OpenMedia welcomes new CRTC Internet speed measurement program as a win for Canadians and an important step to protect net neutrality
May 21, 2015 – This morning the CRTC announced a new Internet speed measurement program designed to “measure the performance of their home broadband Internet services,” and is inviting everyday Canadians to participate. Community-backed OpenMedia, which called for proactive audits of Internet performance in its crowdsourced Casting an Open Net report, hails the decision as a win for Canadians, and a key step toward protecting Net Neutrality.
Responding to the news, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:
“We’re thrilled to see the CRTC taking bold steps toward ensuring Canadians get the Internet speeds they are promised. Unfortunately, Canadians have long paid some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for what is widely recognized as slow service. By signing up households across Canada to the program, the data collected can be used to shape broadband policy to ensure all Canadians get faster, more affordable Internet.
News comes one day after OpenMedia releases crowdsourced report recommending new rules to ban Mass Surveillance and create greater oversight for agencies like CSE
May 21, 2015 – Canadian spy agency CSE and its Five Eyes partners planned to compromise popular mobile App Stores to implant spyware on smartphones, and targeted a popular mobile web browser used by millions globally. Accordingly to reports published this morning by CBC News and The Intercept, CSE deliberately sought security vulnerabilities, but failed to inform companies or the public – leaving the private data of millions at risk.
Responding to this morning’s news, OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher had this to say:
“Let’s be clear about one thing: CSE claims they will safeguard Canada’s security, but instead they deliberately left millions of innocent people at risk of having their private data hacked. These reckless activities weaken the Internet security Canadians rely on to conduct business and communicate online. CSE claims they don’t target Canadians, but there is no way they could have excluded Canadians from spying activities. Remember, they targeted people all around the world, including anybody who interacted with compromised devices.”
Canada’s Privacy Plan is packed with proposals to restore privacy and roll back surveillance, based on ideas crowdsourced from over 125,000 Canadians
May 20, 2015 – OpenMedia is today launching a crowdsourced pro-privacy action plan, that aims to roll back out-of-control surveillance, and tackle Canada’s growing privacy deficit. Canada’s Privacy Plan is shaped by ideas and feedback from over 125,000 Canadians, and is launched as the government prepares to ram its unpopular privacy-undermining Bill C-51 through the Senate.
The crowdsourcing process that underpins the 96-page report identified three key privacy concerns that Canadians want to see addressed: i) warrantless access to personal information, ii) widespread dragnet surveillance of entire populations, and iii) insufficient oversight and accountability of surveillance activities. 94.1% of Canadians want a Parliamentary Committee to conduct a thorough review of existing oversight mechanisms.
“We wrote this report because privacy matters,” said OpenMedia’s David Christopher, the report’s lead author. “Canada’s growing privacy deficit has alarming consequences for democracy. We’re at a tipping point where we need to decide whether to continue evolving into a surveillance society, or whether to rein in the government’s spying apparatus. This report outlines common sense steps to strengthen privacy safeguards for all of us.”
Federal Court of Appeal rejects Big Telecom’s efforts to delay implementation of wireless customer protection rules
May 19, 2015 – The Federal Court of Appeal today has rejected Big Telecom’s efforts to delay the implementation of the Wireless Code of Conduct, stating that the CRTC “...has the right to make the Wireless Code applicable to contracts concluded before the Code came into effect.” The code contains significant customer protections for mobile phone and Internet users, including an end to 3-year contracts, and caps on roaming charges for data.
“This is a major win! By standing together, Canadians fought back against telecom giants in court and won. It took over a year and a half, but today the court is clear: the customer protections that Canadians fought for in the Wireless Code of Conduct applies to all mobile phone and Internet users across the country. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”
The call comes in response to Laurie Hawn attacking and questioning the loyalty of some of Canada’s most accomplished business leaders who signed a letter criticizing controversial Bill C-51. Canadians are speaking out at #SaySorryLaurie
May 8, 2015 – Internet advocacy organization OpenMedia is calling for MP Laurie Hawn to retract and apologize for statements he made on May 6th that attack some of the most accomplished business leaders in Canada and the thousands of employees they work with. Canadians are joining the call using the hashtag #SaySorryLaurie.
