So the CRTC today released their 2013 Communications Monitoring Report. I don’t know what that is either, but you the taxpayer paid for it, so someone should read it. Well I guess it has to be me. The PDF report is 262 pages??? Fuck me. I think I’ll just read the internet parts.
Topic Regulatory regime in Canada
Is Canada’s Anti-Spam Law a joke?
Yes. Yes it is.
Let me explain.
Tell the government your cell phone contract sucks
The CRTC (admittedly not the government per se) is accepting public consultations, via internet! Since my readers evidently use the internet, and most likely are beholden to some evil Bell or Rogers contract, they may be interested in this. Here’s the background from the CRTC:
The CRTC decided to develop a mandatory Wireless Code to help consumers make informed choices about wireless services. Once completed, the Wireless Code will provide a clear and consistent list of terms and conditions that wireless companies will need to include in their contracts.
So what they’ve done, in the throes of their new consumer-friendly ‘tude, is to to develop a spiffy new website (well, not really spiffy, kinda boring actually) so that you can give them your opinion about wireless contracts. They may even listen! So go tell them your contract sucks.
CRTC kills the Bell-Astral deal, but Bell is going over daddy’s head to mommy – UPDATED
Good news for a Friday! Well, unless you’re a fan of media conglomeration I guess. The CRTC has flat out rejected Bell’s request for approval of their planned buyout of Astral. Not hemming and hawing like they usually do, but just stone-cold giving Bell the finger. But Bell won’t take this decision lying down, they’ve got plans! Evil, nefarious plans!
Hot government regulatory hearing action!
THE FUTURE IS BEING DECIDED THIS WEEK, PEOPLE!!! Ok, that’s a bit hyperbolic, as is my habit. But the CRTC hearings on the Bell purchase of Astral Media that are happening this week in Montreal are extremely important for the future of broadcasting in this country. And more importantly for me, they will undoubtedly have a massive impact on the internet for computers. Let’s break down the hearings with the handy FAQ format that all the kids love.
All Hail our New CRTC Overlord
On Friday (news dump day), the Conservative government announced their choice to replace Konrad “The Killer” von Finckenstein as head of the CRTC, starting June 18th. His name is Jean-Pierre Blais, and he’s… some guy. He’s a lawyer (ugh), and he has held high-level government positions at the Treasury Board, Department of Canadian Heritage, and even the CRTC itself. So, lifelong bureaucrat. Here’s the money blockquote from the article linked above:
Telecom insiders predict Mr. Blais, 51, is more likely to anticipate and comply with Conservative government policy leanings.
Looks like Harper got himself a yes-man. Don’t get me wrong, this guy has experience in the CRTC and was its general counsel, so he understands the issues. Doing something about those issues that benefits the people of Canada instead of the giant media corporations? Well, we’re gonna have five years of this guy to answer that question.
“Lawful” Access Shenanigans!
It’s been my dream to use the word “shenanigans” in a blog post for a long time. I really love the word; it’s got such a nice old-timey feel to it. So what would you call a bunch of ISPs, telecom companies, and industry groups getting together with the government in secret before the introduction of Vic Toews’ old friend, Bill C-30, The Catching Sexual Predators / Internet Spying / “Lawful” Access Bill? You are correct, sir. SHENANIGANS.
So Michael Geist (or more likely his army of students) did some yeoman’s work in filing an Access to Information request. They hit the motherload. Let Mr. Geist explain what they found:
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.
Lovely! So in January 2012, a bunch of industry types and government reps sat down for a meeting. All the big boys were there – Rogers, Bell, Vidéotron. After some coffee and delicious muffins (or so I assume, maybe they were danishes), they sat around and figured out how to fuck over their subscribers at the government’s request. Fun! Just so you know they were serious:
representatives have been granted Government of Canada Secret level security clearance and signed non-disclosure agreements
So we’ve got the country’s oligopolisitic media / telecom companies and the government colluding in secret to try to pass legislation no one in the public wants. Just another day at the office.
CRTC says your slow online game play wasn’t your fault
In all the hubbub over the SOPA/PIPA protest last week, we missed a story that dropped Friday that is pretty important. Turns out that Rogers is throttling. Big surprise! And the CRTC does not like it one bit. Deets after the jump.
Bell to stop throttling – um, yay?
So earlier this week Bell announced that it would stop its practice of throttling (or to use the telecom euphemism, Internet Traffic Management Practices, ITMPs) of their customers using peer to peer software starting March 1, 2012. This has been seen as a victory for the consumer and the open internet. That’s bullshit. After the jump I’ll explain why.
CRTC gets it right again! (sort of, maybe)
So yesterday our old friends at the CRTC came down with a decent decision. Another one! But it may not really be the awesome win for you and me that you think it is. Let’s take a look at this whole usage-based billing business (say that five times fast) after the jump.
Open internet, hell yeah!
There was a big win today for the open, free internet we’ve come to know and love. The United States Senate rejected a law that would have overturned the net neutrality rules established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year. The vote was completely along party lines, with all the Democrats voting to reject, so that should tell you what side of this debate you should be on.
Now, I’m supposed to be talking about internet law in Canada around here, so after the jump I’ll figure out some way to bring this all back home.
Kill Bill C-11 Volume 2: the notices from your ISP are coming!!!
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Bill C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act, has been introduced in Parliament and we are headed to a whole new regime of Copyright in this country. And I promised to have an ongoing series on the effects of the Bill on the internet. Well, two posts counts as a series, right?
After the jump, let’s explore the “notice and notice” regime imposed by the Bill. Sure that sounds boring, but what legal “regime” doesn’t? And you, Mr. or Mrs. Illegal Downloader, will want to know about this.