As part of ongoing proceedings set to establish a 'Wireless Bill of Rights' for customers of Canadian wireless services, the CRTC held a hearing seeking input on what protections should be included in such a document. CIPPIC, appearing alongside its client in the proceeding, OpenMedia.ca, called on the CRTC to take strong steps towards alleviating growing customer frustration with a highly concentrated and difficult to navigate mobile service landscape. This requires, CIPPIC argued, simplified and standardized point of sale information on the nature and cost of services. It also requires that mobile service providers deploy real-time usage management tools that help individuals avoid bill shock. This includes handset-based notifications that kick in as individuals approach their usage limits, as well as a customizable 'hard' notification that will temporarily cut off usage as individuals approach excessive usage fees ($50, for example).
In addition, effective protections will lower switching costs that currently keep customers locked in to their plans long after their smartphone battery expires, long after their frustration with changing fees or inadequate customer service raises their level of frustration to new heights, long after the wireless market has evolved to offer cheaper and more responsive service offerings. Lock-in, which, uniquely in Canada, is typically for three year terms of service, is achieved by a combination of technical measures preventing an individual from using their handset with another service and hefty fees (which can amount to hundreds of dollars depending on how far the individual is into their contract) levied at individuals seeking to leave their contracts early.
CIPPIC has signed on to a letter sent by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre to Industry Canada in protest of an announced spectrum transfer that demonstrates the broken nature of Canada's spectrum policy approach. Last week, Shaw announced its intention to provide Rogers the option to purchase its entire stock of AWS spectrum holdings as part of a comprehensive deal that involves a number of broadcast holdings. While the overall deal is salted to go through soon, Rogers will be prevented from exercising its spectrum purchasing option until 2014. The reason for this is that Shaw's $189 million worth of spectrum, acquired during the 2008 AWS spectrum auction, is subject to set-aside limitations aimed at preserving bands of spectrum for new market entrants. The imposition of this set-aside was animated by the need to instil some competition into Canada's highly concentrated mobile wireless market -- a market which, at the time, was exclusively controlled by three providers: TELUS, Bell and Rogers. It was this set-aside that led to the creation of new entrants such as Mobilicity and WIND by reserving a significant chunk of spectrum for new entrants. Absent such restrictions, the concern is that incumbents will pay well above market value for spectrum solely for the purpose of locking competitors out by denying them access to the lifeblood of any wireless network -- spectrum. The set-aside not only shielded spectrum blocks from incumbent bidding during the 2008 auction itself, but also prevented those bands from reverting to any incumbent for five years.
Now Shaw, who purchased its spectrum holdings in 2008 as a non-incumbent and held onto them for 4 plus years without using any of it, seeks to sell it back to an incumbent, likely at a profit. With the 2014 AWS set-aside expiration looming and limited prospects for significant expansion of new entrant holdings in the upcoming lucrative 700 Mhz auction, there is a tangible risk that more of the AWS spectrum will follow Shaw's lead and make its way back to the incumbent fold. If Industry Canada wishes to preserve the underlying objective of the initial set-aside, it needs to block this transfer.
CIPPIC has submitted comments in Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-557, a proceeding which seeks to establish a set of rights of customers of wireless services across Canada. The proceeding was launched after the Commission decided, in Telecom Decision CRTC 2012-556, that wireless customers were in need for greater protections at the national level. CIPPIC's submission, filed on behalf of OpenMedia.ca, focused on the need to address many shortcomings in the Canadian wireless landscape and the need to facilitate competition. Specifically, CIPPIC called on the CRTC to restrict termination penalties and hardware lock-ins.
Using a combination of technical lock-in mechanisms and excessive penalties for breaking contracts, providers prevent customers from switching outside 2-3 year contractual cycles. At the same time, these lock-in mechanisms prevent effective competition on handset prices. Providers have no incentive to ever compete on handset prices, as higher-seeming handset prices make handset subsidy-based three year lock-ins appear a fantastic deal for customers. In reality, however, customers end up paying more for the handset and more for their monthly services, while providers are insulated from actually having to compete to keep their customer base. An effective Wireless Consumer Protection Code will address this deficiency.
, will be held in Toronto
next week. As the institution charged with governance of Internet resrouce identifiers, ICANN
holds tri-annual meetings in order to discuss and resolve
pressing policy issues related to the operation of the Internet including privacy concerns, security concerns, more general infrastructure concerns. It also includes a 'newcomers track
' to help introduce ICANN issues to those not fully versed. The Toronto event will be hosted
, the entity tasked with managing the .CA top level domain. Events will kick off with a Policy Conference
hosted by ICANN's Non-Commercial User Constituency (NCUC) on Friday, October 12, 2012
. The Conference, entitled "ICANN & Internet Governance: Security and Freedom in a Connected World", will explore
the need for a civil liberties-sensitive cybersecurity strategy, the need to ensure law enforcement concerns do not trump privacy and other fundamental liberties, conflicts between the intellectual property rights enforcement and free expression and concerns over the nature of geo-political Internet governance.
