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Net neutrality issues for Canada
By Ted Murphy


Net neutrality issues for Canada
The concept of net neutrality suggests that all internet service providers should provide content of equal quality and quantity to its users regardless of source. However, as the internet is such a new technology, there have been many concerns over how government departments are able to adequately police this concept.
PHOTO CREDIT - Flickr.com

- February 4, 2016 - Despite the internet often being lauded as massively democratizing power, there have been many recent examples that illustrate that the world wide web is not quite the level playing field that many had hoped for.

Whether it’s consumers seeking an explanation for slow speeds on their streaming services, or even why certain online slots games are only available in certain regions, the tug-of-war match between governmental departments and tech companies looks to be showing no signs of slowing down.

Governmental concerns

The concept of net neutrality suggests that all internet service providers should provide content of equal quality and quantity to its users regardless of source. However, as the internet is such a new technology, there have been many concerns over how government departments are able to adequately police this concept.

Recent Canadian concerns about net neutrality suggest that internet users have noticed a discrepancy between speeds of various services with the likes of the Apple Store and Google Play delivering data at different rates depending on differing service providers.

And it’s the lack of power afforded to legislators that suggests that even if the service providers were engaged in foul-play, there isn’t enough in the way of punitive powers to check such unfair behaviour.

Foreign affairs

Another concern that takes it to a global level is the difficulty governments face is attempting to legislate across national borders. This week saw the steaming service Netflix making its first efforts to block proxy services which have allowed Canadians to view the American version of the service that has twice the amount of content.

And whilst Canadians may feel at a disadvantage regarding streamed movies, Canada has certainly managed to take full advantage of the freedoms offered by the internet in terms of gaming entertainment. The nation was recently ranked as having the third largest gaming market in the world, and such trends look set to continue with gamers being able to enjoy homegrown games such as ChatFu as well as one of many online slots at LNC that feature a gaming style for every taste, whereas the US is still tangled up in the gambling legislation of the previous century.

21st century concerns

These issues look to be showing no sign of losing their relevance in the upcoming years. Despite the US government’s introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act that aims to curb illegal downloading, such legislation could have negative consequences when it crosses the border by accidentally harming legitimate Canadian websites.

And with increased concerns that the proposed CISPA bills could mean that that various governments around the world will further abuse the surveillance powers afforded by the internet, it seems that the issues have become a lot more serious than dealing with Lucky Nugget Casinos’ simple online slots games and Hollywood blockbusters.

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