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Canada Piracy Businesses Censorship Communications Government Network The Internet

Bell Canada Wants Pirate Websites Blocked For Canadians (www.cbc.ca) 136

New submitter wierzpio writes: According to Rob Malcolmson, Bell Canada's VP of regulatory affairs, Canada is a safe haven to internet pirates and the only solution is to create a federally mandated blacklist of pirate websites. Unlike the existing blacklist in the U.K., Bell's plan appears to involve no judicial oversight. "Engaging in extrajudicial attempts to block access to sites, I think, raises all kinds of Charter of Rights and Freedoms issues," argues Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa professor and internet law expert. Quebec also wants to block sites. The province recently introduced a provincial law that would force internet providers to block users' access to online gambling sites not approved by the government. It argues the legislation is necessary to ensure internet gambling companies maintain responsible gaming rules.
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Bell Canada Wants Pirate Websites Blocked For Canadians

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  • by pablo_max ( 626328 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @02:06AM (#55267939)

    Hmm, the government and private companies putting together a list of sites they consider "prates" and blocking them from your view.
    Certainly no potential for abuse here.

    • And conversly, given the current age,
      where technologies such as VPNs and Tor exist,
      what do they expect to actually work ?

      Basically people will just browse to http://uj3wazyk5u4hnvtk.onion/ [uj3wazyk5u4hnvtk.onion] instead of https://thepiratebay.org [thepiratebay.org] and completely ignore whatever restriction the local government is trying to put.

      • They won't even do that. just go to google, type pirate bay proxy and go to the first one that comes up.
        • Which will cause even more problems than it solves. People will go through great lengths to get around the blockages. Installing various nefarious programs or visiting web sites promising to deliver content and then just infecting their computer. I'm not saying pirating is right, but I've seen it happen time and time again, where people who want content that isn't easily available will do really stupid things directed by websites that promise the content.

        • What can go right? Easy. Bell Canada can brag about stopping piracy, and by disposing of any stupid due process doesn't need to do much work.

      • Basically people will just browse to http://uj3wazyk5u4hnvtk.onion/ [uj3wazyk5u4hnvtk.onion] instead of https://thepiratebay.org [thepiratebay.org] and completely ignore whatever restriction the local government is trying to put.

        Bell Canada knows that the majority of us Canadians aren't savvy enough or motivated to even find pirate sites in the first place, never mind installing TOR and/or using a VPN. This smacks to me of the attention-getting, politically-motivated posing that one expects from the media empire mouthpieces of companies like Bell. That "no judicial oversight" caveat seems ripe for all kinds of abuse that may have nothing to do with combatting piracy per se.

        OTOH, maybe there are more pirates here in Canada than I th

    • As someone who lives in the UK where they are already doing this I can tell you it totally works. There are most definitely not loads of proxies to get around the 'blocks'. VPN totally isn't a thing either. Yes this is worth doing and will solve the issue once and for all, job done... :|
    • So for Quebec,

      "maintain responsible gaming rules" means "gimme some of that money"...

  • by Z80a ( 971949 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @02:12AM (#55267949)

    Don't sound as convincing as "Think of the children", but probably will be enforced anyway.

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @02:53AM (#55268027) Homepage

    They should just ask DICE to run them for them. That'll take them down rather quickly.

    Sourceforge and Slashdot have been doing the old "front-page-only" trick for a few days in a row now.

    You made TheRegister too: https://www.theregister.co.uk/... [theregister.co.uk]

    But not a mention on here?

    • A lot of people who have mentioned it are getting down-modded for "Off Topic". A cynic might suspect the Lords and Masters here don't want to talk about it, and they don't want anybody else talking about it either.

      • by ledow ( 319597 )

        Ah, nothing like a techy news site trying to stifle the news of their public techy failures.

  • but there appears to be no information at all as to why Slashdot was completely borked this week...
  • They'll mark sites like netflix, hulu, CBS All access and Amazon, because someone told them to block them.

