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CRTC preparing to regulate the internet

May 28, 2008

CRTC preparing to regulate the internet

They said they wouldn't do it 1999. And they said it again in 2003. But now the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommmunication Commission is getting set to regulate the internet and they want Canadians to help them set the terms for an upcoming hearing into the matter.

The CRTC is Canada’s federal communications regulator. In 1999, they took the position that the internet was mostly alphanumeric text, not technically sophisticated enough to provide audio and visual content easily, and not of sufficient interest to consumers of audio and visual content to warrant regulation. Well, that’s changed, and regulations are coming. In Broadcasting Public Notice 2008-44, the CRTC has announced a major investigation into the feasibility and scope of regulating content on the internet.

But before they rip open the discussion, they want input from Canadians about what questions to ask -- What areas to focus on? What concerns should get priority? For example, should questions about net neutrality be raised?

This is a chance to have legislation put into place that will protect net neutrality.

The Commission wants to know if the upcoming hearing should ask questions like:

Are there practices that effect distribution of and access to Canadian new media broadcasting?

Is the new media broadcasting environment contributing sufficiently to the achievement of the broadcasting policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act?

Who are the relevant stakeholders in the creation and distribution of Canadian programming in the new media environment?

This is crucial stuff that will effect internet communication for a long time into the future. Check out the document. It is totally worth 10 minutes of your time to give it a read. Send an email to the CRTC and have your say. Broadcasting Public Notice 2008-44

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CRTC, a mandate made in hell

I'd like to comment on the CRTC internet regulation issue Broadcasting Public Notice 2008-44 blog by Michael Lithgow by addressing the main issues regarding CRTC track record, their mandate and function.

It worries me that the CRTC is a regulating agency for any broadcast medium. The predominant CRTC failure was to allow Canadian citizens of all ages to experience the intensity of x-rated porn, vile beyond any simple obscenity.

The CRTC has all power in this matter, and no other agency, police-service, Crown attorney, criminal court, or Provincial agency is willing assume that authority; even to protect Canadian citizens from exposure to vile indecent and obscene pornographic content. Police authorities have repeatedly refused to lay charges for obscenity and indecency complainants discovered on television even if the act of displaying such material is a crime under the criminal code. They refer all complainants and injured parties to the CRTC. The CRTC’s mandate is so undefined, it’s mechanism so stifled; it can not execute justice on behalf of Canadian citizens on these and similar issues. It is not hard to assume that the CRTC was created with a specific intention to thwart prosecution of obscenity on television, and to mediate morality into obscurity.

I challenge anyone to uncover one example of the CRTC lifting a broadcast license over obscenity issues. The failures of the CRTC are far to convoluted to be described in a few short sentences, but perhaps is better to summarize their legacy simply from these quotes:” Mathew chapter 7: verse 16, You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?...and Titus chapter 1: verse 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."

How does the CRTC expect to regulate internet? Will it become so convoluted that they will conduct hearings in Ottawa on whether some child porn web-page should be seen or not? We have better more immediate solutions to problems of morality that can be expedited easier, faster, and cheaper than anything the CRTC can manage to offer. It's something our legislators never considered appropriate, and it’s called the Canadian Criminal Code.

Name one regular television channel admonished or removed from Canadian cable for broadcasting inappropriate pornographic content and ideology?

Name one broadcaster charged and convicted of broadcasting obscene and vile pornographic material?

What's the chutzpah they ask? If I may run the comparison, I think the CRTC wants control to shut down free speech and shape the Canadian internet into a mechanism to supply wealth to their influential friends. This is consistent with what has been happening with telephone, television and cable so far.

Somehow I don't think hearings on incidents of child-porn will go a long way to shut down the perpetrators, since they are the same kind of people the CRTC has helped gain a foot-hold on cable TV. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” See how an agency like the CRTC can damage the public interest?

The CRTC is assuming roles and executing judgments based on a mandate designed on political favoritism, above and outside the justice system. Hearings are a farce. Most complainants however opinionated are simple folks, who can not afford the time, travel and accommodation to attend. Procedure requires that a written presentation be submitted a long time prior to addressing the panel. There doesn't seem to be the same problems for cable-porn suppliers, as they have a never-ending supply of lawyers well prepared with the legal speak; therefore, when it comes to moral issues like pornography, large numbers of opposing citizens go unrepresented. Those persons that do attend and come before the panel are often ill-equipped with the right "legal speak" to cope with bureaucratic nonsense and patronage. They are heard but not listened to.

