The Internet Infrastructure Coalition, which features key players from across the Internet infrastructure industry including hosting and cloud service providers, domain registries, domain registrars, data centers, payment processors, and software developers, has filed a submission with the CRTC strongly opposing the Bell coalition website blocking plan. The coalition features a who’s who of some of the Internet’s biggest names: Google, Amazon, GoDaddy, and Verisign. There is also a notable Canadian presence including Tucows, Tuangru, and CogecoPeer1 (the inclusion of CogecoPeer1, which is owned by Cogeco Communications, is particularly interesting since Cogeco Connexion, a fellow subsidiary, is a member of the site blocking coalition).
The coalition emphasizes the harm that the website blocking plan would create:
The not-for-profit organization envisioned by the FairPlay Canada proposal lacks accountability and oversight, and is certain to cause tremendous collateral damage to innocent Internet business owners. There is shockingly little judicial review or due process in establishing and approving the list of websites being blocked — and no specifics of how this blocking is actually to be implemented. Then, once the block is established, the appeals process envisioned afterwards is too slow and costly for small businesses who have found themselves caught up in this blocking mechanism to bear.
The submission notes the problem associated with the lack of court orders, stating “asking for the suspension of the role of the judiciary in this process will chill free speech, place the interests of those who claim ownership of intellectual property ahead of those who may have legitimate disputes with the claimants, and impose costs on companies with few resources to resolve these disputes”, adding that “examples of erroneous, political and competition motivated takedowns are legion.”
After examining the risks to innovation and the Internet economy, the submission concludes with a warning on the negative economic impacts of the proposal:
After careful review of the FairPlay proposal, we believe that it will lead to significant loss of high-wage, high-tech jobs in our industry and other industries that are directly or indirectly supported by our industry. These impacts will diminish the attractiveness of Canadian companies to foreign customers, while also reducing the Canadian Internet industry’s ability to compete with foreign competition within its own borders.
The Internet Infrastructure Coalition submission is part of the mounting opposition from stalwarts of the Internet community, including the Internet Society and the Internet Society, Canadian Chapter. As the number of interventions nears 10,000, a reminder that the CRTC is accepting comments until March 29th.