Telecom policies, particularly Internet and wireless issues, have generated enormous public interest over the past year. Politicians have evidently taken note with all political parties expressing concern over Internet data caps, net neutrality, and the competitiveness of Canadian wireless services.
The political shift toward consumer-focused telecom concerns has unsurprisingly attracted the attention of the large incumbent telecom providers such as Bell and Telus, who have found their regulatory plans stymied by political intervention and the admission by some Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission commissioners that the current policy environment has failed to foster sufficient competition.
My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the incumbent telecom providers recently served notice that they are gearing up to fight back, with Bell adding former Industry Minister Jim Prentice to its board of directors and Telus doing the same with former Public Safety Minister and Treasury Board President Stockwell Day. The addition of two prominent, recently departed Conservative cabinet ministers makes it clear that Bell and Telus recognize the increasing politicization of telecom policy.
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Appeared in the Toronto Star on August 14, 2011 as Telecoms Lure Ex-Ministers in Boardrooms Telecom policies, particularly Internet and wireless issues, have generated enormous public interest over the past year. Politicians have evidently taken note with all political parties expressing concern over Internet data caps, net neutrality, and the […]
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Predictions about future technology law and policy developments are always fraught with uncertainty, yet identifying the key players is a somewhat easier chore. Although Parliament is not scheduled to resume until March, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) tracks ten who are likely to lead the way in Canada in the coming year.
Tony Clement, federal Industry Minister. From anti-spam legislation to the national copyright consultation, Clement demonstrated a keen interest in technology issues during his first year as industry minister. 2010 should be no different, with privacy reform legislation, a new copyright bill, and rules for another wireless spectrum auction all on the agenda. To top it off, Clement has sent strong signals that he wants to forge ahead with a long-overdue national digital strategy.
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Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 4, 2010 as The Ten Players Who Will Shape Technology Law Predictions about future technology law and policy developments are always fraught with uncertainty, yet identifying the key players is a somewhat easier chore. Although Parliament is not scheduled to resume until March, […]
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As expected, the Government has taken another shot at lawful access legislation today, introducing a legislative package called the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act that would require mandated surveillance capabilities at Canadian ISPs, force ISPs to disclose subscriber information such as name and address, and grant the police broad new powers to obtain transmission data and force ISPs to preserve data. Although I can only go on government releases (here, here), the approach appears to be very similar to the Liberal lawful access bill of 2005 that died on the order paper (my comments on that bill here) [update: Bill C-46 and C-47]. It is pretty much exactly what law enforcement has been demanding and privacy groups have been fearing. It represents a reneging of a commitment from the previous Public Safety Minister on court oversight and will embed broad new surveillance capabilities in the Canadian Internet.
The lawful access proposal is generally divided among two sets of issues – ISP requirements and new police powers.
1. ISP requirements
There are two key components here. First, ISPs will be required to install surveillance capabilities in their networks. This feels a bit like a surveillance stimulus package, with ISPs making big new investments and the government cost-sharing by compensating for changes to existing networks. The bill again exempts smaller ISPs for three years from these requirements. While that is understandable from a cost perspective, it undermines the claims that this is an effective solution to online crime since it will result in Canadians at big ISPs facing surveillance while would-be criminals seek out smaller ISPs without surveillance capabilities.
Second, the bill requires all ISPs to surrender customer name, address, IP address, and email address information upon request without court oversight. In taking this approach, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan has reneged on the promise of his predecessor and cabinet colleague Stockwell Day, who pledged not to introduce mandated subscriber data disclosure without court oversight.
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