065 - VPN by el_finco (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/65H7Gu

065 - VPN by el_finco (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/65H7Gu


Rogers Executive Calls on Canadian Government to Shut Down VPNs

The Content Industry Connect conference, which was held in Toronto yesterday, featured a panel of leading television executives from Bell, the CBC, Corus, Rogers, and Shaw Media. Several people were live-tweeting the event when a comment from Rogers Senior Vice President David Purdy caught my eye. According to Kelly Lynne Ashton, a media policy expert, Purdy called on the Canadian government to shut down the use of virtual private networks:

@Klashton27 tweet by Kelly Lynne Ashton

@Klashton27 tweet by Kelly Lynne Ashton

A similar tweet was posted by Marcia Douglas, a Bell Fund program manager:

@Marcia_Douglas tweet by Marcia Douglas

@Marcia_Douglas tweet by Marcia Douglas

Conference organizers posted yet another tweet, this one involving Purdy lamenting the inability to block over-the-top video services:

@CICConnect tweet by Content I Connect

@CICConnect tweet by Content I Connect

The frustration over the popularity of Netflix (including Canadians accessing U.S. Netflix) is unsurprising. If Rogers is upset over VPN use to access U.S. Netflix, it should take it up with Netflix. Instead, focusing on consumer VPN use by suggesting that the solution lies in blocking legal technologies in order to stop consumer access is a dangerous one. Countries like China have tried to regulate VPNs, while Iran and Oman have tried to ban them. A Canadian attempt to do so would be subject to an immediate legal challenge, particularly since virtual private networks are widely used within the business community and play a crucial role for consumers in preserving user privacy, enabling access to information, and facilitating free speech. There is no indication that the Canadian government has any interest in targeting VPNs, but it comes as a shock to hear a Rogers executive calling for them to be shut down.

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  1. Wow. Simply wow.

    Yet another call to make a tool illegal just because some people are using it in a way that somebody doesn’t like. I don’t think what Canadians are doing: using VPNs to access Netflix US is even illegal. It might be a violation of a ToS but it’s not illegal, per se. But it does cut into Rogers’ oppressive business plans, so we must eliminate it. Right?

    Maybe hammers should be illegal, because despite their very legal and useful functionality, every now and then, somebody caves in a skull with one.

    Rogers: Instead of looking to government to intervene with perfectly legal activity, why don’t you instead stop trying to bend your customers over just so that you can ram them hard and start actually trying to compete? There is a reason people are looking for alternatives to your shitty over-priced service you know. Why don’t you actually start to operate like a business, go out and find out why people are looking at alternatives and try to actually satisfy their desires?

    • This is not just a tool it’s a technology that many businesses operate on including Rogers themselves.

      This article has to be inaccurate or I hope the users were joking because it would not just be not feasible but impossible.

      If a business can’t openate because of VPNs they have no place being is business.

      It’s really as simple as that

      • A tool is by definition technology all tools are examples of technology from pointy sticks to jet fighters.

  2. Yes! Block the VPNs! And while they are at it, they can pay the salaries of all my remote workers who use VPN to connect back to head office to accomplish real work.

    • Pretty sure they’re talking about hosted VPN services (think ViperVPN) rather than corporate VPN’s. Completely different.

      • Completely different? How is a corporation’s need for network communications privacy different from mine? Should individuals not have access to a secure connection to communicate and conduct their personal net business?

  3. People should talk about things they have at last some knowledge, instead proposing random solution with a tweet..

  4. Rogers doesn’t care one bit about copyright infringement. They just care about Netflix (USA) being in competition with Shomi.

    There are many, many reasons to use a VPN for things other than downloading copyrighted works. How about to prevent the government from illegally viewing my web traffic? Unfortunately, Bill C-51 will legalize what is currently illegal.

    • On the contrary neither Bell or Rogers wishes their streaming services to compete with Netflix. You need to be a cable/fibe customer to get them and therefore there is no direct competition. After all you could take Netflix Shomi and Crave and dump the cable provider. Live sportis about the only hook that can preserve the old model without the business friendly regulations that the Telecos would like to see. Novel thought for them provide a compelling product with good service and maybeyou can retain customers and grow your business

      • The competition is for your time spent watching. The delivery system is not relevant to my desire to watch a TV program. My 2 hours spent watching is what they are competing for.

