Dangers of Private Internet Providers

I just read this on Boing-boing and quickly produced enough rage-iation to explode my regular monocle and my back-up monocle. I'm currently writing this without a monocle, so I hope Matthew can read my hand-writing.

Anyway, Telus is engaged in a dispute with their union and they are BLOCKING people from visiting the union's website. Blocking access to information that is threatening to the service provider is very disturbing. What if a scientific article were released suggesting that Telus phones caused brain cancer, but other phones did not? Would they block that too? Perhaps not, but this precedent seems to be a first step onto a slippery moral slope. In interests of "fairness" Telus claims that photos were being released on the websites of workers crossing picket lines and they were trying to protect their workers. However the person running the site says he wasn't aware of these photos in the discussion forums and would have taken them down if Telus had contacted him.

This is so disturbing to me that I have cancelled the Telus phone that I have for my dog.

Here is a Globe and Mail article on the subject.

Below is the verbatim post from Boing-boing.


Phone company blocks access to telecoms union's website
The Telecommunications Workers' Union of Canada is striking against has been locked out by Telus, a large phone company and ISP. Two of TWU's sites (including Voices for Change, a message board where union members can discuss issues such as being without a contract for 1666 days and last having received a general wage increase 2031 days ago).
Telus is playing very dirty -- they're blocking access to the union's website so that their workers and the general public are cut off from legitimate debate about this action. This is inexcusable: imagine if this phone company chose to block all calls into union headquarters. From an email forwarded by Damien Fox:

Telus Communications Inc, Canada's second largest telephone company, whose 13,500 unionized employees setup picket lines only sixteen hours before Telus implemented their non-negotiated contract offer Friday is now playing media censor.
In an attempt to convince employees to cross picket lines and win public support during what may be a long labour dispute, Telus has blocked access to several pro-union websites from any Telus customer internet connections. This comes only one day after the Canadian Industrial Regulations Board (CIRB) found Telus guilty of bargaining in bad faith for the third time during the negotiation process that has left the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) without a contract for nearly five years.

TWU members who rely on these websites and internet discussion forums for communications are now looking for alternative methods for retrieving information related to what is happening on picket lines across Alberta and BC. Union members who are able to get to the website are angered but not surprised by Telus' latest move.

"What else should we expect from a company who has tried to implement a contract deemed a violation of Canadian Labour Code? Telus' disrespect for customers, employees, and Canadian labour law has all unions in Canada on the edge of their seat. If Telus successfully imposes their non-negotiated contracts, it sets precedence for all unionized companies across Canada when they sit down to bargain." one post reads. The CIRB has been reluctant to impose any penalties for Telus' violations of labour code as they are unsure what the direct impact has been on the bargaining process, and if the two parties would be any further along if Telus had followed labour law. Telus has been found guilty of several counts of bargaining in bad faith and interfering with the operations of a trade union by the CIRB.

Known pro-union websites currently blocked to Telus customers are www.voices-for-change.com and www.telusscabs.ca . Visitors posting on the website are asking fellow union members, Telus customers, and the public to file a complaint with the CRTC and their MP for Telus violating their personal right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

For further union information and media inquiries, please contact Bruce Bell, TWU President at 604-341-2925 or Sid Shniad at the TWU Burnaby Office at 604-437-8601. Visit the TWU web site: www.twu-canada.ca

For furher Telus information and media inquiries, please contact Nick Culo, National Communications, Telus Corporation at 780-493-7236, nick.culo@telus.com or visit www.Telus.com


Blogger Don Raja said...

Wow that is absolutely absurd... The Internet was always a place I could turn to for the 'realness'.... I hope this is a one-time thing only and that other ISPs don't follow suit.

Thanks for sharing Mizzatt.

11:08 p.m.  
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