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The Internet Government Politics

Canadians Organizing a Rally For Net Neutrality 125

taylortbb writes "Canadians are fighting back against Bell Canada's traffic shaping (recentlly discussed by Slashdot here and here) by organizing a rally in support of network neutrality. The rally is being backed by a long list of organizations including Google, two major political parties, three ISPs, and two major unions. It's set for Tuesday at 11:30am on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The only question that remains is, will the government listen?"
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Canadians Organizing a Rally For Net Neutrality

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  • Oh - come on. You know it's one of the first things you thought of too.

    We thought we could make money on the Internet. But while the Internet is new and exciting for creative people, it hasn't matured as a distribution mechanism to the extent that one should trade real and immediate opportunities for income for the promise of future online revenue. It will be a few years before digital distribution of media on the Internet can be monetized to an extent that necessitates content producers to forgo t
    • by Bashae ( 1250564 )
  • yay (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oloron ( 1092167 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:38AM (#23553551)
    sounds great and all, but not all of us can pack up and head to ottawa everytime these issues need to be brought forth, would not these demonstrations carry more weight if they were occuring in multiple venues simultaneously?
    • Re:yay (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Vectronic ( 1221470 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:53AM (#23553635)
      Or at the ISP's that arent "for" this?

      You could start a petition, send it off to whatever ISP you are under, wether they are involved or not, couldnt hurt, provided you arent rude about it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Curtman ( 556920 )

      sounds great and all, but not all of us can pack up and head to ottawa everytime these issues need to be brought forth,

      You don't have to. The current government doesn't listen to anything except what their friends down south tell them to.
      • Well then we'll show up in arms and impeach the bastards out of parliament.

        Unless somebody wants to inform me that now we can't boot elected officials from office?

        And yes, Harper is a massive puppet... But what were we to do? Not like Paul Martin had anything left in him, Chretien was long killed, and you'll get laughed out of the room if you think the NDP will win an election.
        • by Curtman ( 556920 )

          Not like Paul Martin had anything left in him

          A Paul Martin minority government would have been much better than this government that is determined to prove its worth, with no idea how to do it.
    • Re:yay (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Phics ( 934282 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:47AM (#23553895)
      Maybe, but there is strength in visible numbers. Rallying for attention is more effective when it is clear that people care enough to show up on the front lawn. When they want to be elected badly enough, politicians will do exactly the same thing. It is a form of communication that is difficult to misunderstand.

      If you can't make it, you can't make it. There is still a venue for involvement if you want to help out [].
      • Re:yay (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Awptimus Prime ( 695459 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:59AM (#23553967)
        Has anyone shown up in the proverbial front lawn over any Internet related issue? All I see is people posting in mad furies on message boards, with big opinions, but when it comes down to it, they give the impression of living in their parent's basement. Combine that with most politicians not reading the Internets, and things don't tend to get too far.

        Look at all the hoopla over the DMCA in the US and it's injection in multiple forms around the world. Lots of hype on the web, but no governmental changes anywhere. Zippo.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Predathar ( 658076 )
      I wish I had found out about this YESTERDAY instead of today. I would have taken the day off to go, now it's pretty much too late. I somewhat agree with the multiple venues, but if this brings MORE people to 1 spot instead of a handful in several spots, it might carry more weight.
  • the blocking ISP as operating under Bush orders to weaken canadian economy. Then, the government will not just listen but act ;-)
  • "The only question that remains is, will the government listen?"

    Are there any elections scheduled in the near future?

    YES: eventually the gevornment will listen. but only if they see the broadband/filesharing-voter block is big enough.
    NO: erm. will a deaf monkey recite shakespeare?
    • Given an infinite number of deaf monkeys, yes, eventually.

      This theory may explain the increasing size of government.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Baron_Yam ( 643147 )
      No. I've already been in contact with the Conservative party, and their position is that Bell isn't violating the CRTC guidelines and that there is plenty of competition - you can always go to satellite.

