interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

Posts Tagged ‘government’

Copyright Modernization Act: Bill C-32

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on June 2, 2010

No Usage Based BillingBill C-32 has been “tabled”, or introduced into the legislature. Now it will go through the process of becoming law.

Canadian DMCA graphic by laurelrusswurm

Or Not. Hopefully not.

As expected, Bill C-32 appears to grant Canadians the ability to make personal use copies of their own property. And surprisingly fair dealing has been expanded.

The irony of course is that the law is not about modernizing copyright at all, it is about turning back the hands of time to protect the outdated but oh so profitable business models beloved of the large American Media corporations. I have to ask myself why our government would pander to them when this course of action is clearly in opposition to what Canadians want.

Canadian Copyright

The problem is that the law does the worst possible thing: it allows digital locks explicit supremacy. Which means DRM over rides everything else. Because if passed, this law will make it illegal to circumvent DRM. Even though the law gives you the right to make a personal use back up of a movie or a game that you have legally purchased, you won’t legally be able to do so if there is DRM. If your digital media is something that is in the public domain (meaning IP that pre-dates Mickey Mouse, or alternatively IP that has been licensed directly into the public domain) you still will not be able to legally make copies if either the device or the media have DRM on it.

Here are some links to articles that are covering this issue. If an politicians are reading, I’d encourage them to read the comments on the articles more than the articles themselves to get an idea of how Canadians feel about this.

This negates the “gift” of being allowed to copy or format shift our own legally purchased property.
Personally I think Professor Geist is rather too optimistic, but as always he makes available a good translation of the legalese that will be used to choke Canada. The Canadian Copyright Bill: Flawed But Fixable

Michael Geist: An Unofficial User Guide to This Afternoon’s Copyright Bill

cbc online: Conservatives seek support on copyright

boingboing: Canada’s DMCA was designed to “satisfy US demand”

Search Engine with Jesse Brown: Audio Podcast #43: So Bored of Copyright

Michael Geist: “We Don’t Care What You Do, As Long as the U.S. Is Satisfied”

Michael Geist: DMCA-Style Reforms: “Not a Reasonable Policy To Foster Innovation or Respect for Copyright”

Canadians need to complain. Not to the Conservatives; their agenda is clear.
(And in fact Mr. Moore’s admonition to wait for the copyright bill before mobilizing against it has in fact proved to be disingenuous.)

Canadians need to start talking to the other political parties. A list of likelt letter recipients and addresses can be found at the bottom of Canada don’t need no stinkin’ DMCA (or DCMA)

[P.S.: One of the byproducts of laws like this one that have been playing out in the UK (Digital Economy Act) and the USA (DMCA) has been the rampant often specious lawsuits which often have no merit, but can be very profitable when used to extort people into settling them from fear. We can assume that this is one of the things Canadian will have to look forward to as well.

Which is why I wanted to include this link The RIAA? Amateurs. Here’s how you sue 14,000+ P2P users just in from my friend Haris
Thanks Haris!]

Fun. Wow.

If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 10836 signatures.

If you have already signed, who else should you be asking to sign?

That’s easy: anyone who uses the Internet.

Because Usage Based Billing will harm both Canadians and our Economy.

STOP Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing

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How will they bill the “USAGE” in the Usage Based Billing?

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on August 29, 2009

No Usage Based Billing

No Usage Based Billing

If the CRTC is actually going to allow Bell Canada to implement usage based billing, the question is: How?

If we are being charged per packet, how is that going to be itemized?

Itemized Internet Bills?

To figure out how much internet individual users are using Bell Canada will need an army of bean counters to keep track of each packet that is being used by each user. Interesting. Then all of this data will need to be sorted out and itemized. This will generate a huge invoice each month. This is also going to dramatically increase Bell Canada’s actual cost of doing business. (We’ll look at “Marginal Costs” in the next blog post… I am still learning about that.) iPhone Bill a Whopping 52 Pages Long
PoliTech writes “iPhone bills are surprisingly large – ‘Xbox Large’, according to Ars technica: ‘AT&T’s iPhone bills are quite impressive in their own right. We’re starting to get bills for the iPhone here at Ars, and while many of us have had smartphones for some time, we’ve never seen a bill like this. One of our bills is a whopping 52 pages long, and my own bill is 34 pages long. They’re printed on both sides, too. What gives? The AT&T bill itemizes your data usage whenever you surf the Internet via EDGE, even if you’re signed up for the unlimited data plan. AT&T also goes into an incredible amount of detail to tell you; well, almost nothing. For instance, I know that on July 27 at 3:21 p.m. I had some data use that, under the To/From heading, AT&T has helpfully listed as Data Transfer. The Type of file? Data. My total charge? $0.00. This mind-numbing detail goes on for 52 double-sided pages (for 104 printed pages!) with absolutely no variance except the size of the files.’ You would think that a data company would have a more efficient billing process.”

Bell Canada

Bell Canada

I am curious as to how Bell Canada will handle this.

If they do itemize the packets, how will we know they aren’t just making these numbers up?

Measurement Canada

Measurement Canada

I contacted Measurement Canada on August 21st via their online form to inquire as to how they will monitor Bell Canada’s measurement of individual internet use to safeguard Canadian consumers when Usage Based Billing is introduced.

Because of course they cannot possibly allow Bell Canada to just pull “Usage” numbers out of the air. If they are going to be billing us for what we are using they need to be able to back up their claims of what we are using.

