Archive for January 29th, 2014

Competition Bureau Raises Wireless Competition Concerns, Concludes Big Three Have “Market Power”

The Competition Bureau of Canada has just released its submission to the CRTC’s consultation on domestic roaming rates and with it left no doubt about its concerns with the state of wireless competition in Canada. Despite repeated efforts of the big three incumbent providers to argue that the Canadian market is competitive, the Competition Bureau has concluded that the big three enjoy “market power.” As the Bureau notes, market power is “the ability of a firm or firms to profitably maintain prices above competitive levels (or similarly restrict non-price dimensions of competition) for a significant period of time.” 

Given its market power, the Bureau finds the wireless incumbents can use roaming to shield themselves from competition. It states:

“Incumbents can use the terms and conditions of roaming agreements to raise their rivals’ costs such that incumbents are shielded from the full effect of their the rivals’ (i.e., entrants) entry. Making it more costly for entrants to access incumbent networks through roaming agreements is one way for an incumbent service provider to relax competitive pressure.

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January 29, 2014 8 comments News

Why Canada’s Telecom Companies Should Come Clean About Customer Information

Earlier this week, I wrote a column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) arguing that Canada’s telecom companies should come clean about their disclosures of customer information. That column was in response to a public letter from leading civil liberties groups and academics  sent to Canada’s leading telecom companies asking them to shed new light into their data retention and sharing policies. The letter writing initiative, which was led by Christopher Parsons of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, is the latest attempt to address the lack of transparency regarding how and when Canadians’ personal information may be disclosed without their knowledge to law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

That initiative has now effectively been joined by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and NDP MP Charmaine Borg. Chantal Bernier, the interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, released recommendations yesterday designed to reinforce privacy protections in the age of cyber-surveillance. The report includes the following recommended reform to PIPEDA:

require public reporting on the use of various disclosure provisions under PIPEDA where private-sector entities such as telecommunications companies release personal information to national security entities without court oversight.

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January 29, 2014 5 comments Columns

Another Step Toward the TPP: Canada Moves to Ratify Five Intellectual Property Treaties

The Canadian government quietly tabled five intellectual property treaties in the House of Commons on Monday: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, five treaties, entitled, one, Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, adopted […]

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January 29, 2014 4 comments News

The Destruction of the Department of Fisheries Libraries

The Bibliocracy blog posts the results of a response to an order paper question on the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s library system with very discouraging news: massive destruction of materials and no information on what was digitized.

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January 29, 2014 6 comments Must Reads