The events offers a unique opportunity for Canadians to participate and engage on important Internet policy issues. The eICANN 45 meetings and sessions will be held in Toronto from October 14-19
and are open to the general public. Remote participation for ICANN45
and the NCUC Policy Forum
is also available. Register now to ICANN45
and the NCUC Policy Forum
CIPPIC has been granted leave to intervene before the Supreme Court of Canada in Telus Communications Company v. Her Majesty the Queen, SCC No. 34252. The case involves the application of the general warrant power in order to force TELUS to hand over text messages not yet in its possession. TELUS' appeal challenges the use of general warrants in a manner that effectively amounts to an 'interception' and bypasses the special protections provided for 'interceptions' in Part VI of the Criminal Code, while the government argued that, since TELUS stores text messages on its servers for a number of weeks, access to these messages should not be considered a 'real-time interception'.
In its motion for leave to intervene, CIPPIC argued that law enforcement should not be permitted to bypass important privacy safeguards designed to protect Canadian communications against unauthorized interception. The purpose of Part VI Criminal Code protections is to ensure that police co not leverage the mechanisms by which private communications are delivered to spy on Canadians unless there is strong reason to do so and other methods have been tried and have failed. Text messages are cached as part of the communications delivery process and caching, in general, is widely used in Internet transactions. If courts permitted superfluous caching to defeat the special protections provided against interception, it could have wide-ranging implications for the privacy of online interactions.
Time is running short for those wishing to nominate individuals to sit on CIRA's Board of Directors. CIRA, which operates the .CA registry, operates under a mandate that includes a number of important Internet governance issues. CIRA Board members are resopnsible
for setting CIRA's strategic direction, helping achieve CIRA's mandate and objectives, and working towards supporting Canada's Internet community. The deadline for Board nominations is June 8, 2012
. More detalis on the nomination process can be found here
. More details on the election process in general can be found here
. Three board positions are open for nomination, and successfully elected board members will sit for three successive election periods.
Crookes v. Newton, 2011 SCC 47, S.C.C. File No. 33412 (Liability for hyperlinking to defamatory content)
As part of its intention to help Canada regain its leadership position in the global digital economy, the government recently concluded a public consultation process which sought submissions from all sectors of the public on who to achieve this objective. In its submission, CIPPIC calls on the government to encourage the creation of a digital environment that will be better for all Canadians and will serve as a model for other jurisdictions. CIPPIC offers recommendations on issues such as privacy, online file-sharing, and on quality and access to communications that will help the government achieve this objective.
This declaration was sent by PIAC on behalf of the signatories to the Minister of Industry by way of a letter
dated January 10, 2006.
In April 2005, in response to lobbying from Canada's large telephone companies, the federal government created a panel of three industry experts to review the way telephone service and telecommunications should be regulated.
TNC CRTC 2012-557, proceeding to establish a mandatory code for mobile wireless services (national wireless customer protection)
BNC CRTC 2012-370/2013-106, Proposed merger of Bell & Astral
TNC CRTC 2011-77, Review of billing practices for wholesale residential high-speed access services (Data caps & competition on pricing models in wholesale)
BTNC CRTC 2011-344, Fact-finding exercies on the over-the-top programming services in the Canadian broadcasting system (taxing online video offerings)
TNC CRTC 2010-43, Proceeding to review access to basic telecommunications services and other matters (obligation to provide universal Internet access)
TNC CRTC 2010-43-2, Obligation to Serve (Network Neutrality for Wireless ITMPs)
Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2008-19, Review of Internet Traffic Management Parctices of Internet Service Providers (Net Neutrality & throttling of peer-to-peer services)
TNC CRTC 2009-716, Call for comments – Review of CRTC costs award practices and procedures (public interest participation in CRTC proceedings)
TPN CRTC 2007-16, Proceeding to consider the organization and mandate of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS)
Links to resources on Net Neutrality.
There is no single definition of spam, but everyone agrees that spam is, at a minimum, unsolicited and unwanted e-mail. Whether e-mails must be transmitted in bulk or be commercial in nature in order to be considered "spam" is the subject of debate.
The domain name system (DNS) was created in the early 1980's in order to simplify navigation on the Internet. The DNS is thus of critical importance to the way the Internet operates: if it fails, websites and email addresses cannot be located.
This FAQ contains information regarding domain name disputes and assumes that a business or other party has complained about a domain name that you have registered.
Regulators provide guidance on mobile privacy, tracking & advertising