  5. I’ll bet you that Rogers uses VPNs for business purposes. Is Purdy suggesting that Rogers themselves also stop using VPNs? Really brilliant Purdy.

    • He’s talking about hosted VPN services, not corporate VPN’s. e.g. ViperVPN.

      • Un-Trusted Computing says:

        Hosted services are fairly easy (if somewhat tedious) to reproduce on your own, so banning hosted services would be ineffective at best.

        Other issue with this is; does a hosted service in the US/UK/Panama etc. have to stop selling to Canadian consumers?

        • No, but I’m sure someone will propose some sort of firewall to do that – trust me, it’ll be a great one. One that can also be conveniently used to block anything the government finds vile, like child porn or, worse, criticism of the ruling party.

          • Un-Trusted Computing says:

            An equally ineffective endeavor. The hosted services I subscribe to are specifically advertised to Chinese citizens as a way to get around state censorship. They’re advertised to westerners for different reasons, but the end result is the same.


    • Being a former Rogers employee, I can guarantee they do. This is fucking nonsense and exactly the sort of shit you’d expect from an organization filled with idiots like Rogers.

      • Andrie samuels says:

        Hello I am looking to get in touch with a former rogers employee whom knows about detail billings and their billing system please email me if u can help


  6. Rogers, for a brief period of time was blocking common VPN ports on their network. Didn’t last long as a huge uproar of professionals who relied on VPNs to connect to their places of business.

  7. Devil's Advocate says:

    That’s Purdy clueless!

  8. Let’s not forget to shut down TOR while we’re at it.

  9. Yet another example of why vertical integration in the telecom industry is bad for consumers. There’s a conflict of interest from the telecom providers if they’re both providing the pipe we access the marketplace of content from and have an inherent desire to profit from their own content services. Oh course they’re going to try to block, slow, or discourage accessing a rival content provider over their network, when it’s really none of their business what we access with the network we pay for.

    Are we mandated we must use specific cars over specific roads? No, the management of the road is separate from the vehicles traveling on it. So why is this integration allowed in a vital piece of infrastructure (which traverses public lands to reach the consumer, how much would it cost Rogers, Telus, etc if they had to acquire all the land for their right of ways), it’s time to separate the telecom infrastructure in Canada from the content providers so we can get some real competition and consumers can freely pick where they wish to get their content from.

    • I agree, this unbundling practice was used in the telephone and electric industry to inspire competition – ie. separating the electrical generation from the wire transmission. In this case it would be separating the data transmission from the content generation.

      It does work to some degree (eg. Alberta power pool), but short of more regulation, the only way customers are going to be treated fairly is if there is a restructuring industry.

  10. You’re shocked that Rogers, ROGERS had called for this? Have you been living under a rock? For over ten years Rogers, Bell, and Telus have acted as a monopolistic cartel, raising prices in lockstep while refusing to spend money on infrastructure; opting instead to vastly oversell their lives and reduce service instead. How easily people forget that Rogers had deliberately throttled traffic in defiance of court orders and engages in monopolistic exclusivity agreements with content providers (NHL). How astonishing it must be for you to learn that Canadians will do anything possible to not put up with the big three’s criminal actions. There’s a reason Canada engages in more for sharing relative to the US, and it’s because of the cartel holding back and divvying up content, believing people won’t be put off by forcing customers to scavenger hunt for the content they want to consume. Rogers delenda east.

  11. Hackersfevers says:

    why don’t start a new network? a total new system, that the goverment can’t control bcse it not should be possible to supervise? xD should be a way?

  12. This is why we can never leave businesses to self-regulate. Consumers would be gouged & abused and competition would be stifled.

  13. Peter Stevens says:

    You really must know your technology before making a comment as careless as this. I’d be shocked and horrified to learn if these executives did not use a VPN when doing business outside the office. As a software engineer, should I be as naive and tweet a call for robots to take over these executive jobs, we’d probably end up having more overall reasoning, to say the least.

