Home > CDNTech, CRTC, CSEC, Digital Policy, NSA, Telecommunications > Corporate Espionage, Drunk Telecom Execs, and Pissed off Victims

Corporate Espionage, Drunk Telecom Execs, and Pissed off Victims

A lot of revelations are starting to come forward regarding the Canadian involvement in mass unlawful online data collection.  Glenn Greenwald (one of the main reporters who’s working on the NSA leaks) revealed that the Canadian Government is involved in using this surveillance not for the purposes of terrorism but for the purposes corporate espionage.  It has been revealed that the Canadian Government spied on corporate companies in Brazil, one of Canada’s largest trading partners.

Greenwald has also hinted that there are more revelations to come regarding Canadian Spy activity. As these revelations come to light it is important to note that those who have worked for these spy agencies are publicly calling for Government oversight.  In the US major and indie telecom providers have remained extremely silent on the issue as partners in all of this, while the tech giants have been quick to defend their involvement in all of this.  Questions still very much remain on how the Canadian telecom providers are involved, what knowledge do they have regarding current installed surveillance equipment and dual use tech, and on how the overall private industry is using mass collection of Canadians personal data for lawful and unlawful purposes. I have a feeling that Greenwald’s disclosures on the matter will bring some light to the subject, and will bring in some pretty big shocks to the Canadian telecom market on a whole.  I’ve got a good idea on what’s about to emerge.

It is also widely expected that the Government will try to introduce “lawful access” legislation in the fall in the form of online anti-bullying legislation.  I’ve worked with several well known anti-bullying advocates and groups nation-wide in the past on issues of Government accountability surrounding this issue, and these advocates have been warned with respect to lawful access being used as a front for mass surveillance laws and brought up to speed on the NSA revelations.  I have every confidence that anti-bullying advocates and victims will not be used as ploys to get lawful access legislation rammed through Parliament.  Any attempt to do so will most likely lead in severely damaging the credibility of the current Government regarding this issue with victims, their families and those currently advocating politically for reform.  It is my strong feeling from conversations with these very politically connected advocates that they are already raising hell on even the prospect of using anti-bullying to bring in mass surveillance laws with their political contacts, and will be working with civil liberties groups to ensure that the rights of all are not impacted by the actions of a few bad apples when the government introduces the expected legislation this fall.  The last thing these advocates want is the Government bullying citizens and removing their charter rights!

On a more personal note.  Over the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading regarding telecom policy and how to spark meaningful competition in this market.  To be completely honest this all revolves around a playbook that’s been around for years. I have telecom in my blood.  I’ve been around a lot of telecom big wigs (especially from the US) most of my life.  That’s why the term CEO or President doesn’t scare me very much when dealing with advocacy in this industry, nor do I take their word as the word of God like some I’ve met recently do.   I’ve had the pleasure of being around successful business people in telecom and in business for most of my life.  Both of my parents were entrepreneurs.  I know the business side of things especially in telecom quite well, not just from growing up hearing about it, but also being a telecom VP for an indie provider at one point.

I’ve been very reluctant in getting my feet wet in this industry.  Partly because it’s not my chosen career path.  The other part is that there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors towards consumers (which I strongly disagree with) on how the business side is portrayed by PR teams protecting their business interests and by internal spats at the CRTC.  Some of it is obvious, other times it’s not so.  There’s no such thing as an honest telecom provider in Canada.  Telecoms almost always don’t act on consumer interests unless they are forced to, or their business is put at risk. The same goes for third party providers don’t kid yourselves.   It’s a very distinctive pattern of behavior on the business side of telecom indie or incumbent.  Those following industry policy independently should see this quite clearly.  It’s been the case for decades. This is a large problem, and is directly tied to the lack of competition in this marketplace in my point of view.  By allowing third party providers in theory was supposed to fix that, but turns out they are just as bad if not worse than incumbents when meeting market demands.  On top of that the intent to control negative reviews on services doesn’t stop at incumbent ISPs (I’ll be bringing this up citing examples at a later date).

Third party ISPs make up 8% of the current residential marketplace according to a recent CRTC report. I don’t have sympathy for that nor should anyone else.  From the looks of the numbers the Indie CEO’s and Presidents of these ISPs might as well all be drunk.  I set up a client on Distributel, and that was a complete nightmare with respect to even getting through to their customer support for activation let alone advanced network configuration.  We tried for 2 days to get through only to be on hold for 5 hours before we actually did.  Regulatory issues currently are not a big piece of the pie.  It’s a slice, and with government now barring down on getting this industry competitive, the regulatory head aches are about to get a lot worse for everyone if government gets involved.  It’s the inability to read and produce meaningful services that can complete and fulfill market needs, the ability to innovate, and resolve and predict market demands before they hit crisis mode that’s causing a lot of problems.  Simply slapping drunk ISPs on the back once in a while for putting the cup down, doesn’t stimulate growth.   Too much time is being spent by outsiders and experts looking at the policy and law end, not the business end where the real problems and attitudes lie.  The overall attitude towards consumers needs to change by all players in this industry.  I may have something to contribute to the forth coming consultations on regulating the telecom market in the future as an independent policy analyst citing recent examples.

Over the course of the next several weeks, I’ve got family matters here to attend to with my autistic son who’s currently in therapy.  I’ll be watching and reading developments on everything posted.  I’ll be posting when I can, more frequently on twitter at this point, but not as often as I have been.  Feel free to contact me regarding this or any other of my posts here.  My contact info is in the contact tab at the top of the page.

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