The prospect of considering expanded blocking for copyright purposes validates the fears of civil liberties groups that the introduction of blocking requirements invariably expands to cover a wider net of content. Canadian copyright was already on track for a boisterous debate in the coming years with changes such as copyright term extension mandated by the Trans Pacific Partnership and a review of the law scheduled for 2017. If government officials envision adding VPN usage, access to U.S. Netflix and website blocking to the list of issues, copyright could emerge as one of the government's most difficult and controversial issues.
The new PM will be a breath of fresh air on the environment -- it's impossible to be any worse than his predecessor -- and he will take the leash off federal scientists, or so he has promised. However, one area the Liberals aren't expected to deliver any good news in are telecommunications services.
Like millions of other cell phone users, I've had to suffer the trials and tribulations of my phone company's customer service or what might more accurately be called their customer disservice. It all started with a text message to my daughter Sarah's phone informing her that she had reached 100 per cent usage for our shared 3 GB data plan.
A plan with unlimited calls, unlimited texting and a small amount of data from major providers like Bell, Rogers and Telus can cost up to $80 per month, and that doesn't even cover roaming fees or long-distance calls. To save money, you may want to look into some of the cheaper brands like the Telus-owned Koodo or Wind, and avoid the "Big Three."
If you're an enormous telecom conglomerate, and you release a new app to unfavourable ratings, what do you do? You could invest some of your vast resources into listening to customers and making the app better -- or you could get your senior managers to leave fake reviews to mislead customers and fluff up your ratings instead.
Mr. Moore, Mr. Harper, Mr. Blais, we have given the large carriers our trust. And they have abused it. It's now up to you -- we need you to work together to ensure that our networks are open to content producers, to innovative service providers, and most of all, to ordinary Canadian citizens. We need more than tweets, more than press releases and pamphlets. We are asking for a firm commitment to ensure that the large network operators will no longer be artificially favoured over upstart innovators and competitors, a commitment to providing Canadians with a bright and lasting digital future.
Canadians have been speaking out for wireless choice and affordability for years now and, after years of telecommunications policy neglect, it looks like the government is finally starting to listen. It's heartening to see the government finally starting to reflect what Canadians have been saying for a long time now.
At first sight, the reaction of the three big players to Verizon's possible entry onto the Canadian market seems to be another illustration of their tendency to quash competition. A casual observer might be tempted to think that they're trying to secure government protection against a new player that poses a real threat to their market shares. Nothing could be further from the truth.