    • David Children says:

      Why robots? An inanimate object, e.g. a watermelon with a face drawn on it, would do a better job than your average corporate executive

  14. Pingback: Rogers VP Calls for Canadian Government to Shutdown VPNs, Enforce Copyright | iPhone in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPhone Resource

  15. A company that makes obscene profits year after year complaining about a “viable business”. If it wasn’t so mind-blowingly insulting I’d be laughing.

  16. Remember when Rogers decreased the data-use caps two days after Netflix announced they were coming to Canada?


    If the government is going to do anything, they should either enable more competition in the ISP sector or tightly regular the monopolists. Behaviour like the above is just anti-consumer bullshit.

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  18. You can smell their desperation? All video will be over the top in 5 years.

  19. Rogers sucks ass. I got a bill for over $1100 for one month of wireless…
    I vowed then and there never another Rogers product, and haven’t been back.
    They like to think they can monopolize, and lie in the process so they can manipulate the market. I hope Virgin buys them out and shows them how a real company works.

  20. I fear most executives in this age cohort only use Blackberry messenger, and don’t even know their sysadmins set up VPNs for them (;-))

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  22. A prime example of where government could formulate law that would enhance economic development.

    But, the government is getting a free-ride from other arms of the entities in question (GlobeMedia, RogersMSN, etc.), so why would they wade into this one? Even if they weren’t getting a free ride, they lack both the technical and the economic smarts to comprehend the situation.

    It’s clearly time for an explicit legal differentiation between supplying “access TO the internet” and supplying “services THROUGH the internet”.

    Martin stood up to Big Banks, can Harper stand up to Big Media?

  23. A clear case of profit before purpose.
    I’m glad to see the erosion of control that Rogers and Bell have on our country’s media industry.
    I’m also shocked that people who are supposed ‘experts’ in the field would be so oblivious to the importance of VPNs.

  24. The major ISPs intentionally disable VPN on the hardware that they provide to customers to connect to the internet as an unspoken policy, the majority of people don’t care about VPN so it goes unnoticed for the most part. Is it illegal for a provider to block VPN traffic on their hardware and networks? I don’t think it is. Perhaps it may be if Canada adopted similar stance as the recent U.S. ruling to make the internet a communication service like telephones? It sounds to me that Rogers wants to enforce and expand their internal network policy on the rest of Canada.

  25. I guess we should call to have Rogers shut down as they have been found to use anti competition practices which is contrary to Canadian law.

  26. There is only one motive for a Rogers (or any media player) for doing anything – it affects their bottom line. Their lobbying power is the only reason they’re petitioning the Government as opposed to going after the true source of the problem. There is no doubt at all, this is an end around for generating more corporate profit – the only surprising thing is how thinly veiled this is: Rogers & Shaw launch “Shomi” and want it to end Netflix’s stranglehold on streamed content, this is another means to that end.

  27. How about disable the Internet??

  28. Wow. I can’t believe anyone would have the nerve to admit in public that they advocate banning VPNs. He should move to China or Iran if he wants to live in that kind of society. If not, he should shove that idea back up his a** where it belongs.

  29. Last year, I used a VPN service to binge-watch House of Cards while on a flight from Reykjavik to Newark. It felt good.

  30. It amazes me that a company like rogers is still even in business. The fact that a senior executive makes a generic statement is a public forum without thought to how people will look at them as a company is staggering.

    The statement being so wrong is one thing, but it just goes to show the incompetence at the senior levels in this company. My day to day Internet use should not be influenced by such incompetence.


  31. Steve Smith says:

    The problem with Canadian Telecom and Media companies complaining about VPN, is that they are neglecting the actual reasons why many people seek to use the services of other countries. We live in an interconnected world with wall gardens we can see over. We want to consume the content we want, not the content they feel like providing. If we could access media the way we wanted, anywhere we wanted, it would lower the instances of torrenting, accessing of services over the border, and even generate more revenue for those companies. However, they have decided to bitch and complain like a bunch of sheep, and doing so has created the wolves they have feared for so long. Give us what we want, and stop complaining, and this includes you, ROGERS.

