As the new year begins we look back at everything we’ve accomplished together in 2018 for online access, privacy and free expression. None of this would have been possible without our amazing community — THANK YOU!
In this edition of the Under The Hood series learn about OpenMedia’s unique approach to building collaborative networks to support our campaigns.
From me, to you — it’s been a pleasure. Lots of gratitude for those who taught me and supported our work along the way.
Our new Executive Director Laura Tribe introduces herself and looks at the exciting challenges we’ll face over the months ahead.
Get a glimpse of what our Digital Action Team has been working on at OpenMedia in our new blog series.
It’s incredible what we achieve together.
Crowdsourcing is an integral part of our organization as we believe that strong participatory processes can pave the way for a better future, in which the values of the majority are reflected in major decision making and outcomes. So here's a window into our core principles!
Have you ever heard of our Internet Insider? It's OpenMedia's weekly newsletter with an overview of relevant digital rights news and what our team has been up to behind the scenes. We are currently redesigning what we think to be a useful resource that just hasn't gotten the attention it deserves, so first, we need your feedback!
OpenMedia commended for bringing a generational change to the CRTC’s broadband basic service offerings hearings.
Letter to the community: How OpenMedia is changing to face the challenges (and opportunities) of 2016
Ever wondered how OpenMedia got started? Our founder Steve Anderson looks back at our roots, and provides an important update on how our team is changing to meet the challenges ahead.
We are really into letting you know what we do with our funding and with the year coming to an end, we thought we should tell everyone about the three coolest things our supporters made happen this year!
2015 was the busiest year in our young organization’s history. Check out what our community achieved together!
This morning, OpenMedia sent an open letter to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, urging him to listen to Canadians and reject Bell Canada’s recent appeal to Cabinet.
OpenMedia and other civil liberties organizations are standing up to oppose the final version of the dangerous cyber bill CISA
Georgia Straight: OpenMedia encourages voters to consider policies around access, privacy in federal election
Check out this amazing coverage of our pro-Internet election plan on The Georgia Straight! The Internet is something we shouldn’t take for granted. We should take action to have our democratic rights as citizens, to make sure it stays open, accessible and free for everyone. This election, vote for the Internet! OurDigitalFuture.ca Article by Stephen Hui for the Georgia Straight Stephen Harper’s Conservative government represents a “lost 10 years” for the Internet in Canada, according to a digital-rights advocate.
Are you in Canada? Do you have a radio? You probably heard OpenMedia this morning talking about today's forthcoming CRTC decision on fibre optic network access. Here's one of the 20 radio interviews we gave to inform Canadians all across the country about today's announcement. Stay tuned! Article by CBC News
Ensure Canadians get faster, cheaper Interner while there's still time! Speak out at UnblockCanada.ca Article by Stefania Seccia for Vancouver 24hs. This Tuesday is the deadline to submit initial comments on the fast-approaching hearings for cheaper, faster Internet — and so far 25,000 people have signed a petition and scores of others intend to hold a Vancouver rally in support of it.
A version of this piece from principled conservative activist and OpenMedia community member Connie Fournier was originally published by iPolitics. The government’s unpopular Bill C-51 has finally become law, following a recent tight vote in the Senate. The vote, at 44 to 28, was closer than expected - almost all the opponents of the Bill showed up to vote against, but 15 of the 59 sitting conservative Senators were absent.
Nearly 100 traditionally libertarian and conservative organizations like the National Firearms Association and Free Dominion, have signed a letter circulated by your OpenMedia team asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to kill Bill C-51. Groups and individuals can continue to sign on at: https://stopc51.ca/conservative Article by Vassy Kapelos for Global News
At OpenMedia, we believe in the possibilities of the open Internet. We're working to safeguard the possibility to easily create ties and connections with people all over the world. The challenge, however, is when those ties remain weak -- when we only know each other very loosely, not enough to collaborate on big projects together, or build relationships over time. This is why OpenMedia has been working to grow Digital Action Teams (DATs) - teams of thousands of people who collaborate together to make our work to safeguard the open and affordable Internet stronger and more effective.
