The National Post
Tuesday, May 18, 1999
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.