    It's not like their citizens actually have rights or freedom. Just ask the guy from TVAddons for Kodi:

    http://cordcuttersnews.com/now... [cordcuttersnews.com]

    • We only have Netflix and Amazon Prime in Canada. Well, those two and CraveTV, of course. Would be funny if Bell blocked CraveTV.

  • Canadians are a pretty tech-literate lot when it comes to entertainment. If Bell gets what they want, I would expect to see significant push-back in the form of increased VPN use. Then Bell will be back trying to get VPN's outlawed.

    Bell might want to watch out. In some respects, it could almost be considered a monopoly. Certainly it is a scumbag of a company, and it is heartily detested by a huge number of Canadians. If I were in government, I would be very careful indeed about what I gave them, and wh

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      Then Bell will be back trying to get VPN's outlawed.

      Don't a lot of businesses require vpn's in order to work from home? Would a vpn ban amount to making it impossible to telecommute?

    • Canadians are a pretty tech-literate lot when it comes to entertainment. If Bell gets what they want, I would expect to see significant push-back in the form of increased VPN use. Then Bell will be back trying to get VPN's outlawed.

      Not necessary. Netflix has been quite successful in maintaining a block list of VPNs. No reason Bell couldn't do the same.


  • I think we should all get behind this initiative from Bell and block all the bad websites.

    Can they propose a method that does not involve becoming an isolated, non-democratic and dictatorial regime?

    You see so far, even countries like North Korea cannot block access to anything it likes...so how will an interconnected, development and democratic country like Canada mange that?

    Having considered the above and weighed the possibilities I suggest we just ignore Bell and carry on with our lives. This seems
  • In Belgium, they enforce that on ISP level by sending DNS response redirecting to a site from the ministry of justice telling you that piracy is bad mmkay.

    Thanks to Google Public DNS it's only an issue for unrooted phones, which are not the best device for piracy anyway...

    • You don't need a rooted phone. You can easily change the DNS Settings on your phone to use whatever DNS server you want, or you can connect through a VPN if you so desire. What kind of phone are you using that doesn't allow you to change your DNS Server?

  • by gotan ( 60103 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @04:44AM (#55268203) Homepage

    We've had this debate, at least in my country, I think four or five times now. Canada is probably no different. It's always about blocking content someone or other wants blocked opening the door for censorship. Sometimes the approaches are a little different, be it some kinds of illegal content, terrorism etc.

    There is always strong lobbying by the content industry that wants the mechanisms in place and some law that eventually can be extended to cover what they really want. Standing on the sidelines are religious communities that want blasphemy banned or other content they consider to be "dirty".

    The first few times these attacks on civil rights met a strong reaction, there was a big discussion and the attack failed. Nevertheless the lobbyists simply start a new attack a few years later and the public just grows tired of having the same discussion over and over again.

    Also the politicians either stay completely clueless regarding the subject or the bribes are just raising. Otherwise it's unexplainable why the lobbyists aren't simply ignored when they start the same debate after they've lost it previously. In my opinion politicians supporting such crap should be constantly hammered with accusations of corruptness until they leave politics.

    Web blocking isn't the only debate where this happens, wire tapping, IP-logging, the cryptowar, it's all like:
    "Not again, we had this debate already."

    • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

      In this case, Bell is the content distributor, the lobbyist, one of the largest Telcos and also a crown corporation.

      I think there should be a movement to silence Bell on this issue as they have a clear conflict of interest.

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Crown corporation? I think not. Perhaps you can find a citation?

        • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

          Whoops, yeah, that's strictly wrong.

          Bell Canada has a complex history with special statuses and stuff, but it's not a crown asset. Flub on my part.

          • by dryeo ( 100693 )

            They've probably absorbed an ex-crown corp or more, perhaps like Telus here who were created from BC Tel and whatever Alberta's phone company was called.

    • Also the politicians either stay completely clueless regarding the subject or the bribes are just raising. Otherwise it's unexplainable why the lobbyists aren't simply ignored when they start the same debate after they've lost it previously. In my opinion politicians supporting such crap should be constantly hammered with accusations of corruptness until they leave politics.

