Press Releases

Dozens of community events are taking place across Canada on Saturday to #RejectFear and #StopC51

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.

Confirmed events are taking place in: Toronto, Brantford, Calgary, Chatham-Kent, Edmonton, Elliot Lake, Guelph, Halifax, Kingston, Kitchener, Kamloops, Lethbridge, London, Montreal, Moosejaw, Newfoundland, Newmarket, Ottawa (Day of Action), Ottawa (What Canadian Muslims Need to Know about C-51), Peterborough, Prince George, Regina, Sarnia, Sudbury, Vancouver, Victoria, Vernon, Windsor, Winnipeg.

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Topics: Online Spying

Canadians use social media and local gatherings to educate neighbours and MPs, as #StopC51 Week of Education kicks off

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.

The Week of Education kicks off with a social media “Thunderclap” that has gone viral, with a reach of over 1.7 million people including support from high-profile Canadians such as renowned author Margaret Atwood and tech entrepreneur Tim Bray. Online tools and details about events taking place across Canada can be found at https://StopC51.ca/Education.

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Topics: Online Spying

Federal Court of Appeal allows Bell Mobility to challenge university student, single mother, seniors’ organization and others in court over recent CRTC ruling on Mobile TV

April 2, 2015Today’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.”

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Breaking - We want a restart to flawed Bill C-51, not tinkering

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.”

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Topics: Online Spying

Bell president Kevin Crull should resign after being caught censoring CTV news coverage

Bell president Kevin Crull should resign after being caught censoring CTV news coverage

March 25, 2015Responding 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.”

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Topics: Affordability

In win for customers, Federal Court of Appeal denies Bell Mobility’s request to continue controversial Mobile TV service until court case is resolved

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, 2015The 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.

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Topics: Affordability

Joint Petition with over 100,000 signatures against Secret Police Bill C-51 to be delivered to key Parliamentary Committee on Monday

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.

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Topics: Online Spying

New Pick-and-Pay rules will mean added flexibility, but still forces Canadians to pay for Big Telecom channels they don’t want

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.”

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Topics: Affordability

Breaking: Forum Poll reveals huge swing against Secret Police Bill C-51, with majority of Canadians now opposing the bill

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.

The full results of the poll are available on Forum Research’s website. Key findings include:

  • Half of Canadians (50%) now oppose the bill, with just over a third (38%) in favour.

  • This marks a tripling in opposition from an Angus-Reid poll published shortly after the bill was announced.

Topics: Online Spying

Leading Digital Rights, Pro-Democracy, and Civil Liberties organizations rally support for Saturday's Day of Action across Canada to stop Bill C-51

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, 2015A 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.

Details about local events across Canada can be found at: http://action.StopC51.ca. Further information and resources can be found at the website: http://StopC51.ca.

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Topics: Online Spying

Expert Report reveals which telecom companies have your back when it comes to being transparent about protecting privacy

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, 2015A 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.

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OpenMedia’s Meghan Sali to provide crowdsourced testimony to Parliamentary committee about how Bill S-4 will undermine privacy and lead to widespread abuse of copyright system

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.

Meghan will testify on behalf of Canadians, having crowdsourced her presentation from people across the country.

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Topics: Copyright

Leading digital rights organization throws support behind National Day of Action against the government’s Secret Police Bill C-51

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.

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Topics: Online Spying

Canadian group plays pivotal role in Historic Win for Internet, as U.S. FCC announces strong new rules to save Net Neutrality

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.

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Latest CSE spying revelations underline need for independent, democratic oversight, and raise huge questions around Bill C-51

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.”

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Topics: Online Spying

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

Obama Administration to provide citizens with faster, cheaper Internet while Canada falls behind

Internet advocates celebrate Obama’s move, and point to it as the type of action required to get Canada’s Internet rates and speeds on par with global counterparts.

January 14, 2015Internet advocates are celebrating this afternoon’s announcement from the Obama Administration pushing for common-sense steps to stop U.S. telecom giants from blocking American Internet users from more affordable Internet services. The news comes on the heels of the U.S. FCC increasing minimum Internet speeds over six times from 4Mbps to 25Mbps.

President Obama urged the FCC to override outdated laws in 19 states preventing independent options for Internet services, and called for new funding for municipal and rural broadband. Community-backed digital rights organization OpenMedia.ca says Canadian decision-makers should be embarrassed when comparing today’s announcement with Canada’s widely criticized and unambitious digital strategy, which set out minimum speeds of just 5 Mbps by 2019.

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Topics: Affordability

Canadians demanding James Moore take action to end media conglomerates’ $150,000 copyright shakedown

U.S. media giants are sending Canadians threatening notices telling them they could face $150,000 lawsuits and get kicked kicked off the Internet – neither of which are possible under Canadian law

January 13, 2015 – U.S. media giants are taking advantage of a loophole in Canada’s new copyright law to threaten Canadians with $150,000 lawsuits and even being kicked offline, and Internet users have had enough. Canadians and experts like Michael Geist are calling on Industry Minister James Moore to close the loophole and take action to end the copyright shakedown.

Within days of new copyright rules coming into force, U.S. copyright trolls started asking ISPs to pass on threatening and misleading messages to their customers. Copyright expert Michael Geist posted samples on his blog that threatened a $150,000 lawsuit and disconnection from the Internet – neither of which are possible under Canadian law.

