GoFundMe Cancels $10m of Truckers Convoy Donations

GoFundMe, California based crowdfunding platform that allows people to raise money, has announced that they will not release $10m dollars that was raised by supporers for Truckers Convoy also known as Freedom Convoy, that protests vaccine mandates and Covid-19 measures.

Organizers of the convoy said they had hoped that with these funds they would be able to keep the protest for a long time.

The money was supposed to be used for food, lodging and gas.

GoFundMe said the decision was made because they think that the convoy promotes hate and violence. Company said they will refund all the donations automatically.

Following a review of relevant facts and multiple discussions with local law enforcement and city officials, this fundraiser is now in violation of our Terms of Service (Term 8, which prohibits the promotion of violence and harassment) and has been removed from the platform.

Gofundme Statement

Gofundme initially released $1m to the convoy, but has decided after pressure to cancel the release of the other $10m.

Convoy fed up with Gofundme has asked supporters to donate via social media and GiveSendGo.

Jim Watson, Ottawa mayor, has begged other crowdfunding sources to stop the donations

Ottawa officials point out to several protesters brandished Confederate flags, and another flag had a swastika drawn on it. While branding those flags is frowned upon, neither are illegal in Canada.

Elon Musk was furious with Gofundme for withholding $10m from the convoy’s anti vaccine rally. He also called the  GoFundMe “Professional Thieves.”

Ron DeSantis, Florida governor, said that what GoFundMe did was unacceptable and that he will work with state’s attorney general to investigate the company.

Sidewalk Labs Comes to its Final Adjourn

The urban subsidiary of Google has reached its final blow. The chief executive, Dan Doctoroff, recently revealed that he had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. As a result, he announced stepping down from his position to dedicate his time towards raising funds for ALS research. 

This unfortunate news, along with the company’s detachment from a smart city-building project in Toronto a year and a half ago, leads to the eventual disbanding. Here is how it all started:

The Back Story

Sidewalk aimed to revolutionize design thinking and urban planning. Initially, the company hosted a contest among cities to see perfect new regulations.  

Sidewalk then signed a contract with Waterfront Toronto to build a small 12-acre community with high-profiled infrastructure near the downtown. However, it earned a bad reputation as the company kept defying the contract by utilizing more land and power than initially decided. 

Canadians also began having doubts about the data collection that could jeopardize citizens’ privacy. Moreover, people raised concerns about the policymaking process of Canada’s government after this debacle. It gained more negative traction when eminent Canadian urban planners, public service, and investment experts were fired or resigned from their jobs.

The beginning of the Downfall

All of this disarray did not serve well for the company. The global pandemic’s economic uncertainty and dictum from Waterfront Toronto led to the eventual Toronto smart-city project cancelation in May 2020. 

Moreover, developer Stephen Diamond got promoted as Waterfront Toronto’s chair during this challenging time. Diamond spent his tenure negotiating with Mr. Doctoroff, and he was disappointed to realize that Sidewalk Labs had a vision much larger than initially proposed.

Later, the company focused on developing individual products for cities such as smart parking-spot availability and a health care platform worth more than a billion dollars now. However, after Sidewalk fired most of its Toronto staff upon the project’s cancellation, it became lower-profile. The top deputies deserted their positions that sent the company spiraling into chaos.

Way Forward

Mr. Doctoroff revealed that there had been a shift of most of the Sidewalk’s products that are in the development stage under Google’s umbrella. Sidewalk’s remaining top two deputies will be overseeing their development from now. 

Another active project focused on constructing tall buildings made from wood was given to another company. But, unfortunately, there hasn’t been any news release about the urban products in the making yet.

Reddit Opens an Office in Toronto

Canadians, here is some good news for you— another famous social platform has now opened its office in Toronto. 

One of the leading digital forums, Reddit, is looking to expand its global presence to recruit a more diverse engineering and community team. So what could be a better place to do it than Canada, Reddit’s third-largest market.

This digital company began with a short-term hiring plan with ten employees. However, there are rumors that Reddit might be opening more job positions soon for skillful individuals to be part of the official team,

Reddit’s Competition in Canada

Recently, many digital companies have set up their offices in Canada and have contributed significantly towards providing employment. For example, Twitter Inc, Pinterest, and TikTok have boosted their hiring rate in Toronto. 

In addition, an Indian tech-consulting firm— HCL Technologies— has vowed to hire 2000 more employees in the next three years, while TikTok has promised to hire 500 more people.

Reddit has intense competition existing in Canada. As the company scales across Canada, it focuses on building the team quickly. To do that, they are hoping to set the bar for recruitment exceptionally high by hiring the top talent and building a strong talent brand.

Reddit Closing the Distances

Reddit’s new office’s purpose is to encourage a strong relationship between the company and Canada, where a large userbase of Reddit lives. The company recently released that Reddit’s Canadian user base is growing at a rate of more than 40% every year. 

According to the data collected by the company, not every Reddit user is part of other social media platforms. For example, more than 20% of Canadian Reddit users don’t use Facebook, more than 35% don’t use Twitter, and almost 70% said they don’t use TikTok.