      The problem is the voters: the voters are supposed to see that these representatives aren't working for them, and vote them out. They

  • Don't you guys have a tax on media that effectively paid the rights holders for your now perfectly legitimate practice of copying things? I thought pirates couldn't exist in Canada... without boarding ships, raping, pillaging and making the crew walk the plank.

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuGGNsE3_8Y

      RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      Don't you guys have a tax on media that effectively paid the rights holders for your now perfectly legitimate practice of copying things?

      If you're referring to the blank media levy that you have to pay in Canada, the levy doesn't exist to legitimatize the illegitimate practice of media piracy, it exists to compensate the rights holders for personal and private use copying *ONLY*.

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      The levy is mostly on audio stuff like cassette tapes and CDR. After the courts ruled that the levy made all private copying of audio basically legal, they didn't pursue a levy on stuff such as DVDR. That's also why blank DVDs are cheaper then blank CDs

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @06:59AM (#55268483)

    Most likely they will use DNS blocking, like they do in other places. Easy to just use an open DNS server. Plenty around, even if you do not want to give Google even more data.
    One of the lists [lifewire.com]

    Or just use your own DNS server, like bind. The latter would be not a real solution for many.
    Why is there no 'single PC' DNS server available? Only listen to localhost and does the resolving for everything that is not in the hosts file.

  • The Bell Canada VP has friends in the Canadian edition of MPAA and RIAA.
    • Bell Canada is pissed off that Canadians won't subscribe to CraveTV to watch Star Trek: Discovery.

      Canadians are pissed off that Bell Canada got Star Trek: Discovery, instead of Netflix Canada.

      • People always complain when Netflix doesn't get X.
        If Netflix had every show, the price would be $100/month instead of $14

        • Netflix got the rights for ST:D for all other countries on the planet, except the U.S.A. (CBS kept it for themselves since they're the ones making it) but Bell Media was able to get the rights instead of Netflix? We suspect a dirty deal somewhere. After all Bell has tentacles in media, TV, internet, etc. They are in a constant flux of conflict of interest but the CRTC doesn't do shit.

          • Netflix has more content than CraveTV. So they probably made more dirty deals than Bell.

            Netflix's strategy is clearly to become a monopoly. They already started raising prices.

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  • I really really despise the idea of Canadian companies censoring the web on me -- yes to a free Internet -- free as in freedom and an open Internet. And no, I do not pirate: I rent my movies and I pay for my software et al.
  • Canadians have few options for TV. It's basically Bell, or one cable company (the 3 big cable companies have carved up each city, so they don't compete against the other)

    With high prices, limited selection of channels, and ongoing high rental fees for boxes (required for each TV in the house) it's not surprising that Canadians are pirate-friendly.

    Netflix has proven that customers are willing to pay for content when the price is right.

    Pirating and cord-cutting should be the canary/coalmine to Bell
    • Well, they are trying and already have something in place [cravetv.ca]. Of course, when they introduced it, you needed to be a Bell satellite subscriber to even sign up but after a few months they removed that requirement. Unlike Netflix Canada, however, they only have a handful of movies. They seem to have all James Bond movies, the classic Blade Runner movie and... that seems to be it. If you like TV shows from the 90's, however, there's plenty of those (Seinfeld, Cheers, etc). They also have Star Trek: Discovery and

    • As your own link shows, Netflix has gone to some lengths to block customers who use VPN services to get around their geo-blocks.

      This isn't a problem for me: I canceled my Netflix subscription. I suggest everyone else disappointed with Netflix's service do the same. You can get all the content you really need on BT.

  • Québec also wants to block sites. The province recently introduced a provincial law that would force internet providers to block users' access to online gambling sites not approved by the government. It argues the legislation is necessary to ensure internet gambling companies maintain responsible gaming rules.

    Loto-Québec [wikipedia.org] also wants to block sites. The provincial crown corporation recently introduced a provincial law that would force internet providers to block users' access to online gambling site

  • The reason why they're saying this is because Bell is a content provider and they refuse to lease rights to places like Netflix.

