Privacy Commissioner Enters Net Neutrality Fray

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has entered the net neutrality debate with a submission to the CRTC network management hearing on the privacy implications of network management that uses deep packet inspection technologies (hat tip: P2PNet).  The submission notes concerns with several uses of DPI, including scanning Internet traffic for certain content such as spam, copyright infringing materials, and hate content as well as for monitoring traffic loads to measure network performance.  The Commissioner expresses the need to factor privacy into the network management issue, stating that:

"We respectfully submit that in order to advance the privacy objectives contained in the Act, telecommunications policy, decisions and regulation with respect to Internet traffic management practices in general, and DPI specifically, should consider the potentially invasive nature of DPI technology, and the manner in which it has been implemented by ISPs."

With regard to the Canadian ISP use of DPI, the Commissioner pulls no punches:

"There is concern that the implementation of DPI for Internet traffic management has been done in a manner that is less than transparent and potentially inconsistent with an individual's/consumer's expectations. There has been soem evidence in a number of jurisdictions suggesting that such technology has been used for 'unreasonable network management practices.'"


  1. About time
    The Privacy Commissioner of Canada seems the be the only one with a level head in the Gov.

    One of the only gov entities who didn’t just say, “its a CRTC problem” like the Industry Minister and the Competition bureau did.

    “Let market forces decide, while the telecoms control the market regulations.

    There is some serious flawed and failed people who hold gov positions that shouldn’t.

  2. Maybe They Just Don’t Know
    “My Name” maybe the MP’s, House Representatives, etc.. are not aware at how much if an issue it really is because we Canadians have not made a big enough complaint.

    Regardless of whether the Industry Trade Minister or Competition Bureau feel it is their responsibility or not, if there was an overwhelming public outcry, they would take a greater interest. It is in their political interest to do so.

    My hope is that someday our government will listen more and when they do, I hope that we Canadians actually speak!

  3. grunt
    sanitizing the web-stream will kill it off entirely…

    and that’s my BIG hope. worst case senerios include sub-sonics and subliminal suggestion newscasts…

  4. I’m kinda mad.
    “we Canadians have not made a big enough complaint.”

    Who could have organized something to make people aware?

    The blogs and some ISP’s did their very best. The CBC seemedd to have covered it not to badly after they noticed an outrage, after a while.

    The other media carried one or two obscure articles.

    I think the French media covered a tiny bit of it at the very end of the 1st round of the CRTC filings. There was basically no French covering of any of this.

    I still don’t see it in the media.

    Do you think there is telecom motivation there? Consider Videotron (Quebecor MEDIA) who owns the Sun and the French papers and whatever else.

    Makes me wonder…

    But the thing is, how can “Canadians make a big enough complaint”?

    What does it take?

    The CRTC already got more comments than they ever did before and it was ignored.

    There is one person who is filing a 14-page or so CRTC filing showing how his “access to information” finding showed the CRTC ignored the people and the other parties. He openly posted it as he was working on it for all to see.

    It can be seen here:
    CRTC ‘ignored evidence’ in Bell throttling case: report: (look at the 14 page PDF, last I saw it was getting bigger.

    Then there is the fact the Competition Bureau should have been involved, as well as Industry Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs. But no. The CRTC only said the Office of the Privacy Commissioner should be involved.

    And what a punch she packed!

    But no coverage of anything. Nothing.

    Something stinks to high hell here.

    I’m kind of mad that the CRTC has allowed DPI in the last ruling and the privacy commissioner is telling the CRTC that it is their mandate to protect Canadians’ privacy and DPI shouldn’t be on till its investigated. But its on and running now while the likes of Bell and Rogers laughs at everyone.

    How can “Canadians make a big enough complaint”?

    What does it take?

    How much does it cost?

    Who and what can raise awareness?

    Have the CRTC force Bell and Rogers to make TV commercials about it and raise awareness to what they are doing? A message from the OPC and force the DPI-ISP’s to pay for it?

    Get all blogs to ask people to contribute 50$ to forward to CIPPIC so someone at CIPPIC can organize it?

    The CRTC ticked me off big time. They are another failing to allow this to go on as it has.

  5. “My Name”
    The problem is not your personal complain, but the collective complaint of Canadians.

    When you have 35 million people and only 5 thousand complain, is that a sign that the majority of Canadians are ticked off?

    Do you know how many people I told about it? When I passed the media links around, do you know how many took the time to read it and understand what it means? Or even read that the CRTC is ASKING Canadians to make their voices heard? Less than 1%!

    No one cares until they try to use or access information they previously were able to. That’s the problem.

    How big of a complaint can we make? A lot larger than we have! We had the lowest voter turnout in history this past fall. Even on local levels apathy is very large, including school counsel, municipal, etc.. That’s the problem, on a grand scale, we’re not motivated enough for our own good.

    Groups on Facebook, blogs, etc… those help but is it possible for those bloggers to put pressure on journalists to cover stories? If so, then we should do that. Word of mouth is the best way, talk about this in public so people hear and are curious. Rallies and protests are OK but people are very self-interested and the vibe I see on the street is “oh, boy, another protest.” Again, apathy.

    Just don’t hold any rallies in Vancouver, the “security” is ridiculous.

  6. Jane Doe's Main Squeeze says:

    It’s only a matter of time until someone throws a satelite up there or figures out how to supply
    unedited and unlimited internet to the masses outside of local (country) laws. When that happens everyone will switch over to them, regardless of any local media monopolies. Allowing our cable industry to clinch the market will only weaken it when any real competition comes.

    I expect the CRTC to do it’s job of selling the industry out to the highest bidder, but don’t worry people, this can only be a temporary setback, they’ll have to get their act together when the competition arrives, competition they’re in the act of creating right now.