In the News

Feb 24, 2020

At least one element of the European Union’s recently-published draft principles for regulating artificial intelligence falls short of what the U.S. proposes, says Michael Kratsios, a senior White House technology officer. He says the EU white paper “in some ways clumsily attempts to bucket AI-power technologies as either high-risk or not compared with a broader spectrum approach.

Feb 21, 2020

The Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, has been added to the European Union’s blacklist of tax havens. The EU says the three islands, which have no income, capital gains or corporates taxes, lack “appropriate measures” for preventing tax abuse, but Premier Alden McLaughlin says the territory has approved many reforms sought by the EU.

Feb 19, 2020

Growing reliance on the public cloud as a core element of public- and private-sector transition to an increasingly digital world worries Eric Trexler, vice-president of global governments and critical infrastructure at Texas-based Forcepoint, a company partly owned by Raytheon which develops and markets cybersecurity software. While the trend is expected to give agencies more data storage flexibility, he says it also amounts to an “attractive bullseye” for cyberattackers.

Feb 18, 2020

Two fiery derailments 06 February in Saskatchewan have prompted a Transport Canada directive that speed limits for trains with 20 or more cars carrying dangerous goods must be halved, to 32 kilometres an hour in metropolitan areas and to 40km/h elsewhere.

Feb 18, 2020

BAE Systems completed its maiden flight of a high-altitude solar-powered aircraft with a 35-metre wingspan. The unmanned platform is designed to fly at an altitude of about 51,000m with a time aloft of more than a year at lower cost than satellites. The project is being underwritten by Britain and Australia., where the first flight took place at the Woomera Test Range.

Feb 18, 2020

Germany is moving to protect cyber technologies as national assets, enabling it to side-step European Union regulations which othersie require procurements to be open to bids from prospective suppliers in all member states. Artificial intelligence, electronic warfare, networked operations, cryptology and defence-related information and communications technologies are deemed crucial to national security and hence are exempt.

Feb 17, 2020

Continuing a long-running fight with the European Union over subsidies to their aircraft manufacturing sectors, the U.S. plans to hike its tariff on Airbus and aircraft parts to 15 per cent next month. The action targets EU members where Airbus parts are made: Britain, France, Germany and Spain. The EU has long insisted that the U.S. subsidizes Boeing, Airbus’ main competitor in the global commercial aircraft market.

Feb 17, 2020

Chinese telecom giant Huawei is being charged by the U.S. with new offences, including stealing trade secrets and violation sanctions against North Korea. Huawei says the charges are without merit and based mainly on civil disputes already settled in court.

Feb 17, 2020

Concerns that Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been mistreated during their detention in China since December 2018 are being dismissed as overblown by China’s ambassador to Canada. Cong Peiwu insists their legal rights are protected and that media coverage of their situation is “just hype up of stories.”

Feb 17, 2020

A respected Japanese academic who has researched his country’s relationship with China says that Japanese and western policies of engagement based solely on trade and business interests has failed. Junya Nishino says it is apparent that the hope that liberalized trade and investment would lead to a more democratic China has run up against the political reality that Beijing is not interested.

Feb 17, 2020

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is being urged by one of the sectors it to set up new protections for smartphone users targeted by a scam involving SIM (subscriber identify module) cards. The fraud involves hackers who use pirated information to set up a new account with a service provider which then can be used to gain access to banking and other applications linked to their phone.

Feb 17, 2020

Israel’s military has disclosed that it has foiled a move by Palestinian Hamas militants to hack into Israeli troops’ smartphones. It uncovered the plot several months ago but let it continue under surveillance until they shut it down.  Dozens of troops were targeted by Hamas agents posing as young women, enabling them to download malware.

Feb 17, 2020

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian expects that Britain and the European Union will “rip each other apart” as each side strives for advantage in a post-Brexit era. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new government wants “friendly cooperation” but Le Drian, citing huge differences on trade issues and the mechanism for future relations, says “everyone will defend their own interests.”

