From Industry Minister Tony Clement’s tweets yesterday, looks like the government has made up its mind to order the CRTC to start over on the issue (see also “CRTC must reverse internet usage ruling: Clement” [from CBC]). University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist made a point (emphasis added), “Given that there is no reason or obvious legal mechanism for the CRTC to withdraw its UBB opinions, this appears to confirm that the government will order the CRTC to start over on the issue.”
As a consumer and content creator, I think UBB is bad for Canada. I am interested to watch the exchanges/discussions between CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein and House of Commons industry committee members later this afternoon (4-5:30pm EST, Feb 3, 2011) (4:08pm EST update: LIVE feed in progress). If the government want the CRTC to start over, won’t the government/committee need to give some NEW directives to the CRTC?
P.S. Also see Michael’s post, “The Government’s Review of Usage Based Billing: What Should Come Next“.
P.P.S. On a personal note, four of my friends are trained “free market” economists and I am pretty sure it would be a lot of fun if we were to chat about this issue further.
For those that think internet voting system is a solution to low voter turnout, they should read this, “Hacking Trial Breaks D.C. Internet Voting System“. And here is an important observation (emphasis added),
“My primary worry about contests like this is that people will think a positive result means something. If a bunch of students can break into a system after a couple of weeks of attempts, we know it’s insecure. But just because a system withstands a test like this doesn’t mean it’s secure.“
Here is an excerpt from Bruce Schneier’s insightful article “Wiretapping the Internet” (emphasis added),
“Surveillance infrastructure is easy to export. Once surveillance capabilities are built into Skype or Gmail or your BlackBerry, it’s easy for more totalitarian countries to demand the same access; after all, the technical work has already been done.
Western companies such as Siemens, Nokia and Secure Computing built Iran’s surveillance infrastructure, and U.S. companies like L-1 Identity Solutions helped build China’s electronic police state. The next generation of worldwide citizen control will be paid for by countries like the United States.
We should be embarrassed to export eavesdropping capabilities. Secure, surveillance-free systems protect the lives of people in totalitarian countries around the world. They allow people to exchange ideas even when the government wants to limit free exchange. They power citizen journalism, political movements and social change. For example, Twitter’s anonymity saved the lives of Iranian dissidents — anonymity that many governments want to eliminate.
Yes, communications technologies are used by both the good guys and the bad guys. But the good guys far outnumber the bad guys, and it’s far more valuable to make sure they’re secure than it is to cripple them on the off chance it might help catch a bad guy. It’s like the FBI demanding that no automobiles drive above 50 mph, so they can more easily pursue getaway cars. It might or might not work — but, regardless, the cost to society of the resulting slowdown would be enormous.”
Watch or read Secretary Clinton’s Jan 21, 2010 speech on Internet freedom.
The insightful Rebecca MacKinnon makes a great point in her post,
“I too thought Clinton’s speech was a very welcome – even exciting – commitment by the Obama administration to advance and protect a single, free and open Internet. […] I think the toughest work will be in coordinating U.S. domestic and foreign policies so that you don’t have some policies advancing Internet freedom while other policies – especially on copyright, child protection, crime, and terror – end up sending a very different kind of message about American priorities. It’s easy to criticize Iran and China for censorship but much trickier to work with Italy, France, and a wide range of other U.S. allies and close trade partners to ensure that policies and laws surrounding Internet regulation and governance don’t end up being counterproductive, despite being well-intentioned in the short term.”