Tag: canada

Canada cements in net neutrality

While US president Donald (prince of Orange) Trump is giving Big Telco the internet, things are going the opposite way in Canada.

A new ruling by Canada’s telecommunications watchdog has stated that internet service providers should not be able to exempt certain types of content, such as streaming music or video, from counting toward a person’s data cap.

The ruling upholds net neutrality, which is the principle that all web services should be treated equally by providers.

Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the CRTC said that rather than offering its subscribers selected content at different data usage prices, Internet service providers should be offering more data at lower prices.

“That way, subscribers can choose for themselves what content they want to consume.”

The decision stems from a 2015 complaint against the wireless carrier Videotron, which primarily operates in Quebec.

Videotron launched a feature in August of that year, enabling customers to stream music from services such as Spotify and Google Play Music without it counting against a monthly data cap as a way to entice people to subscribe to Videotron’s internet service. The decision means that Videotron cannot offer its unlimited music streaming plan to subscribers in its current form — nor can other internet providers offer similar plans that zero-rate other types of internet content, such as video streaming or social media.

Mounties always get their LAN

Canadian coppers have admitted that they is spying on mobile phones throughout Canada because they are worried about illegal monitoring by criminals and foreign spies.

The RCMP held the briefing in the wake of a CBC News investigation that found evidence that devices known as IMSI catchers may be in use near government buildings in Ottawa for the purpose of illegal spying.

After hiding their own use of the technology in secrecy for years, the RCMP spoke out about the devices — also known as Stingrays or Mobile Device Identifiers (MDIs).

The RCMP says that MDIs – of which it owns 10 – have become “vital tools” deployed scores of times to identify and track mobile devices in 19 criminal investigations last year and another 24 in 2015.

RCMP Chief Supt. Jeff Adam said that in all cases but one in 2016, police got warrants. The one exception was an exigent circumstance — in other words, an emergency scenario “such as a kidnapping”.

Adam’s office tracks every instance where an MDI has been used by the RCMP. He says using an MDI requires senior police approval as well as getting a judge’s order.

And he says the technology provides only a first step in an investigation allowing officers to identify a device. He says only then can police apply for additional warrants to obtain a user’s “basic subscriber information” such as name and address connected to the phone.

Then, he says, only if the phone and suspect are targets of the investigation can police seek additional warrants to track the device or conduct a wiretap to capture communications. Adam says the RCMP currently has 24 technicians trained and authorized to deploy the devices across Canada. He knows other police forces own and use them too, but declined to name them.

Big Content Blames Canada

Big content pressure groups the MPAA and RIAA have waded into Canada, claiming that it is a “safe haven” for copyright infringers and pirate sites.

It moaned that the Canadians “notice and notice” system is ineffective at deterring pirates and that the broader legal copyright regime fails to deter piracy.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has released its latest 301 ‘watch list’ submission to the US Government which is based on the numbers of complaints Big Content has against nation states.

Canada is discussed in detail with the recommendation to put it on the 2017 Special 301 ‘watch list.’

One of the main criticisms is that, despite having been called out repeatedly in the past, the country still offers a home to many pirate sites.

“For a number of years, extending well into the current decade, Canada had a well-deserved reputation as a safe haven for some of the most massive and flagrant Internet sites dedicated to the online theft of copyright material,” IIPA writes.

It all seems rather unfair given that the Canadians shut down the popular torrent site KickassTorrents, which was partly hosted there. The IIPA is worried about the emergence of stand-alone BitTorrent applications that allow users to stream content directly through an attractive and user-friendly interface. Basically, they are moaning about Popcorn Time.

The IIPA reports that several websites offering modified game console gear have also moved there to escape liability under US law.

The group specifically highlights R4cardmontreal.com, gamersection.ca and r4dscanada.com among the offenders, and notes that “This trend breathes new life into Canada’s problematic ‘safe haven’ reputation.”

Big Content claims Canada’s legal regime fails to deal with online piracy in a proper manner. This is also true for the “notice and notice” legislation that was adopted two years ago, which requires ISPs to forward copyright infringement notices to pirating subscribers.

But the main issue appears to be that there is no evidence that any of the anti-piracy crackdowns have worked. Big Content thinks that this is because there are no punishments involved for frequent offenders. Despite the failure of any measures to stop online piracy Big Content wants  to see crucifixions.

“…simply notifying ISP subscribers that their infringing activity has been detected is ineffective in deterring illegal activity, because receiving the notices lacks any meaningful consequences under the Canadian system,” IIPA writes.

It admits that the ‘notice-and-takedown’ remedy that most other modern copyright laws provide does not work but it does provide some incentives for cooperation, incentives that Canada’s laws simply lack,” Big Content muttered.

