Who’s David Cheriton?: Meet the Canadian billionaire who made an early bet on Google and calls himself ‘cheap’
…After the US$220-million Cisco deal, “a bunch of people at Stanford thought I must know something about startups and business,” he told the Financial Post.
That included two Stanford PhD students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who approached Cheriton with what they believed was great internet search technology. They wanted to license the technology, and despite Cheriton’s caution (“It’s just really hard to turn your baby over to somebody else to raise it,” he told them) he connected the pair with an intellectual property lawyer, to help search for a licensing partner. Along the way, Yahoo! turned down an offer to buy the Google technology for — brace yourself — $2 million. “Everybody makes mistakes,” Cheriton said. “Not many people make that big of a mistake.” – Quentin Casey, Financial Post
Corus Entertainment Inc. says the proposed acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc. by Rogers Communications Inc. would have a “detrimental impact” on local news production, as annual payments from Shaw to Corus’s Global News television network would stop. – Alexandra Posadzki, The Globe and Mail
In court documents, the independent telecom argues that the regulator erred by reverting to the 2016 rates instead of again going through the process of calculating the cost of providing service. – Alexandra Posadzki, The Globe and Mail
The two parties voted together more than 600 times in Parliament since 2004, blocking dozens of progressive bills, data shows. – Martin Lukacs & Ben Cuthbert, The Breach
It is election day in Canada following a late summer campaign in which the focus was largely anything but digital issues: Covid, climate change, Afghanistan, and affordability all dominated the daily talking points. The digital policy issues that grabbed attention throughout the spring – Bill C-10, online harms, wireless pricing – were largely absent from the discussion and in some cases even from party platforms. Laura Tribe, the executive director of OpenMedia, joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss digital policies and the 2021 election campaign. Our conversation walks through a wide range of issues, including the surprising omission of wireless pricing from the Liberal platform, the future of Bill C-10, and the failure of privacy reform to garner much political traction.
The podcast can be downloaded here, accessed on YouTube, and is embedded below. Subscribe to the podcast via Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify or the RSS feed. Updates on the podcast on Twitter at @Lawbytespod.
With the 2020/21 broadcast year now at a close, final data from Numeris confirms that Bell Media’s entertainment specialty channels continue to achieve record growth and rankings, claiming the top three spots for entertainment specialty channel among Adults 18-49 and a total of five in the Top 10 among Adults 25-54. – Press release
Publications such as Maclean’s, The Logic, select Postmedia and Black Press papers, Daily Hive, and The Epoch Times benefited from emergency funding the Trudeau government has provided during the Covid-19 pandemic. But the news outlets that received the latest round of tens of millions of dollars in 2021 emergency funding have not been disclosed to the public. The funding initiatives add to other government funding pools some of the recipients were already benefiting from. – Jonathan Bradley, Canadaland
New report highlights how Gen Z is driving music streaming growth – but don’t count out traditional radio, either
A new report detailing US Media Consumption looked at several factors that have changed American adult behaviour since the pandemic. It reveals that for the first time, more Americans are streaming video content than watching live TV. But it also contains some important insights into how 18–24-year-olds interact with audio content.
Notably, 63% of Gen Z respondents said they listen to streamed music daily. 56% of that same category (18-24) said they have never listened to an audiobook. And 44% say they have never listened to a single podcast. Around 22% of Gen Z respondents said they listen to radio daily. – Digital Music News
Piers Morgan has issued a breaking news alert about his own career, following the announcement that he is rejoining Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp after almost three decades.
The ex-Good Morning Britain presenter has signed a global deal that includes two weekly columns for the New York Post and The Sun, along with helping to launch a new channel, named talkTV.
The station will offer a mix of “hourly news bulletins, sports and entertainment shows as well as current affairs, debate, opinion and documentaries”, the group said in a statement.
The channel will launch in early 2022, with Piers Morgan’s new weeknight show being its main draw. – Roisin O’Connor, Independent (UK)
He may be 90, god bless him, but Rupert Murdoch can still smell blood in the water. GB News, it is fair to say, is a bit of a wounded beast in the shark-infested waters of the British media, not waving to its few remaining viewers, but drowning. Having previously swam away from the territory, Murdoch now spies an opportunity.
He’s watched GB News make its mistakes, waited until its only serious asset, Andrew Neil, left and now he’s circling and is going to launch his own channel, talkTV, next Spring. He’s going to put it out on every available medium, including Freeview and the web, he’s going to back it with the full resources and advertising heft of his media empire, and he’s signed up Piers Morgan, the big fish that got away from GB News. Nigel Farage will be left croaking on his precarious raft, like one of the migrant dinghies in the English Channel he so loves to hate.