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Topics: Copyright

Shaw is trying to force indie Internet providers to artificially raise prices for Canadians

New move blocks Canadians from affordable Internet alternatives, in attempt to force independent providers to raise prices in line with Shaw’s recent steep price hike

January 8, 2015Reports indicate that Shaw is attempting to abuse their control of key Internet infrastructure to artificially increase Internet prices for Canadians. Teksavvy CEO Marc Gaudrault posted on DSL Reports that Shaw is trying to force independent ISPs to pay a whopping 87.9% increase to access Canada’s Internet networks. The move comes right on the heels of Shaw’s unpopular Internet price hikes which forces Shaw subscribers to pay higher rates or accept slower speeds.  

The pricing changes could make access costs nearly double for smaller ISPs. Community-backed OpenMedia.ca sees this as an attempt to block Canadians from the few affordable alternatives they have. Right now, large incumbent telecom providers like Shaw control 90% of the residential broadband market. However, Shaw’s proposed 87.9% rate hike still needs to be approved by the CRTC.

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Topics: Affordability

New copyright law is already being abused to threaten Canadian Internet users with ridiculous penalties for downloading

Government needs to take action to prevent foreign Big Media companies from sending misleading notices that threaten $150,000 lawsuits and disconnection from the Internet 

January 8, 2015 Less than a week after new copyright rules went into effect in Canada, ISPs are already receiving notices from Big Media giants that contain misleading and threatening statements, according to top copyright expert Professor Michael Geist. In a blog this morning, Geist included a copy of one such notice that was forwarded to him by a Canadian ISP.  

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Topics: Copyright

Confirmed: Shaw rings in 2015 by charging higher prices for slower Internet

January 6, 2015 – Shaw today confirmed that it will be charging higher prices for slower Internet in 2015. Concerned Internet users warned of these price hikes back in December and confirmation today has sparked outrage online. The changes mean that new customers will need to choose between getting slower Internet speeds, or paying more for a faster service.

For example, where $60 a month purchased a 25 Mbps service in 2014, it will purchase just a 15 Mbps service in 2015 - a drop in speed of 40%. Existing customers will also experience steep 10% price hikes - or five times the rate of inflation. Responding to the news, OpenMedia’s Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:

“Canadians hoping to keep a lid on their household expenses as one of their New Year’s resolutions are in for a shock. When the rumour first broke, Shaw assured us that that this was all a big misunderstanding. Well the proof is in the pudding – and today Shaw served up some pretty expensive pudding. And, if history is any indication, others like Bell, Rogers, and Telus will soon follow. ”  

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James Moore spectrum announcement hailed as a positive step forward to enable greater wireless choice and lower prices

In response to outcry for Canadians, Industry Canada has taken steps to ensure Canadians have greater access to affordable, independent wireless providers

December 18, 2014 – Industry Minister James Moore has announced new measures aimed at improving wireless service for Canadians. OpenMedia welcomes the announcement, which will reserve a larger section of valuable wireless spectrum for new, independent, affordable providers than ever before. The changes aim to increase the amount of spectrum available to  independent providers from around 15% currently to nearly 25% by May 2015.

The decision comes in response to OpenMedia’s crowdsourced set of recommendations (here and here) in the Time For an Upgrade report. Over 60,000 Canadians, along with leading businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs, have joined a call for more affordable cell phone service and for spectrum to liberated from the big three in the Demand Choice campaign. Canadians currently pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for wireless service.

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Advocates celebrate new powers by oversight bodies to impose financial penalties on telecom companies that break the rules

Following years-long campaign, CRTC is now empowered to levy financial penalties against telecom providers who mistreat customers

December 17, 2014 – This morning’s announcement of new powers allowing the CRTC to impose financial penalties against companies caught violating the Telecommunications Act comes in response to a key request made by OpenMedia in its crowdsourced Casting An Open Internet action plan. The plan called on government to “permit the CRTC to levy administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) that can be used to enforce transparency requirements and regulations.”

OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say about the announcement:

“We are pleased to see the government has granted overseers at the CRTC enforcement powers to ensure telecom companies who break the rules are penalized. We’re thrilled that James Moore has responded to another of the ten major policy asks we put forward when he first became Industry Minister. These new powers are a great response to hundreds of thousands of Canadians who participated in our crowdsourced policy plans for wired and mobile Internet in Canada.”

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Revealed: Holiday pricing change from Shaw means 10% higher fees and 40% slower Internet service

December 16, 2014 – Shaw Communications is reportedly raising Internet prices by 10% and slashing Internet speeds by up to 40-50% for many customers beginning in January. Multiple Shaw representatives have confirmed this change to concerned Internet users. OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say regarding the news:

“Canadian Internet users everywhere ought to be outraged that Big Telecom giants like Shaw are trying to charge customers more money for slower Internet. Make no mistake: if Shaw gets away with this, others like Bell, Rogers, and Telus will soon follow. Canadians are already paying some of the highest prices in the world for what many know is horrible service. Shaw should stop being such a grinch and immediately reverse these service cuts and price-hikes.”

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Topics: Affordability

Local tech leaders launch #StepUp4Net fundraising campaign for digital rights organization OpenMedia

Fundraising drive challenges tech community to step up and defend the free and open Internet with matching donations up to $50,000

December 11, 2014:  Leaders from the Vancouver tech community have launched a year-end fundraising #StepUp4Net campaign challenging people from the tech and business community to donate to non-profit digital rights organization OpenMedia.

The campaign can be found at: https://OpenMedia.org/StepUp

Several organizations have agreed to provide matching funds of up to $50,000.

“Everyone has benefited from the expression, innovation, and business opportunities enabled by the open Internet,” said OpenMedia.org Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Sadly, the Internet as we know it is increasingly under threat. I'm grateful that leaders in the tech community have been generous enough to encourage support for our non-profit work.”

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