The government, seizing an opportunity to capitalize on deep public anti-cell-phone-company sentiment, claims that Canadians needed more competition in the wireless business in order to lower prices and improve service for consumers. But if the problem isn't lack of competition, but lack of transparency and terrible customer service, then expensive ad campaigns are not the answer, nor is artificial, taxpayer-funded, unsustainable interference in the market to force more competition. We need facts, not propaganda.
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.
I have yet to come across a single interview or editorial that discusses the importance of privacy. This leads to the rather selfish claim that "I have nothing to hide" -- the implication being that anyone who champions privacy does have something to hide. What privacy allows us is a private space to conduct our affairs outside the line of sight of the other; it is a blanket on a stormy night, under which we hide ourselves. Its relationship with the storm is only incidental. If we want a society of men and women rather than a flock of livestock we must allow for them a bubble of solitude in which to conduct some of their affairs. We must not forget the value of privacy.
Interestingly, the battle over the potential entry of Verizon into Canada may have opened the door to greater public scrutiny of the privacy practices of all telecom carriers. The debate unexpectedly features a privacy and surveillance dimension, with the incumbents and their unions raising fears about the link between Verizon and U.S. surveillance.
Canada's Big Three telecom giants are sounding increasingly desperate as their expensive ad campaign fails to connect with Canadians -- and now it looks like they're taking that desperation out on their employees. It's disappointing, although not surprising, that Big Telecom is resorting to strong-arming its employees into participating in their floundering campaign.
In recent weeks it has come to light that Verizon has been working intimately with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to collect the personal information of millions of its U.S. customers. With the Harper government offering the New York-based company significant advantages to enter the Canadian wireless market, it is important to look at the privacy and security implications of this move.
Judging by the remarkable grassroots response from Canadians, it's clear that Big Telecom has totally misjudged the national mood. They're wasting millions on misleading propaganda and expensive ads that almost nobody believes. Canadians are uniting against the lies of Big Telecom in a big way, and the results have been spectacular.
The CEOs of the country's largest telecommunications firms are crying foul that the Government of Canada is poised to allow American wireless behemoth Verizon from acquiring small Canadian carriers. The whining of their advertising campaign barrage is more than unseemly; it is hypocritical and intellectually dishonest.
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.