The Latest from Catherine Hart
This week a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development confirmed what Canadians have been saying for years: that we pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for some of the worst cell phone service. Despite the fact that the data supports many of the findings from OpenMedia.ca’s community-driven report, Time for an Upgrade, Big Telecom is still refusing to listen; cherry-picking the data and misrepresenting the facts just as they have done in the past. Luckily, smart folks like Ottawa Law Professor Michael Geist were ready to bust Big Telecom’s myths, crunching the numbers to show what’s really going on in the new OECD report.
Governments’ reckless attack on cloud services undermines our digital economy and throws privacy to the wind
We're concerned about reckless government spying on cloud-based services. You should be too.
Government’s reckless attack on cloud services undermines our digital economy and throws privacy to the wind
Government spying has been a hot topic of late, thanks to the recent revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency has been spying on American and foreign citizens by vacuuming up huge amounts of communications data directly from big telecom companies. This was quickly followed by the announcement that Canada’s spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), has been conducting its own secretive surveillance of innocent citizens. We deserve to know if our sensitive private information is being collected and stored in giant databases, and why. The Internet freedom community has rallied in the face of these discoveries, with thousands quickly joining the No Secret Spying campaign to voice their opposition. Now as we try to figure out the next steps, it’s important to consider how we got here in the first place.
Over half-a-million people have rallied against the warrantless spying, and demonstrations are taking place on the ground today.
Citizens, public interest groups and politicians call for transparency as negotiators try to prevent further leaks of the TPP documents
Big Media groups are trying to for push digital restrictions to be built into the new version of HTML, limiting our ability to innovate.
This week, comments from Stephen Harper about police powers for investigating online crimes have privacy advocates worried that the government might exploit Canadians’ fears around cyberbullying to reboot its failed online spying program. Using language pulled directly from bill C-30 talking points, Harper noted that law enforcement encounters difficulties because “investigative tools for our police officers have not kept pace with the Internet age. That must change.” This is in spite of the fact that law enforcement has to date failed to provide factual evidence that the current framework is ineffective. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen sensitive issues used to justify an inappropriate response; in a failed attempt at positive spin the bill itself was renamed the “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.” In a much worse PR blunder, Safety Minister Vic Toews incited uproar from Canadians when he suggested that citizens and privacy commissioners who voiced concerns over the invasiveness of the bill were aligning themselves with criminals.
Last year telecom giant Bell unleashed a new $3.4B plan to take control of Astral Media, one of Canada’s largest media companies. Canada already has one of the most highly concentrated media systems in the industrialized world, and this deal would only make this situation worse by giving Bell a monopolistic share of the media market. Now, it seems that the takeover would also give Bell millions in public funding from the Canada Media Fund (CMF), making the deal bad for Canadians on all possible fronts. The CMF was designed to provide broadcasters with public funding to promote new and innovative Canadian content in a way that levels the playing field and reflects the rapidly changing media landscape. But rather than being used to encourage media innovation, it appears that a whole bunch of CMF funding is going to help Bell further cement its power over Canada’s media system.
In a recent flurry of activity across Europe, we’ve seen cell phone service costs slashed – even in markets that have traditionally lacked choice and have been known for their high prices. As Canadians see these developments, we have to ask, if Europe can improve, why can’t we? It’s high time Canada’s cell phone market caught up to the times, or Canadians will find ourselves falling behind, unable to benefit from the latest technologies.