Feb 17, 2020

Seven variants of a malware program associated with North Korea prompted the U.S. intelligence community to issue a warning 17 February to the public and private sectors. The “Hidden Cobra” program evidently includes a remote-access trojan which would enable hackers to upload and download files as well as monitor victims’ microphones, clipboards and screens.

Feb 17, 2020

A planned British visit by an Australian parliamentary committee reportedly has been cancelled due to differences over Huawei’s role in Britain's 5G network but Britain says the change in plans is because Westminster has yet to establish a counterpart committee. Australia has banned the Chinese company outright and is said to be disappointed by its intelligence partner's decision to allow Huawei limited access.

Feb 17, 2020

Internet service providers would be compelled to share data with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency under the terms of a bipartisan bill currently before a U.S. Senate committee. A related bill has been approved by its equivalent committee in the House of Representatives.

Feb 17, 2020

President Donald Trumps’ special envoy for international telecommunications policy, Robert Blair, has indicated that the U.S. won’t change its policy on intelligence-sharing with Britain despite the latter’s decision to allow Huawei access to British 5G networks. Trump had tried successfully to persuade Prime Minister Boris Johnson to exclude Huawei but Blair says “there will be no erosion of our overall intelligence sharing operation.”

Feb 17, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense has been blocked by a federal judge from going ahead with a $10-billion contract with Microsoft Corp. to provide cloud-based data storage. The injunction remains in effect until “further notice from the court” due to a legal challenge by Amazon, which argues that the DoD made numerous errors in awarding the contract. It also says President Donald Trump exerted undue influence through his frequent criticism of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Feb 17, 2020

Canada’s economic growth during the final quarter of 2019 is expected to be “significantly weaker” than expected, possibly even stagnant, according to Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux. His latest outlook indicates annualized real growth will have been 0.3 per cent compared with his officer’s earlier estimate of 1.6 per cent. Weakness in the resources and transportation sectors are given as the reasons for the rollback.

Feb 14, 2020

Researchers say they logged an unprecedented temperature of more than 20°C on an island off the northern most point of Antarctica 09 February. The continent itself saw a record 18.3° last week.

Feb 14, 2020

The personal information of at least 144,000 Canadians has been mishandled by federal departments and agencies in the past two years and not everyone affected by a privacy breach was told about it. The Canada Revenue Agency was the lead offender with more than 3,000 incidents affecting close to 60,000 taxpayers.

Feb 14, 2020

Rail freight and passenger traffic in most of the country has been shut down due to lines blockaded by First Nations groups and supporters who are disregarding court injunctions. The blockades are part of a widespread protest against a pipeline project in northern B.C. and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says “the rule of law” must apply.

Feb 14, 2020

U.S. Cyber Command wants to spend $11.6 million to procure systems which would enable its personnel to deploy abroad on “hunt forward” missions to block malicious cyber activity. The proposed project is proposed for 2021 within the Air Force envelope.

Feb 14, 2020

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has revived concerns that permitting the Huawei 5G technology into the U.S. would give China access to “sensitive and personal information” through backdoors built into its software. The U.S. administration insists the global telecom giant is bound to spy on behalf of Beijing, a claim Huawei and China consistently deny.

Feb 14, 2020

The latest Middle East “peace plan” proposed by the U.S. has been rejected by the Arab League despite an initial welcome by some of its members when President Donald Trump unveiled the latest initiative in January.

Feb 13, 2020

Mark Norman, acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has admitted that his officers had wrongly detained and interrogated Iranian-born travellers at the Canada-U.S. border. He says the issue, which had been denied for several weeks, has been addressed. 

Feb 12, 2020

Seventeen convicted criminals have been deported to Jamaica from Britain amidst an ongoing debate about how foreign nationals, even though found guilty of violence offences, are treated by the justice system. Deportation of 25 others has been blocked by a court order which is being challenged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

Feb 12, 2020

China's ambassador to Britain says Conservative politicians opposed to Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network are conducting “kind of a witch-hunt”. Reacting to a letter written by a group that includes former cabinet ministers who want “high risk” companies banned, the envoy insists that Huawei is a private company with no ties to the Chinese government.