Hawn’s attack came in response to a letter OpenMedia jointly circulated with Canadian business leaders that pointed out the negative impact spying Bill C-51 would have on businesses. The letter was signed by more than 140 businesses, including some of the country’s most respected and accomplished entrepreneurs. It was published April 20th in the National Post, and the NDP cited its concerns in the House of Commons.
In response to the letter, Conservative MP for Edmonton Laurie Hawn questioned the business leaders’ values and loyalty to Canada, including this statement: "[They] should seriously reconsider their business model and their lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians." Hawn also insinuated that the businesses are “profiting” off of “horrific material.” A video of exchange can be found on YouTube.
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.”
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.
Posted by Josh Tabish on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 12:29
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).
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 StopC51.ca petition, making this one of the largest campaigns in Canadian history.
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.”
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, 2015 – Leading 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.
Content creators and everyday Canadians will pay the price for continued mishandling of copyright policy from government, as unaddressed Notice and Notice loophole continues to expose Canadians to abuse
April 22, 2015 – Canadians got an unpleasant surprise in the budget yesterday when the government announced that it would be extending copyright for sound recordings by 20 years, up from Canada’s current term of life of the creator plus 50 years. The move comes after the flawed implementation of Canada’s Notice and Notice system, which has left Canadians exposed to abusive and misleading copyright notices from foreign media giants.
Copyright expert Michael Geist warns that the move looks like a concession to U.S. demands aimed at sleepwalking Canada into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed international deal that could make the Internet more expensive, censored, and policed. International copyright experts and numerousstudies suggest that copyright term extensions benefit neither content producers nor customers, and create major costs for society as a whole.
60 leading businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors warn that “unbalanced” legislation will undermine operations and international trust in Canadian businesses
APRIL 21, 2015: 60 leading Canadian business people, entrepreneurs, and investors have sent Prime Minister Stephen Harper an open letter warning that Bill C-51 will stifle business, undermine international trust, and do lasting damage to Canada’s economy. The letter was circulated by digital rights organization OpenMedia. In the letter the business leaders also join with 198,000 Canadians who have added their name to a joint petition at StopC51.ca.
The leaders affiliated with companies worth billions of dollars including Hootsuite, OpenText, Slack, Shopify and Tucows, are asking Stephen Harper to scrap the legislation and go back to the drawing board. Their appeal comes just days before the House of Commons is due to debate the bill on Friday, with a final vote expected very soon.
Events have been organized not by organizations, but by everyday Canadians wanting to take a stand against what experts have described as a “Secret Police” bill
April 18, 2015: Dozens of community-organized events are taking place across Canada today (Saturday), as tens of thousands of Canadians continue to speak out against the government’s Bill C-51. It follows a #StopC51 Week of Education which has seen tens of thousands of people sign petitions (Nearly 200,000 signatures), write letters to local papers, and inundate MP offices with letters and phone calls.
Today’s events are not being organized by any specific organization, but by a wide range of individuals and community groups across the country. They range from rallies taking place in a number of major cities, to smaller outreach events and petition drives.
With many MPs home in their ridings in advance of crucial vote, over 50 online and offline activities will take place right across Canada for the #StopC51 Week of Education
April 13, 2015 – With opposition to the government’s controversial Bill C-51 surging, Canadians across the country are coming together to launch a Week of Education about the reckless, dangerous, and ineffective legislation. Canadians have planned over 50 activities, including a range of social media tools aimed at educating fellow Canadians and their MPs about why the bill is wrong for Canada.
April 2, 2015 – Today’s the Federal Court of Appeal announced that Bell Mobility will be allowed to challenge a recent CRTC decision prohibiting the telecom giant from making competing apps and services more expensive. The decision means that Bell could potentially seek legal costs from university student Ben Klass, a single mother, and a senior citizens’ organization, amongst other respondents, if they have their say in court.
Responding to the news, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:
“After over a year of unpaid hard work from citizens to convince policy-makers that Bell should not be allowed to tilt the playing field in their favour, the company is dragging ‘the little guy’ to court for years so they can regain the power to make the Internet more like cable TV.”
March 27, 2015: News that the government will admit up to ten amendments to Bill C-51 has been given a cautious welcome by community-based organization OpenMedia, which is campaigning to scrap the bill. However the amendments will not go anywhere near far enough to address serious concerns about the impact the vaguely written bill will have on Canadians’ privacy and democratic rights.
