Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream Government’s digital strategy props up Big Telecom giants at expense of rural Canadians


In response to this morning’s announcement by Industry Minister James Moore regarding funding for Internet service providers (ISPs) looking to expand broadband services into rural and remote parts of Canada, Campaigns Coordinator, Josh Tabish, said:

“While we welcome any measure that would improve Internet service for rural Canadians who have long suffered from poor service and sky-high prices, we are sad to see public funds continue to prop up Big Telecom providers who have been under-serving and over-charging Canadians for years. Simply handing over taxpayer money to these giants won’t solve our national digital deficit. (Read more…) Your Daily Digital Digest for Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Your news links for today:

Telus speed claims not based on real-world experience – CBC News Shaw’s solution to my slow internet: Just downgrade! – reddit Rogers tipped as a qualified bidder to takeover the day-to-day operations of the Ontario lottery business – Mobile Syrup Revealed: ISPs Already Violating Net Neutrality To Block Encryption And Make Everyone Less Safe Online – Techdirt Government Opens Door to Major Changes to Digital Privacy Bill – Michael Geist NSA agents may have infiltrated the global communications industry – Boing Boing Mass internet surveillance threatens international law, UN report claims – The Guardian Glenn (Read more…) This CEO wants Canada to know something about its mobile market

Top Canadian entrepreneur Elliot Noss has this message for the CRTC: “Everybody in the country is overpaying.” Help us Unblock Canada at

read more Global study finds citizens want balanced copyright rules that respect creators, prioritize free expression, and reject Internet censorship


OpenMedia launches report crowdsourced from over 300,000 people in 155 countries worldwide. The findings are a direct challenge to the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership where extreme proposals to censor the Internet are being created in near-total secrecy

October 15, 2014 – Citizens from across the globe want balanced copyright rules that are shaped democratically, respect creators, and prioritize free expression. That’s the message of Our Digital Future: A Crowdsourced Agenda for Free Expression, a new report launched today by community-based OpenMedia. The overall consultation process took place over 2 years engaging 300,000 people from Australia to Vietnam.

The (Read more…) Your Daily Digital Digest for Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Your news links for today:

Attack Ads, Copyright, and Collusion: Have Canada’s Major Broadcasters Violated the Competition Act? – Ariel Katz Much Ado About Copyright, Campaigns and Political Ads – Excess Copyright Broadcaster Copyright Misuse and Collusion?: Why Criticism Over the Government’s Political Ad Copyright Exception May Be Pointed in the Wrong Direction – Michael Geist Political Attack Ads May Be Noxious, but Copyright Isn’t the Right Tool to Stop Them – Michael Geist Cyberbullying bill inches closer to law despite privacy concerns – CBC News SaskTel’s 2013 Transparency Report Reveals 11,857 Information Requests from Authorities – iPhone in (Read more…) Globe and Mail: Cable giants stomping their feet at the CRTC

Rather than listening to Canadians, this American cable giant is throwing a hissy fit over the possibility of pick-and-pay TV coming to Canada.

Article by James Bradshaw for The Globe and Mail

American media giant Viacom Inc. is threatening to move its television stations off the dial and onto an online streaming service if the federal broadcast regulator forces cable and satellite companies to offer channels on a “pick-and-pay” basis.

read more CTV: The government wants to use news footage to create attack ads

This government has no problem with censorship when it comes in the form of massive, secretive trade agreements like the TPP, but when news agencies make it harder for them to create political attack ads, well, that’s just going too far. Anyone else see a problem here?

Article by CTV

Canada’s news agencies “should not have the ability to censor” political messaging, the federal government said Thursday, in response to questions about its plans to change this country’s copyright law.

read more Vancouver Sun: You won’t believe how much Canadians are spending on data

Canadians spend the second-highest amount of time on the Internet in the world. Increasingly, much of that time is spent on mobile devices, and Big Telecom is using that trend to gouge us on cellular data prices. Isn’t it time we caught a break?

Article by Michael Oliveira for The Vancouver Sun

Canadians are on the verge of passing a major mobile milestone, according to measurement firm comScore.

read more Together, we made President Obama speak out on the Internet slow lane

It looks like we did it. After our meeting with senior White House officials two weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama has spoken out against Big Telecom’s Internet slow lane plan, and voiced support for the open Internet and real net neutrality.

