Dear Telus CEO Darren Entwistle and Rogers CEO Joe Natale,
I would like to express my concern about Bell Canada’s proposal to introduce a mandatory website blocking system — with no judicial oversight, administered by the CRTC. This proposal would result in sweeping Internet censorship, criminalize everyday online activities, and threaten Canada’s Net Neutrality rules that keep the Internet a level playing field for all. This is shocking and unacceptable.
Bell’s proposal is intended to curb piracy, but as we know, piracy is at a historic low in Canada. This is a solution in search of a problem. And more importantly, this is a slippery slope to censorship. To start blocking one type of content opens the door for all kinds of other requests to block to content — some of which may be legal, but just unpopular. Putting a person, agency, or other non-judicial body in charge of deciding what we can and can’t see online fundamentally changes the foundations of the Internet as we know it. This goes against against free expression, Net Neutrality, and the open Internet as a whole — and even has the potential to violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The open Internet is a critical tool for my everyday life. I can’t afford to have someone else pick and choose what I see online. I don’t want to be afraid of what I do or say on the Internet, because of fear of criminal repercussions.
I am writing to you today because I hope that you can see that this is not the right future for Canada’s Internet. I am aware that Rogers has come out in favour of Net Neutrality in a recent zero-rating hearing, which is such a positive step for ensuring protections for the open Internet in Canada. I also recognize that Telus, unlike its competitors, is not a vertically integrated company — meaning it doesn't own the content it delivers through its pipes, just the pipes themselves — and thus would not benefit from taking on cumbersome censorship responsibilities.
I sincerely urge both of your companies to do the right thing and oppose Bell’s radical and inefficient proposal.