But the thing about talkTV is that it might actually work. – Sean O’Grady, Independent (UK)
Seventeen media associations in the Americas and other regions today called, through a public statement, for a “fair and reasonable” remuneration for the publication of journalistic content on digital platforms.
The institutions comprise more than 40,000 media from Canada, United States, Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
In addition to payment for content and advertising concentration, the associations pay special attention to algorithms, saying that their opacity discretionally affect the production and distribution of content. – Jamaican Observer
When Texas recently passed SB 8, it not only turned Roe v. Wade on its head, leaving millions of women more vulnerable, it unveiled the latest and trickiest weapon in the conservative culture wars.
SB 8 outsources enforcement to private citizens, allowing any person to sue abortion providers or people who “aid or abet” them. In the wake of the law taking effect, many commentators (darkly or excitedly) imagined how else this could be used: Could, say, New York confer standing on its citizens to sue gun shops?
This weapon is already being deployed throughout the country. In Tennessee, students and teachers can now sue schools if they “encounter a member of the opposite (biological) sex in a multi-occupancy restroom.” In Florida, any student who claims to have been “deprived of an athletic opportunity” because a transgender athlete took their place is now bestowed with a private cause of action against the school. Missouri recently passed the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” which not only serves as an assault on the supremacy clause, but grants $50,000 in damages to any party whose right to bear arms is deprived. And Kentucky citizens can now file a complaint with the attorney general if a teacher within their school district teaches critical race theory resulting in withdrawn funding from the school. – Scott Pilutik, Slate
From studying usage data to conducting their proprietary quantitative and qualitative interviewing, they’ve got a bead on digital media trends and how their audience consumes content.
For both broadcasters and podcasters, monitoring the Washington Post’s activities is just plain smart. Same with the New York Times. They’re conducting and commissioning more research than most radio operations and podcast networks.
So, four main takeaways here, for commercial, public, and Christian radio, all of which can reap important lessons: – Jacobs Media
For some of the jobs available, people don’t have the right skills, or at least the skills employers say they’re looking for. Other jobs are undesirable — they offer bad pay or an unpredictable schedule, or just don’t feel worth it to unemployed workers, many of whom are rethinking their priorities. In some cases, there are a host of perfectly acceptable candidates and jobs out there, but for a multitude of reasons, they’re just not being matched.
There are also workers who are hesitant to go back — they’re nervous about Covid-19 or they have care responsibilities or something else is holding them back.
The result is a disconnected environment that doesn’t add up, though it feels like it should. – Rani Molla & Emily Stewart, recode
NDP calls for social media watchdog as scrutiny of Facebook heats up – The Globe and Mail
The fallout from a Facebook whistleblower’s explosive revelations this month continues to descend on Canada as politicians and experts grapple with how to regulate Big Tech amid renewed questions on the harm it can wreak.
A prolonged “techlash” over the past few years has seen western countries adopt varying degrees of platform regulation, with users becoming increasingly alive to the fractured civic bonds brought on by digital echo chambers. But so far no single approach to regulating and policing the platforms has emerged as a solution.
New Democrats are the latest to demand a federal government crackdown on social media giants. On Monday, NDP MP Charlie Angus called on Ottawa to establish an independent watchdog that tackles disinformation, hateful posts and algorithm transparency, citing a former Facebook executive .
Frances Haugen testified before a U.S. Senate committee on Oct. 5 that the company’s products harm children and fuel polarization in the U.S., a claim supported by internal company research leaked to the Wall Street Journal.
“Ms. Haugen reveals that Facebook knew that its algorithms are driving hate content and leading to breakdown in civic engagement,” Angus said.
“Facebook made the decision to incentivize profits through its use of its algorithms over the well-being of its users.”
As the company confronts intense public scrutiny over how its coding fans inflammatory rhetoric and affects users’ self-esteem, Angus is proposing to create an independent ombudsman accountable to the House of Commons, akin to Canada’s ethics and privacy commissioners.
“Rather than relying on outdated institutions like the Competition Bureau or the CRTC, it’s time for the federal government to establish a regulator that actually understands this file,” he said.
Facebook Canada said it continues to make investments that target misinformation and harmful content, and stands ready to collaborate with lawmakers on a new legal frameworks for platforms.
