Rogers Exec Pouts About VPNs, Publicly Dreams Of Canadian Ban

from the good-luck-with-that dept

Over the years, many folks in the broadcast and entertainment industries have made it increasingly clear they'd love to see tools like VPNs or proxy services made illegal. Sure, both are perfectly legal and have a myriad of valid purposes, but because they can allow users to dodge anti-piracy snooping efforts (like the not-really effective U.S. six strikes program) or geo-blocks (like say watching Netflix in unsupported countries) -- apparently they should be outlawed entirely. You know, like in Iran -- and now Russia.

Canadian law professor Michael Geist notes that several Rogers, Bell and Shaw executives recently gathered for the Content Industry Connect conference in Toronto. There, Rogers Senior Vice President David Purdy spent some time complaining that VPNs "aren't fair" and -- according to at least one attendee -- suggested that the government should think about banning them. You know, just because:
Rogers' "me too" streaming video service Shomi isn't really resonating with consumers, and blocking Canadian VPN/Netflix users would certainly be easier than actually competing. As Geist is quick to note, it's unlikely that the Canadian government is going to want to wade into the minefield of banning VPNs, so all Purdy managed to do is make him and his company seem somewhat narrow-minded and unnecessarily aggressive:
"If Rogers is upset over VPN use to access U.S. Netflix, it should take it up with Netflix. Instead, focusing on consumer VPN use by suggesting that the solution lies in blocking legal technologies in order to stop consumer access is a dangerous one. Countries like China have tried to regulate VPNs, while Iran and Oman have tried to ban them. A Canadian attempt to do so would be subject to an immediate legal challenge, particularly since virtual private networks are widely used within the business community and play a crucial role for consumers in preserving user privacy, enabling access to information, and facilitating free speech."
After Geist posted a number of attendee Tweets citing Purdy's disdain for VPNs, a Rogers spokesperson denied that Purdy said anything of the sort, lamenting that it's "hard to communicate a discussion via Twitter." I've yet to find a transcript of the comments (and Purdy doesn't appear to be responding to media inquiries), but given Rogers' ugly history as a front-runner when it comes to net neutrality violations, quietly dreaming of a ban on VPNs certainly wouldn't be out of character for the company.

Filed Under: canada, competition, copyright, david purdy, privacy, vpns
Companies: rogers

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 3:41pm


    You know that Roger's own VPN is actually run directly via the NSA btw?

    THATS the entire reason they hate other VPNs..because they get paid cold hard cash for every customer they 'trick' into using their VPN, and funnelling all their data directly to the NSAs (illegal) collection centres.

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