Feb 12, 2020

Two Toronto men face and array of criminal charges after being caught trying to use a drone to smuggle drugs into a federal penitentiary. The Correctional Service of Canada estimates the institutional value of the seized contraband at $75,000.

Feb 12, 2020

As evacuees from China remain in quarantine at Canadian Forces Base Treton, Ont., due to the possibility of coronavirus contagion, a University of Toronto bioethicist highlights a dilemma. Kerry Bowman said it must be demonstrated that the potential harm to others is “significant enough” to justify limiting individuals’ civil liberties. The Public Health Association of Canada says quarantine is in the best interests of the public at large.

Feb 12, 2020

LCol Alexander Vindman, a White House expert on Ukraine, and Donald Sondland, Ambassador to the European Union, have been fired for their testimony during impeachment hearings about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Vindman has been returned to the U.S. Army, as has his brother, Yevgeny, a National Security Council lawyer.

Feb 12, 2020

The U.S. government has abandoned an investigation of California’s emissions standards deal with BMW, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen to apply the state’s strict caps to any of their vehicles sold nationwide. California’s attorney general says the federal government should be going after “real" anticompetitive activities.

Feb 12, 2020

The prospect of voter coercion and foreign election interference in Canada’s electoral process evidently pits the right to privacy against the right to freedom of expression. This is according to a briefing note prepared for Privy Council President Dominic LeBlanc and made public through an Access to Information request.

Feb 12, 2020

As Canada’s partners within the Five Eyes security coalition take different approaches to the use of Huawei 5G technology, Ottawa has yet to decide whether to permit its use and a new Angus Reid poll indicates that Canadians are divided. Some 56 per cent favour following the U.S., Australia and New Zealand in banning Huawei, 34 per cent like Britain’s limited use policy and 10 per cent evidently would have no issue with Huawei building the entire 5G infrastructure.

Feb 11, 2020

The U.S. has identified four Chinese military officers it has charged with overseeing a massive 2017 cyberattack on Equifax which resulted in the theft of personal data on more than 147 Americans and some foreign nationals listed in the credit-rating agency’s files. The whereabouts of the four suspects is unknown and China denies the allegations.

Feb 11, 2020

Public charging stations commonly found in many airports and other hubs are reportedly being used by criminals to gain access to personal data on mobile phones, tablets or laptops. So-called “juice jacking” evidently facilitates the installation of malware when a device is connected to a compromised power point even for a short-tern boost.

Feb 10, 2020

As of 10 February, more than 1,000 people in China have died from the new coronavirus compared with 774 who died worldwide in the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak which also originated in China. Meanwhile, researchers at the South China Agricultural University suggest that pangolins, an endangered species often used in traditional medicine, are the probable source of the coronavirus.

Feb 10, 2020

The World Health Organization says the equivalent of $890 million it says is necessary to help countries to handle the coronavirus outbreak, especially countries with less-developed health infrastructures. It says the “relatively small” number of confirmed cases outside of China gives the WHO a “window of opportunity” to prevent a global crisis.

Feb 10, 2020

>A Russian court says former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan must remain in custody pending trial on espionage charges. Whelan, who holds British, Canadian, Irish and U.S. and who was detained in December 2018, is liable for up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Feb 10, 2020

U.S. federal enrolment in expedited travel security programs in New York have been suspended because a New York state law prevents federal access to driver’s licence information. The law was designed to facilitate licensing of undocumented residents but Department of Homeland Security policy means the state’s residents now can’t apply for or re-enroll in trusted traveller programs.

Feb 10, 2020

A California hospital is slated to become the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ first 5G-enabled facility, a development which is expected to lead to more timely care as health professionals are able to share more detailed diagnostic images as well as patient files.