Responding to the news, OpenMedia’s executive director Steve Anderson said: “I am happy to see the government finally admit that Bill C-51 is flawed, and that they are willing to make amendments. Canadians and experts have been clear that the language in this bill is so vague and poorly written that the government needs to restart the process not tinker around the edges. I’m hopeful that the government will now start to have a meaningful dialogue with Canadians on this reckless, dangerous, and ineffective piece of legislation.”
Bell president Kevin Crull should resign after being caught censoring CTV news coverage
March 25, 2015 – Responding to reports that Bell directly interfered with CTV News coverage of CRTC decisions promising Canadians more affordable and flexibility in telecom options, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had said this to say:
“Sadly, we’re concerned with repeated reports that Bell’s President Kevin Crull is bullying his company’s news outlets into burying stories crucial to Canadians. Ordering staff to ban CRTC Chair Jean Pierre Blais from the airwaves is embarrassment to the country. Kevin Crull should resign immediately in order to restore Canadians’ confidence in the integrity and impartiality of CTV and other Bell-owned news broadcasts.”
Court rules that Bell must stop discriminating against competing apps and services as per CRTC order, allowing other content providers to operate on a level playing field.
March 23, 2015 – The Federal Court of Appeal today dismissed Bell Mobility’s request to continue offering their controversial Mobile TV service while they appeal a recent CRTC decision that found the company to be unlawfully making competing mobile video apps and services more expensive. The Court said that "Bell has not established that it will suffer irreparable harm” if the Mobile TV service is banned until the appeal is resolved.
In January, the CRTC forced companies like Bell to stop exempting their own services from monthly data caps. Bell was caught marking up competing video services by up to 800%. While the company was given until April 29 to comply, Bell announced they would appeal the decision. The Court is currently deciding whether they’ll hear the case, and today’s announcement means that Bell cannot continue the practice in the interim.
The massive petition organized by Leadnow and OpenMedia will be delivered at a key parliamentary hearing into Bill C-51 later today. A recent poll revealed that support for the legislation has plummeted, with 50% of Canadians now opposing it.
March 23, 2015 – A petition with over 100,000 signatures speaking out against Bill C-51 will be delivered to Parliament today. The petition was organized by Leadnow and OpenMedia to give Canadians an opportunity to speak out about how Bill C-51 will undermine basic freedoms. It will be delivered by OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson, who is testifying before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security at 6:30pm today.
Public opinion is rapidly turning against Bill C-51, commonly known as the “secret police bill”. A recent Forum Research poll revealed that support for Bill C-51 has plummeted, with just 19% wanting Parliament to pass the legislation as written. Last weekend, thousands of Canadians took to the streets in over 70 communities across Canada, as part of a National Day of Action organized by the BCGEU, Leadnow, and OpenMedia.
Canadians will be able to pick and choose which TV channels they want to purchase, beyond a slimmed-down basic package. However, the new rules won’t come fully into force until December 2016.
March 19, 2015 - Relief is in sight for Canadians fed up of paying for dozens of TV channels they never watch. New rules announced by the CRTC today mean Canadians will soon be able to pick and choose which TV channels they want to pay for. OpenMedia, which crowdsourced ideas from 30,000 people in a report provided to the CRTC last fall, says the new rules are a welcome step forward, but that the CRTC should have gone further.
Participants in OpenMedia’s crowdsourcing process asked for the basic package to only include publicly-funded media, such as CBC, APTN, and accessibility channels. Instead, the CRTC’s plan will still force all TV subscribers to pay for a number of channels owned by vertically-integrated telecom giants, including CTV, Global, and City TV. Because of this, the new ‘basic’ package will cost $25 a month, more than what many Canadians were hoping for.
“These new rules are a big step in the right direction, although it’s a pity the CRTC is still giving preferential access to the telecom giants,” said OpenMedia campaign manager Josh Tabish. “Nobody should be forced to subsidize outdated Big Telecom TV services in order to access publicly-funded media. That’s why more and more people are cutting the cord and turning to the Internet to access content flexibly.”
Canadians oppose Bill C-51 by 50% to 38%; two-thirds of Liberals oppose the bill despite Trudeau’s support; opposition to the bill has tripled in the six weeks since it was first announced.
March 17, 2015 – A new opinion poll just published by Forum Research has revealed a massive swing against Bill C-51, commonly known as the “Secret Police” Bill. The poll shows that 50% of Canadians now oppose the bill, with just 38% approving.