      I wanted to strangle my MP, but at least he bothered to call up party HQ and get a reasoned response.
      • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:22AM (#23553773)
        I have now received some information regarding Bell Canada and your email about their engagement in anti-competitive behaviour by controlling or "shaping" of traffic of independent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that provide service through wholesale access to Bell's digital subscriber line (DSL) network from Industry Canada. I hope that this helps.

        As you may be aware, consumer Internet services are not regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), as it has found this market to be sufficiently competitive to protect the interests of users. Indeed, the competition between telephone and cable networks, as well as satellite, wireless, and other players, has ensured Canadians have a variety of choices in terms of both price and quality when selecting an ISP.

        The Competition Bureau ensures that prices in all sectors of the economy, except those that are regulated, are set by market forces and are not the result of anti-competitive behaviour. Under the abuse of dominance provisions of the Competition Act, it is illegal for a dominant firm to be engaging in a practice of anti-competitive acts resulting in a substantial lessening of competition, including disciplining or targeting competitors in order to raise prices or reduce customer choice. Since Bell is engaging in traffic "shaping" across its network-in other words, providing the same service to both its own customers and to independent ISPs-it does not appear that Bell is currently engaging in a practice of anti-competitive acts contrary to the Act.

        The CRTC does regulate wholesale access by independent ISPs to high-speed Internet access services from both telephone and cable companies. Under the CRTC's regulatory framework for wholesale services, Bell is required to provide access to their DSL network to independent ISPs at regulated rates and terms of service. If the CRTC finds Bell or any other network operator to be in violation of these terms or otherwise engaging in unjust discrimination or undue preference, the CRTC has the power to address these issues under the Telecommunications Act.

        Should you believe carriers are engaging in unjust discrimination and undue preference, I encourage you to contact the CRTC at 1-877-249-2782 or by e-mail at Please note that the Canadian Association of Internet Providers has made an application on this basis to the CRTC requesting to resolve this issue.



        Carolyn Brown - Administrator - Constituency Office
        David Sweet MP - Ancaster Dundas Flamborough Westdale
        • by kwandar ( 733439 )

          I received almost exactly the same letter from the Minister Prentice's office. I'd never heard of David Sweet before, but I could sure as hell tell he was a Conservative. You think its tightly scripted? I'd bitch like hell if he was my MP that I want action, not more pablum fed from Minister Prentice's office.

          To add insult to injury, this IS regulated by the CRTC, inasmuch as it is the last mile. I asked about the last mile and all I get back is "CRTC doesn't regulate internet, we are not responsible

        • That's crap.

          "Since Bell is engaging in traffic "shaping" across its network-in other words, providing the same service to both its own customers and to independent ISPs-it does not appear that Bell is currently engaging in a practice of anti-competitive acts contrary to the Act."

          I'm fairly certain that Bell Sympatico users are *not* being throttled. That's the whole reason everyone's pissed off. I have had at least one friend tell me they aren't throttled on Sympatico, but it would be nice to collect some

          • I'm fairly certain that Bell Sympatico users are *not* being throttled.
            I was under the impression it went like this :

            Bell started throttling select groups of their customers.
            As there are other options (as bell is required to lease lines at a fixed fee), said groups dropped bell and went with another ISP.
            Bell starts throttling the other ISPs' traffic.
        • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @11:41AM (#23556965) Journal
          Action: Bell throttles their own traffic, blocks ports, etc, causing massive irritation/disruption to their own customers
          Result: Customers leave Bell for ISP's that aren't interfering with their traffic
          Action: Bell then institutes throttling and other abusive behavior against the other ISP's customers
          Result: Customers have nowhere to go. Other ISP's may not lose so many customers (because there's no good alternative), but they also wouldn't gain the customers that would otherwise be coming in because of superior service.

          In a nutshell, the third-party ISP's need to use Bell's infrastructure. As such, they cannot offer anything better than Bell in those regards. Their main competing points were the additional features offered that Bell was not offering (or was cutting back on), with non-throttled service being one of the key points. As Bell has removed their ability to offer such service, they have, in-fact, removed the third-party ISP's as competitors in this arena.

