Internet activist says Canada should enshrine net neutrality in law

November 24, 2017
Article Source
The Globe and Mail

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's support of "net neutrality" is encouraging but the concept should be enshrined in federal law to protect it from being dismantled, an open-internet activist said Thursday.

The comments came as it appears likely that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will overturn an Obama-era policy that prevents internet service providers from using pricing or other barriers to block or favour content.

"I think one of the good things right now is that we do have net neutrality in Canada," said OpenMedia executive director Laura Tribe in an interview from Ottawa.

But, she added, Canadian net neutrality is protected in multiple decisions by a federal regulator rather than in specific sections of either the Broadcast or Telecommunications acts, which govern the internet and communications services.

"What OpenMedia is asking for is: for net neutrality to be enshrined in principle in the Telecommunications Act itself, to make sure this is no longer interpreted in multiple (CRTC) decisions...and really clearly spelled out," Tribe said.

Tribe acknowledged that the Trudeau government's previously announced review of the two acts may pose a risk as well as an opportunity but added that said she's encouraged by the prime minister's remarks this week.

The prime minister told reporters at a housing announcement in Toronto late Wednesday, that "we need to continue to defend net neutrality. And I will."

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