Nearly one month ago, I set out to outline the case against the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan. Sixteen instalments later (plus bonus posts on Bell’s astroturfing campaign and the remarkable success of the day of action opposing the plan), I have examined the myriad of problems with the proposal. The objective was never to justify piracy. Rather, it was to conclusively demonstrate that the proposal is disproportionate, harmful, offside international standards, violates Canadian norms, and does not come close to meeting the CRTC’s requirements for approval of website blocking. This post summarizes the key points for each of these five sources of concern. The CRTC is accepting interventions until March 29th, leaving Canadians with several more weeks to speak out to the Commission, their Member of Parliament, and the Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains.
Archive for March, 2018
The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 16: The CRTC as the Internet Content Regulatory Authority
In Canada, services that broadcast over the Internet don’t need a licence from the CRTC, as we exempted them from this obligation. We do not intervene on content on the Internet.
This statement – we do not intervene on content on the Internet – appears on the CRTC site at the very beginning of a page devoted to TV shows, movies, music and other content online. It may not be a regulatory statement, but it reflects how the CRTC sees itself and how it wants to be seen. Bell and other companies associated with the coalition have regularly tried to drag it into various forms of content regulation under the Telecommunications Act. Yet the Commission has rightly rejected those efforts, emphasizing that it does not licence or judge Internet content nor is it empowered by legislation to do so.
The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 15: It Undermines the Telecommunications Act Policy Objectives
The CRTC has ruled that it will only permit website blocking in “exceptional circumstances” and only where doing so would further the objectives found in the Telecommunications Act. As yesterday’s post noted, even if the CRTC were to think that the terrible Bell coalition website blocking proposal is worth supporting, the plan falls outside the Commission’s stated rules on website blocking since the application fails to make the case that it furthers the objectives found in the Act.
In fact, not only does the Bell proposal fail to make the case that it furthers the Telecommunications Act objectives, but there is a far better argument that it undermines them. As noted yesterday, the Telecommunications Act identifies nine objectives:
The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 14: Failure To Further the Telecommunications Act Policy Objectives
This series has devoted the past several weeks to making the case that the Bell coalition website blocking plan is a disproportionate, ineffective response to piracy that is out-of-step with global standards, will raise consumer Internet costs, result in over-blocking legitimate content, and that is offside Canadian norms on net neutrality, privacy and human rights. Yet even if the CRTC were to still think this terrible idea is worth supporting, it would fall outside its stated rules on approving website blocking. The Commission has made it clear that it will only permit blocking in “exceptional circumstances” and only where doing so would further the objectives found in the Telecommunications Act.