Archives for Uncategorized

Can Twitter debate really be more civil?

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey wants to improve one of the most controversial features of his social media platform – debate and conversation. According to The Toronto Star, Dorsey is asking for help improving “the openness and civility of conversation on Twitter.” Dorsey believes the company has “failed to prevent misinformation, echo chambers and abuse of its global messaging service.”

Twitter is now soliciting proposals for strategies on measuring the healthiness of conversation on the service and ways to improve it. Those proposals are due mid-April.

“We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough. We simply can’t and don’t want to do this alone,” Dorsey tweeted.

As anyone on the web knows, Twitter certainly isn’t the only culprit in unhealthy social media discussion. Already this year, Mark Zuckerberg has promised his time in fixing the same issues on Facebook. YouTube has recently expressed difficulty in this area, especially in the wake of polarizing events in the news. This goes to show that Twitter may have a long road ahead.

Source: – Twitter CEO looking to improve ‘civility’ of online debate; YouTube Stumbles
Published: March 2, 2018

Is Canada on the path to 5G?

Canada’s federal government, as well as the governments of Ontario and Quebec, have partnered with industry leaders Ericsson, Ciena Canada, Thales Canada, IBM Canada, and CGI, to bring the country up to speed with 5G technology.

According to Metro News, “A $400-million public-private investment will create a corridor of 5G wireless test beds through Canada’s two largest provinces, aimed at giving companies a chance to experiment with new ideas and products that are only now becoming possible thanks to recent breakthroughs in telecommunication technology.”

This project is called ENCQOR. Or, if you prefer, ‘Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation.’ It will give about 1,000 small and medium-sized lucky businesses the opportunity to plug into 5G early for research and development purposes. Both Ontario and Quebec have pledged about $67 million. This will also benefit residents of these provinces, where the projected is expected to create 4,000 jobs.

5G is still decently far into the future for most Canadians. But it is an important development, especially in terms of a more connected world that includes “driverless cars, remotely controlled complex surgeries, and download speeds up to 100 times faster than today’s 4G networks.”

“5G is the gateway to the future and we are just on the brink of this technological revolution,” Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said Monday at a funding announcement in Ottawa.

Source: – Data alert: 5G wireless telecommunication corridor is coming to Canada
Published: March 19, 2018

Grand theft auto leaves Florida towns without internet connection

Last week, citizens of Rockledge and Cocoa, Florida were left without internet for several hours following one man’s theft of a repair truck routing fiber optic cable.

Florida Today reported that the “outage affected up to 5,000 customers, including businesses and residences.”

The person of interest in this crime, Shane Younger, stole the “$100,000 truck, hitched to a $50,000 trailer filled with tools and other equipment” right out from under the repairmen’s nose as they were spooling fiber optic cable. The truck was recovered the next morning at 5:30am from a Denny’s parking lot.

“The person came out of nowhere and stole the truck,” Joe Durkin, spokesperson for Spectrum – the company that owns the truck and cables – told Florida Today. The publication says, “One worker actually jumped from the truck as the suspected thief rolled off, violently snapping and damaging the cable.” The damages caused to the cables could cost as much as $10,000 to repair.

Surely Younger had no idea how impactful his crime would be when stealing the vehicle. A spokesperson for the Cocoa Police Department told Florida Today that “several police agencies” also experienced outages. “Officers had to use backup radios after the cables were snapped.” Luckily 911 systems were not effected.

Younger was taken into custody and booked at the county jail on charges of grand theft.

Source: – Stolen cable repair truck in Cocoa leads to Spectrum internet outage
Published: March 14, 2018

You can now officially sue Yahoo for those data breaches

You probably remember Yahoo’s large series of data breaches that lasted from 2013 to 2016, where the personal data of potentially three billion Yahoo users were exposed to hackers. Well, if you’re a U.S-based Yahoo user who was a victim of this breach and you’re looking for compensation, you now have a chance to get it. Judge Lucy Koh, of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, recently ruled that victims can launch a class-action suit against Yahoo, despite parent company Verizon’s request to drop such suits.

The FBI was aided by Yahoo in closing the hacking case. Two Russian intelligence agents, as well as a Canadian hacker, were charged in accordance with the incident. The Canadian hacker plead guilty to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy charges this past November, according to BGR.

