By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday September 24, 2014
Netflix refuses CRTC demand to hand over subscriber data
Netflix says it won’t turn over confidential subscriber information to Canada’s broadcast regulator in order to safeguard private corporate information.
The video streaming company was ordered last week to give the data to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission by Monday, along with information related to the Canadian content it creates or provides to subscribers.
A Netflix official said Tuesday that while the company has responded to a number of CRTC requests, it is not “in a position to produce the confidential and competitively sensitive information.”
But in a statement, the company said it is “always prepared to work constructively with the commission.”
The comments came in the middle of the regulator’s “Let’s Talk TV” hearings on the future of broadcasting rules, including allowing cable customers to be able to create their own personalized cable packages. Since Netflix is not a conventional broadcaster, there’s much doubt that the Broadcasting Act that the CRTC enforces even applies to the company.
What happens now is very much in the air, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist told the CBC in an interview Tuesday. “Netflix likely felt pushed into the corner on a bigger issue, which is the CRTC’s authority to regulate online new media,” he said.
“The issue has been simmering for about a decade, but everybody took a hands-off approach,” Geist said. “Once there was a threat from the CRTC on Friday, it really did force Netflix’s hand.” (Source: CBC News)