Throughout the battle this summer over the potential of a Verizon entry into Canada, the incumbent telecom companies have tried to paint their position as supporting more competition, but rejecting the rules the government believes are needed to facilitate that same competition. Wind Mobile CEO Tony Lacavera recently called out […]
Archive for August, 2013
Carleton professor Dwayne Winseck has posted a bombshell report that uncovers editorial interference at Bell with Bell Media President Kevin Crull issuing directives to CTV and company-owned local television and radio channels to provide favourable coverage of the wireless issue just as the incumbent campaign against Verizon was ramping up in early July. Winseck posts details on internal company emails that indicate Crull sent the message to provide coverage on the CRTC-sponsored Wall Report:
Kevin Crull our President wants us to give this report some coverageâ€¦.â€ and â€œKevin is asking if this report can get some coverage today on Talk Radio. National news is covering for TVâ€.
As I posted on the same day as the emails, the Wall Report actually found that Canada falls on the high side of wireless pricing among the countries surveyed. Yet Crull was looking for different talking points from Bell’s media properties. As Winseck notes:
The emails begin by setting out a couple of definitional issues and then distill the two key talking points to be covered: (1) that cellphone rates in Canada have fallen in recent years and (2) that they are generally cheaper than in the US.
As the near-weekly revelations of pervasive surveillance activities generates both debate and mounting opposition in the United States and Europe, the Canadian reaction has remained somewhat muted. Following an initial flurry of coverage over the surveillance activities of Canadian intelligence agencies, the issue has largely disappeared despite evidence that Canadian data is regularly collected by foreign intelligence agencies, most notably the U.S. National Security Agency.
Interestingly, the battle over the potential entry of Verizon into Canada may have opened the door to greater public scrutiny of the privacy practices of all telecom carriers. The debate unexpectedly features a privacy and surveillance dimension, with the incumbents and their unions raising fears about the link between Verizon and U.S. surveillance.
Verizon may raise privacy concerns, but my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes it is worth asking whether the Canadian carriers can provide assurances that Canadian phone and Internet activity is any less prone to surveillance. The major Canadian carriers have been very secretive about many of these issues. In fact, a recent University of Toronto report found that none issue transparency reports (Google, Twitter, and Microsoft do), inform users about data requests, state where data is routed and stored, or avoid U.S. routing.
Appeared in the Toronto Star on August 24, 2013 as Time for Canadian Privacy Regulators to Take Action on Pervasive Surveillance As the near-weekly revelations of pervasive surveillance activities generates both debate and mounting opposition in the United States and Europe, the Canadian reaction has remained somewhat muted. Following an […]
When the government announced earlier this year that its controversial lawful access legislation was dead, many suspected that the bill – which has resurfaced numerous times over the past decade – would be back sooner or later. Peter MacKay, the newly installed Justice Minister, recently suggested that it may be […]