Top tech news of 2011: Steve Jobs, UBB, data breaches and more

The death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and the travails of BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion rocked the tech world in 2011. But in Canada, the biggest tech story of the year was the controversy over usage-based internet billing.

Apple, RIM, Sony and CRTC in the tech news spotlight

The death of Steve Jobs, the usage-based internet billing controversy, and the Sony PlayStation Network breach were all big news makers in 2011. (Associated Press/iStock/Reuters)

The death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the travails of BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion and the massive Sony PlayStation Network data breach were all big news makers in the technology world of 2011.

But in Canada, the biggest tech story of the year was the controversy over usage-based internet billing, as judged by viewers' interest on

It was a drama that quickly ramped up from where it left off in 2010, when the CRTC ruled that Bell could impose usage-based caps on small internet providers.

Blustery performances by government officials, Canada's telecommunication regulators and some of the country's biggest telecommunications giants unfolded in a roller-coaster of developments throughout the year while internet users paid close attention. They were clearly riveted by the fear that the outcome might boost the cost of internet access and restrict usage at a time when they were falling in love with bandwidth-hungry video streaming services such as Netflix.

The issue wasn't resolved until November, when the CRTC finally announced a new internet pricing scheme — one that provides the big carriers with options to charge either a flat rate or a rate based on capacity, and that some internet providers say could still boost internet prices.

Aside from internet pricing, issues surrounding mobile devices and online security were also some of Canada's biggest tech preoccupations this past year.  Reacquaint yourself with the top five tech stories of each month (starting with the most-read) below: