I have spent much of the past month identifying problems with Bill C-61's anti-circumvention provisions. While the bill misses many necessary exceptions and includes exceptions that do not withstand careful analysis, even the current list of exceptions pre-suppose that a person has the technical ability to circumvent. There may be a group of Canadians with sufficient technical expertise to do so, but my sense is that the overwhelming majority would not even know where to begin.
There are several mechanisms that could be used to address this issue (and note that it must be addressed or else even the meagre exceptions within C-61 will be illusory). The first would be to ensure that the bill does not touch the legality of circumvention devices themselves.
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The Vancouver Sun features a letter to the editor today from Canadian Bankers Association President Nancy Hughes Anthony on the do-not-call list and iOptOut.ca. The CBA professes support for the DNC, noting that "it's easy for Canadians to opt out of telemarketing calls. Simply sign up for the national Do Not Call list." Hughes Anthony neglects to mention that CBA members are exempt under the DNC where there is a prior or current business relationship. Under the rules, that means your current bank gets to call for a wide array of additional services even if your number is on the DNC list. Moreover, if you simply inquired with another bank about a mortgage rate or credit card offering, they can continue to call you for another six months. The CBA has a history of defending its right to make these telemarketing calls. In 2004, it made submissions to the CRTC asking that its members be excluded from new telemarketing rules, arguing that its practices "do not constitute 'undue inconvenience or nuisance'."
With respect to iOptOut.ca, the CBA raises three objections, of all of which were dismissed by CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein.
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The National Post reports that the Conservative government is eliminating the $4.7 million PromArt program that funded travel for artists to promote Canadian culture. Update: The Globe and Mail reports that the government has also eliminated the $9 million Trade Routes program that helps sell Canadian content abroad.
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