The state of Canadian Internet is on the mind of Providence University College Associate Professor of Communications and Media, Nicholas Greco.
Greco says Internet users should be interested and concerned on this issue, as often times these sorts of topics are overshadowed by other things going on in the world.
On December 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a bill called the ‘Restoring Internet Freedom Act’, removing protections that helped preserve Net Neutrality in the United States.
Canadian Internet and Canadian Net Neutrality could possibly be threatened by pressures from the United States with the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) wanting to add some changes to Net Neutrality explains Greco.
Greco says Canadian ISPs have been working on ways to police content on the Internet, with some soliciting the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a web-blocking system.
"This is at least as far back as this summer, Bell who’s Canada’s largest Internet Service Provider was soliciting the CRTC to create a website blocking system, this is what they called it. It is noticeably without judicial review," said Greco.
There is a real danger to this becoming a slippery slope explains Greco, as there is no judicial oversight to this petition.
He says Canadian ISPs are looking to block websites that contain pirated content.
"If an ISP and I mean these large service providers that are also content creators," says Greco. "If they can actually tell the CRTC that there are these sites they want to blacklist, we don’t know if these sights are actually illegal sites."
Without knowing what percentage of the site is illegitimate, illegal, or how much is actually legal content Greco says this is the difficulty of this petition. Some content blocked could be things Canadian should be able to access and have a right to access.
The CRTC currently holds Net Neutrality as important and a critical component of Canadian Internet.
At this moment it is unclear if the proposal will go through. An article by The University of Ottawa Law Professor Michael Geist questions if this would move forward, Greco agrees saying this proposal seems to be strong-handed as there seems to be lowering trend of piracy.
These ISPs have a lot of power and money says Greco and letting Government know Net Neutrality is important to residents of Canada, as the internet is everyone’s right.
"A good thing to do would be to try to contact your local MP and that you support Net Neutrality," says Greco. "They should be sure to watch out for things that are going on within the CRTC and the public service."
Greco also suggests contacting your local ISP and make the case the current proposal to blacklist sites is not acceptable to the user as there are no judicial oversights.