Michael Geist: Different Regulations, Different Regulators: Behind Canada's Net Neutrality Advantage

InsightaaS: Readers who follow Across the Net know that we are appreciate and support the efforts of Michael Geist to examine issues and legislation that impact (and in some cases, threaten) Canadians’ privacy and digital freedoms. In this post, Geist provides a detailed comparison of proposed (and as of the writing, unpublished) changes to net neutrality guidelines in the US with CRTC policy and Canadian regulations. Geist concludes that "for the moment the CRTC's net neutrality rules are stronger than those in the U.S.," adding that if the current directions hold - with the US changing its approach to net neutrality, and Canadian "willing to continue its battle" against major domestic telcos, "Canada may have a competitive advantage when it comes to net neutrality."

Last week, many in the Internet community were outraged by a U.S. Federal Communications Commission proposal that would significantly undermine net neutrality. The commentary on the (still unpublished) U.S. proposal says it all - The FCC's New Net Neutrality Proposal is Even Worse Than You Think, Is Net Neutrality Dying, How Open Will the FCC's 'Open Internet' Really Be?, Goodbye, Net Neutrality: Hello, Net Discrimination, and Net Neutrality Dead for Good?. The FCC responded with its own post that did little to assuage the concerns, stating that the U.S. rules will propose:

1.    That all ISPs must transparently disclose to their subscribers and users all relevant information as to the policies that govern their network;
2.    That no legal content may be blocked; and
3.    That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.

Transparency and no legal blocking are hold overs from the earlier Open Internet order. The third issue is where net neutrality would be harmed as the FCC is proposing to shift toward a "commercially unreasonable" standard for treating similar content in different ways. That approach would certainly permit paid prioritization, where deep pocketed content owners could pay to have their content sent on a fast lane, while everyone else is stuck on the slow lane.  Moreover, given that the earlier Open Internet order was struck down by a U.S. court, even transparency and content blocking presently fall through the cracks.

Given the widespread attention to the U.S. developments, many have been asking about the impact in Canada...

Read the entire post: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/7113/125/

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