Lawyers gravitate toward lawyers. It’s simple, when lawyers understand the legalese and jargons necessary to communicate in the world or regulation. Applicants have the privilege of interaction in discussions with their counterparts in the CRTC, long before the hearings even begin. Such behavior precludes that their submission will be refined and clearly understood, and all opposing arguments addressed with a smoothly contrived counter-argument.

One argument suggests the numbers are there, the people want access to this product. When are laws of decency and obscenity dependent upon numbers? Not so true; One analogy is simple; if everyone in the country decided they wanted to smoke crak, would that render the act of doing so harmless? Would it make the act less addictive? Would it make the laws against such behavior null and void? How much less addictive is triple-x rated pornography served up with carefully contrived gayety and merriment to sooth the guilty conscience? Should the same porn producers be allowed to promote their x-rated product in the soft-core market of daily television, even if genitalia are not shown? They do, and they know full well that young teens are watching. They are targeting the youth for introduction into a new lifestyle choice, not unlike the tobacco companies were targeting youth with candy cigarettes and cleverly placed cigarette advertising. They know the addictive properties are the same. Since when is an addictive substance like hard-core porn, able to be advertised this way? Is the end-result not the same? Enticement for the purposes of prostitution is not much different.

So the high-minded CRTC think they are the appropriate agency to take on internet regulation? So they are of the belief they have been acting faithfully in the Canadian public interest? Someone needs to derail this train. Once the CRTC takes on the role of internet regulation, you may discover the vile content won't change, but become further protected. What will change is access to blogs, religion, opinions and controversial material may cease. In essence their input will result in an attack on your personal freedom. Would this seem such a breach of your personal freedom? Well, speaking out against Taliban behavior may not seem so wrong now, but wait until someone labels it racist. Currently, if one protests the slaughter Palestinians in large numbers, it is considered a racist act, and protesters may be labeled anti-Semitic. News and information is highly controlled by ethnic groups all around the globe. The internet is one of the few ways an individual can express themselves and expect someone may see it. From whistle-blowers to racists, who are they going to bar from expression? Unlike pornography, racist blog is not an addictive substance, so one can turn away from it, but it is a viewpoint a person may want to simply know, so that they may disagree.

Wait! is this freedom of expression not the same for pornography? Answer: No, it is not the same for pornography. Pornography and other like-minded behavior is addictive, and like a drug it does long-term damage to the user. Further, triple-x pornography as seen on Showcase TV and M-XS is obscene and vile, even criminal. It includes behavior that is dangerous, unclean, unsanitary, abnormal, and vile beyond all imagination. Sex is not wrong in the right context, but vile behavior most certainly is.

Paying to maintain and promote this kind of business is another indignity suffered unwillingly by cable patrons. Cable providers sacrifice viewer safety by ignoring with crass hatred their most vocal opponents no matter who they are. Their love is for money, and they are willing to take it anyway they can. The cable and satellite providers accomplish this through cleverly bundled package deals. Patrons can’t get CNN or A&E without taking Showcase, even when they don’t want it. The provider always blames the other party saying; “...the CRTC makes us package channels this way,” or “the networks won’t sell the channels to us unless we package them this way.”

The cable companies do not respect all persons, especially the religious right. It’s a sly derogatory terminology created by pornography advocates, but at one time, many years ago, society respected moral character. If religious rights were respected in Western society, then the common place in the cable channel selection would be a place of sanctuary, and people wanting a taste of degenerate lifestyles would have to go a long way outside this safe-place find it. Children would find it impossible to access this content.

In the future television will melt into the internet as an interactive information and entertainment medium. The CRTC doesn’t want to lose its powerful position since so many broadcasters depend upon them to relax the rules of moral behavior in society, so they can make profits. The true color of regulation is already reared its ugly head, and its color is blood red. This massive money making beast has been let loose and it can’t be stopped now. Like junkies, patrons will be subjected to ever increasing varieties of debauchery, and over time this will include bestiality, bondage, fetishes, and finally as moral decay ensues, child porn.

....Nathan Champaigne