Net neutrality in Canada: The challenges ahead

While I have become much more involved with social media in the past year than I had ever before (I am in almost every Web 2.0 application except for Facebook), I hadn’t really thought a lot about the issues with net neutrality until the day when I live-blogged Michael Geist’s talk at Saint John’s College (UBC) as a guest blogger for my friend Rebecca Bollwitt (Miss604) in April of 2008.

Recently, I’ve become more aware that my role in Vancouver’s social media scene is much more than just being the Organizer of Vancouver Bloggers Meetup. It is also part of my role to raise awareness about issues that affect those of us who use the Internet on a regular basis. Moreover, we social media folks are also substantially affected by these challenges.

Steve Anderson (the co-founder of the SaveOurNet.ca Coalition and National Coordinator of Campaign for Democratic Media) and Kate Milberry (SFU doctoral candidate, a good friend and an expert in digital activism) both reminded me of the need to think about social media as an ecosystem. As an expert in environmental issues, I often use ecosystems as a metaphor to analyze phenomena. I have to say that I had thought of social media as an ecosystem, but hadn’t thought of Canadian legislation on net neutrality as one of the challenges. Steve’s article actually gave me good insight on this issue. He writes:

The Conservative federal government is NOT inclined to support an open Internet. To keep a level playing field on the Internet we’ll need a robust citizens movement to put pressure on politicians and policy makers and shape policy that protects equal access. The social web community can provide the foundation for this burgeoning movement – perhaps even serve as a catalyst. Consider this a call to action.[SaveOurNet.ca]

Having engaged in academic activism myself, researched and studied environmental mobilizations, and often preaching to the public to become more involved in public policy, I am always up for supporting activism that benefits our society. So, I would sincerely encourage you to get informed, get involved, and become part of the white cells of the social media biological system. You can help, and if you have a stake in the future of Canadian internet, you probably should.

Related posts:

  1. My interview with David Berner on The Power of Social Media in Public Policy
  2. Being a social media expert? Disclosure as a best or worst policy
  3. No Motrin Moms effect on CRTC’s decision on net neutrality
  4. The Google Policy Fellowship
  5. The game of politics in Canada, the US and the local levels

Comments (2)

ThomassoNovember 18th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

I believe that the Internet is here to stay, although it will evolve, it will balance out over time. When looking at states like China, the great firewall will eventually fall, and Canada, who seems to be on trajectory of old school ideologies, will also balance out further on down the road.

In my mind the political Right have always used the “crime card” as a means of subjecting their agendas into mainstream society–and it is mainstream society’s mandate to add balance when faced with these shifts. The Web is no different because when we codify it, add regulations and licences to it, then it becomes a controlled commodity and then serves the dominant culture that is in power at the time. So really technology is just making this happen at a far faster rate–meaning that for every firewall put up, a counter measure is put in place 30 seconds later to guarantee freedom–assuming that freedom is used for good intentions.

Wireless is the next branch of the Web’s evolution, and having no wires means no geopolitical borders to deal with. I currently work in the global wireless industry where I can point a dish at a satellite anywhere on the Earth and have access to the “broadband” Intranet. Only the corporation that I subscribe to will dictate the policies and terms of my access to it.

I like to see the accessibility of the Net open even more to everyone around the world. Cost is a huge issue, especially in developing countries, but getting the information technologies spread globally means that we, the so called “developed” States, will have to do our part–that to me is where I like to see some energy placed. If we help our friends–they will reciprocate in kind.

I guess I better stop before Big Brother shuts your web site down…. ;)

[...] glanced at with regards to the Motrin Moms debacle. I admit that even I hadn’t really written much about net neutrality until recently, when Steve Anderson sent me a link to his site, [...]

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