Telus Denies Allegations Arising from ‘Death of the Internet’ Blog Posting

There’s a new conspiracy theory afloat online alleging the death of the internet as we know it.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

The theory suggests that ISPs in Canada are attempting to make Canada a test-bed for charging a per website visit fee with the rest of the world to follow. Telus, one of Canada’s largest ISP’s responded denying such a thing is even going to happen.

Every once i in a while, a conspiracy theory surfaces that, for the less informed, sounds like a major warning. For the more informed internet user, these same conspiracy theories really have no basis and can be taken with a grain of salt.

The conspiracy theory was started on a blog called Reality Check. The theory may not have gained much ground, but it was then re-posted on Global Research where it gained more readership. Other blogs such as Digital Copyright Canada.

According to the theory, major Internet Service Providers in Canada are gearing up to charge users for browsing on non-favored websites. Essentially, there would be a white list of websites for ISPs and if users do not surf to those websites, they’ll be charged a small additional fee.

The theory may be a throwback to earlier network neutrality debates where theories about ISPs gearing up to prioritize traffic for certain websites that pay a fee to the ISPs. It had considerable attention considering there were big voices throwing rhetoric out about how ‘Google is freeloading off of ISPs networks’ There were offshoot theories from this suggesting ISPs – particularly cable ISPs – would turn the internet into a tiered system much like ordering a different number of channels in different packages for TV.

Unfortunately for this theory, it suffers from lack of sources that would give it some form of credibility. The only source cited was a yet-to-be-published article in Times Magazine. The fact that there are no published citations in the entire posting should serve as a first warning sign to readers that the validity of the posting may be questionable.

Interestingly enough, the word choice seemed a bit odd for a serious piece – namely “a diabolical plot”.

Either way, in the comments section of the original blog post features a comment that strongly suggests that Telus was not amused by the piece.

Kevin,

Several weeks ago I spoke to the alleged Time Magazine reporter, Dylan, about this issue and sent him the attached note. Dylan conceded that he was not a Time Magazine staff reporter but was hoping to submit a freelance story for their consideration. I never heard back from him after this note nor have we received any formal follow-up from Time Magazine as would be a normal part of the fact checking process prior to publication.

As I confirmed with Dylan a few weeks ago, TELUS is not part of any global movement to radically alter the Internet and we would appreciate if your group would cease those allegations.

Jim Johannsson
TELUS Director Media Relations

(Note: the attached note was included in the comment)

So, is this all just completely hot air and made up conspiracy theories? Not entirely. It’s been widely reported (we also covered the story ourselves) that Bell Canada has been throttling BitTorrent, not only for their own customers, but also their wholesalers customers as well. comcast have folded to corporate pressure from copyright stakeholders and are going to become copyright police in the UK.

It might not exactly be a ‘surf on one site and get charged’ type of action, but much rather, ‘generate certain traffic and you could get throttled or monitored’. So while the original conspiracy theory may not hold water at this time, there are elements in the theory that are actually at play right now. As Don K. of Digital Copyright Canada comments, “Canadians do need to wake up and understand that companies like Bell are causing serious problems. That said, paranoid, vigorous hand-waving is not the answer.”

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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