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Public Safety Canada Warns Telecom Foreign Ownership Is a ‘Considerable Risk’

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Just last March, the Federal Government announced changes to the Telecommunications Act to allow for foreign ownership of Canada’s wireless companies, up to 100% of companies that have a marketshare of 10% or less. The decision was made to further increase competitioin–but does it pose a threat to national security?

According to a letter marked ‘secret’ attained under Canada’s Freedom of Information Law Act by Bloomberg, Public Safety Canada warns Industry Canada of how changing foreign ownership rules for telecommunications could be a threat to national security:

“The security and intelligence community is of the view that lessening or removing restrictions from the Telecommunications Act, without implementing mitigation measures, would pose a considerable risk to public safety and national security,” Daniel Lavoie, a senior official with Public Safety, said in a letter to Industry Canada.

While Public Safety recognizes the “economic advantages of a prosperous Canadian telecommunications industry,” changes to the country’s system could impact “the integrity of Canada’s telecommunications sector and ultimately national security,” Lavoie said.

The letter brings into question that the ‘intelligence priorities’ set forth by Prime Minister Stephen Harper could be jeopardized due to foreign ownership of telecommunications.

The article mentions how Nortel believed it was breached by Chinese hackers in 2004 and asked the RCMP to investigate. Other countries such as the U.S. and Australia have recently denied Chinese-based Huawei to bid on government contracts for telecom work due to similar security concerns.

What do you think? Does foreign ownership of telcos pose a risk to our national security?

[via Bloomberg]

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  • LOL! This is a good one! Worried about foreign telcos entering Canadian market? Would Public Safety Canada officials be equally concerned if they knew that the foreign nationals without any Canadian security checks already have complete administrative access to server infrastructure of not only Bell Canada but also Canadian banks and other financial institutions, since these individuals administer these systems from foreign countries, due to massive push by Canadian firms to off-shore as much IT work as possible? Shouldn’t PSC be looking into this far more critical issue from national security perspective?

  • CK

    HAHAHAHAHA

  • BrodieTheDog

    Yeah. What a load of shit. It look like the big 3 with their lobbyist’s are at it again.

  • CaseyJonesNinjaTurtle

    ROFL, do people actually buy into this shit?

  • 0mni

    If this were true, then I believe the US would have a problem with T-Mobile …  Owned by the Germans, maybe T-Mobile is a first strike to launch WW3 by the Germans.   Come on guys, its all just BS!

  • This is extremely funny.  There’s a lot of “reaching and stretching” here.  I really feel said for the industry here.  Look at Vodafone’s footprint: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vodafone_market_share  

    It might have been “easy” to focus on one market but really, we can do better than this on an international level.  Disappointing.

  • Yes, in the same way going outside increases your risk of cancer. 

  • Guest

    This is very very very funny and I really do hope people do not buy into this and if they’re really concerned about ‘national security’ let them stick to the big three and their exorbitant prices!!! I say bring in all the foreign ownership to the telecommunications cause the consumers need a break from the oligopoly of the big three and their subsidiaries!!!

  • Definingsound

    Does anyone think that this warning letter has anything to do with Wind Mobile’s Egyptian ties? I doubt the concern is over German management of communications.

  • Anna Iacobelli

    So, being ripped off by the big three is not consider risk to the public safety? It really hurts my wallet!

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