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  • State of the Internet

What’s up with the internet?
A podcast

CIRA presents What’s up with the internet? a serial podcast delving into the good, the bad and ugly around one of the world’s greatest resources—the internet. If you’ve ever asked our titular question, this podcast is for you.

Your host, acclaimed Canadian journalist Takara Small, navigates today’s most pressing internet issues alongside commentary and guest interviews from tech leaders and internet experts. What’s up with the internet? is an opportunity to explore the challenges the internet poses and more importantly, discover solutions.

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Takara Small is Canadian journalist and radio host. She is a radio columnist for CBC (Canada’s public broadcaster), radio contributor for BBC Radio and host at 680 News. Additionally, she was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada for her contributions to media and recently named a Young Leaders of America Fellow.

 

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Season one:
produced by Kevin McAnena

Episode 1:
The urban/rural divide

What’s up with the digital divide? Host Takara Small interviews Canadians that don’t have reliable broadband and offers a glimpse on the impact it has on their lives. We also explore the barriers to getting everyone connected. Guests include Patrika McEvoy (Haida Gwaii), Mark Buell (Connect Humanity) and Colleen McCormick (Coastal First Nations).

Episode 2:
Affordability and the class divide

Canada is home to some of the most expensive internet plans in the world. With rising costs of living, what happens to those left behind? Hear perspectives from Joel Templeman (Internet Society Manitoba Chapter) and Ray Noyes (ACORN Canada).

Episode 3:
Competition

In Canada, the lack of competition among internet providers plays a major role in exacerbating the digital inequity (and the expensive mobile data plans) that Canadians have come to accept. This episode explores what this means for the average Canadian, with a dive into the regulations involved. Featuring guest interviews from tech critic Paris Marx (the Tech Won’t Save Us podcast) and internet activist Bryson Masse.

Episode 4:
Internet literacy

Being able to simply get online isn’t enough in our digitally-connected world. Many Canadians who aren’t netizens lack the basic skills to access vital online services and resources. If you’ve got a laptop and high-speed broadband in front of you but you don’t know how to use it, that is the same level of disconnection as no internet at all. Paula Canas from Tech Manitoba joins us to discuss how classes teaching basic internet skills can be life changing, while author and tech commentator Paris Marx is back to give his thoughts on how we can get better at identifying misinformation.

Episode 5:
Online safety

Having access to the internet doesn’t matter if you don’t feel safe using it. Online threats from trolls, viruses, hackers, or even that general sense of anxiety that comes from doom-scrolling are now the norm. There’s a long list of reasons that can make the internet a dangerous or unhealthy space. That can make users fearful of exploring the internet and taking advantage of all the ways it can benefit them. This segment will look at how Canadians of all ages can keep themselves safe and protected online featuring interviews from Helen Hayes of McGill University and Frances Haugen

Episode 6:
Prospects for progress Season finale

For the final episode we’ll take a look at what we’ve learned throughout the series and ask, what is needed to make things better? And what are the chances of that happening? Looking back to the issues outlined through the previous five episodes our guests return to offer some solutions.

Canadian Minister Gudie Hutchings joins the conversation.

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