The National Post
Tuesday, May 18, 1999
page A8

Top 10 reasons surfers should thank the CRTC

Electronic Frontier Canada ( is an online civil rights group, an offshoot of the U.S.-based group Electronic Frontier Coundation ( Its members had been monitoring CRTC media hearings with more than a little trepidation, worried the federal government might actually try to regulate the Internet.

Yesterday, the CRTC did what everyone expected it to do: Nothing.

David Jones, a McMaster University computer science professor and co-founder of Electronic Frontier Canada, put forward this top-10 list of changes Canadians would have noticed if the CRTC had decided to regulate the Internet:

Within minutes, Canadians start transferring their web pages to unregulated offshore computers.

Web sites with adult content are disabled until after 9pm when the kids are in bed. To avoid chaos and confusion, all of Canada will have to adopt a single time zone.

Canadian Internet guru, Jim Carroll, publishes a new book entitled, How to send encrypted audio and video over the Net, subtitled, What the CRTC doesn't know, can't hurt you. It's a best seller.

The CRTC subsidizes new media technology companies to develop software that automatically filters web page content and converts to Canadian spellings for words like colour, neighbour, and honour.

Through a policy of government-approved censorship known as "simultaneous substitution", Internet service providers are forced to replace all banner ads on American web sites with by Canadian ads as the data crosses the border. CNN Time/Warner takes the government to court.

The CRTC determines 90% of all personal home pages in Canada are "not of sufficiently high quality", and gives 60 days notice either to comply with "generally accepted audience standards", or else be shut down.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer is given exclusive control of the web browser market in Canada, in exchange for a default home page populated with links to Canadian pop culture icons, such as Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, and Wayne Gretzky.

Heritage Minister, Sheila Copps, creates 20 million web pages, each displaying a Canadian flag. No one visits them.

The RCMP are unable to cope with a million Canadians watching unregulated "WebTV" on their pirate satellite dishes.

It is illegal to have a web page that says, "[Screw] the CRTC".

Copyright © 1999 by David Jones. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.