Press Releases

900 Social Insurance Numbers stolen due to Heartbleed, breaches of private citizen data affecting over 725,000 of us; OpenMedia.ca available to comment

Canadians deserve answers from the government about what it’s doing to keep our private data secure, says community-based group working to protect the privacy of all Canadians

The Canada Revenue Agency has revealed that the Heartbleed bug has made over 900 Social Insurance Numbers in CRA databases vulnerable to cyber criminals, including those who wish to engage in identity theft.

Heartbleed is a bug in software called OpenSSL that is used to secure data for popular web services that Canadians use everyday. The bug means that cyber criminals could have access to our passwords and other sensitive information. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Digital Privacy Act does almost nothing to tackle central privacy concern for Canadians: reckless and expensive government surveillance

Incoherent for government to advance protections on commercial privacy, while at same time advancing Bill C-13 which would throw door open to widespread government surveillance of law-abiding Canadians

April 7, 2014 – This morning Industry Minister Moore tabled a new Digital Privacy Act in the Senate. The proposed legislation focuses on commercial privacy issues and will update the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

According to OpenMedia.ca, this legislation, while welcome, does almost nothing to tackle the serious problem of ongoing government surveillance against law-abiding Canadians. OpenMedia.ca is leading a sustained, nationwide coalition against government attempts to spy on Canadians. The community-based group says it’s incoherent for the government to advance commercial privacy protections, while also stripping away Canadians’ privacy with its Online Spying Bill C-13. While Minister Moore appears to understand the importance of privacy, the government overall doesn't appear to be on the same page.

Topics: Online Spying

Government’s digital strategy leaves Canada stuck in the slow lane - fails to tackle stark digital divide and national digital deficit

Canadians deserve so much more than just warmed-up leftovers from previous government announcements: new strategy means Canada will likely fall even further behind its global counterparts on Internet affordability, access, and speed

April 4, 2014 – The government’s long-awaited new digital strategy announced this morning will disappoint Canadians who had been hoping for bold moves to tackle our national digital deficit and stark digital divide. That’s according to community-based OpenMedia.ca, which has spent years campaigning for all Canadians to have affordable, world class Internet access.

Many of the measures announced by Industry Minister James Moore today, while positive, amount to little more than a repackaging of previous government announcements and existing government programmes: Read more »


Expert report reveals Internet providers should be more transparent about how they handle our private information

Report lifts the curtain on how Internet providers protect privacy, giving Canadians an at-a-glance tool to rate their provider’s transparency compared with others

March 27, 2014 – A new report by leading privacy experts has revealed that Canadian Internet providers need to be much more transparent about how they protect their customers’ private information.

The report found that while all providers had room for improvement, smaller independent providers tend to be more transparent overall than their larger counterparts. Smaller providers also got credit for being more transparent about their user privacy protection and for more visibly keeping domestic Canadian Internet traffic within Canada. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

With Canada plummeting in Internet world rankings, Canadians tell Minister Moore not to squander our $5.2bn Digital Endowment

Government should invest digital windfall from sale of public spectrum assets into tackling Canada’s national digital deficit and growing digital divide

March 26, 2014 – Canada has a unique opportunity to tackle its growing digital divide - but the government must take action to ensure this chance isn’t squandered. That’s according to community-based OpenMedia.ca, which is launching a new campaign urging the government to invest funds from its recent sale of public spectrum assets into ensuring all Canadians have independent access to high-speed, world-class Internet.

The campaign is being launched just seven days before the government receives over $5.2 billion in proceeds from its recent auction of public wireless spectrum assets. This Digital Endowment, if invested back into our networks, could provide a unique opportunity for Canada to finally catch up with its global counterparts when it comes to accessible, affordable, high-speed Internet. Read more »


Parliament resumes debate on Online Spying Bill that provides immunity for telecom companies who are helping authorities spy on Canadians without a warrant

Government trying to smuggle through unpopular online spying measures that would grant immunity to telecom providers that hand over private information without a warrant

March 26, 2014 Legislation being debated by Parliament today would enable a range of government authorities access to the private lives of millions of law-abiding Canadians. It would also grant immunity to telecom providers who hand over their customers’ private information to authorities without a warrant. That’s according to legal experts consulted by OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a nationwide campaign against the proposed legislation.

