The Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce has spent the past month and a half actively engaged in a detailed study of the regulatory framework for open banking. The study has included government officials, representatives from Australia and the UK, and Canadian banking stakeholders. I appeared before the committee yesterday as a single person panel, spending a full hour discussing a wide range of policy concerns. My core message was that the committee debate over whether Canada should have open banking missed the bigger issue that millions of Canadians already use open banking type services despite the friction in making their data easily portable to third party providers. I recommended several reforms in response, including stronger privacy laws, mandated data portability with informed consumer consent, and consumer protection safeguards that recognizing the likely blurring between incumbent banks and third party providers.
Open Banking Is Already Here: My Appearance Before the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce
A CRTC More Interested in Protecting Incumbent Companies Than Consumers: My Appearance on the Broadcast Dialogue Podcast
Last week, I joined the Broadcast Dialogue podcast to talk about the recent developments at the CRTC. The discussion started with my post likening the Commission response to consumer issues under Chair Ian Scott file as a Seinfeld-like Penke File and moved into an assortment of other recent CRTC issues. When asked about the CRTC’s failure to name-and-shame the telecom companies most responsible for misleading tactics, I responded that “it left the distinct impression that the CRTC under Ian Scott is more interested in protecting the reputation of the incumbent companies than the interests of individual Canadians.” The full podcast discussion can be accessed here and is embedded below.
Government Service Delivery in the Digital Age: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Ethics and Privacy
Last week, I appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics as part of its study on government services and privacy. The discussion touched on a wide range of issues, including outdated privacy rules and the policy complexity of smart cities. I concluded by noting:
“we need rules that foster public confidence in government services by ensuring there are adequate safeguards, transparency and reporting mechanisms to give the public the information it needs about the status of their data, and appropriate levels of access so that the benefits of government services can be maximized. That is not new. What is new is that this needs to happen in an environment of changing technologies, global information flows, and an increasingly blurry line between public and private in service delivery.”
All About the Internet: My Submission to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel on the Future of Canadian Communications Law
The deadline for submissions to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel closed on Friday with a handful of organizations such as the CRTC, CBC, and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting posting their submissions online. My full submission can be found here. I argue that Canada’s regulatory approach should be guided by a single, core principle: communications policy, whether telecommunications or broadcasting, is now – or will soon become – Internet policy. This emerging communications world is mediated through the Internet and communications regulatory choices are therefore fundamentally about regulating or governing the Internet. My submission identifies four goals that should guide Canadian communications law and regulation:
1. Universal, affordable access to the network
2. Level regulatory playing field
3. Regulatory humility
4. Fostering competitiveness in the communications sector
The executive summary on each of the four issue is posted below, followed by a list of 23 recommendations contained in the submission. In the coming days, I’ll have posts that unpack some of the key issues.
Copyright and Culture: My Submission to the Canadian Heritage Committee Study on Remuneration Models for Artists and Creative Industries
The Canadian Heritage committee study on remuneration models for artists and creative industries, which was launched to support the Industry committee’s copyright review, wrapped up earlier this month. I appeared before the committee in late November, where I focused on recent allegations regarding educational copying practices, reconciled the increased spending on licensing with claims of reduced revenues, and concluded by providing the committee with some recommendations for action. My formal submission to the committee has yet to be posted (the committee has been slow in posting submissions), but it expanded on that presentation by focusing first on the state of piracy in Canada, followed by an examination of three sectors: (i) educational copying; (ii) the music industry and the value gap; and (iii) film and television production in Canada. The full submission can be found here.