Canada and mass surveillance

Trump’s election should prompt Canada to rethink its complicity in US spy activities

INDEPENDENT MEDIA
by David Christopher

President-elect Donald Trump. It’s still a phrase that takes some getting used to. Trump’s pronouncements on issues of online privacy, surveillance and net neutrality – among many other topics – should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who cares about preserving basic democratic freedoms in a digital age.

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ISP tax would make internet even more expensive for Canadians

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INDEPENDENT MEDIA
by David Christopher

At OpenMedia, we cover a wide range of digital rights issues so we’ve really seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to policy proposals over the years. And this one’s a doozy: Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is considering adding a new ISP tax to the monthly bills of Canada’s Internet subscribers.

This new tax will make Internet access even more expensive, despite the fact Canadians already pay among the highest prices in the industrialized world for this basic necessity. Fees are already so high that 44 percent of low-income households do not have a home Internet connection, leaving vast numbers of Canadians excluded from our digital endowment.

The ISP tax is the brainchild of Canada’s large publishers and broadcasters who have been using government consultations to ascertain how to fund Canadian content to push their plan. In a nutshell, they want to burden Canadian Internet users with an ISP tax in order to subsidize industries struggling to adapt to the digital age.

Public consultation is a real chance to repeal unpopular legislation

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INDEPENDENT MEDIA
by David Christopher

It’s here. Almost a year into their mandate, the Liberal government has finally launched its long awaited public consultation on Bill C-51, and a broad range of privacy and national security issues.

Speaking at the launch, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said they had already identified a limited number of areas of Bill C-51 they wanted changed and that they wanted to get Canadians’ views on how to deal with the rest of the unpopular legislation.

Bill C-51, readers may recall, is the highly controversial spying bill forced through Parliament by the previous Conservative federal government. Notably, the legislation turns the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) into what the Globe and Mail has called a “secret police force,” with little independent oversight or accountability.

Quebec’s Bill 74 on a slippery slope to censorship

INDEPENDENT MEDIA by David Christopher

Province to block gambling sites not approved by government

• Internet censorship. Website block lists. Stiff financial penalties for Internet providers who allow their customers to view sites forbidden by the government. This may the stuff of day-to-day life in authoritarian regimes, but it’s certainly not what you’d expect to see here in Canada.

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We can finally put an end to data caps

But will the CRTC listen?

INDEPENDENT MEDIA by David Christopher

• “You have used 100% of your monthly data allocation. Additional charges will apply.” There’s probably not an Internet user out there who hasn’t grimaced upon receiving a message like this from their telecom provider. Sadly, mean-spirited data caps, accompanied by extortionate overage fees, have long been one of the most reviled features of our broken telecom market.

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Big fibre Internet win over Bell

But what’s next for Canada’s telecom market?

INDEPENDENT MEDIA

by David Christopher

• As wins go, this one was a doozy.

Following months of debate, all eyes were on Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains as he weighed whether or not to give Bell, and a tiny handful of other telecom behemoths, an effective monopoly over fibre Internet services in Canada.

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Canadians to Trudeau: Let’s talk C-51!

INDEPENDENT MEDIA

by David Christopher

• As the dust settles after the recent federal election, the priorities of Canada’s new Liberal majority government are becoming clear. Early signs show the government intends to pursue an ambitious agenda: there are nearly 300 items on the to-do lists Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has assigned to members of his Cabinet.

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