The company did not reveal the number of Canadian userbases. However, Reddit is striving to increase the userbase in the country with the help of the Canadian community team.

A New Approach

Reddit has enjoyed being the “front page of the internet” for a long time. The subreddit threads have helped millions of people in all aspects of life— from students to teachers to Wall Street corporates. In addition, it helped in making public opinion matter.

However, public-led movements often have flaws. Reddit is now taking a new approach towards curbing the negative aspects of the website. The company’s chief operating officer, Jen Wong, said, “We take safely, harassment and misinformation really, really seriously on the platform.”

Reddit is dedicated to bringing a positive change to the world. By experimenting and trying new strategies, it is expanding, slowly but surely, around the globe. The hope is to leave its impact by working closely with communities.

Robots in Toronto: Future or Modern Distractions

In the past two years, the world has observed significant changes due to the Pandemic. Technology has taken a shift in paradigm with the help of continuous advancements and researches in AI, making people’s lives easier and bearable. 

New apps and gadgets have been introduced. Along with that, robots have also been seen quite a lot managing chores that were once manhandled. But due to some petitions in recent times, it feels like not many people are happy with this innovation—especially ones with disabilities. 

Petition Against Pink Delivery Robots

Tiny Miles – a company that deals with little pink delivery robots, is on the verge of losing its business. They have been accused of creating a menace on the roads with their robots. David Lepofsky is a retired lawyer and a teacher. He feels that these new robots running around on the pavements make it difficult to commute daily. As David has been blind most of his life, accessibility is a major problem for him. He fears that regardless of the laws created by the government, it’s not helping much since there is no implementation. 

Tiny Miles Robots Are Safe And Tested

CEO-  Ignacio Tartavull has made sure that his robots are safe after hearing Lepofsky’s concerns. They do malfunction sometimes, but those issues are efficiently resolved. Also, a team is designated to pick up the robot if it malfunctions. 

In addition, the robots used for food delivery weigh only 4.5 kg. They also have a friendly speed of 6 km/h, which prevents pedestrians from getting into accidents. He has personally tested these robots to ensure maximum protection. 

Pilot project for robots on the street

The Ministry of Transportation in Canada initiated a pilot project. This project allows companies to operate their robots in public for delivery services and snow shoveling. This project will be monitored by cameras at all times. 

The pilot is supposed to measure the safety of putting robots out in the open. These robots are instructed to be labeled clearly with the company’s name. Also, they should have a speed limit of 10 km/h on sidewalks and 20 km/h on bike lanes. They must weigh less than 125 kgs with 74 cm width. But before the pilot project even ran, pink robots were already operating and are now petitioned to be banned. 

Final Word

According to the city council’s votes, Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee will make final decisions regarding the ban of pink delivery robots. Tiny miles has asked to file a petition. Now only the people can decide the fate of these little robots.

Combating Rising Cybercrimes in Canada

Ever since the pandemic began, the threat of hacking and cyber crimes rose at an alarming rate. Many people and even official sites were hacked which posed a threat regarding the usage of online platforms and the information people provided. It was even a big question mark since Covid-19 made everyone switch to working virtually.

Manitoba worked with Ottawa and temporarily took down their websites in order to boost their protection against cybercrimes and hacking, especially ransomware attacks, which is on the rise in Canada and Canada was in top countries who were the target of cyberattacks.

Cyber Threats and Risks Faced

Sami Khoury, head of the government-run Canadian Centre for Cyber Security said that Canada is among the top countries that has been impacted by cybercrime and the Government needs to advise a sound system for protection against cybercrime faced. The hackers are getting advanced and the state needs to protect themselves accordingly.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made it easy for hackers to advance in their malicious activities, since the entire workload has left the protected and encrypted computer systems of offices to the unprotected systems used at homes. Khoury said that hackers have honed in on system vulnerabilities in the shift to at-home work if this increase and lack of protection against cyberattacks can lead to national and international level threat. 

Not long ago Newfoundland and Labrador’s health-care system faced a major cyber attack of ransomware. Health-care workers were forced to use paper and manual systems for the first time in decades. This attack further put the residents and general public at the risk of identity frauds. The hackers hack data and in return they ask for a hefty amount in order to give the data back.

How do Hackers get a hold of your Data

Federal data shows the average ransom amount paid by the public and private sector soared to $300,000 in 2019 from $25,000 in early 2019 due to work from home shifting. The payment in fall levelled about $175,000. Ransomware hack usually starts from phishing. The victim gets an email which seems like a trusted source and the link(s) in that email that directs someone to the login site of an agency or a government’s site. The hacker gets a hold of the username and password. Such emails may also contain invoice or a receipt which contain viruses.

In such cases, the hackers try to steal as much data as they can and then encrypt the data, locking out the original owner of the data, threatening them for selling the data unless some amount is paid. Then a ransom is demanded which is usually paid in crypto (to protect the anonymity of the hacker).

What is Being done for Protection?

Amid the rising cyber attacks, Khoury’s federal group issued a guidance for the prevention and lookout for ransomware attacks.

