Good news! Netneutrality.ca is back up and running after a long, legally imposed, hiatus.
What does net neutrality mean? In short net neutrality is the principle that consumers should control what content, services and applications they use on the Internet. That this use should not be mediated, manipulated or impeded by your internet service provider. Essentially, the cable and phone companies want to charge content providers (e.g. webpages) a premium for preferred access. Sites that pay the premium would load faster than those that don’t and/or would have access to more bandwidth.
Kevin McArthur – the previous owner of the site posted the following note on Facebook explaining why the site was down and why he has handed it over to Michael Geist.
“So most of you know that I had to shut down the neutrality.ca site 6 weeks ago due to a cryptic ‘increasing legal concerns’ reason. Well, I still can’t talk about why exactly I had to do this but there are a few things we can learn.
First, defamation law is fundamentally broken in Canada. Not only are you guilty until proven innocent, but you are expected to mount a 6 figure defense to any filed allegation if you expect to win. This technique is known as a SLAPP lawsuit, and no longer must the agressors actually file papers, as the threat is sufficient enough to make any activist ponder principle or bankruptcy.
I made my choice, [ I really like my MINI cooper ], but others have chosen to stand and fight. Dr. Michael Geist [michaelgeist.ca] who holds the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, is one such person. He’s stood up for Canadians, and is now being sued by Wayne Crookes in an separate but strikingly similar case to which I was to be subject.
I decided that he was just the right person to stand up for Net Neutrality and that he had the best chance of keeping the site going. As a result, I gave him the Neutrality.ca site, which when shut down was receiving about 20,000 visitors a month.
I’m sure he’ll take the site where I never could, and hopefully we’ll all get Net Neutrality in Canada.
The fight is far from over though, and I need each and every one of you reading this post to tell at least 3 people about Net Neutrality. Blog it. Put banners on your site. Scream it from the rooftops. It doesn’t matter so long as people know about it.
Failure to act on this issue will mean that the Internet as we know it will simply cease to exist, and a commercial medium devoid of non-commercial interests will emerge. Just like Radio and TV before it.
So stand up, take notice, and sign the petition on http://www.neutrality.ca !