Telus Blocks Subscriber Access to Union Website

Reports today indicate that Telus is currently blocking access to Voices for Change, a website run by the Telecommunications Workers Union.  The company has confirmed that its nearly one million subscribers are blocked from accessing the site, though it is obviously available to just about everyone else (and presumably to Telus subscribers that engage in some creative Internet surfing).  The company argues that the site contains confidential proprietary information and that photographs on the site raise privacy and security issues for certain of its employees.

I can’t comment on the contents of the site.  Unless the site features content that is unlawful (as found by a Canadian court), however, Telus should not be coming anywhere near blocking access.  Internet service providers have long argued (Telus being among the most vocal) that they should be treated much like common carriers with no discrimination or distinction between the bits transferred on their networks.  I’ve previously argued that packet preferencing for VoIP is a growing concern.  Content specific blocking is an entirely different and even more troubling matter.  ISPs have persuaded the Supreme Court of Canada, Canadian policy makers, and government officials that the content blocking, whether copyright or child pornography related, is out of their control and bad policy.

To block a specific website that leaves the company uncomfortable is more than just bad policy as well as completely ineffective.  It is dangerous.  Dangerous for free speech in this country, dangerous for those who believe that the law, not private parties, should determine what remains accessible on ISP networks, and dangerous for the ISPs themselves, who risk seeing this blow up in their face as part of the ongoing telecommunications policy review that is considering the appropriate regulatory framework for those same ISPs.


  1. pseudoanonymous says:

    It’s a tough call though it was a really dirty & rotten move for Telus to make. An abuse of power.

  2. Peter Dambier says:
    Collateral Damage?

    I am facing my network beeing blocked. —

    Did they accidently publish my networknumber
    AS34109 or my address range?

    I am not foolish enough to say they did. But sombody incompetent enough to risk damage to the internet might well be incompetent enough to do excactly that.

    Peter and Karin Dambier

  3. Jeff Uren says:

    Director of Technology, Onextra Inc.
    I personally believe this transcends abuse of power. Telus has opened a huge can of worms with this one. They continue to admit to blocking the site for security reasons and yet they took no formal legal action against its creators.

    This type of corporate justice is an insult to all of us. Telus claims to be a common carrier and yet they actively admit to banning a website; choosing to control the content that Telus subscribers have access to without any discussion, forum or as I said – legal action.

    It is a disgusting afront to the freedom of speech and shows the true colours of this ‘progressive’ corporation.

    Having said that, I have made the choice not to include Telus in any of my future telecommunication/Internet considerations.

  4. Liam Billings says:

    Lame Duck Company
    Telus has a list of annoying traits – the company is just starting to enforce bandwidth caps at a meager 10 gigs per month for high speed 1.5 DSL (5 gigs up and 5 down – try that for a shared connection!). Add this to port blocking, and website censorship – well, you get the picture. Telus is a lame duck – the future ain’t friendly, at least not with them!


    Liam +++

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