Manitoba cyber-security expert Eddie Philips said that the companies and the government are not concerned enough about the threat that cyberattacks pose. He said that companies must have a recovery time objective (RTO). He further said that large firms need disaster recovery plans which include backup databases which workers can use.

Health and Manitoba governments said they had a back-up database and recovery targets which are divided among the departments. They also revamped up their cyber security system that helped secure the system of their workers among the networks.

Alot is being done by the government to combat the rising threat of cybercrimes. Pandemic changed the entire network of how people worked and interacted. Philips said that training is essential to prevent cyberattacks and every company and firm should take measures not only to protect their systems but to also train their employees about possible threats and how to prevent them. Sometimes, hackers just need a little window open through which they can invade and steal essential information. Education and training can help prevent cyberattacks.

Newfoundland is left to Rebuild their System ‘from scratch’ using backups, Following the Cyberattack

Amid the global pandemic, better working of the healthcare system is of utmost importance. The recent cyber-attack on Newfoundland and Labrador’s healthcare system has raised cautions about protection against hacks and cyber-attacks and protection of vital and personal data.

The Cyber-Attack on Healthcare System

Cyber-attacks on healthcare systems are not a new thing happening in Canada. The recent cyber-attack was termed to be the worst attack healthcare system in Canada had to face. On 30th October 2021 cybercriminals hacked the healthcare systems Newfoundland and Labrador, gaining access to the personal data of patients and employees. However, David Diamond, head of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest health authority, told reporters that the system has been built again “from scratch” using backups.

The reason for rebuilding systems from scratch is because in ransomware attacks, the victims either cannot obtain the decryption key or the decryption key doesn’t work as intended to, as told by cyber security consultant and former special adviser to Europol’s CyberCrime Centre, Brian Honan.

What was Stolen?

Confirmed by the officials, the hackers stole personal information of health-care workers/patients from four health regions and social insurance numbers of 2,514 patients-1,025 of whom are still alive. These insurance numbers were likely collected by mistake as said by Diamonds.

Combating the Cyber Attack

Ever Since the attack, the officials were reluctant to reveal any information regarding the nature of the attack or the cybercriminals responsible for this cyberattack on the healthcare sector of Newfoundlnd and Labrador. It took days to reveal that the reason behind the disruption of the healthcare system was a cyberattack.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s health-care system was built from scratch as the experts said it is not an easy task. Vice-president of Industry Security Strategy at eSentire, Mark Snagster said that the reason for rebuilding the system from scratch was to make sure that the attackers had not left behind any “hidden back door” from which they can enter back again. Though it was an expensive and difficult job.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador was reluctant in giving any information regarding the cyberattack or having contact with any of the perpetrators. They refused to tell whether any ransom was demanded or paid during the attack. The involvement of ransomware was not clearly conveyed either by the government.They didn’t even tell whether the data was lost, however Honan said it was unlikely since they were rebuilding the system from scratch.

The cyberattack on Newfoundland and Labrador’s health system is deemed to be the worst cyber attack in the history of Canada. The lack of word and information by the government further made the public doubtful about the security of their personal data and information which seemed vulnerable to the attacks of cybercriminals. The cyberattack was a signal towards the Canadian government to protect and safeguard the information of its citizens.

Everything That Glitters Isn’t Gold; Secrets Behind Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)

Buy now, pay later! Sounds cool, right? Is it convenient or just a way to trap shopaholics? What do you think? Options to easily pay in four installments were recently introduced in a few developed countries. 

The new payment method doubled the e-commerce transactions in the last year. However, since young people are not known for paying on time, it has negatively impacted their credit history. So, now the critical question is, are these new BNPL payment methods helpful or merely gimmicks. 

How can one utilize these to maximum benefit? Financial advisors these days raise these questions frequently – let’s find out.

Buy Now, Pay Later

The method of shopping using credit and debit cards and later paying in installments is getting famous. BNPL allows users to purchase stuff and later pay in four easy installments like credit cards. 

The only difference is credit card companies charge interest in case of delays. On the other hand, BNPL apps charge a late fee in delayed payments within the scheduled seven days. So shopping is being made convenient but at what cost? Your credit score? 

Jessica Moorehouse, a financial counselor, says that as much as these options look viable, they are playing with psychology. People have started spending more than they can afford. The urge of impulsive buying stops them from building wealth and clearing debts. 

Psychological Aspects Of Shopping

Financial advisors have highlighted the psychological aspects of shopping through BNPL options. While the credit card companies kept the interest low, online shopping rates soared during the pandemic.  

According to a study conducted by Credit Karma, people who used BNPL missed more than one installment. 

See, where are we heading? Yes, exactly more debts!

Here’s a suggestion to all buyers, especially youngsters: Every company has a different set of terms and conditions that one needs to go through thoroughly. 

Reading Through Terms And Conditions

Stocking up everything through BNPL services looks like a convenient deal to many. However, little do the consumers pay attention towards reading the terms and conditions mentioned regarding missing payments. 

Final Word

In the modern-day, when we crave a luxurious lifestyle, BNPL can be a fantastic option to maintain the lifestyle. However, one should thoroughly review the pros and cons before adopting it to enjoy maximum benefits. 

Happy Shopping, you all!

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