Even though the case was solved, Yahoo users have still been impacted. Some have spent money on extra security measures and credit freezes following the data breach. Koh argued that this was the responsibility of Yahoo. Part of the issue was that Yahoo did not disclose until 2016 that it had experienced hacking for the past few years.

“Plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to show that they would have behaved differently had defendants disclosed the security weaknesses of the Yahoo Mail System,” Koh wrote in her decision. Koh believes that Yahoo users might have “taken measures to protect themselves had they known about the breaches sooner.”

Source: – Judge rules that Yahoo Mail data breach victims can sue Yahoo
Published: March 12, 2018

BlackBerry files lawsuit against Facebook over patent infringement

blackberry logo longOn March 6th, BlackBerry reportedly filed a patent infringement suit against Facebook and Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram under the argument that they copied technology from BlackBerry Messenger.

“Defendants created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative security, user interface, and functionality enhancing features,” the suit, filed with a Los Angeles federal court, claims.

BlackBerry spokeswoman Sarah McKinney told Venture Beat that “Protecting shareholder assets and intellectual property is the job of every CEO.” This comment addresses rumours that litigation and patent infringement lawsuits are central to CEO John Chen’s business strategy.  McKinney said that this was “not central to BlackBerry’s strategy.”

Facebook obviously won’t go down without a fight. The company’s Deputy General Counsel, Paul Grewal, said in a statement that, “Blackberry’s suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business. Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, Blackberry is now looking to tax the innovation of others.”

BlackBerry sued Nokia Corp last year for patents relating to 3G and 4G wireless communication. That case is still pending in a federal court in Delaware, according to Venture Beat. Qualcomm also agreed to pay BlackBerry $940 million over a royalty payments dispute. In October 2017, BlackBerry settled with Blu Products Inc, a Floridian low-cost mobile device manufacturer which it had sued over patents.

Source: – BlackBerry sues Facebook over messaging patents
Published: March 6, 2018

Should Ontario ban door-to-door telecom sales?

A member of Ontario Parliament has recently told CBC that Bell Canada’s door-to-door sales tactics are “absolutely despicable.” Liberal MPP Yvan Baker is advocating that telecom sales be included in Ontario’s new ban on door-to-door sales of certain products and services.

A bill that came into effect on March 1st bans the door-to-door sale of water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, and water treatment systems. Although it does not include telecom services, MPP Baker thinks it should be amended to do so.

“I think it’s beyond reprehensible that there are people who are misleading, who are using aggressive tactics to coerce people into these contracts that are not to the benefit of the consumer,” Baker told CBC.

Baker isn’t alone in his opinions. CBC GO Public recently did an investigation into these Bell sales tactics, using a hidden camera. A CBC producer was hired by a company selling Bell services door-to-door. The investigation found  that “sales reps misled homeowners on ‘guaranteed’ monthly prices for Bell’s Fibe TV, internet and home phone packages. They also twisted the truth on WiFi reach, internet speed and Bell’s fibre optic network.”

Baker says that Bell uses similarly misleading tactics as salespeople selling furnaces, water heaters, and the likes. He thinks the CRTC should investigate, but that Ontario can make steps to protect its consumers in the meantime.

Source: – ‘We just have to stop this’: MPP says Ontario should investigate banning door-to-door telecom sales
Published: March 3, 2018

What are Google’s responsibilities in upholding the law?

Google is such a big presence that it is bound to come into conflict with law and ethics. However, Google is not a jurisdiction or government, and every country has different laws in regards to the internet.  So what is Google’s responsibility when someone using its platform breaks the law? According to Search Engine Land, a German court recently weighed in on the topic.

The German Federal Court of Justice – the nation’s highest court – has ruled that Google “is not required to pre-screen websites for defamation before displaying them in search results.”

In the case, the plaintiff wanted Google to be made to filter out website that displayed “allegedly defamatory content about them” in a discussion forum. They were also seeking damages from Google. Had they won, Google would have had to review all website content in Germany for any potential violations before displaying it in search results, which, as you can imagine, would be an enormous burden on the company.

According to Search Engine Land, the court decided that “that a duty to take action is triggered only if Google is notified ‘of a clearly recognizable violation of individuals’ rights.’” The court said, “, “Instituting a general duty to inspect the content would seriously call into question the business model of search engines, which is approved by lawmakers and wanted by society. Without the help of such search engines it would be impossible for individuals to get meaningful use out of the internet due to the unmanageable flood of data it contains.”