          How is this NOT anti-competitive? Is it OK so long as it's "we're going to make everyone suck as much as us so that customers don't move elsewhere" instead of "we're going to make everyone else suck more so that customers come to us instead"

          Both are equally anti-competitive and discriminatory.
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        Any elected government by its very nature cannot work for the People who elected it, IF the elected gets their election funding from non-voters.
        This rally WILL fail. I can bet on it. Not Because the corporates will win, etc., (which is all true), BUT the nature of this rally is too diffuse.
        You guys need to follow the Blitzkreig approach: Concentrate all your voting power, financing campaigns, etc., to one or two important senators who stand to lose a lot if they lose the election (especially the ministers)
        • Re:Two options: (Score:4, Informative)

          by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @07:30AM (#23554095) Homepage
          Bullshit like this is exactly what killed rallies as a form of influence. Geez, you might try hiring some professional protesters while you're at it.

          PS you have no idea what "Blitzkrieg" means, please stop misusing the term, or at least learn to spell it correctly. Hint: speed and movement, not concentration of firepower.

          • Hm that's a harsh PS. From what I recall from my history lessons blitzkrieg is an initial concentration of heavy bombardments on a relative small region followed by mechanized infantry rushing said region.

            Or as wiki describes it:
            Blitzkrieg (lightning war in German;) is a popular name for an offensive operational-level military doctrine which involves an initial bombardment followed by the employment of motorized mobile forces attacking with speed and surprise to prevent an enemy from implementing a coh
        • ...

          we don't elect our Senators.
      • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

        I wanted to strangle my MP, but at least he bothered to call up party HQ and get a reasoned response.

        Maybe I don't understand Parliamentary Democracy as well as I understand our Republican system here in the States, but why would your MP need to "call up party HQ" to "get a reasoned response"? Does the party system have so much weight up there that your MP doesn't have opinions of his own on the issues?

        For all the anger directed at our two party system here in the States I can think of lots of Democrats and Republicans that don't toe the party line on various issues. Is it not like that up there?

        • by Rary ( 566291 )

          Does the party system have so much weight up there that your MP doesn't have opinions of his own on the issues?

          David Sweet is a member of the Conservative Party, which has formed the most secretive government our country has ever seen, led by a tyrannical Prime Minister who maintains complete control over the members of his party.

          No one in the Conservative Party says a word to anyone, anywhere, ever, without first getting an officially authorized script from the Prime Minister's office.

          • That's a little partisan. The Liberals were no different.

            An MP can have his own opinions unless the party whip tells him otherwise, then he better tow the party line or the party will find ways to punish him.

            Never mind that, but if every MP went spouting off individually on behalf of the party, you'd never know what the party position is - you'd know how your MP *might* vote if he didn't fear the reprisals, but you wouldn't know what position would be pushed from the PM's office.

            • by Rary ( 566291 )

              I don't claim to be non-partisan. I can't stand the current Conservative Party. I'm no fan of the former Chretien Liberals, but if you honestly think they were no different, I'd say you haven't been paying enough attention. These guys are incompetent, ultra-secretive, lying, manipulating bastards. Yes, that description can be applied to most (all?) politicians, but the current Conservative Party takes it to an extreme that's new to this country.

              I agree that it's good to know the official party position on

        • by Onos ( 1103517 )
          Could it be because he has no technical knowledge about the issue and so he checked before he answered? Nah I'm sure it's all more sinister.
          • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

            Could it be because he has no technical knowledge about the issue and so he checked before he answered? Nah I'm sure it's all more sinister.

            Where did I imply that anything sinister was going on? I was merely seeking an explanation for how the Canadian political system works. I know there's more toeing of the party line in a Parliamentary system than in ours -- I was trying to find out just how much.