With your support we've been able to share your cell phone horror stories with decision-makers at the CRTC, bring your messages directly to officials behind the TPP, and continue in amplifying Canadian voices on an international level. Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing and digital rights activist, had this to say: "At a time when Canada's regulators are asleep at the wheel, when giant telcos and the US Trade Representative's interests are getting more play than the Canadian public's desperate need for open, fair, and fast networks, OpenMedia is an indispensable and tireless fighter for justice and balance." Let us continue to work for you by making a contribution to OpenMedia at OpenMedia.ca/Allies.
We asked our community to share stories about why they support our work as part of our yearly December Allies Drive. Christina Bub of Ontario had this to say: "OpenMedia does all the leg-work – they tear down the hurdle that prevents people from taking action, so their campaigns reflect the true number of like-minded people who care about the open Internet." Help us continue to work for you by making a contribution to OpenMedia at OpenMedia.ca/Allies and read more of Christina's story here.
This week, Canadians learned that big telecom company Telus will be further limiting how much its customers can use the Internet. Soon after, we learned that big telecom company Bell will be jacking up their prices for Internet. After fighting for Internet openness and affordability for years, the pro-Internet community knows: this is price-gouging, pure and simple. It’s no secret that when it comes to the Internet, Canadians pay higher prices for worse services than people in most countries in the industrialized world. This is largely because a small handful of Big Telecom companies control upwards of 94% of the Internet service market in Canada, meaning that Canadians don’t have much real choice.
A closed-door meeting to be held next month will determine if your Internet use will become governed by a UN agency – the ITU – in imposing greater controls and limiting personal expression. In response, we've assembled a multi-national coalition of organizations and citizens to express their rights to Internet freedom. Learn more about who's involved and add your voice to this global movement to ProtectInternetFreedom.net. Article by Paola Totaro and Claire Connelly for News Limited Network An unfettered internet, free of political control and available to everyone could be relegated to cyber-history under a contentious proposal by a little known United Nations body. Experts claim that political and religious websites could disappear if the Federal Government backs a plan to hand control over the internet to the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
With the support of people like you, OpenMedia was founded just four years ago to engage Canadians in key decisions that affect the Internet’s future. In the face of telecom giants and governments that want to control the Internet, we’ve watched as the pro-Internet community has come together and grown into an empowered national and international movement. You've taken a stand against invasive Online Spying Bill C-30, spoken out to Protect Internet Freedom, and shared your horror stories to help create a new wireless code for Canadians. Now, we want to hear your stories about how you became engaged with OpenMedia.
In the wake of Canadians speaking out to StopTheTakeover.ca, CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais is emphasizing the importance of earning Canadians' trust and input in future decision-making. Let's ensure that this pledge to serving the public interest stands. Show the CRTC that Canadians are stuck in an unfair and expensive cell phone market by sharing your story at CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca. Article by Rita Trichur for The Globe and Mail The federal broadcast and telecommunications regulator is on a mission to “rebuild” the trust of Canadians by renewing its focus on consumers, creators and citizens. Jean-Pierre Blais, the newly minted chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, gave that frank assessment as he outlined his vision for the regulatory body at an industry conference on Monday. After spending roughly four months on the job, Mr. Blais is already making strides to define his legacy for when his term ends in 2017. At that time, he wants the CRTC to be an institution that is “trusted” by Canadians, noting many are skeptical about the regulator and its mandate in the digital era.
What do you get when you round up an enthusiastic group of digital rights experts, online innovators and advocates of Net Freedom – all with the purpose of taking any and all questions from members of the Internet community? If yesterday’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit is to be any indication, this arrangement of opinions creates an engaging, provoking and open-ended conversation. It was a discussion that worked to unite the Internet Freedom movement and invoke action to be taken against the counter-intuitive Internet restrictions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Along with OpenMedia.ca’s Steve Anderson and Reilly Yeo answering questions from the Reddit community, we were joined by our StopTheTrap.net coalition partners at EFF, Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Public Citizen and InternetNZ.
We're on Reddit today from 9AM - 7PM EST talking about Internet freedom, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and what comes next for our StopTheTrap.net campaign. Throughout the day, we'll be joined by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Professor Michael Geist and various digital rights experts from Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, InternetNZ, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Public Citizen and more. See here for a full list of participants and a session schedule. Join in the conversation and share your ideas on how we can reach more people with the crucial StopTheTrap.net campaign.