And Bell Canada certainly can NOT be allowed to Bill Canadian Users for the packets that they deliberately discard when they throttle Canadian internet use (see UBB Glossary). I mean really, if Bell Canad is going to deliberately inflate the figures of what bandwidth Canadians are using, they cannot then bill us for this inflation. That would be FRAUD. So Measurement Canada will certainly need to be right on top of things to ensure fairness and honesty.

No wonder Measurement Canada hasn’t responded. I expect that THEY have no idea of how to oversee Usage Based Billing. Or the manpower to even begin to monitor Bell Canada’s auditing of internet usage. Personally I don’t trust Bell Canada to tell me how many packets I’ve used. I expect independant government oversight.

Privacy Laws

Another thing to consider is the question of how Bell Canada is going to bill Internet users who are NOT their customers. Since I have never had a business relationship with Bell Canada’s Internet arm, they don’t have a business relationship with me. So how are they going to know who to bill? They can’t force Teksavvy to hand over secure billing information. We do have Privacy Laws in Canada…. don’t we?

And of course privacy laws should also protect Canadian consumers from having Bell Canada’s telephone branch from giving up customer information to the Bell Canada internet wholesaling division who will want the information on who to bill.

So if Bell can’t get my billing information from Teksavvy, does this mean that Teksavvy will be forced to hire the army of administrators needed to perform the internet useage audit necessitated by introducing UBB? That doesn’t seem fair.

Putting aside the question of where this internet auuseage audit will take place, who will pay for this whole new layer of accountants? The consumer will.

So not only will we be paying extortionate fees for internet access which includes, but is not limited to

  • surfing the web…
  • along with the website ads we will now have the privilege of paying Bell Canada to enjoy
  • email
  • all of the spam that the spammers get to send us for free
  • all the software we download,
  • freeware which developers make available FOR FREE will now earn Bell Canada new profit
  • shareware which developers make available for customers to tryE will now earn Bell Canada new profit
  • commercial software we purchase,
  • inxluding of course all those Windows updates…

BUT we will also be paying the costs of the massive new buraucracy which will be necessitated by the very fact of Usage Based Billing.

That isn’t all…. Canadian tax dollars will now have to pay for Measurement Canada staff to both figure out how to oversee and police this practice of Bell Canada Usage Based Billing.



Talk about adding insult to injury.

From everything I have read, there is currently no technology in place to meter internet bandwidth (in the usage sense).
These are all issues and questions which should have been answered before the CRTC even considered Bell Canada’s request for Usage Based Billing.

Certainly before the CRTC approved Bell Canada’s implementation of Usage Based Billing.

Canadian internet users CAN do something about this travesty.

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Dissolve the CRTC?

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on August 20, 2009

No Usage Based Billing

No Usage Based Billing

Here’s an interesting link that was sent to me from two different sources (thanx Joan & Bob):

Scrap The CRTC, Petition Urges

Interesting. The CRTC has been behaving in ways I consider to be questionable for a very long time. This is not the first time that they’ve pandered to large corporation like Bell Canada. So maybe the time has come. Nice article– thank you CBC.

So I checked out the website Dissove The CRTC for this:
I found myself agreeing with the petition. At the time of writing, they had 2080 signatures. Cool.

I even posted a comment in the sectionHow do we ensure there is a new, balanced commision?

This is what I wrote:

Submitted by Laurel L. Russwurm on Thu, 08/20/2009 – 12:44. New

new and balanced

I would think that a key to creating a balanced commission would involve recruiting members who are not former Bell Canada employees.

It seems to me that Canadian consumers should be represented, since we are supposed to be “helped” by this type of regulation. How about representation from across Canadian society.

And it might be interesting to institute some kind of interactive forum which would allow consumers to provide their input directly.

One thing that really makes me angry is that I only found out about UBB — like most Canadians, and those of us who even know about UBB are still sadly a minority– after it was a “done deal”. Most people won’t know until they get the bill. The CRTC or any successor organization should NOT be allowed to quietly change our world without telling us until it is too late.

Now that I’ve found this site I’m off to blab about it on my dedicated blog:

This is what the CRTC is supposed to do:



Canadian Telecommunications Policy
(from telecommunication act. Every CRTC decision must be in accordance to these principles)

7. It is hereby affirmed that telecommunications performs an essential role in the maintenance of Canada’s identity and sovereignty and that the Canadian telecommunications policy has as its objectives

(a) to facilitate the orderly development throughout Canada of a telecommunications system that serves to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the social and economic fabric of Canada and its regions;

(b) to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada;

(c) to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness, at the national and international levels, of Canadian telecommunications;

(d) to promote the ownership and control of Canadian carriers by Canadians;

(e) to promote the use of Canadian transmission facilities for telecommunications within Canada and between Canada and points outside Canada;

(f) to foster increased reliance on market forces for the provision of telecommunications services and to ensure that regulation, where required, is efficient and effective;

(g) to stimulate research and development in Canada in the field of telecommunications and to encourage innovation in the provision of telecommunications services;

(h) to respond to the economic and social requirements of users of telecommunications services; and

(i) to contribute to the protection of the privacy of persons.

–courtesy of the Facebook group Canadians Against Usage Based Billing

Obviously Usage Based Billing is contrary to what the CRTC is supposed to be doing. So maybe it IS time for some big changes.


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