    Banning VPNs, attempting to block them, or even hack them will only lead to one eventually. BETTER VPNs, with BETTER ENCRYPTION. The Internet is basically a new arena of arms race. We will not comply to sheeps demands, because we are wolves.

  32. I emailed him and received a prompt reply:

    “I agree and it never happened. I did not ask the government to shut down VPN’s. Speak to any credible source in the room and they will give you the accurate account.”

    I guess there’s a big conspiracy to make Rogers look bad.

    • He agrees with what?

      This is the kind of non-response we constantly get from the government.

      As for a conspiracy to make Rogers look bad – why bother? Their doing a fine job on their own . . .

      • “They’re” doing a fine job ruining “their” own reputation.

      • He agrees with my email:

        “Banning legal and useful technologies like VPN to prevent select users from illegal activities is dangerous territory, and I am frankly appalled that you are calling on our government to do so.

        a soon-to-be-former-Rogers-customer.”

        Obviously my ‘conspiracy’ comment was in jest.

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  34. Well, if Rogers wants to ban access to US Netflix, they are going to have to ban Canadian Netflix as well.

    I accidentally discovered that I could access the US site using my Canadian password when I forgot that my VPN was running.

    I was pissed off when I saw what they get compared to what we get.

    Why do Canadian always get shortchanged and PAY MORE for everything? You can say that it is because we put up with it, but I’m at a complete loss as to what we can do to change it. Complaining only falls on deaf ears.

    • “Why do Canadian always get shortchanged and PAY MORE for everything?”


      Some of it might have to do with the “luxury” of maintaining sovereignty over one of the largest countries on the planet, with a national tax base that is being eclipsed by some cities.

      In this specific case, a lot of it has to do with media control over what history is readily available to people concerning how mail/telephony/internet-access was funded in Canada.

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  39. what happend to a governemnt that was there to look out for the general public and try and help out its cititzens not the big corporate companies who are making millions off the people. why are we paying so much in a country that is supposed to be so much more advanced and first world. This is truely going to have a backlash if this was actually reported properly to the people ….oh yeah but the media outlets are all owned by these corporate rats.

  40. Canadian government is crazy ?
    why banning VPN when there is more and more threat on security on hotspots etc. ?
    Banning VPN is the first step to totalarism !
    I recommend all people now to use a european VPN like ActiVPN which have a serious bug bounty program and which isn’t located is Canada or US …

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  43. James Vang says:

    I did not understand why Canadian government doing this. If you see you find that there are lot more threats while you are online from couple of years before. I suggest you to use any NoN Canadian VPN services like IpVanish which you can choose from VpnRanks.

  44. > There is no indication that the Canadian government has any interest in targeting VPNs, but it comes as a shock to hear a Rogers executive calling for them to be shut down.

    A shock? Really? Then you must have been living under a rock for the past decade or so. There is nothing surprising about those greedy, self-centered, money-grubbing, abusive bastards at Rogers (and Bell) thinking, saying, and doing anything and everything they can to make more money for themselves at the expense of everybody else. This is just yet another example in a long history of absurd customer abuse.

    Rogers needs to go bankrupt and the people in charge need to lose everything and become homeless. It is better to have no services whatsoever than to continue to give those greedy bastards money to buy themselves (sports) junk and pay their personal bills at the expense of customers.

  45. Trust in telecommunications companies is right up there with trust with uncle Bob’s discount used cars.

    These companies have been afforded protection in order to build networks across Canada. Now recently Bell is censoring what news is to be reported as punishment to regulators.

    I was a Rogers cell user, now I have switched to Telus, but in order to do business, as a business with Telus, it is not easy to do, so I am still with Shaw, but even that experience is hit and miss with possible routing issues and constand increases.

    There are no real easy answers. New generations want everything for free. Old school types want to build as much cash as possible, all technologies are now relying on the internet and our futures in technology are in the hands of a few CEOs

  46. Sally Croft says:

    VPN technology e.g PureVPN have been used by many firms including roger executive. There is no point call it shut off. It is a need for every businesses.