“As we’ve shared, we welcome regulation and have been vocal calling for a new set of public rules for all technology companies to follow. It’s been 25 years since the rules for the Internet have been updated and it’s time for industry standards to be introduced so private companies aren’t making these decisions on their own,” Rachel Curran, head of policy at Facebook Canada, said in a statement.
Online hate remains on Ottawa’s radar as global observers continue to question Facebook’s role in tragedies ranging from the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand to deadly military violence directed at Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, along with racist posts in Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to overhaul internet rules after a pair of bills aiming to regulate social media giants and tackle online hate died on the order paper this year.
In last month’s federal election campaign, he promised to introduce legislation within 100 days of forming government that combats harmful online materials.
His plan would create a digital safety commissioner to enforce a new regime that targets child pornography, terrorist content, hate speech and other harmful posts on social media platforms. The regulator could order social media companies to take down posts within 24 hours.
Sam Andrey, director of policy and research at the Ryerson Leadership Lab, welcomes the new blueprint. But he suggested enhancing transparency at tech giants by requiring details on algorithms, not just company data on illegal content and post takedowns.
Andrey also said the government’s proposal targets sites where the posts are public such as YouTube and Facebook, but not private messages on platforms such as the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
“But there’s mounting evidence … that private platforms, including things like WhatsApp or WeChat, can contribute to the spread of online harm,” he said, suggesting a way to flag troubling messages.
Charter questions of privacy and free expression may well come into play as the government considers whether the regime should cover private communication, whether to expand its scope to other harmful activity such as impersonation and how proactive the digital safety commissioner and accompanying tribunal could be.
Vivek Krishnamurthy, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, noted that most large platforms already have policies that claim to meet or exceed the government’s would-be rules on harmful material, with some seeking to highlight or remove misleading information – about COVID-19 vaccines, for example.
New Democrats and Conservatives have also questioned why a new regulator is needed to crack down on exploitive material when the Criminal Code already bars child pornography, hate speech and the knowing distribution of illicit images.
Krishnamurthy says the government is focusing too heavily on “culture war” wedge points rather than data privacy, which involves fewer grey areas.
“There’s no real work happening on Big Tech and competition in Canada,” he added.
Trudeau has said he will reintroduce legislation to modernize the broadcasting regime in a way that could force internet steaming sites like Netflix and Spotify to showcase Canadian content and cough up financial contributions to bolster Canadian creators.
Bill C-10, which died in the Senate in August after the election was triggered, provoked months of debate over whether its regulation of online videos would amount to government overreach, with free speech advocates criticizing the bill and the arts community supporting it.
Angus said Monday that the bill amounted to a “political dumpster fire” and that having the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) address Facebook algorithms would bring “a 1980s solution to a 21st-century problem.” He added that Bill C-10 included “good ideas” around applying broadcast rules for funding to Big Tech.
“Tax the SOBs,” he said of tech behemoths.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said earlier this month the Liberal government will move ahead with legislation finalizing the enactment of a Digital Services Tax by Jan. 1. The tax would come into effect two years later on Jan. 1, 2024, if a tax regime under a newly inked global agreement has not already come into force.
A spokesperson for Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said comment is not possible until cabinet has been formed, but pointed to the Liberals’ platform pledges, including a plank requiring digital giants to pay legacy media outlets for linking to their work.
Media Advisory: Minister Coady to Introduce Legislation on Making Better Beverage Choices – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Honourable Siobhan Coady, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier, will be available to discuss amendments to the Revenue Administration Act regarding sugar sweetened beverages prior to debate in the House of Assembly tomorrow (Tuesday, October 19) at 11:00 a.m. in the media centre, East Block, Confederation Building.
Media covering the announcement will have the opportunity to join in person in the media centre or by teleconference. Media planning to participate should register with Victoria Barbour (email@example.com) by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, October 19).
Prior to the announcement, a technical briefing for media will be provided at 10:00 a.m.
Media participating in the briefing will also have the opportunity to join in person in the media centre or by teleconference. Media who wish to participate in the technical briefing should RSVP Victoria Barbour (firstname.lastname@example.org), who will provide the details and the required information.
Media must join the teleconference at 9:45 a.m. (NST) to be included on the call. For sound quality purposes, registered media are asked to use a land line if at all possible.
Thomas Knapp: Legacy social media: Free as in beer, not as in speech – Ontario Argus Observer
NDP calls for social media watchdog as scrutiny of Facebook heats up – The Globe and Mail
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Ecuadorean indigenous communities sue to halt oil development
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