Post Tagged with: "telco"

How Canada’s Telecom Companies Have Secretly Supported Internet Surveillance Legislation

Canada’s proposed Internet surveillance was back in the news last week after speculation grew that government intends to keep the bill in legislative limbo until it dies on the order paper. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews denied the reports, maintaining that Bill C-30 will still be sent to committee for further study.

Since its introduction in mid-February, the privacy and law enforcement communities have continued to express their views on the bill, but Canada’s telecom service providers, which include the major telecom carriers and Internet service providers, have remained strangely silent. The silence is surprising given the enormous implications of the bill for the privacy of their customers and the possibility of millions of dollars in new surveillance equipment costs, active cooperation with law enforcement, and employee background checks.

While some attribute the Internet surveillance silence to an attempt to avoid picking sides in the high stakes privacy and security battle, documents obtained under the Access to Information Act offer a different, more troubling explanation. My weekly technology law column notes (Toronto Star version, homepage version) in the months leading up to the introduction Bill C-30, Canada’s telecom companies worked actively with government officials to identify key issues and to develop a secret Industry – Government Collaborative Forum on Lawful Access.

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May 22, 2012 31 comments Columns

Solving Canada’s Uncompetitive Internet Will Take More Than CRTC Reversal

Appeared in the Toronto Star on February 6, 2011 as The Real Reason We Pay So Much For Internet Last week, public concern with Internet bandwidth caps hit a fever pitch as hundreds of thousands of Canadians signed petitions against Internet provider practices of “metering” Internet use. The government responded […]

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February 7, 2011 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

PIAC on Canadian Telecom Reform

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has published a 218 page report on Canadian telecom regulation, arguing that reform is needed to address consumer concerns.

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January 5, 2011 3 comments News

Canadian Telco Ownership Rules From By-Gone Era

Corporate structures and loan agreements are rarely the stuff of public interest, yet, as my weekly technology column notes (Toronto Star version, homepage version) last month they attracted considerable attention in a case involving Globalive, a new wireless company vying to shake up Canada’s telecommunications industry.  Operating as Wind Mobile, the company paid hundreds of millions of dollars in 2008 to scoop up spectrum to enable it to operate as a new national wireless carrier.

Bell Canada, Telus Corp., and Rogers Communications, the big three incumbent carriers, unsurprisingly opposed the new rival.  First they lobbied against a set-aside of spectrum for new entrants. When that failed, they argued Globalive failed to comply with the Telecommunications Act's foreign control restrictions. Last month, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission agreed. While Industry Canada previously concluded the company met the Canadian control requirements for the purposes of the Radiocommunications Act when it bid for spectrum, the CRTC concluded that its ownership and control structure do not meet the legal requirements to operate as a wireless carrier.  

The commission identified a number of changes that will be needed to comply with the law and Globalive says it is evaluating its options. The first option is presumably for the federal cabinet to overrule the CRTC. Last week, Industry Minister Tony Clement gave Canada's telecom players until Wednesday to provide their views on the issue as he conducts a pre-cabinet review.  A decision may be weeks away, but the process puts a much bigger question into play: Will the Globalive case become the catalyst for the elimination of telecom foreign control restrictions?

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November 16, 2009 22 comments Columns