Tag Archives: ontario

Coronavirus Contact Tracing App To Launch In Canada Shortly

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a tracing app to be launched in Canada within weeks.

The app will let users know whether they have come into contact with covid19 cases around them. The app will be completely voluntary. It will be first launched in Ontario as a test drive.

No personal information will be collected and the app will adhere to all the Canadian privacy laws.

Canada has recently surpassed 100,000 Covid19 cases but the new cases are slowing down.

The app was developed by Shopify and BlackBerry volunteers and will integrate with publicly available health data to let users know of Covid19 cases around them.

Province of Alberta has already launched an app in that province called ABTraceTogether. It was downloaded more than 200,000 times.

UPDATED: Canadian Privacy Agency to Investigate US Facial Recognition Firm

Update #1: The company in this story, Clearview AI, has just been hacked and more than 2,200 organizations spanning law enforcement to universities have their information accessed. Clearview has clients such as US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Justice, the FBI, Macy’s, Best Buy. In Canada multiple police agencies have used them such as Ontario Provincial Police, Ottawa Police, RCPM, Durham Police, etc.


Canadian privacy agency has launched an investigation into NY-based Clearview AI firm to see if its facial recognition technology complies with Canadian privacy laws.

Clearview uses millions of images across the internet to screen for potential terrorists and criminals. Many law enforcement agencies in US and Canada , like Durham Regional Police in Ontario, have used or have tested the technology.

Critics in both US and Canada said that just pulling images from internet provides no consent , and can be used misused.

The indiscriminate scraping of the internet to collect images of people’s faces for law enforcement purposes has significant privacy implications for all Ontarians. We have made it clear in the past that my office should be consulted before this type of technology is used.

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Brian Beamish

Ontario privacy commissioner

Privacy regulators in every province in Canada have agreed to work together to develop guidance on usage of bio-metric data when it comes to facial recognition.

Some twitter users expressed their dissatisfaction with this facial recognition data used by the police.

https://twitter.com/deceasedcrepes/status/1229006065305407489

Police chief in Ontario said that even though they have used the technology to on trial basis , they will discontinue the use of it until further guidance.

The Durham Police Chief ordered that the use of such technology (facial recognition) be stopped immediately until the matter is reviewed and further direction is received from the privacy commissioner.

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Dave Selby

Police spokesperson, Durham Regional Police Service

Software Developers’ Salaries in Toronto are Rising Fast

As reported by Wall Street Journal, salaries for software developers outside of Silicon Valley are rising fast. This is due to the fact that the companies are expending outside of Silicon Valley and bidding up the software developers’ salaries.

For example, average salaries in Silicon Valley for 2018 were around $220,000 Canadian dollars, increasing 6% from 2017.

While in Toronto skilled software developers were making on average around $110,000 Canadian dollars in 2018, increasing 7% from 2017.

It seems like salaries in Silicon Valley have risen so much that they have plateaued and are still increasing but at somewhat slower rate.

Companies have started expanding into cities like Toronto where salaries are almost half of what they have to pay for workers in Silicon Valley.

Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Jack Dorsey recently said that he thinks that hiring in Silicon Valley is no longer working and that Twitter needs to look outside the Silicon Valley to hire more technical staff.

Toronto has been growing at rapid speed when it comes to number of technical jobs available and salaries that come with them. Toronto has now many companies doing artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other specialty fields that command higher salaries.

The demand for IT is high but talent is very hard to find. For example there are over 350,000 unfilled positions in the US, according to IT trade group CompTIA.

On top of that, according to Dice, over 60% of all software engineers, are planned to move to a different city due to number of constraints.

Data OF 15 Million LifeLabs’ Canadian Customers Compromised

Lifelabs , Canada’s largest provider of health diagnostic testing services, acknowledged that more than 15 million of accounts have been compromised in a recent hack.

However Lifelabs has mentioned that they have negotiated with hackers and paid a ransom fee to get the data back.

Information of more than 15 million of customers in British Columbia and Ontario have been compromised. Data like the names, addresses, email addresses, customer logins and passwords, health card numbers and lab test results have been accessed by hackers.

The company states that the hack has occurred on November 1st 2019.

This is not the first time LifeLabs gets hacked. They had similar incident few years ago where hard drives with data of thousands of patients were stolen.

Lifelabs apologizes for the incident and says that it will offer one free year of identity theft insurance as well as dark web monitoring.

An Open Letter to LifeLabs Customers

To our customers:

Through proactive surveillance, LifeLabs recently identified a cyber-attack that involved unauthorized access to our computer systems with customer information that could include name, address, email, login, passwords, date of birth, health card number and lab test results.

Personally, I want to say I am sorry that this happened. As we manage through this issue, my team and I remain focused on the best interests of our customers. You entrust us with important health information, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

We have taken several measures to protect our customer information including:

Immediately engaging with world-class cyber security experts to isolate and secure the affected systems and determine the scope of the breach;

Further strengthening our systems to deter future incidents;

Retrieving the data by making a payment. We did this in collaboration with experts familiar with cyber-attacks and negotiations with cyber criminals;

Engaging with law enforcement, who are currently investigating the matter; and

Offering cyber security protection services to our customers, such as identity theft and fraud protection insurance.

I want to emphasize that at this time, our cyber security firms have advised that the risk to our customers in connection with this cyber-attack is low and that they have not seen any public disclosure of customer data as part of their investigations, including monitoring of the dark web and other online locations.

