“This is big. Powerful lobbyists, working with their allies in government, have put forward what amounts to an unavoidable choke point for your Internet use: two bills aimed at Internet users, and a government decision about the future of Internet access.
If we don’t stop this set-up, you’ll have to deal with bigger bills, widespread warrantless surveillance, and restricted choice
Now you helped push back against new Internet restrictions and Big Telecom price-gouging. But these new challenges require more resources than ever to fight.
These three imminent threats will create an Internet choke point for Canadians, and they’re unfolding right now:
Online Spying: The government has tabled their invasive spying plan (Bill C-30) to mandate that every Internet provider must hand “authorities” access to the private information of any Canadian, at any time, without a warrant1. Despite appearances the contrary, they are still pushing this through parliament.
The Internet Lockdown: Through Bill C-11, Big Media lobbyists are seeking the power2 to compel telecom providers (who will now have surveillance capabilities) to cut Internet access for no good reason, remove or hide vast swaths of the Internet, and lock users out of their own services.
According to copyright experts, giant media conglomerates are lobbying for Internet lockdown powers allowing them to cut Internet access for no good reason, remove or hide vast swaths of the Internet, and lock users out of their own services.
Taken together, these new powers would fundamentally change the Internet, severely limit free expression, and hogtie innovators. And all to supposedly protect Big Media’s content assets.
A similar scheme in the US led to a huge public outcry forcing Big Media lobbyists to back off from their plan to impose the now-infamous SOPA and PIPA1 legislation.
Now, those lobbyists are turning to Canada through copyright legislation like Bill C-11 and trade agreements called ACTA2 and TPP3. Internet law expert Michael Geist recently revealed that behind-the-scenes Big Media lobbyists are pushing for powers such as website blocking4, Internet termination for people that threaten their business interests5, and huge threats for sites that host user-generated content (like YouTube)6, in addition to the “most restrictive digital lock provisions in the world,”7 which are already in Bill C-11.
Canadians are not taking this lying down. Across the country, online and off, Canadians are standing up against this Internet lockdown. Protests are being held in several cities today8; at the same time thousands of people are getting active online, using the Internet to say no to the Internet lockdown.
Politicians and policymakers have an opportunity to put Canada on the map as a leader in Internet openness and affordability. But they have to know that we’re behind them if they stand up to megacorporate lobbyists. Their approach is backwards: it suffocates online choice and it’s patently unfair.
The Cell Phone Squeeze: Big Telecom giants are lobbying the government to turn over control of mobile communications—which experts say are the future of Internet access—to just three giant companies3. This will lead to rising prices, even worse customer service, and more easily controlled surveillance.
The Big Three are ripping us off and using the money to manipulate Canadians and the government.
As we’ve been saying, the Big Three cell phone companies have a plan to price-gouge Canadians by shutting out small competitors1. Now they’re unleashing a misinformation campaign to muzzle your voice.
- Rogers recently bought and paid for a trumped-up study2 that wrongly implies Canadians (you) can afford to pay more for telecom services.
- Rogers just took to the courts to argue that Canada’s false advertising rules violate the telecom giant’s freedom of expression! This after being caught red-handed and fined $10,000,000 dollars for misleading cell phone advertising.3
With these two acts of extreme arrogance, Rogers has demonstrated that they will go to ridiculous lengths to tighten their stranglehold on communications and raise prices.
here’s some more detailed background information:
- Cell phone companies require low-frequency wireless spectrum to deliver the latest mobile devices to customers. There is a new block of 700 MHZ spectrum that will be available for use through an auction later this year and the government is about to decide who will have access to the spectrum.The Big Three providers are sitting on more than enough spectrum to do deliver their services to Canadians (including those in rural areas). They want the government to take a do nothing approach and allow the Big hree to control essential spectrum and shut out independent competitors. You can also check out CTV News coverage of this issue here.
- Lemay Yates recently released a report, bought and paid for by Rogers, that suggests Canadians have better Internet speed, availability and pricing than our global counterparts. But this research directly contradicts many other independent reports (from the OECD, Harvard, the New America Foundation, Akamai, and more) that show Canada falling woefully behind on key metrics like price and speed.
- According to the Vancouver Sun: “Rogers Communications Inc. is asking an Ontario court to strike down part of a federal law requiring a company to have ‘adequate and proper’ tests of a product’s performance before advertising claims about the product — on the grounds that it violates its freedom of expression.”
Now that you know the details, it’s time to act.