#InternetSOS: OpenMedia’s 2021 Election Platform for our Internet

This statement was originally published on openmedia.org on 19 August 2021.

Canada is entering the 2021 federal election with our Internet policy totally adrift

Without a strong positive vision for the Internet from any party, powerful industry lobbies, Big Telecom’s deep pockets, and the surveillance-happy folk at CSIS and the RCMP are driving the only proposals with any real momentum.

From the content we stream to what we say on social media, lobbyists are taking advantage of our frustration with real problems of the modern Internet to justify more money and more power for the giants they represent. Meanwhile, proposals like privacy reform Bill C-11 that had real potential to defend the rights of Internet users in Canada ended up withering on the vine, never getting serious consideration or debate.

While our government is busy proposing new Internet regulators, they’ve allowed the interests and views of Big Telecom to fully capture our existing telecom regulator, the CRTC. Under Chair (and former Telus executive) Ian Scott, the CRTC has delivered blow after blow to our Internet and wireless affordability in a series of anti-consumer decisions that show no signs of stopping.

If there was ever a time to put out an Internet SOS, it’s now. 

That’s why we’re calling for a policy reset this election. It’s time our leaders listen to us, the voters, by embracing a vision for the Internet that puts the rights of ordinary Canadians first.

Good Internet policy won’t come from a battle royale between tech companies that want to surveil and influence us, and government agencies that want the same. And it certainly won’t come from the two working in league, like with Big Telecom’s buddy-buddy, grab-a-pint relationship with Ian Scott’s CRTC. A better Canadian Internet will be one that gives each of us more options and more control over the experience we have online, supported by policies that guarantee affordable access to high-quality connectivity for all.

That’s why OpenMedia is calling on every party to guarantee:

  1. Universal Internet Access: Fast, affordable, and competitive home and mobile Internet access for everyone in Canada.
  2. Empowered Internet Users: Internet content regulation that empowers us, the users, to make our own choices about what we experience online.
  3. Expanded Privacy Protections: Reformed privacy laws built on our ongoing consent for use of our data, with meaningful punishment for violations.

Find our detailed recommendations for parties below:

Access

Everyone in Canada should have unrestricted access to multiple options for affordable, high-speed, world-class Internet, regardless of where they live.

Key Recommendations

  1. Guarantee Affordable Home & Wireless Internet: Introduce universal robust market competition to drive Canada’s sky-high home and mobile Internet prices downward.
  2. World-Class Connectivity – Everywhere: Every household in Canada, regardless of where they live, must be served by the gold standard of Internet technology: fibre.
  3. Public Interest Comes First: End Big Tech and Big Telecom calling the shots, and put power back in the hands of people to guide policies & regulation that serve us.

Policies

Guarantee Affordable Home & Wireless Internet:

World-Class Connectivity – Everywhere:

Public Interest Comes First:

Freedom of Expression

Everyone in Canada should be empowered to share, collaborate, and express themselves freely online.

Key Recommendations

  1. Don’t Break the Internet: Reject all government proposals that would block websites in Canada’s Internet, or favour some types of Internet content over others.
  2. Protect Online Speech: Guarantee that any new rules that impact online speech will uphold our Charter of Rights, not expand beyond offline restrictions, and receive full public consultation and parliamentary debate.
  3. Empower Internet Users: Any new rules for online platforms must empower us, the users and voters, first and foremost.
  4. Support Canada’s Internet Creators: Support digital creators to tell our stories on the Internet.

Policies

Don’t Break the Internet

Protect Online Speech

  • Check any legislation that impacts our online speech to ensure it is compliant with our Charter rights before bringing it to Parliament – not afterwards.
  • Guarantee no expansion of online speech regulation beyond what is already illegal for offline speech in Canada.
  • Commit to full, open public consultation and parliamentary debate around any legislation with implications for our online speech.

Read OpenMedia’s full proposal.

The post #InternetSOS: OpenMedia’s 2021 Election Platform for our Internet appeared first on IFEX.

Source: MEDIA FEED

HRNJ-UG Admin

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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