This is a crucial development in the fight to safeguard the open Internet. Obama has the power to stop the slow lane plane, and we need to ensure he doesn’t buckle under pressure from Big Telecom lobbyists.

read more Even an ex-CRTC Commissioner thinks Big Telecom is out of control

Former CRTC Commissioner, Timothy Denton, is speaking his mind about a recent public hearing on the future of Canada’s wireless sector. In a recent blog post, the CRTC stalwart argued that it’s time for decision-makers to do the right thing, and rein in Big Telecom giants that are blocking our access to independent, affordable new providers.

In his post, he criticizes the immense power that the Big Three mobile providers – Bell, Rogers, and Telus – have over Canada’s wireless market, arguing that they essentially “…control every condition of the competitors’ businesses”. You can see our Executive Director, (Read more…) Your Daily Digital Digest for Friday, October 10, 2014

Your news links for today:

Statement by Industry Minister James Moore on the Consultation on Policy Changes in the 3500 MHz Band – Canada News Centre 4% of Canadian Internet users now only use mobile devices to go online: comScore – Vancouver Sun Government claims copyright law changes would be in ‘public interest’ – CTV News ‘Cord Shaving’ Results in Viewership Drop for Biggest Channels – DSL Reports States and corporations grab for reins of the Internet – One Neutrality Point Everyone Agrees on: There Will Be Lawsuits – DSL Reports Police Act Furious About Encrypted Phones But (Read more…) Michael Geist: Netflix and CanCon CAN get along

Will Netflix sound the death knell on Canadian content? This expert thinks not.

Article by Michael Geist

The Globe and Mail’s Simon Houpt ran a column over the weekend titled It’s Time to be Honest: Netflix is Parasitic. The piece received some positive commentary on Twitter, with some suggesting that it provided a counter-view to the Netflix support that has prevailed publicly and politically for several weeks in Canada. Houpt uses some effective imagery (Netflix as a Wal-Mart or Costco behemoth that will lay waste to Canadian film producers in the same way that the retail giants take out “mom (Read more…) Ben Klass to CRTC: Unblock Canada

Check out community member Ben Klass presenting to the CRTC about Big Telecom blocking affordable options for Canadians.

read more Every Canadian should benefit from sensible copyright rules, not just political parties


Responding to the government’s proposal to carve our copyright exemptions for political parties, Executive Director Steve Anderson said:

“Copyright laws should never be used to stifle free political expression. However, this government is shamefully trying to carve out a self-serving, narrow exception that would only benefit political parties, while excluding the free expression rights of everyday citizens. Every Canadian should benefit from sensible fair use rules that enable us to express our views freely.”

“It is also deeply hypocritical for the government to oppose copyright laws that undermine their narrow political interests, while at the (Read more…) Your Daily Digital Digest for Thursday, October 9, 2014

Your news links for today:

Fact sheet: Lawful access and online surveillance – Canadian Internet Forum PDF Google’s Schmidt: Government surveillance could kill the internet – The Inquirer The most important national-security secrets case you’ve never heard of – The Guardian FBI Pays Visit to Researcher Who Revealed Yahoo Hack – WIRED Adobe Spyware Reveals (Again) the Price of DRM: Your Privacy and Security – EFF Conservatives to change copyright law, allowing free use of news content in political ads – CTV News The Government’s Political Advertising Copyright Exception: Fine Print Shows Proposal Privileges Politicians’ Speech Rights Over the Public (Read more…) Georgia Straight: The popularity of Bitcoin continues to grow

Have you purchased your morning cuppa using Bitcoin yet? Let us know in the comments below!

Article by Stephen Hui for the Georgia Straight

Vancouver Entrepreneur Lisa Cheng goes out of her way to eat and shop at businesses that allow customers to pay with Bitcoin.

“Because I’ve been living off of Bitcoin for about a year, it’s way more easier for me to go and use Bitcoin at a place than having to convert it to Canadian cash or a debit card,” Cheng told the Georgia Straight over lunch at Bestie (105 East Pender Street), a German-inspired sausage parlour (Read more…) Geist: “Trust us, things are just fine,” says Big Telecom.

