Mark Goldberg


Reductio ad absurdum

Reductio ad absurdum [NOUN]: a method of proving the falsity of a premise by showing that its logical consequence is absurd or contradictory.

Consider this tweet for a moment:

The “toothless #CRTC Net Neutrality decision” to which this refers is Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2017-104: Framework for assessing the differential pricing practices of Internet service providers, issued this past April.

One might challenge so many different parts of this tweet. For example, is the Know Roaming service even captured by the decision? While Know Roaming sells its service to Canadians, the service is for use when travelling outside the country.

More importantly, the tweet demonstrates the absurdity of a prohibition on zero rating. How is the public interest possibly served? What benefit can there be in denying consumers access to free WhatsApp when they travel? Where is the market power of a small niche provider like Know Roaming? Why would so-called “consumer advocates” continue to argue that a regulator should take away benefits from consumers who choose to shop around for alternative services?

Roslyn Layton recently released a paper summarizing her doctoral research project at the Center for Communication, Media, and Information Technologies at Aalborg University in Copenhagen, “Does Net Neutrality Spur Internet Innovation?

Spoiler alert: no, it doesn’t.

As new leadership comes to the CRTC, will the Commission add the net neutrality framework to the growing list of decisions it needs to review?

3 comments to Reductio ad absurdum

  • Jared


    Would you support net neutrality if it was shown to serve the public interest?

  • The term “net neutrality” is ill-defined and fluid.

    In general, I am extremely wary of most forms of government regulation of the internet.

  • Jared

    Would you support government regulation of the internet if it was shown to serve the public interest?