We at OpenMedia are proud, this year, to be a part of a coalition of more than 150 organizations that share a common goal: freedom, not fear. Every September, the Freedom Not Fear Coalition meets in many different places around the world to reinforce the push for fundamental rights like privacy, free expression, due process, and democratic participation. So how does that fit in with OpenMedia’s mandate to protect the open Internet? In short, as the Freedom Not Fear website puts it, because “we want freedom of speech in a digitalized world and a free and uncensored Internet to express ourselves”.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement continues to threaten our free speech, Internet privacy and due process. As negotiators behind the TPP continue to hide the text from public eyes, we've been taking to the Internet to voice our concerns. With your support, we're raising awareness of our StopTheTrap.net campaign and pushing for an open dialogue surrounding Internet Freedom. Find out more about the campaign against the TPP – and how it could affect you – as our Executive Director Steve Anderson speaks with Electronic Frontier Foundation. Interview and article by Carolina Rossini of EFF.org While US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who oversees the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), continues to declare that the trade negotiations are “the most open, transparent process ever,” we are confounded as to what he defines to be "open" or "transparent." They have yet to even provide the public — civil society organizations and policy makers — with any official documents relating to the text of the agreement. We are fighting for real transparency, which means access to the current draft documents or country proposals for provisions to into the agreement.
From the beginning the Internet has always been about us; those who use the Internet to connect with one another, to create, to express ourselves, and to make our lives just a little bit easier. We’ve been successful in standing up to lobbyists who act to restrict Internet freedom in their drive to prop up outdated governance and business models- our Stop the Meter (infographic) and Stop Online Spying campaigns are great examples of what Canadians can achieve when we work together.
From its inception the Internet has been about us: the users. Yet time and time again old government and industry bureaucracies have tried to restrict Internet freedom. Their latest effort comes in the form of the TPP’s Internet trap. This extreme and secretive scheme is an attempt by giant entertainment conglomerates to blanket new Internet restrictions on several countries at once, all while avoiding the democratic process. They failed to push similar schemes through SOPA/PIPA and other initiatives in other countries, and now the TPP is their best chance to lock down our Internet use. A little over two weeks ago, we launched a campaign with SumOfUs and a coalition of groups, to push against the TPP. We didn’t know what to expect—OpenMedia is small non-profit organization that tries to punch above its weight, sure, but taking on something this big is new territory for us.
Rogers costumers in fixed-term contracts have no choice but to accept rate hikes or pay steep fees to end their contract. Does this seem fair to you? If you are sick of telecom price-gouging, take action by signing our Stop the Squeeze petition and make the switch to an indy ISP. From CBC News: Some of the conditions that Rogers Communications imposes on customers in fixed-term contracts are legally questionable, according to an expert at the University of Ottawa. At issue is the company's practice of boosting service rates for things such as high-speed internet, home phone and cable TV, leaving some customers in fixed-term contracts in the unenviable position of either accepting the new prices or paying expensive fees to end their contract.
Big Telecoms Rogers and Shaw are lobbying against the so-called 'a la carte' model that would allow customers to pick and pay for individual channels. The CRTC also expressed concern over the pick-and-pay system saying that a lack of choice and flexibility could lead to consumers leaving the broadcasting system. Wait - isn't Canadians dropping TV for the more participatory medium of the open Internet a good thing? Why does the CRTC see it as it's job to protect old business models and top-down culture? On the flip side: In the 21st century shouldn't the CRTC's priority be to increase open and affordable access to the Internet? Article by Jamie Sturgeon for Financial Post: TORONTO — BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., and Shaw Communications Inc. which together control two-thirds of the $8.3-billion broadcast distribution market, are lobbying against the so-called “a la carte” model that would allow customers to pick and pay for individual networks, arguing the change would have disastrous consequences for programmers, such as Bell Media and Shaw Media.
A recently unveiled border security agreement between Canada and its neighbour to the South requires Canada to step up security measures, and share more information on Canadians with the U.S. The new border deal will take the problem of the Canadian government spying on its citizens one step further, by adding the threat of Canadians’ personal information being exported to another country. With the help of the pro-Internet community, we have been battling this kind of (un)lawful access legislation since launching our Stop Online Spying campaign. The agreement’s declared goal is to make travel and cross-border business easier, and to reverse economically damaging border tie-ups that have been growing since 9/11. However, some real dangers concerning Canadians privacy rights are lurking beneath the surface.