Don’t let Bell censor the web

Don’t let Bell censor the web and break Net Neutrality

UPDATE, January 29, 2018: Bell, with a coalition including Rogers, the CBC and others, calling themselves "FairPlay Canada", officially filed their dangerous and overreaching proposal to the CRTC urging the federal body create a website blocking system to tackle piracy. This proposal is a slippery slope towards corporate censorship and dismantling Net Neutrality — and it must be stopped. We are coming out hard against this, but we need your help.

Join our newest action here to speak out: Tell the CRTC: No Censorship in Canada


Bell is desperate to censor Canada’s Internet. First they tried through NAFTA.1 Now they’re at it again through the CRTC.

Their radical proposal for website blocking with no court oversight would result in sweeping Internet censorship and put Canada’s robust Net Neutrality rules at risk.2

Shaw has come out in support of the proposal.3 But Telus and Rogers are still on the fence.4 If we can get them to come out against this proposal we can split Big Telecom on the issue, and significantly weaken Bell’s position.

Tell Telus and Rogers to oppose Bell’s censorship plan and stand up for Net Neutrality.

Read the full petition here

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.

Thank you.

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The case against Bell’s radical proposal to censor our Internet and break Net Neutrality:

  • If Bell gets its way, Canadians will face serious criminal repercussions for everyday online activities, resulting in self-censorship, and a widespread chill on free expression.

  • Implementing a censorship agency is a slippery slope. Beginning with copyright infringement, requests for other types of content will quickly be added — putting an agency with no judicial oversight in charge of what we can and can’t see and say online.

  • Bell’s outrageous proposal is a desperate attempt at tackling piracy that will result in chilling of expression online — without even successfully addressing the problem they claim to be solving.

  • Bell is working to exploit the grey areas in Canada’s strong Net Neutrality laws, taking its lead from Big Telecom’s own attack on Net Neutrality in the U.S.

  • Canada already has some of the toughest anti-piracy laws in the world. A 2016 report indicates that piracy rates in Canada were at a historic low as well as below both global and European averages.5

This action is hosted by:

Footnotes:

[1] Bell Calls for CRTC-Backed Website Blocking System and Complete Criminalization of Copyright in NAFTA: Michael Geist
[2,4] Bell Leads on Radical Proposal for CRTC-Backed Mandatory Website Blocking System: Michael Geist
[3] Not Just Bell: Shaw Calls on CRTC To Support Website Blocking: Michael Geist
[5] Brief Submitted to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade: Priorities of Canadian Stakeholders Having an Interest in Bilateral and Trilateral Trade in North America, Between Canada, United States and Mexico: OpenMedia

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Press: Katy Anderson | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 1 | Office: +1 (844) 891-5136 | katy@openmedia.org