Feb 06, 2020

A U.S. soldier’s family who won a $134-million wrongful-death award in a Utah court against Omar Khadr, a Canadian imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay after being captured in Afghanistan, now want him to sign off on a statement of facts about the soldier’s death. Khadr has disavowed his confession, which he says was made under duress, but an Ontario Superior Court has ordered him to answer several questions from the family.

Feb 06, 2020

Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China, told a special parliamentary committee meeting in Ottawa 05 February that in the immediate aftermath of a senior Huawei executive being detained in Canada and China’s arrest of two Canadians, there was virtually no dialogue between the two countries. Rather, he said, the anger on both sides was such that the first conversation was probably one of his most unpleasant experiences as a diplomat.

Feb 06, 2020

Republicans in the U.S. Senate used their majority 05 February to block President Donald Trump’s impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Feb 03, 2020

A former communications minister, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, has been appointed Prime Minister of Iraq. His predecessor resigned in November amid mass anti-government demonstrations and Allawi says he supports the protests which resulted in hundreds of deaths.

Feb 03, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been advised that federal computer systems used to deliver a range of programs are on the brink of collapse. Redacted briefing notes released in response to an Access to Information Act request warn that “mission critical” systems and applications are “rusting out and at risk of failure.” 

Feb 03, 2020

A new facial recognition application which can retrieve a person's name, address, telephone number, occupation and other personal details by comparing their photograph to a database of Internet images is the target of a class-action lawsuit. While use of the Clearview AI app is currently limited to law enforcement and its New York-based developers say no general release is planned, the suit argues that it threatens civil liberties.

Feb 03, 2020

Having succeeded in taking Britain out of the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson evidently is focusing his attention on getting the same kind of trade pact as the EU has with Canada. He told a Greenwich audience 03 February that if those negotiations don’t bear fruit, he is prepared to fall back on a Withdrawal Agreement signed by both sides in November 2018.

Feb 03, 2020

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says an Iranian pilot’s communications with Tehran International Airport traffic controls proves that Iran knew immediately that its forces had shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet 08 January despite denying it for days. A recording broadcast on Ukrainian TV 02 February has the pilot saying he saw “the light of a missile” just before Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 crashed minutes after takeoff.

Feb 03, 2020

The U.S. decision to declare a public health emergency and refuse access to anyone who has visited China in the past two weeks prompted Beijing 03 February to accuse Washington of causing “panic”. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to expand internationally, many countries are taking similar action after the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. The U.S. is preparing to quarantine at least 1,000 evacuees.

Feb 03, 2020

Canadian citizens evacuated from China due to the coronavirus outbreak will be quarantined at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., for two weeks. However, in announcing the decision 02 February, the government did not provide a timeline for their arrival because flight clearances are up to Chinese authorities.

Feb 03, 2020

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, played down their governments’ different approaches to a number of issues in their countries’ relationships with China, but are there deeper differences? Tom McTague, a London-based staff writer for The Atlantic, tries to come to grips with fundamental policy choices.

Jan 31, 2020

Facebook has ended nearly three years of legal wrangling over its use of facial recognition software by settling out of court for $550 million. Plaintiffs, citing an Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, argued that they had not given “explicit consent” for Facebook to collect their personal data.

Jan 30, 2020

The World Health Organization has designated the new coronavirus outbreak, which began in China in December and continues to spread, a global emergency. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization’s director general, said 30 January that the main reason for the declaration is how it has spread elsewhere. At least 213 persons have died in China but there have been 98 confirmed cases in 18 other countries, including three in Canada.

Jan 30, 2020

Today, the director-general of the World Health Organization issued an official declaration that the coronavirus is now officially a global emergency. The WHO committee praised China's commitment to transparency and the efforts made to investigate and contain the current outbreak.

Jan 30, 2020

The latest report from the federal Commissioner of Firearms, for 2018, shows there was an increase of nearly 24 per cent in the number of restricted firearms registered in the first three years of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration. The total was 1.16 million compared with 978,347 in 2015 after tighter controls were signalled by the Liberals in that year’s election campaign. There also was a slight drop in the number of prohibited weapons registered nationally.