            And your explanation doesn't hold water anyway. If I write my Congressman about Network Neutrality and he doesn't understand it, should he really go to the RNC or DNC for his answer? Might it make more sense to talk with an expert on the subj

        • By the way, "parliamentary democracy" and "republican system" are not on the same axis. There are many republics that are also parliamentary systems. See Parliamentary Republic [].

          A stricter separation of the executive and legislative roles, with a more independent executive, like the U.S. has, is a "presidential (or congressional) system" []. The presidential system is on the same axis as the parliamentary system. Basically, these are different points on an axis of how directly responsible to the legislate

    • The government is pretty likely to listen on this matter. Net neutrality isn't a particularly ideological issue, though there are some interesting political issues to consider:

      1. There are Liberal and NDP members of parliament attending and speaking at the rally. The Conservatives hold the most seats in the commons, however if these two other parties presented a bill on opposition day and voted as a bloc it would pass with little to no support from Conservative members, as we have a minority government s
  • by definate ( 876684 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:41AM (#23553865)
    If we put Government in charge of the Internet we will never stop them from imposing their will on us through it.

    The internet can not be any more neutral than when it is left to markets.

    The problem with it at the moment, is it is already too regulated in most countries. (Eg, the US)
    • by shiznatix ( 924851 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:53AM (#23553921)

      If we put Government in charge of the Internet we will never stop them from imposing their will on us through it. The internet can not be any more neutral than when it is left to markets.
      Take that hat off, the reflection is blinding.

      Seriously this is not about putting the government in charge, its about allowing the internet to remain open. How in the world would it be more neutral if the markets get their way? The markets are proving they can not stay neutral, they want more money without doing any work such as upgrading infrastructure. Obviously, they can't stay neutral because they will always choose what makes them more money, thats not neutral. If the government steps in and says "quit messing with the traffic that goes through the tubes" that will force them to stay neutral.

      Really, not everything the government does is this horrible plot to enslave humanity and yes, corporations step out of line from time to time and need to be slapped back down. This is a perfect example of such a time.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by definate ( 876684 )
        Corporations make value judgements on what provides them with profit while providing their customers with service. This means if people want neutrality, they need only change providers.

        However, there are restrictions in certain regions on which providers you can go to because these providers have been given a monopoly.

        This is the problem with the American market, a lot of these companies have been given monopoly, and so you have no choice.

        Additionally, since their profit model is setup around providing this
        • This type of free market thinking sounds attractive at first, but in reality it's proving to be anything but. The problem is that the big telecom corporations aren't playing fair. They are trying to impose the same restrictions on consumers across the board in order to create a corporate-favourable landscape where they dictate the rules, and not the consumer. The mentality that 'the market will fix itself' works only if you assume that each market player is out to differentiate themselves from their comp

          • The people who don't *know* they are getting screwed, obviously it doesn't impact their lives that much, else they would know.

            The definition of strategy in business is to generate a competitive advantage through differentiation/cost/focus, or a mix of the 3.

            If we had a free market (Which we don't), competition would force each of the players to provide the greatest value to their customers possible.

            When you assume that all telecom corporations would act they way you are describing what you're really saying
  • by serialdj ( 593159 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:54AM (#23553925)
    Traffic shaping and deep packet inspection are nothing new for some Canadians. Close to three years ago I canceled my Rogers Cable Internet service because they were using deep packet inspection to throttle torrent traffic. I hate the restrictions, and hope that the CRTC will implement a rule for Net Neutrality, but the chances of this happening are next to nil. I'd like to say that people should cancel their service with these providers and move to a less restrictive service, but the number of choices available for open ISPs in Canada is shrinking every day. The ISP I switched to Storm was recently bought out by a larger carrier ExplorNet, and my fear is that my service will see changes as well. The only thing we can hope for, truely is that Michael Geist can defend our right to a Internet devoid of the restrictions and practices that the major ISP are forcing their paying subscribers to live by.
  • From the Dept. of Redundancy Dept.: Check out the directions to Ottawa they provide - from Windsor, Kitchener, and Toronto. All of them are on the same highway (the mighty 401), and to the west of Ottawa. D'oh!
  • Good work so far (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AutopsyReport ( 856852 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @08:19AM (#23554391)
    I think the government will listen. They might not act, but they will listen (while trying to ignore).