Canadian coppers start spying on journalists

mountiemaintainThe Canadian press is rather miffed that one of its number is being spied upon by Montreal’s coppers.

Patrick Lagacé’s iPhone was tracked by Montreal police even though many people believe that the Apple’s flagship phone is safe.

La Presse reported Monday at least 24 surveillance warrants were issued for this year at the request of the police special investigations unit. That section looks into crime within the police force.

Lagacé’s doings were tracked using the GPS chip in his iPhone. The warrants used to obtain the identities of everyone he spoke to or exchanged text messages with during that time.

Tom Henheffer, executive director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression said that the new powers that the police have to spy on Canadians were absolutely horrifying.

“They’re basically limitless, there’s very little oversight, and when that happens the system will be ripe for abuse, and this is just an example of how it’s abused. What’s even more worrying about it is the fact that this is a justice of the peace who actually authorised this.”

Lagacé thinks he was put under police surveillance as part of an ‘attempt to intimidate’. It’s part of a “culture shift” among law enforcement and judges that began with the passing of Bill C-51 under the previous Conservative government, he said. ​

The idea is to scare the hacks into turning over their secret sauce recipes.  Apparently it is getting worse. In September, the Sûreté du Québec seized Journal de Montréal reporter Michael Nguyen’s computer because they believed he illegally obtained information cited in a story he wrote.

Meanwhile the Mounties are trying to get a reporter from Vice News to hand over background materials used for stories on a suspected terrorist and spied on two hacks for more than a week without any authorisation.

The government has promised to change “problematic” parts of bill C-51 in the 2015 election, but have not done anything yet.

Lagacé said police told him they obtained the court-authorised warrants because they believed the target of one of their investigations was feeding him information. However, the story was not broken by Lagacé but one of his rivals.  This makes him think that the investigation was a thinly veiled attempt to learn the identity of his sources within the police department.

Apple thinks that if it uses Canadians it is being racially diverse

mountiemaintainThe fruity tax dodging iphone maker has a problem with racial and sexual diversity and part of that bothersome thing  might be that it does not really have the social skills to identify what the problem actually is.

This week Apple was cornered by Mic Magazine about its commitment to diversity. At its recent rally to flog the iPhone women spoke for approximately eight minutes; men spoke for 99. Furthermore, most of the women and people of colour who appeared onstage weren’t Apple representatives.

Apple said that there was a “lot of diversity on that stage that reporters don’t recognize”. Unrecognized by you was the fact that we had a gay man, two African-Americans (Instagram and Nike), a Canadian and a British woman, Hannah Catmur.

The two black men were Nike Brand president Trevor Edwards and Instagram head of design Ian Spalter. Who were nothing to do with Apple. Hannah Catmur is head of design at ViewRanger. The aforementioned Canadian is likely Heather Price, also not an Apple employee. She’s a founding partner at Vancouver-based This Game Studio.

What is funny is that Apple considers Canadians and British people as making it ethnically diverse.

Apple did make progress in making more diverse hires, per its public diversity report. It hired 65 percent more women, 50 percent more African-Americans and 66 percent more Latinos in 2014 than in 2013, USA Today reported in 2015.

But Jobs’ Mob is predominantly male and white — 68 percent male and 56 percent white. The ratios change when you focus on Apple’s leadership, which is 72 percent male and 67 percent white.

All this represents a serious problem which is made worse if you think that you can solve it by presenting ethnic minorities and women from outside companies as your own, and thinking that foreign white people are giving you ethnic diversity.

Canada wants cloud data kept local

mountiemaintainCanada has released its latest federal cloud adoption strategy which includes policy concerning the storing of sensitive government information on Canadian citizens within the country.

The newly-published Government of Canada Cloud Adoption Strategy requires that only data which the government has categorised as ‘unclassified’, or harmless to national and personal security, will be allowed outside of the country. This information will still be subject to strict encryption rules.

The new strategy, which has been in development over the last year, stipulates that all personal data stored by the government on Canadian citizens, such as social insurance numbers and critical federal information, must be stored in Canada-based data centres to retain ‘sovereign control’.

The move will force those wanting lucrative government contracts to build data centres inside Canada.

According to the proposal document, the Canadian government’s national IT department has already started buying cloud capacity, capable of processing ‘unclassified’ data. By 2017, it is expected that Shared Services Canada will have purchased even greater cloud capacity for handling ‘sensitive’ information, but not for data marked as ‘secret’ or ‘top secret’.

The new guidelines come after two years of federal discussions in Canada about driving cloud adoption, cutting data centre costs and optimising IT infrastructure. The consultations have involved participants from over 60 industry organisations.