Over 65 pages of Bill C-13 were lifted from the government’s failed Online Spying Bill C-30 which was introduced by Vic Toews and withdrawn amidst public uproar after over 150,000 Canadians spoke out against it. The bill also problematically includes proposals to tackle the important issue of cyberbullying. The Official Opposition has joined OpenMedia.ca in calling for Bill C-13 to be split, so that important measures tackling cyberbullying can be dealt with separately. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Wireless price hike underlines government’s failure to deliver its promise to lower rates and rein in high-cost Big Telecom giants

Urgent government action required to open networks to ensure Canadians have affordable alternatives to the Big Three providers

MARCH 18, 2014 - Canadians will be paying even more for wireless service, following a hefty $5 price increase that was quietly announced by telecom giants Bell and Rogers over the weekend. Telus has also recently raised its rates by $5. Community-based OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a sustained 70,000-strong campaign to lower prices and improve choice, says Big Telecom’s price hike underlines the government’s failure to deliver on its well-publicized promise to deliver lower wireless rates for Canadians.

The price hikes come despite the fact that Canadians already pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for wireless service, as confirmed by independent reports. It’s also the second major wireless price increase since last summer. Canada’s Big Three wireless providers control over 90% of the market, leaving many Canadians with no outside alternatives. This is because Big Telecom is blocking Canadians from being able to access more affordable providers, as confirmed recently by the Competition Bureau. Read more »


Telecoms refuse to come clean about whether they are helping the government to spy on law-abiding Canadians

Citizens left asking “what have they got to hide?” after major Canadian telecoms refuse to answer questions put to them by leading privacy researchers & civil liberties groups

March 6, 2014 – What have they got to hide? That’s the question many Canadians are asking after many major telecom firms failed to respond to a letter sent in January by leading privacy experts. The letter requested detailed information about the extent to which telecom companies are helping the government to spy on law-abiding citizens. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Hard-hitting video released that highlights how Peter MacKay’s online spying legislation would let a range of government officials spy on law-abiding Canadians without oversight

Canadians have come together from across the political spectrum to denounce Bill C-13, which would give a range of authorities access to the private lives of Canadians without a warrant

March 5, 2014 – The government’s online spying legislation, Bill C-13, will allow authorities access to the private lives of millions of law-abiding Canadians, even if they’re not suspected of wrong-doing. That’s the message of a hard-hitting viral video launched today by community-based OpenMedia.ca, which is spearheading a nationwide campaign against the spying bill.

Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Quebecor entry a positive development but more action required to stop cell phone price-gouging after Big Three gobble up most of key spectrum assets

Government must ensure more choice to save Canadians from price-gouging and disrespectful customer service

FEBRUARY 19, 2014 - Responding to today’s announcement of the results of a crucial auction of Canadian wireless resources, OpenMedia.ca is saying the prospect of new providers in some markets is a positive development but the government must do more to follow through on its promise to fix our dysfunctional cell phone market.

This afternoon’s announcement revealed that Quebecor could be set to expand its wireless business outside Quebec. They succeeded in purchasing spectrum in Southern Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, as well as in Quebec. However the Big Three (Bell, Rogers, Telus) purchased 89% of this vital resource across Canada, consolidating their stranglehold. Prior to this auction the Big Three held 85% of Canadian wireless spectrum. Spectrum is a scarce and vital resource that mobile devices need to communicate with each other. Read more »

Topics: Cell Phones

Federal budget investment in rural broadband welcome but it must not be used to entrench Big Telecom’s poor service

Community-based OpenMedia.ca says $2bn investment and open access requirements needed to ensure rural Canadians have quality Internet service independent of the high costs and slow speeds offered by Canada’s Big Telecom giants

FEBRUARY 11, 2014 - Today’s announcement of $305m over 5 years in new government investment to improve rural broadband service is a welcome start, but more action is required to tackle the high prices and poor service faced by rural Canadians. That’s according to community-based OpenMedia.ca, which says $2 billion and open access requirements are needed to build an alternative to the slow and expensive Internet service delivered to rural Canadians by Big Telecom. Read more »


Huge Coalition unites to demand end to Spy Agency Cash Grab - MPs should stop wasting billions spying on law-abiding Canadians

Budget Day Action will urge MPs to side with taxpayers against CSEC waste; group warns spying on innocent Canadians hurts democracy at home and Canada’s reputation abroad

February 11, 2014 – Over 50 major organizations and tens of thousands of Canadians are uniting today behind a new campaign to tell MPs to stop wasting billions on Canada’s hugely expensive online spying apparatus. The campaign is part of a worldwide day of action - the Day We Fight Back - against online spying and is being launched on federal Budget Day. It is expected that MPs will be asked to approve the rapidly growing annual budget for Canadian spy agency CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada).