We have fixed the system issues related to the criminal activity and worked around the clock to put in place additional safeguards to protect your information. In the interest of transparency and as required by privacy regulations, we are making this announcement to notify all customers. There is information relating to approximately 15 million customers on the computer systems that were potentially accessed in this breach. The vast majority of these customers are in B.C. and Ontario, with relatively few customers in other locations. In the case of lab test results, our investigations to date of these systems indicate that there are 85,000 impacted customers from 2016 or earlier located in Ontario; we will be working to notify these customers directly. Our investigation to date indicates any instance of health card information was from 2016 or earlier.

While you are entitled to file a complaint with the privacy commissioners, we have already notified them of this breach and they are investigating the matter. We have also notified our government partners.

While we’ve been taking steps over the last several years to strengthen our cyber defenses, this has served as a reminder that we need to stay ahead of cybercrime which has become a pervasive issue around the world in all sectors.

Any customer who is concerned about this incident can receive one free year of protection that includes dark web monitoring and identity theft insurance.

Yours sincerely,

President and CEO

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Charles Brown

LifeLabs

Sales of Electric Vehicles in Ontario Decrease due to Rebate Cut

Since Doug Ford’s government has cut the rebate for provincial electric cars in Ontario last year, the sales for the electric cars like Tesla, have stagnated. The Canadian national target might now not be met due to Ontario’s lack of sales.

If you compare first 6 months in 2019 to the same first 6 months in 2018, the number sales have plummeted more than 55 percent.

Ontario is the only province in Canada that is NOT seeing increase in sales in electric cars. Quebec and British Columbia where they have great rebate on electric cars are leading the sales in Canada.

Doug Ford has cut the $14,000 rebate last year saying that government should not be subsidizing people who want to buy expensive cars. Tesla models start at around $50,000.

The way it stands when buying electric vehicles in Canada you might be eligible for $5,000 in federal incentives, an additional $3,000 in British Columbia and up to $8,000 in Quebec.

Federal government wants to hit 10% of electric vehicles on the roads in Canada by 2025. But the current number of registered electric cars are at only 3.5%.

In British Columbia more than 10% of vehicles sold are electric cars, and in Quebec that number is at 7%.

In Ontario the total # of electric vehicle are at only around 2%.

Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney’s office has refused to comment on the numbers.

Toronto Drug Dealer To Pay $1.9m Bitcoin To Ontario

The largest Canadian bitcoin bust happened this week. Toronto court ordered a drug dealer to pay $1.9m bitcoin found on his computer to the province.

Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly ruled that way due to the fact that Matthew Phan, local drug dealer, used the money to buy guns and drugs.

Phan did not agree with that assessment saying that only a part of that $1.9m bitcoin was used to buy drugs and guns but another large chunk was legitimately used to buy and sell gold and trade it on various exchanges.

Judge Kelly said in her statement to The Toronto Star:

“There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that Mr. Phan was using the dark markets to purchase illegal items such as firearms and silencers. It is clear from the evidence found during searches, particularly of his condominium unit, that he was conducting a large sales operation of illegal narcotics.

It is a reasonable inference to draw that payment for such illegal narcotics sales was made using Bitcoin that was found in the digital wallet on Mr. Phan’s computer”

Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly

Judge Kelly said that even though Phan has to forfeit $1.9m in bitcoin she was not completely convinced that the other $50,000 of bitcoin they found was used for crime, and Phan can get to keep that amount.

Bitcoin has recently climbed from $4,500 to $6,500 per bitcoin.

Transport Canada is Funding 45 min Toronto – Montreal Hyperloop Train Study

Transport Canada is funding a study to see if it is feasible to build an electric tunnel to take passengers from Toronto to Montreal on speedy hyperloop train in just 45 minutes.

The Hyperloop is a new intercity transportation concept. Promoters are engineering the design to provide travellers with a travel mode featuring very high speeds, fixed guideways above and below ground, and capsule like vehicles called pods propelled within a network of looped sealed partial-vacuum tubes.

https://twitter.com/cozyfury/status/1113244304863039488

Government agency said that they are looking to hire subject matter experts to analyze the project and see if it feasible to execute.

According to the government’s RFP document, Transport Canada requires “services of a transportation engineering consulting firm so that the Department can be better informed on the technical, operational, economic, safety, and regulatory aspects of the Hyperloop and understand its construction requirements and commercial feasibility.”

Elon Mask has originally introduced the technology to the market in 2016. Companies like Transpod, Canadian company manufacturing ultra-high-speed transportation, as well as Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One have popped up claiming that their hyperloop trains can reach speeds of up to 1,000 km/hour.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BubvcZEg71q/

Many so called experts debate the pros and cons of the hyperloop system. Some key points are below (as taken from FutureforAll.org website).

Pros of Hyperloop Train

  • Fast, efficient and cheap to operate
  • Average speeds of around 600 mph (970 km/h), with a top speed of 760 mph (1,200 km/h)
  • Low power consumption
  • Uses Solar Energy for power
  • Open-sourced, encouraging others to take the ideas and further develop them.
  • Hyperloops tubes are protected from the weather, birds, objects on railroad tracks.
  • In the event of equipment or electrical failure, the system comes to a stop (does not fall from the sky).
  • Automation reduces the risk of human error
  • Promotes economic growth around the Hyperloop route
  • Reduced freight costs and times

Cons of Hyperloop Train

  • High cost of development and construction
  • Susceptible to disruption from earthquakes, power outages or terror attacks
  • No sharp curves or abrupt height changes in the route
  • Potential for rapid decompression of the tube or passenger space
  • Vibration and jostling caused by high speeds
  • People will not be able to move freely during travel (no bathroom?)
  • Unproven system
https://www.instagram.com/p/BhKXD8kAZCb/

While we wait for the study to be completed, Transpod claims that they will sell tickets for as low as $80 one way trip between Toronto and Montreal and get you there in just 45 minutes. Wish we could get there as fast when travel from Mississauga to Toronto downtown on a busy morning commute.