Social media harms
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
20h ago
The way social media harms our kids has been in the news lately. I am not talking about the Online Harms Act, which has been the subject of a number of my recent posts. I will also not be talking (at least not in this post) about the inappropriateness of the Governor General hosting a forum about Online Harms when a bill is being reviewed by Parliament. Four of the largest school boards in Canada launched a lawsuit against the owners of Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and TikTok. The suit accuses them of “negligently designing products that disrupt learning and rewire student behaviour while lea ..read more
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Building resilience in telecommunications
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
3d ago
Building resilience in telecommunications in Canada and Beyond. That is the topic for a workshop taking place in downtown Toronto on the afternoon of May 14, 2024. The event is hosted by the Ivey Business School. Over the past couple of years, I have written about network resilience a few times: Reliable and resilient networks (January 23, 2024) I observed that weather-related service disruptions will likely be a bigger factor in coming years. In a competitive environment, I asked what is the role of regulators in setting standards or objectives for reliable and resilient networks? Network re ..read more
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Sustainably competitive
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
1w ago
When looking at telecom services, regulators should focus on whether the market is sustainably competitive. That seems to be the message arising from merger reviews in Europe. After years of focus on the number of carriers, regulators are taking note of the impact of hypercompetitive markets on investment. UK service providers are unable to cover their cost of capital. As a result, operators are unable to fund network upgrades. Vodafone and Three UK intend to merge. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK is moving into the next phase of its review of the merger. In announcing it ..read more
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Prebunk misinformation
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
1w ago
Is it possible to prebunk misinformation? Is there a vaccine for fake news? A recent story on 60 Minutes caught my eye and steered me toward the Social Decision-Making Lab at Cambridge University. The director of the lab, Sander van der Linden, told 60 Minutes that misinformation – that which is outright false or incorrect – represents just a small amount of people’s overall media diet. “The much bigger part is what we would refer to as misleading information, half-truths, biased narratives, information that is presented out of context.” In collaboration with partners at Yale and George Mason ..read more
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Cellular and satellite convergence
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
2w ago
There are signs of accelerating progress in cellular and satellite convergence. A recent report from Scotiabank lead with an attention grabbing headline, “Mobile Carriers Poised to Create $1.0T in Equity in the Direct-to-Cell Revolution”. Last year, I wrote about the FCC taking steps to explore “innovative collaborations between satellite operators and wireless companies”. In February, the FCC issued a 160-page “Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” to establish what the agency called the world’s first regulatory framework for terrestrial to space inter-connectivity. The ..read more
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What’s the opposite of shrinkflation?
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
3w ago
Every grocery shopper has experienced shrinkflation. Headline prices for asparagus, previously quoted by the pound, are now often listed for 325g bundles – you end up with 25% less for the money. Boxes of cookies and snacks are smaller; cereal boxes shrank. Prices for items may appear to hold constant, but the packaging is smaller. The headline price disguises the fact you are getting less. Last month, I wrote “Statscan says cellphone prices are plunging – and they are”. In that post, I used a purely hypothetical apartment metaphor to describe how Canadians might choose to lower their monthly ..read more
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Censure, not censor
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
1M ago
Alan Borovoy, Canada’s great civil rights lawyer, used to say we should censure, not censor, those who spew hate speech. He and I worked together on a committee many years ago. I would frequently give him a ride home afterwards which gave us opportunities to chat. His views continue to influence my perspectives on Bill C-63, Canada’s Online Harms Act. An editorial in the Toronto Star (written to mark his passing in 2015) should be mandatory reading for parliamentarians reviewing the Bill. Alan was the long time general cousel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. The CCLA has called for ..read more
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Let the marketplace work
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
1M ago
Canada seems to be afraid to let the marketplace work on its own for telecom. The old “regulators gonna regulate” thing. A few weeks ago, the Competition Bureau testified at the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology saying, “This committee is well aware that the bureau filed an application to the Competition Tribunal seeking to block the proposed merger between Rogers and Shaw. While we were unsuccessful in our attempt, we stand by our decision to bring the case and our reasons for it.” The representative from the Bureau later said “For example in the Rogers-Shaw case, we would have se ..read more
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Immigration impact on telecom
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
1M ago
How does immigration impact the telecommunications sector? As I noted in January, more than one million immigrants entered Canada in 2022. This has led to a number of political and economic discussions in the country, such as how immigration has contributed to the cost of housing and rental prices. A year and a half ago, I first looked at the impact of immigration on Canada’s mobile markets. Adding to the discussion, Morningstar DBRS recently released a report, “Canada’s Immigration Influx Spurring Telecom Subscriber Growth”. The report identifies these key highlights: Canada’s immigration in ..read more
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Digital literacy training
Mark Goldberg Blog
by Mark
1M ago
Will online digital literacy training drive increased digital inclusivity? As I mentioned last month, Alberta launched free digital literacy training. I thought it might be worthwhile to take a closer look at what the courses look like. Training is available online in English and in French – at no charge. It has two streams: beginner, and intermediate. The beginner stream has 10 modules; there are 9 modules in the intermediate stream. Each course module is designed to be completed in 30 minutes or less. Alberta’s digital literacy training program was developed with support from the federal Ski ..read more
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