CSEC is expected to cost taxpayers over $460 million this year, well above earlier forecasts of $420 million. CSEC’s inflation-adjusted annual budget has more than doubled over the past decade. Taxpayers are also on the hook for over $4 billion to build and operate a new CSEC headquarters, described as “the most expensive government building ever built” and as a “spy palace”. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

OpenMedia.ca joins with BC FIPA and CIPPIC to call for senior intelligence officials to testify under oath at Monday Senate hearing

Call comes in response to shocking revelation that CSEC spied and tracked movements of thousands of Canadian air travellers

January 30, 2014 – CSEC and other senior intelligence officials should testify under oath, at an important Senate committee hearing on Monday afternoon. That’s according to OpenMedia.ca, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (BC FIPA), and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), who have sent a letter making the request to Senate officials.

The call comes in response last night's shocking revelations that CSEC is monitoring travellers within Canada, and other instances of intelligence agencies being ‘economical with the truth’ when reporting on their activities. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Thousands of innocent Canadian air travellers monitored and spied on by the government - full independent inquiry urgently needed, says OpenMedia.ca

OpenMedia.ca says Canadians deserve a transparent independent investigation and total overhaul of failed government spy agency CSEC’s oversight, following confirmation that the agency has been monitoring and tracking the precise movements of thousands of Canadians without cause

January 30, 2014 – Thousands of law-abiding Canadian air travellers had their private information spied on, and their movements monitored, by government spy agency CSEC. This stunning development, revealed by CBC News tonight, is sparking calls from community-based OpenMedia.ca for a thorough, transparent, independent investigation, and a total overhaul of failed CSEC oversight measures.

The revelations appear to fly in the face of government and CSEC assertions that Canadians are not targeted in spying activities. Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian described the revelations as "unbelievable", "totalitarian", and said Canadians "have very good reason to worry". Privacy expert Ron Deibert told CBC News: "I can't see any circumstance in which this would not be unlawful." Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Competition Bureau confirms Big Three blocking Canadians from affordable wireless options

Competition Bureau submission amounts to independent confirmation that the Big Three telecom giants are using their power and control to block Canadians from independent wireless options.

Responding to today's Competition Bureau submission to the CRTC consultation on domestic wireless roaming rates, OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson said:

"Today's Competition Bureau submission amounts to independent confirmation that the Big Three telecom giants are using their power and control to block Canadians from independent wireless options. This is keeping prices ridiculously high and holding back our economy and our country." Read more »


Government must act immediately to implement Privacy Commissioner’s new recommendations to safeguard Canadians’ privacy from spy agency CSEC

Government should immediately implement Privacy Commissioner’s report as step toward greater spy agency transparency and accountability, says OpenMedia.ca

January 28, 2014 – This morning’s Federal Privacy Commissioner’s report contains welcome new recommendations to help safeguard Canadians’ privacy from rampant online spying. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Leading Canadian surveillance expert Ron Deibert to speak at UBC event in Vancouver amidst growing privacy concerns

Professor Ron Deibert, now a best-selling author, has long track record of sounding alarm about blanket government surveillance of law-abiding citizens.

January 22, 2014 – Professor Ron Deibert, one of Canada and the world’s leading government surveillance experts, will be speaking at an event at Green College, University of British Columbia this Thursday January 23rd. Community-based OpenMedia.ca is a co-sponsor of the event, which has been organized by the Creative Writing Program and Green College at UBC. The event takes place at 5pm on January 23rd at Cecil Green Park House, 6251 Cecil Green Park Road, UBC, Vancouver.

Professor Deibert has a long track record of highlighting how governments are using new technologies to spy on the private online activities of Internet users, both here in Canada and around the world. He is the Director of the Citizen Lab and Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and the author of Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Privacy Experts ask telecoms if they are helping the government spy on Canadians

Academic researchers and civil liberties groups send detailed request aimed at revealing full extent of government spying on Canadians through telecom providers

January 22, 2014 – A group of leading privacy experts and advocates have sent major Canadian telecom firms a letter requesting detailed information about the extent to which they pass on their customers’ private information to government officials.

The initiative is spearheaded by Toronto-based researcher Dr. Christopher Parsons, joined by a dozen other leading privacy academics from across Canada. Groups signing on to the letter include community-based OpenMedia.ca, along with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, and Pen Canada. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

As Big Three aim to consolidate telecom dominance, Canadians come together to discuss new solutions to build a more ‘Connected Canada’

Citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca is organizing a series of events across Canada to ensure the CRTC puts Canadians first when it comes to key digital policy decisions

January 16, 2014 – On the heels of independent provider Wind’s shocking withdrawal from a crucial auction of wireless assets, OpenMedia.ca is pushing back against the dominance of a few big telecom companies by organizing a series of citizen-led events across Canada.

