A Notable Absence: Weekly News Update from

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If you noticed some excitement in the air on Monday, it may have been because Parliament has just resumed for the fall! Already, the pro-Internet community has one thing to be proud of this time around: the Conservative Government's legislative agenda for the fall includes several bills, with one notable exclusion: online spying Bill C-30.

A quick refresher: this is the bill that would allow authorities to force ISPs to create giant, costly, unsecured data registries, and hand over the private information of any Canadian, at any time, without a warrant.

Its exclusion from this season's priority list is a neat little victory for the thousands of you who signed the petition, spread the word about the bill, or called on MPs to take a stand.

In other news, the CRTC's hearing about Bell's takeover of Astral media ended on Friday. It'll be a while yet before the CRTC decides whether to let Bell proceed—they're saying up to forty-five days—but thanks to those signing and sharing the petition at, the Commission knows that Canadians are paying attention, and that they are expected to rule in the public interest.

A final twist came as the Competition Bureau stated on Monday that they had been watching the proceeding closely, and that they are (and I quote) "increasingly concerned about vertical integration and its effect on competition."

Like the CRTC, the Competition Bureau is in a position to block Bell's takeover. They could say yes; say yes, with amendments; or reject the merger outright.

However, Canada's Competition Commissioner Melanie Aitken—who has a history of standing up to Big Telecom, including slapping Bell, Rogers, and Telus with a lawsuit for "misleading advertising" about texting services just last week—completes her term on Friday. Though this could have implications for the Bureau's decision, Aitken assured the Globe and Mail that her departure won't keep the Bureau from examining of the takeover.

That's your update for this week. For the Internet, this is Lindsey with signing off.

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