    Rallies like this usually get a good amount of attention. Furthermore, there is some political backing (check out the speaker list) and there has already been a lot of coverage for this rally before it has begun. Plus, being on the Hill, it draws a lot of public attention from newspapers, local workers, etc.. Every time a protest comes through the downtown core, I can hear it and always wonder what it's about.

    So even if the government does nothing immediately, which is expected, this rally has already been extremely successful at bringing the issue to the Canadian public. This is all over the news and will be throughout the day. I would call that a success already.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I am an IT radio chronicler in Quebec city, in a radio which has been nearly dismantled by the CRTC 2 years ago. We were 50 000 people walking down the street to get our message heard by the politicians, we received a lot of attention from the medias saying that freedom of speech was taking a hit...

      What happened? The minister responsible for the CRTC said that she would not get involved in the debate, saying that the CRTC was an independant regulation commission and that it would be perceived as an invasi
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitrev ( 989335 )
        Would that be CHOI? Bare in mind though, the refusal to act was by a Liberal minister, and it is now the Conservatives in power. Maybe they'll be more willing to listen, maybe not. Either way, it's worth a shot.
  • and what about acta? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @09:25AM (#23554985)
    net neutrality won't mean a god damn if net privacy tools and net privacy in general are completely destroyed by canada's participation with ACTA.

    Maybe they should be frying both fish in the same pan here?
    • Perhaps (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phorm ( 591458 )
      Has ACTA gone through yet?

      The fact that people are starting to demonstrate that "we are aware of what's going on, we're watching, and we're not happy" should give the government an idea that stupid decisions about internet and telecommunications will get a negetive reaction from voters. Perhaps it will influence them not to approve idiotic new bills or trade provisions.
  • ISP routers are private property.
    • Then I'm sure you don't mind returning all that money we gave you to create all this infrastructure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tuoqui ( 1091447 )
      And the lines are run through public property.

      Thats like saying for the government you dont have to obey the rules of the road because you bought a car (private property) but everywhere you use it on the roads is public property.

      Basically they've been given money to build infrastructure and keep it up to date... If they cant handle streaming video and torrents and what not then obvious they've failed to keep it up to date. Maybe a legislative smackdown telling them they cant fiddle with throttling will enco
      • There is no such thing as public property, the government doesn't own anything, it merely usurp some property by occupying it.
  • by Serician ( 1296775 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @01:08PM (#23558299)
    I walked up to the Hill on my lunch break. There were 300 people or so (rough estimate), some clever signs, and media coverage - TV and newspaper.

    Apparently the first batch of speakers spoke right away and were finished by the time I got there. Everyone was waiting for Mauril Belanger (liberal MP) who was expected to speak at 12:45.

    At 12:40 rally organizers tried to get the crowd pumped up with cries of "Who's net? OUR NET!" and "Our net... NOT FOR SALE!". I had to go back to the office, but you could hear their shouts echoing off the buildings for a few blocks... pretty cool!

    Hopefully it raises the issue to the awareness of the general public. Most people seem to have no idea whatsoever that Net Neutrality is even an issue, let alone an important one.
  • According to the organization, there was between three to five hundred people (it seemed less than that to me).
    It was pretty tame too, but then again how noisy do you expect a few hundred computer geeks to be, let alone Canadian computer geeks?
  • While it's encouraging to read that "Canadians are fighting back against Bell Canada's Net Throttling", the sad reality is that a nominal fraction of web users are the least bit concerned or affected by traffic-shaping. Having participated in Michael Geist's blog initiatives and sent ballistic missives to the CRTC under the auspices of the Canadian Campaign for Media Democracy... the sad reality is that we're looking at a 'grassroots' movement of barely twenty thousand on-line activists... as opposed to th

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!