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.
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.
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, 2015 – The 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.”
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.
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.”
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, 2015 – Internet 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. ”
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.”
December 11, 2014: This morning, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled narrowly that police are permitted to conduct warrantless cell phone searches of people they arrest. Community-based OpenMedia, which has rallied a large pro-privacy coalition of over 60 organizations, says the ruling reinforces the need for much stronger legal protections to safeguard the privacy of Canadians.
“Sadly, today’s ruling looks like a real setback for the privacy of Canadians,” said OpenMedia.ca’s communications manager David Christopher. “Our cell phones often store huge amounts of deeply revealing information about our private lives. Cell phone searches can be even more revealing than a police officer coming into somebody’s home and searching through their personal materials, which has long required a warrant. It’s very disappointing that the Supreme Court, albeit narrowly, decided to permit such intrusive warrantless searches.”
Demands grow to release full text of Trans-Pacific Partnership to enable public debate about proposals that would make the Internet more expensive, censored, and policed
Thursday December 11, 2014 – As Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks continue in Washington, D.C., negotiators are set to feel the heat from public interest groups outraged at the secrecy surrounding the talks. The organizations say it’s past time for TPP negotiators to follow the example of the European Commission which recently released to the public the draft text of a similar Trans-Atlantic deal.
The TPP is an international deal being negotiated in near-total secrecy by 12 Pacific Rim nations including the U.S. and Canada. Based on what we know from leaked drafts, experts say the TPP contains extreme copyright rules that would make the Internet far more expensive, policed, and censored. A letter from a diverse group of 40 major organizations from 11 TPP nations demanding greater transparency will be delivered directly to key negotiators by Meghan Sali from Internet freedom group OpenMedia.
Canadians are urging the CRTC to ensure access to affordable, independent Internet providers
December 1, 2014 – Canadians are sending a clear message to decision-makers at the CRTC today: protect our right to affordable, independent, high-speed Internet. That message is being delivered by community-based OpenMedia.ca, who will be making a presentation to the CRTC’s Review of Wholesale Services hearing in Gatineau between 12 noon and 3pm ET today. OpenMedia’s presentation will reflect input crowdsourced from over 30,000 Canadians.
The crucial CRTC hearing will determine whether Canadians will have independent access to fibre Internet. At the moment large incumbent telecoms control the market for fibre Internet and control over 90% of slower broadband market. According to the OECD, just 3% of Canadian Internet users currently use ultra-fast fibre Internet, compared to nearly 70% in Japan.
Posted by David Christopher on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 14:57
Calling all Canadians! Join us for our Facebook Town Hall on privacy issues, taking place on Facebook at 4pm PT / 7pm ET later today.
We'll have expert guests from the Protect our Privacy Coalition, including Tom Henheffer from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, and OpenMedia's own Steve Anderson.
Canada is facing a privacy crisis: the government's spying bill C-13 and the activities of their spy agency CSEC threaten to undermine the privacy of all Canadians. It's never been more important to have a robust debate about how we address our stark privacy deficit.