#CyberFLASH: CRTC chair clashes with Netflix exec at hearings

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The federal broadcast regulator has ordered Netflix to hand over Canadian subscriber and other closely held data, threatening during a tense hearing Friday to revoke its exemption from regulation if the U.S. based streaming service refused to comply.

“You operate under an exemption order that requires you to provide information,” Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission chair Jean-Pierre Blais told the company’s global public policy director Corie Wright.

“The commission is ordering you to provide the number of subscribers that you currently have in Canada by 5 p.m. Ottawa time Monday. “Failure to provide the information puts at risk your exemption.”

After Wright’s repeated requests for confidentiality guarantees the chair called for a break in the hearings into the future of the country’s broadcasting system.

Wright ultimately said she would attempt to respond to the commission’s series of orders for information, but could need more time.

She said her concern was not about disclosure to the regulator, but whether it could guarantee that the information would be kept confidential even if a third party requested the data under a public interest argument.

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