In 2014 regulators at the CRTC are set to make a series of key decisions that will affect the access and affordability of digital services. OpenMedia.ca is hoping citizen input from the local gatherings ensures that decision makers put Canadians first when it comes to decisions about the future of digital services. Read more »


Last remaining national indie cell phone provider withdraws from crucial auction for wireless infrastructure, signalling consolidation of stranglehold by the Big Three

Wind Mobile has announced it will not participate in tomorrow’s wireless auction of assets crucial to the future of cell phone service in Canada. The move could spell the end to national independent cell phone service in Canada if government does not act.

JANUARY 13, 2014 - Responding to Wind’s just-announced withdrawal from a crucial auction of Canadian wireless resources starting tomorrow, OpenMedia.ca is saying that while Industry Minister James Moore has made positive steps in recent months it appears now to have been too little too late. Read more »

Topics: Cell Phones

New cell phone service rules include welcome steps for increased choice but more action required to ensure Canadians can access affordable, independent wireless options

Industry Minister James Moore’s announcement contains positive steps but will leave Canadians disappointed at insufficient support for much-needed affordable options

January 10th, 2013 – Rules announced by Industry Canada this morning for a 2015 auction of vital wireless resources include positive steps but don’t go far enough to ensure greater wireless choice for Canadians. That’s according to citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a sustained 70,000-strong nationwide campaign to demand lower prices and authentic wireless choice in Canada’s broken wireless market.

This morning, Industry Minister James Moore announced that an auction for vital 2500 MHz wireless spectrum will take place in April 2015, with a registration deadline of November 27, 2014. He also announced spectrum caps to boost competition - despite these caps, Big Telecom still look poised to take the lion’s share of available spectrum. The 2015 auction rules also feature a “use it or lose it” rule that OpenMedia.ca has been pushing for years to achieve. Read more »


As the future of affordable Internet hangs in the balance, Canadians tell CRTC to ditch the deadweight of Big Telecom giants

With Big Telecom conglomerates threatening the future of affordable, independent ISPs, citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca is enabling Canadians to take part in a crucial CRTC consultation

January 9, 2014 – OpenMedia.ca is launching a campaign to enable Canadians to participate in a crucial CRTC public consultation to prevent Canada’s Big Telecom congomerates from blocking access to affordable new high-speed Internet service options. Independent ISPs currently provide Internet access to hundreds of thousands of Canadians, offering a more affordable option outside of Big Telecom providers.

According to citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca, affordable high-speed Internet access is again being threatened by Big Telecom giants, which want to block Canadians from having affordable, independent access to high-speed, fibre-optic Internet networks. Read more »

Topics: Affordability

Government begins to rein in Big Telecom by putting in place caps on roaming and financial penalties to enforce customer protection rules - a good start but further action required, says OpenMedia.ca

Government reacts to years of Canadians calling on officials to rein in Big Telecom’s power and control, says citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca

December 18, 2013 – The government has taken its first clear steps to deliver on their promise to ensure Canadians enjoy greater wireless choice and lower prices for telecom services. That’s according to citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca, which is welcoming this morning’s announcement that domestic roaming rates are to be capped, and that the CRTC, Canada’s telecom policy-maker, will be empowered to levy monetary fines on Big Telecom companies that break customer protection rules.

OpenMedia.ca has been campaigning since 2009 for tougher enforcement mechanisms and financial penalties for Big Telecom companies that break the rules. OpenMedia’s crowd-sourced Casting an Open Net and Time for an Upgrade reports both called for tough financial penalties for telecom giants who break the law.

This morning’s Industry Canada announcement will forbid Big Telecom from charging independent providers more than they charge their own customers for mobile voice, data, and text services. At present, Big Telecom charge indie providers more than 10 times what they charge their own customers to roam on their networks -- essentially blocking many Canadians from using independent providers. Read more »

Topics: Cell Phones

A groundswell of Canadians speak out against government revival of Vic Toews-inspired online spying legislation

As parliamentarians return to their ridings for the winter holidays, citizens and groups from across the political spectrum are raising concerns about how Peter MacKay’s online spying Bill C-13 would undermine Canadians’ privacy

December 11, 2013 – Groups from across the political spectrum are speaking out to warn Canadians about how the government’s Online Spying Bill C-13 would give a range of authorities access to the private lives of almost any Canadian, even if they are not suspected of any wrong doing.