Blackberry has been turning over data to cops


arrestFor all its claims to be super secure, Blackberry has been enthusiastically helping cops intercept user data for years.

CBC  said that a specialised unit inside mobile firm BlackBerry has helped intercept user data — including BBM messages — to help in hundreds of police investigations in dozens of countries.

The smartphone maker’s Public Safety Operations team once numbered 15 people to handle warrants and police requests for taps on user information.

Insiders claim that BlackBerry intercepted messages to aid investigators probing the political scandals in Brazil that are causing problems for suspended President Dilma Rousseff. The company also helped authenticate BBM messages in Major League Baseball’s drug investigation that saw New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez suspended in 2014.

One person said that the company is swamped by requests that come directly from police in dozens of countries and it “helps law enforcement kick ass” at least in those countries were asses are a mode of transport we guess.

“Narco trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping, crime against children, knowing you are stopping those things … how do you not love doing something like that?” said the insider.

Blackberry said that its guiding principle has been to do what is right within legal and ethical boundaries when called upon to provide aid in the apprehension of criminals, or preventing government abuse of invading citizen’s privacy.

“We have long been clear in our stance that tech companies, as good corporate citizens, should comply with reasonable lawful access requests.”

Self-driving cars spark sex fears

rockCanadian Government officials have finally revealed that one of the reason that they don’t like the concept of self-driving cars is that people will have sex in them.

Of course people have sex in cars now, sometimes when they are moving, but US Federal bureaucrats are worried that semi-autonomous cars that don’t require much input from the driver will result in their input going elsewhere.

Barrie Kirk of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence has said that the smarter cars get the more bonking will take place.

“I am predicting that, once computers are doing the driving, there will be a lot more sex in cars.”

“That’s one of several things people will do which will inhibit their ability to respond quickly when the computer says to the human, ‘Take over.”‘

Federal officials, who have been tasked with building a regulatory framework to govern driverless cars, highlighted their concerns in briefing notes compiled for the Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

The report said that the issue of the attentive driver is … problematic.

“Drivers tend to overestimate the performance of automation and will naturally turn their focus away from the road when they turn on their auto-pilot,” said the report.


Trump fear being used to lure tech migration

trumpuckerA Canadian startup is using the fear of Donald Trump to lure tech talent across the border.

“Thinking of moving to Canada? Sortable is hiring,” the advertising company wrote on its website over a snap of Trump.

The Ontario startup claims 31 percent of Americans would think about escaping to Canada if Trump is elected. Odd really given that if 31 percent would do something as drastic as move, you would think they could just vote to prevent him being elected.

“Now, while we don’t think Americans will actually move en masse to Canada if the election doesn’t go their way, we do want to extend an offer. Because it’s the polite, Canadian thing to do,” the advert said.

Google has reported that searches for “how can I move to Canada” surged last month after Trump proved a favorite in the Super Tuesday primaries, and the Canadian government’s immigration site is being hit with heavy traffic.

Canada is serious about poaching Silicon Valley tech talent. A group of Canadian mayors will visit California next week to encourage Facebook, Twitter, Square and Google to have a look at Canada’s growing startup scene.

Trump has been criticized for his inflammatory stance on immigration — among other things — calling for a wall along the Mexican border and a ban on Muslim immigrants. Canada’s newly elected prime minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed Syrian refugees to Canada, was elected because he did the opposite.

Still it is not clear what the US immigrants would do in Canada. True, they would get the Queen as the head of state, which is something they always wanted, but there would be a lack of guns and violence, not to meantion socialist healthcare, they will not know what to do with themselves.

Tech companies are a threat to banks

Databroker_scrooge_mcduck-346x260The Royal Bank of Canada claims that technology companies pose a competitive threat to established lenders.

RBC Chief Executive David McKay said he was positioning Canada’s largest bank to compete with technology firms that have expanded into the money-moving business but don’t “bear the financial and social costs of being a bank.”

In other words the banks are heavily regulated because they have a nasty habit of crashing and asking the government for huge hand-outs while the technology companies do not.

“Many of these new entrants are excellent competitors – innovative, driven, and responsive to their clients, but they also may distort the financial system with unintended risks that regulators cannon clearly see,” he told the bank’s annual general meeting in Toronto.

Of course the Tame Apple Press insisted he was talking about Apple’s new Apple Pay service which is falling from favour with retailers and needs a plug, however he was more likely to be talking about Amazon and Paypal.

McKay said RBC was prepared to partner with small venture firms to develop applications for banking through mobile devices.

“It’s how do we apply the world of banking to the mobile phone? Not only from a payments perspective, but from pure banking perspective, how to you pay? How do you transact in general?” he told a media briefing.

“A second area where we’re certainly looking at technology to help innovate is in our processes, in the back office.”