With the Big Three arguing that Canadians don’t need more wireless choice, expert Michael Geist looks at Big Telecom’s long history of broken promises. Who do you trust when it comes to the future of Canada’s cellphone market? You can speak out at

Article by Michael Geist

Fresh off the contentious hearing on the future of television regulation, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission jumped back into the fire last week with a hearing on the wireless market that focused on whether changes are needed to the wholesale market to improve competition.

The Big 3 – Bell, Telus, (Read more…) Your Daily Digital Digest for Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Your news links for today:

It’s Time to Be Honest: Netflix Will Not Mean the End of Canadian Television – Michael Geist Viacom threatens to pull channels from Canadian TV over pick-and-pay – The Globe and Mail Here’s the single biggest thing holding Google Fiber back – The Washington Post How Come My ISP Won’t Increase Internet Speed and Lower My Bill, Like They Do in Sweden? – Motley Fool SaskTel: “Very Little That We Can Do” on Accidental Roaming Charges Near U.S. Border – iPhone in Canada Apple’s iPhone Encryption Is a Godsend, Even if Cops Hate It (Read more…) Canada’s Big Media wants to get even bigger – will Canadians pay the price?

One of Canada’s newspaper giants, Postmedia, has announced plans to purchase 175 English language newspapers and their associated online assets from telecom and media giant Quebecor. But late last night, The Globe and Mail revealed that the acquisition is being financed by a U.S.-based hedge fund specializing in junk bonds, and will give control over 42.5% of Canada’s daily newspapers over to foreign owners.

The $316 million dollar deal could take months to go through, pending approval from the Competition Bureau. But if it does, its impact will certainly be felt by Canadians. In many English-language markets (Read more…) Guest blog from Jesse Brown: Support CANADALAND, an indie podcast about the Canadian media

Yesterday, the Canadian media got a whole lot smaller and a tiny bit bigger.

The massive PostMedia newspaper chain gobbled up the massive SUN newspaper chain, further concentrating and consolidating our news media.

read more Your Daily Digital Digest for Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Your news links for today:

Postmedia could soon own almost every English newspaper in Canada. What could possibly go wrong? – The Tyee Quebecor Selling Media Assets to Fund Wireless Plans, Possible Stake in WIND Mobile: Analyst – iPhone in Canada Remembering Canada’s Double Data Promos – Howard Forums NYC: Beacons in public phones discovered, but will be removed – BGR Is Encrypting Phones OK? – Tim Bray Surveillance drives South Koreans to encrypted messaging apps – The Verge Europe and Australia’s backward step towards a police state – GIS Blog Google’s Eric Schmidt rejects criticism from Julian Assange, FBI (Read more…) Penticton Western News: Access My Info tool user gets rude surprise

You won’t believe what this Access My Info tool user found out about his customer service records. Try for yourself at

Article by Joe Fries for The Penticton Western News

After reading through nearly four years’ worth of notes made by Shaw customer service agents following their dealings with me, I’m feeling just a little sheepish.

read more The amazing Canadian service Canadians can’t use

Co-Authored with OpenMedia volunteer Darcy Paterson

Get this: Ting, a mobile service provider based in Canada, can’t sell its services to Canadians because the Big Three (Rogers, Bell, and Telus) are blocking them from operating in their home country.

read more Your Daily Digital Digest for Monday, October 6, 2014

Your news links for today:

The Canadian Wireless Market and the Big 3: It’s Always Been a Matter of Trust – Michael Geist Videotron to CRTC: Lower Wholesale Roaming Costs Will Help Expand Service to Canadians – iPhone in Canada iPhone Encryption and the Return of the Crypto Wars – Schneier on Security Why Apple’s iPhone encryption won’t stop NSA (or any other intelligence agency) – Silicon Exposed Oops: Cops Distributing Spyware To Families As “Internet Safety” Tool – Consumerist Animation explains the dangers of Computercop, the malware that US police agencies distribute to the public – Boing Boing NSA (Read more…) The Globe and Mail: Streaming TV isn’t going anywhere, so why is the CRTC pretending it doesn’t exist?

Google Chairman to CRTC: stop trying to stifle innovative new online TV services and let Internet users decide.

Article by Omar El Akkad for The Globe and Mail

Eric Schmidt has a message for Canada’s government: Back off and let consumers decide how they want to watch television.

read more