The poll was published just days after thousands of Canadians took to the streets in over 70 communities across Canada, as part of a National Day of Action organized by the BCGEU, Leadnow.ca, and OpenMedia.
Over 55 non-partisan events in every province across Canada confirmed for Saturday March 14, as numbers speaking out online top 83,000
March 13, 2015 – A diverse group of organizations are supporting Saturday’s Day of Action to Stop Bill C-51. Over 83,000 people have spoken out in recent weeks calling on Prime Minister Harper to rein in the unaccountable powers and violations of our civil liberties contained in Bill C-51. Non-partisan events will take place in over 55 locations across every province in Canada.
Report provides Canadians with an at-a-glance tool to rate their Internet provider’s transparency around privacy safeguards. Indie ISP Teksavvy “stands out” as the best of the 10 major retailers measured.
March 12, 2015 – A report published this morning has revealed that Canadian Internet providers are still falling short when it comes to being transparent about how they protect their customers’ privacy. The report found that all telecom companies need to do more to keep customers informed about how they safeguard privacy. Independent ISP Teksavvy performed best of the 10 major retailers, with telecom giant Shaw and Quebec-based Videotron languishing at the bottom.
The report, entitled Keeping Internet Users in the Know or in the Dark?, is released by IXmaps.ca and New Transparency Projects as part of a project spearheaded by Prof. Andrew Clement at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto and Dr. Jonathan Obar, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, with the assistance of a group of law students at UofT. They examined the data privacy transparency policies of 43 large and small companies that provide internet services to Canadians. Some of these companies are well-known Canadian Internet retailers, while others, some operating from the U.S. and elsewhere, work behind the scenes to route Canadian Internet traffic.
Sali will amplify the voices of Canadians and experts worried about how Bill S-4 would massively expand the warrantless disclosure of personal information
On Thursday, OpenMedia’s Meghan Sali will testify before key Members of Parliament on the Industry, Science and Technology Committee about Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act.
She will focus on how the bill would expand unauthorized disclosure of sensitive personal information, notably by telecom providers, without a court order. This would undermine privacy and lead to widespread abuse of Canada’s copyright system.
OpenMedia is encouraging Internet users across Canada to support events in over 35 cities this Saturday March 14
March 10, 2015 – Digital rights group OpenMedia is throwing its support behind a massive National Day of Action against Bill C-51 this Saturday March 14. Sparked by concerned citizens on social media platforms Facebook, and reddit, events are being organized right across Canada, from Victoria to Halifax. OpenMedia is supporting the day of action by launching an online action platform to empower those speaking out against C-51 at http://StopC51.ca
Public opinion is rapidly turning against the bill, with a recent EKOS opinion poll revealing that only 29% of Canadians would give up personal privacy safeguards in order to boost spy agency powers. Over 75,000 people have already spoken out online in recent weeks calling on Prime Minister Harper to rein in the unaccountable powers and violations of our civil liberties contained in Bill C-51.
Year-long campaign ends in victory, after massive global coalition unites to stop telecom conglomerates’ plan to force millions of websites into an Internet slow lane.
February 26, 2015 – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has just announced strong new Net Neutrality rules. Experts say the new rules will entrench net neutrality and prevent telecom conglomerates from creating ‘slow lanes’ on the Internet.
The rules came after a massive, year-long grassroots campaign involving over 5 million people from across Canada, the U.S. and the globe. The campaign was organized by an inspiring coalition of open Internet groups, grassroots groups, civil rights organizations and web companies.
Vancouver-based Internet freedom organization OpenMedia, which yesterday parked a giant Jumbotron opposite the FCC to stream citizen comments, is hailing the FCC’s announcement as a historic victory for Internet users everywhere that will have positive implications for Canadians. The group helped spearhead international efforts to defend net neutrality.
February 25, 2015: Canadian spy agency CSE is collecting and storing millions of private emails that Canadians send to the government, including emails sent to Members of Parliament. The content of the emails are being stored for months, with deeply revealing metadata about them held for years. That’s according to reports this morning on CBC News and The Intercept, sourced from documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Responding to the news, OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher said: “These fresh revelations are further proof of how CSE recklessly disregards the privacy of Canadians. While government cybersecurity is important, there is clearly no cybersecurity need to retain people’s private information for months or even years.”
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.
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, 2015 – Over 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.