Bill C-13 was recently introduced by Justice Minister Peter MacKay, who claimed that it related to cyberbullying. However just a few pages of the bill cover that topic, while 65 pages were lifted from former Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ failed online spying Bill C-30, which was withdrawn after over 150,000 Canadians spoke out against it. OpenMedia.ca led the successful nationwide campaign that defeated Bill C-30. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

New revelations show Canadian government spying on its trading partners at behest of United States

Citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca says the revelations show that spy agency CSEC is reckless, out-of-control, and not accountable to Canadians

December 9, 2013 – The CBC has tonight revealed that government spy agency CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada) has been spying on “approximately 20” of Canada’s trading partners at the behest of the U.S. NSA. Citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca is saying that revelations that our secretive spy agency is spending our tax dollars on activities designed to benefit U.S. interests is further evidence that CSEC is out-of-control and not accountable to Canadians.

In an article jointly bylined by journalist Glenn Greenwald, the CBC has revealed that: Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Australians warn Canadians about 88 million dollar economic fallout from caving into U.S. pressure on digital policy

Trade Ministers set to gather for crucial Singapore TPP talks with U.S. lobbyists aiming to strong-arm Canada into adopting Internet censorship rules that damaged the Australian economy

December 6, 2013 – Australian experts are warning Canada about the damaging economic fallout of adopting U.S.-driven Internet censorship rules under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The warning comes as Trade Ministers, including Canada’s Ed Fast, prepare to gather in Singapore for a crucial round of TPP talks this weekend, with U.S. negotiators aiming to strong-arm Canada into adopting extreme rules that would make the Internet more expensive, censored, and policed. Read more »


New Snowden Documents reveal the Canadian government partnered in illegal spying on Canadian soil

Canadians are demanding action after shocking revelations show how out-of-control spy agency CSEC is damaging democracy at home and Canada’s relationships abroad

November 27, 2013 – In the wake of this evening’s bombshell revelations from journalist Glenn Greenwald, citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca is demanding the government rein in its secret spy agency CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada).

The top secret documents published tonight by CBC News reveal that:

  • Canadian spy agency CSEC authorized its U.S. counterpart, the NSA, to conduct extensive spying operations on Canadian soil during the 2010 Toronto G-20 summit.
  • The results of these spying operations were used by the NSA to "support U.S. policy goals" at the summit.
  • The CBC report labeled the activity “dubious legacy illegal spying by an American intelligence agency with the blessing of the Canadian government.”
Topics: Online Spying

Canadians join nearly 300 organizations and thousands of citizens around the world to call for United Nations and world governments to respect our right to privacy

Move comes following confirmation that U.S. spy agencies have been spying on citizens of allied nations.

November 26, 2013 – Global citizens and hundreds of organizations have launched an international campaign to rein in government surveillance and to protect the right to privacy. Today, OpenMedia.ca is joining with civil society organizations from around the world to launch an international petition to support the growing global call for governments to respect human rights when it comes to surveillance activities.

The campaign will rally citizens around the world to endorse the Necessary and Proportionate: 13 International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance. These principles were developed through months of consultation with technology, privacy, and human rights experts from around the world. The principles emphasize the human rights obligations of governments engaged in communications surveillance. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Broad coalition to TPP governments: Pull provisions that restrict access to knowledge and open innovation

Organizations spanning nearly every TPP nation calls for a new approach that respects broad interests not just that of old US media conglomerates

November 21, 2013: Today the Fair Deal Coalition has called on Governments involved in the TPP negotiations to reject copyright proposals that would limit the open Internet, access to knowledge, and curtail economic opportunity.

The Coalition, made up of Internet users, schools, universities, artists, libraries and archives, the visually-impaired, consumers, information technology firms and Internet businesses, has written an open letter to the Governments involved in the negotiations following the leaking of the  chapter of the TPP relating to IP and copyright. Read more »


OpenMedia.ca concerned “cyberbullying” legislation will unnecessarily erode the privacy of law-abiding Canadians

Legislation includes invasive elements of the government’s discredited online spying Bill C-30 that was canned earlier this year after 150,000 Canadians spoke out

November 20, 2013 – Today Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced legislation that many hoped would focus on tackling the serious issue of cyberbullying. It appears that the vast majority of the legislation was simply lifted from part of the government’s failed online spying (“Lawful Access”) Bill C-30. That’s according to citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca, which led the successful campaign that defeated Bill C-30 earlier this year. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying