Net Neutrality And Creative Freedom (Tim Wu at re:publica 2010) by 
Anna Lena Schiller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7VfazT

Net Neutrality And Creative Freedom (Tim Wu at re:publica 2010) by Anna Lena Schiller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7VfazT

Net Neutrality

Protest: FCC Chairman's Dinner by Eleanor Goldfield/Art Killing Apathy (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/HmwbH4

Net Neutrality and NAFTA: Canadian Government Says It Will Address U.S. Policy Should Harms Arise

The Canadian government has released its response to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics report on net neutrality. The report featured a strong endorsement of net neutrality and raised concerns with Bell’s site blocking proposal. The government response emphasizes its support for net neutrality, highlighting the current legal framework. While the response does not directly address the site blocking proposal (noting it would inappropriate to comment on a case currently before the CRTC), it reiterates that it has the power to vary, rescind, or refer a CRTC decision back for reconsideration, perhaps a signal that a CRTC decision favouring site blocking could face a government response to rescind or review.

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June 22, 2018 2 comments News
https://pixabay.com/en/clock-wall-clock-watch-time-old-1274699/ CC0 Creative Commons

The 1980s CRTC: The Commission Turns Back the Clock with Old-Style Regulation and Privileged Insider Access

The CRTC was long perceived by many Canadians as a captured regulator, largely inaccessible to the public as it dispensed decisions that safeguarded incumbents from disruptive competition. That reputation was buttressed by initial decisions on regulating Internet telephony, permitting Bell to engage in Internet throttling, and supporting a usage based billing approach that hampered competition. In recent years, some policies changed with the adoption of net neutrality regulations and the efforts of former chair Jean-Pierre Blais to prioritize consumer interests. Yet over the past few months, the CRTC under new chair Ian Scott seems determined to turn back the clock with a commission more comfortable with industry stakeholders and their priorities than consumer groups and facilitating competition.

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June 4, 2018 6 comments News
Stop ACTA 21 by Martin Krolikowski (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bs3Yxp

Regulate Everything: The CRTC Goes All-In on Internet Taxation and Regulation

For two decades, a small collection of cultural groups have been pressing the CRTC to regulate and tax the Internet. As far back as 1998, the CRTC conducted hearings on “new media” in which groups argued that the dial-up Internet was little different than conventional broadcasting and should be regulated and taxed as such. The CRTC and successive governments consistently rejected the Internet regulation drumbeat, citing obvious differences with broadcast, competing public policy objectives such as affordable access, and the benefits of competition. That changed today as the CRTC released “Harnessing Change: The Future of Programming Distribution in Canada“, a difficult-to-read digital-only report (as if PDF is not digital) in which the CRTC jumps into the Internet regulation and taxation game with both feet.

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May 31, 2018 27 comments News
By Davepark [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fairplay_sign.jpg

House of Commons Ethics Committee Recommends Rejecting Bell Coalition Website Blocking Plan

The Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics has released its net neutrality report, strongly endorsing net neutrality safeguards and calling on the government to reject the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan should the CRTC approve it. I was the first witness to appear before the committee on the study, where I emphasized the need for stronger net neutrality enforcement, the risks associated with changing U.S. policy, and the concerns associated the Bell website blocking proposal (which at the time had only been leaked). The committee picked up on all those issues, recommending enshrining net neutrality in the Telecommunications Act, calling on the government to seek assurances from the U.S. that its policies will not undermine Canadian traffic, and encouraging the CRTC to more proactively ensure that ISPs are compliant with Canadian law.

The committee report also waded into the site blocking issue, calling on the government to reject it should it be approved by the CRTC.

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May 10, 2018 13 comments News
IMG_0207 by wyliepoon https://flic.kr/p/8Q7Ef3 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Telus’ Website Blocking Submission: No Copyright Expertise Needed and No Net Neutrality Violation if Everyone is Doing It

Telus was not a charter member of the Bell website blocking coalition, but there was never much doubt that the last of the big incumbents would side with the application. Most of the independent and smaller telecom companies have opposed the proposal (and even the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association cannot bring itself to state that it supports the plan), but Canada is not known for competition among the big incumbents and this issue was no different. Indeed, the Telus submission supports the application, but relies on remarkably weak and somewhat head-scratching analysis to arrive at its conclusion that the proposal meets the necessary legal standards.

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April 3, 2018 3 comments News