenMedia and a huge Internet freedom coalition are parking a giant Jumbotron opposite the agency’s headquarters in Washington D.C. The Jumbotron will be streaming images, messages, videos, and memes submitted by tens of thousands of Internet users via an online tool at StopTheSlowdown.net.

The FCC is poised to decide whether to allow telecom companies to create slow lanes on the Internet. The Jumbotron will be part of a range of activity outside the FCC building, as Internet freedom advocates gather from all over the U.S. and the globe. Over five million people, including President Obama, have called on the FCC to defend real Net Neutrality. Comments made by FCC chair Tom Wheeler earlier this month prompted cautious optimism from open Internet advocates.

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Bell Mobility is taking Canadians to court so it can keep artificially inflating the price of competing apps and services

In an effort to make Internet services more like cable TV, Bell is trying to overturn a CRTC decision forcing the company to respect net neutrality and treat independent video services fairly on their network

February 23, 2015Over the weekend, OpenMedia learned that Bell Mobility filed a motion with the Federal Court of Appeal in an attempt to reverse a recent CRTC decision that found the company to be unlawfully making competing mobile video apps and services more expensive. In the filing, Bell names several individual Canadians, including concerned citizen Ben Klass who originally filed a complaint about Bell’s practices with the CRTC in November 2013, as well as several public interest groups.

In January, the CRTC ruled that companies like Bell must stop exempting their own services from users’ monthly data caps – marking up competing video services by up to 800%. Bell was given until April 29 to stop the practice and respect net neutrality, but they are now challenging the decision.  

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Topics: Affordability

Messages from Internet users to be beamed on Giant Jumbotron outside U.S. FCC, in run-up to crucial Net Neutrality decision with major implications for Canada

Vancouver-based Internet freedom group OpenMedia, with support from diverse coalition, including Daily Kos, Tumblr, Fark, The Center for Media Justice, Roots Action, and The Nation, to park giant Jumbotron outside FCC headquarters and stream thousands of messages and images from citizens

February 18, 2015 – Internet users have a new way to ensure their voice is heard, in the run-up to the U.S. FCC’s crucial Net Neutrality decision next week. Internet freedom group OpenMedia, backed by a huge coalition including Daily Kos, Roots Action, The Nation, Tumblr, and others, will park a giant Jumbotron opposite FCC headquarters. The Jumbotron will stream messages and images submitted by Internet users through an online tool going live today at StopTheSlowdown.net.

The campaign aims to pressure the FCC to prevent telecom conglomerates creating slow lanes on the Internet - a move that would especially impact Canadians as so much of our Internet traffic travels in and out of the U.S. In recent months, over 5.1 million people have spoken out to protest this slow lane plan. The FCC will not accept formal comments from the public in the remaining time leading up to their February 26 decision, so the giant Jumbotron will be the most direct way people can reach them.

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New spy powers will undermine privacy of Canadians, and fails to address inadequate control and accountability of spy agencies

New measures to undermine privacy proposed just days after the government’s spy agency CSE revealed to be spying on private online activities of law-abiding Canadians on a massive scale

January 30, 2015The federal government’s just announced Bill C-51 will further undermine Canadians’ privacy while doing nothing to address privacy violations revealed just days ago. That’s according to digital rights group OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a nationwide coalition calling for stronger privacy protections. Over 46,000 people have spoken out recently through OpenMedia privacy campaigns calling on Prime Minister Harper to end mass surveillance and improve spy agency accountability and transparency.

Bill C-51 will give spy agencies new powers to access Canadians’ private information, including passport application information and sensitive commercial data. The legislation will also override privacy protections in multiple pieces of legislation to increase information sharing between government agencies, which has prompted the federal Privacy Commissioner to speak out. It also greatly expands the domestic powers of CSIS, including the power to place Canadians on a no fly list.

“Experts and even Stephen Harper himself agree that targeted intelligence is more effective than dragnet surveillance of entire populations”, said David Christopher, OpenMedia.ca’s communications manager. “Yet this plan appears to further encourage reckless sharing of our sensitive private information rather than providing a clear path for effective targeted action.”

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In big win for Internet users, CRTC finds Bell Mobility unlawfully made competing mobile video apps and services more expensive

Following case taken by concerned Canadians and public interest groups, CRTC says mobile providers cannot markup independent services like Netflix to give their own content an unfair advantage

January 29, 2015 – A landmark decision from the CRTC today has determined that Bell Mobility unlawfully made competing mobile apps and services more expensive for Canadians by unfairly exempting their own services from monthly data caps. The CRTC directed Bell to stop their unlawful practice in the next 90 days. The ruling sets a precedent for mobile providers across Canada.

This morning’s decision comes just over a year after then Manitoba resident Ben Klass filed a complaint with the CRTC accusing Bell Mobility of discriminating against independent services like Netflix. Mr. Klass’ complaint revealed that Bell was marking up access to competing video services by up to 800%. Thousands spoke out to support Mr Klass through the Save Our Net campaign organized by OpenMedia.ca.

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Topics: Affordability

Breaking - Spy agency CSE is monitoring our private online activities on a massive scale and sharing sensitive data with other governments

Canadian spy agency has been caught monitoring over 100 popular file-storage websites, spying on millions of downloads a day, with Canadian Internet addresses among the targets

January 28, 2015 – Canadian spy agency CSE is indiscriminately monitoring the private online activities of millions of Internet users, including Canadians. According to CBC News and The Intercept, CSE monitored over 100 popular file hosting websites, including RapidShare and SendSpace, spying on millions of downloads a day. They also collected millions of IP addresses of individual users, with a number of Canadian Internet addresses among the targets.

Findings from the program are collected and shared with foreign spy agencies. All of this activity has been undertaken without users’ knowledge or consent. The program, named LEVITATION, dates back to at least 2012, while Peter MacKay was the Defence Minister responsible for CSE. The news breaks as MacKay, now Justice Minister, prepares to announce new measures to undermine Canadians’ privacy in legislation expected to be unveiled on Friday.

“CSE is clearly spying on the private online activities of millions of innocent people, including Canadians, despite repeated government assurances to the contrary”, said OpenMedia.ca communications manager David Christopher. “Law-abiding Internet users who use popular  file hosting services are now finding themselves under the government’s microscope.”

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Topics: Online Spying

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