Source: – German court: Google has no ‘duty to inspect’ websites for illegal content before displaying
Published: February 27, 2018

LTE roaming volume had industry majority in 2017

Although 5G may be dominating the news right now, let’s not forget about LTE. Last year, for the first time, LTE data roaming traffic surpassed non-LTE roaming traffic worldwide. This important milestone was reported in a study done by Syniverse, a self-proclaimed “global leader in mobile interoperability, mobile communications and mobile expertise.”

In 2017 alone, LTE traffic rose to 54 percent of the global outbound roaming traffic from 42 percent in 2016. Syniverse’s study analysed global roaming traffic records from its “global IPX network that connects nearly 1,000 mobile operators.” It also found that LTE roaming volume grew by 121 percent across six regions in 2017, and that the Americas represent 79 percent of the total roaming volume.

Senior Vice President of Syniverse, John Wick, broke the news by saying that, “eight years after its first commercial launch, LTE is only now a truly mature global technology. The data underscores the need for the industry to more urgently prepare for 5G and the internet of things (IoT).”

“If the 5G use cases exciting the industry are to become a reality and ubiquitously adopted, steps need to be taken soon to strengthen and evolve the entire framework of interconnection, interoperability, security, and roaming that many of these new 5G services would rely on,” Wick continued.

Source: LTE now represents most of the world’s roaming traffic
Published: 26 February, 2018

Amazon shipping is making FedEx and UPS sweat

Amazon is the world’s biggest online retailer, with an army of merchandise warehouses, airplanes, trucks, drones and couriers to aid its shipping ambitions. The Seattle-based company has made use of existing shipping companies, including a delivery partnership with FedEx, but it has also been moving to overtake them according to The Seattle Times. The publications warns, “Amazon is coming for you, FedEx and UPS. Maybe not today or tomorrow. But soon.”

Amazon has been accused of trying to negate companies like FedEx and UPS in the past. Executives have stated that the fleets of trucks, warehouses, airplanes, and delivery drivers are “intended to supplement existing shipping providers when needed and improve service for Amazon shoppers.” But Amazon cannot deny that it has built its own shipping empire, and surely, before long, it won’t need FedEx’s help.

On February 9th, The Wall Street Journal reported that “Amazon plans for the first time to pick up packages from businesses and ship them to customers.” Meaning, it won’t be employing a middle man. This option is available only in Los Angeles for now, and only for companies that sell merchandise through Amazon’s website. But, as The Seattle Times points out, “this is the company’s first direct move into FedEx and UPS territory.”

FedEx and UPS have been denying this move for years. Two years ago, FedEx CEO Fred Smith told analysts that, “In all likelihood, the primary deliverers of e-commerce shipments for the foreseeable future will be UPS, the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx.”

Now it is clear Smith was wrong. The likelihood of Amazon ousting FedEx and UPS right away is low – the process will take years. But Amazon has only been building its shipping infrastructure since 2013, and it already has a formidable force behind it.

Source: – Amazon’s delivery dream is a nightmare for FedEx and UPS
Published: February 11, 2018

Bell Canada and Telus start 2018 on a high note

If you remember this past December in Canada’s telecom world, then you’ll remember a bunch of holiday promotions and a frenzy for the major telecom companies to snatch up new customers. As it turns out, Telus and Bell Canada won that race.

Telus announced on February 8th that it added 121,000 new wireless customers in the fourth quarter of 2017, beating analyst expectations of 100,000. In the same period, Bell Canada (BCE Inc.,) added 175,000 new customer, while rival telecom Rogers Communications Inc., only added 72,000.  This is especially disappointing for Rogers, the company responsible for kicking off the period of frenzy in December. According to The Globe and Mail, Rogers “faced a computer glitch that left it unable to sign up certain customers for the deals and said it estimates it lost about 35,000 subscribers as a result.”

Telus executives have attributed its success over this period to simple superior service. And they may have a point. The Globe and Mail says, “A number of recent third-party tests – including a report Wednesday from OpenSignal– have ranked Telus’s download speeds and wireless network reliability at the top of Canada’s national carriers.” The company also maintains that it has a low rate of customer turn-over due to high quality customer service, and that this attracted more customers in 2017.

“When you have a lot of activity in the market, if your customers don’t have a reason to leave you will be successful and that is our goal,” Telus chief financial officer Doug French told The Globe and Mail.

Source: – Telus wireless gains top forecasts amid battle for market share
Published: February 8, 2018