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @10:09AM (#55269491)
    Bell, has always been aggressive on it's pricing and it's reputation in the government is not exactly spotless. They had a "internet security service" scam when by default they would give you a disk they told you to install (which I told people there is never a good reason to do with a legit ISP), that would install a remote access service and symantic antivirus, for which you would be billed an extra fee per month be default, whether you installed it or not (I can't remember the amount but I think it was ~$10 CAD). Analysis revealed this "solution" made people's computers LESS security as Bell in essence planed a back door for their technicians to use (their own, not MS's remote assistance). I remember advising people to remove the service, get their own antivirus (which was certainly less than $120/year) and cancel the "plan" that was by default tagged to their account. Several clients had taken my advice but 3 months later was still being charged. Each month out of the 3 when asked why the charge was still there,the support person said it was an "oversight". For a few of these I called Bell myself and told them if they didn't stop these charges and refund from the first cancellation immediately, there would be a class action lawsuit on their hands. As it turned out, the federal government took them to task for that.

    Another incident involved their new Fiber internet service. They got a slap on the wrist again by government regulators for false advertising, claiming their fiber internet deal was less than it was. (I never signed up as I never trusted them, obviously).

    My first and last experience with Bell as an ISP was when I got my own DSL modem, returned theirs (which they accepted) and they kept billing me an extra $5/month even when they acknowledged they had received their modem back. They said they couldn't cancel it as it was a required part of the deal (although they gave me an address to return the modem as I told them I now had my own). I cancelled their service. 3 days before the cancellation was finalized, I got a call telling me they would drop the fee if I stopped the cancellation. No go there.

    So Bell has a bad business for consumer all round and government divisions coming down on their so their credibility is questionable there.

    In addition, people are fed up with Bell's exorbitant fees for satellite tv fees.In Canada, Bell is the exclusive content distributor for HBO. They've had a deal for years. (Bell owns several phone company and at least one IPTV service). If you want to get say, "Game of Thrones" in Canada without using a "grey market" (it's not illegal to download restricted intellectual property, only to distribute), you have to pay them $60 basic fee, plus an extra fee to get a channel for extended HBO content including "Game of Thrones". HBO has a very nice Internet only service for $20 USD a month which I tried to sign up for. But it's not allowed in Canada because of Bell's deal. People are pissed and using streams. So bell wants to block that.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Bell is always been like that.

      They still charge you $5/month for "touch tone service"! You can't even ask to remove it, either.

      And Bell was the primary driver behind killing gray market satellite services - there was actually a few Canadians who received US satellite service (paying for it legitimately - not hacked access) and Bell decided it was too much competition for their satellite TV and went all the way to the supreme court.

      They are one of the scummiest companies in Canada

  • Have a tax that goes directly into the pockets of film studios and music labels. It would be cheaper for everyone than some kind of hair brained scheme to block servers based on some nebulous definition of "pirate".

    My guess is Bell wants to buy new routers and have the government pay for it.

  • It is interesting as Canadians already pay a tax on media and content that is supposed to subsidize content owners and producers allowing Canadians to make as many copies of content and distribute as they please.
  • to any of my clients. Anyone else offering IT advice should do the same. Why would anyone want a crippled internet service?

  • I don't think I can ever see a news release about Bell Canada that doesn't make me roll my eyes, and wonder how they get any customers at all. Everything they do, or say, screams their status as a pile of anti-consumer twats. They want to be a shitty ISP, a shitty telco, and a shitty content provider. Ever use the CTV streaming app? Dodgy, glitchy, and slower than hunting down a torrent of whatever show you could already legally watch. They're succeeding at suckage in spades, yet people still give them mone

  • Restricting and blocking access to certain information is pure censorship.
    Why has it suddenly become both okay and the thing to do?
    This is wrong on so many levels.

  • We'd like to keep charging customers, but reduce the services they can use to reduce their data usage. That way we don't have to invest in infrastructure and we can suck them like vampires.

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