Canada’s Zero-Rating Ban “Proved Correct” by Its Rigged Deck.

by Mike Wendy on May 16, 2017

What’s an agency to do when it wants to prove – er, find out – if “consumers” are concerned about 0-rating / Net Neutrality policy?

Well, if you’re like Canada’s CRTC, you get some of your proof – er, “evidenced-based facts” – from an activist group called OpenMedia, and reddit users.

Though market-based parties presented studies which voiced support for the practice of o-rating, they were roundly discounted because “…nearly all the consumers who participated in this proceeding, either as individual parties, through OpenMedia, or through the reddit forum, were opposed to such practices because of their long-term consequences.”

“Nearly all the consumers”?  That would include OpenMedia’s 30,000 “signatures” on a joint, online form letter submitted to the CRTC.  And reddit’s 1,200 online comments scooped up by the agency.

Inclusion of reddit’s comments is particularly interesting.  The agency actively solicited the online forum because, according to a spokesperson, it was “a great opportunity to get comments from interested individuals who might not otherwise participate in this proceeding to share their points of view.”

I’ll say.

The outcome of this and other unquantified “consumer” input in the proceeding?

A near-total ban on 0-rating practices.

Nice forum shopping.

Getting “evidence-based” material from OpenMedia and reddit to justify a seemingly large piece of its “consumer” analysis is, well, amateur hour.  OpenMedia is an open advocate of Net Neutrality regulations. And reddit?  A Pew report reveals its users tend to be:

“…young, male, and to self-identify as liberal at higher rates than the overall public.”

It would be hard to imagine any input emerging from OpenMedia and reddit which would be contrary to CRTC’s pro-regulatory script (which is exactly the point).

I contacted the CRTC about this and asked them if they verified that real people were making these comments; why they chose reddit, knowing that its base strongly favors Net Neutrality regulation; and whether any other online conservative outlets were considered to arrive at their conclusions.

Its answers? Though its spokespeople expressed confidence that the agency reached “an evidenced-based decision that is in the public interest,” they chose not to answer on verification.  They chose not answer on reddit’s liberal, Net Neutrality bias.  And, they chose not to answer about going out to other conservative online fora to support the record.

What’s the upshot?

The CRTC’s “search” for “evidence-based” facts shows that real facts matter little in the struggle to impose Net Neutrality on the masses.

Hmmm, where have we seen that before?

This is yet more proof that Net Neutrality policy – whatever that means at any given moment – cannot survive but for rigged deck tactics and willful blindness to other points of view.

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