Jan 30, 2020

University of Cambridge researchers say dissatisfaction with democracy in developed countries is at its highest level in nearly 25 years. Their conclusion, based on a global data from four million people in 3,500 surveys, is that the “malaise” is particularly acute in Britain and the United States.

Jan 30, 2020

Canada can learn a lot from its allies about how to tackle the accelerating threats in the cyber domain, the main lesson being that governments working in isolation cannot deal effectively with the onslaught. This is according to a report published 30 January by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries. It says in The Cyber Collaboration Imperative that the attacking forces have a fundamental tactical advantage that requires new policies and decision-making processes as well as an integrated public and private response.

Jan 30, 2020

A day after Britain announced a similar approach, the European Union said 29 January that it prefers not to impose a blanket ban on the Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s 5G technologies. Instead, in the latest setback for the U.S. campaign against Huawei, the EU’s governing commission has unveiled security measures which including blocking access to “critical and sensitive” elements of European mobile networks.

Jan 29, 2020

Canada’s approval now is the only element necessary to implement the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. The leaders of the three federal governments signed to new trade pact in November 2018 on the sidelines of that year’s G20 economic summit in Argentina, leaving only legislative approval to complete the process. Mexico ratified it last June and U.S. President Donald Trump signed off 29 January on the package approved by Congress. That leaves on the Canadian Parliament to ratify it, a process which began the day before when most MPs voted on a motion to begin debate.

Jan 29, 2020

Some 160 Canadians trying to get out of China as a potentially deadly coronavirus continues to spread will be evacuated on an aircraft being arranged by the federal government. Confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne, the plan requires the cooperation of authorities in China who have quarantined large parts of the country.

Jan 29, 2020

Charles Lieber, head of Harvard University’s department of chemistry and chemical biology, has been charged with lying about his ties to a Chinese-run recruitment program and concealing payments he received for research. Authorities also announced that Yanqing Ye, described as a People’s Liberation Army officer doing research at Boston University, was charged for allegedly sending research-related documents and other information to Beijing.

Jan 29, 2020

The District of Columbia and 20 states are challenging what they see as the easing of federal controls on “ghost guns”, untraceable firearms manufactured with 3D printing. President Donald Trump’s administration says that effective in March, the requisite software controlled by the Department of State’s through the U.S. Munitions List will become a Department of Commerce jurisdiction.

Jan 29, 2020
The British government’s decision to allow limited use of Huawei 5G technology has prompted a group of Republicans in the U.S. Congress to introduce a bill designed to curtail intelligence sharing with the U.K. One says Britain’s decision gives China a “foothold” to conduct espionage as well as more economic and political leverage.
Jan 29, 2020

As Canada considers its 5G options and possible Huawei involvement despite U.S. security concerns, a prominent researcher says the government is putting together a policy which she described as logical. However, Catherine Rosenberg at the University of Waterloo, suggests that it remains “unclear” whether the policy would work the way the government would like.

Jan 28, 2020

An 80-page plan for Israeli-Palestinian place was unveiled in Washington 28 January by U.S. President Donald Trump during a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Among other things, it would recognize most Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land and would offer some sort of Palestinian statehood without an army and with overarching Israeli security control in some areas. Palestinian leaders had already rejected the proposal which Netanyahu lauded as “a great plan.

Jan 28, 2020

The Chinese telecom giant Huawei is being allowed by the British government to continue providing 5G service but will be prohibited from supplying hardware for “sensitive parts” of the network. Britain and other allies, including Canada, are being pressed by the U.S. to block Huawei on grounds that it could compromise national security but Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says the government’s decision would not affect its intelligence-sharing relationship.

Jan 28, 2020

Cameron Ortis, the former director general of the RCMP’s national intelligence centre, faces three more charges under the Security of Information Act. Relating to unauthorized communication of special operational information, they are in addition to the original charge in September that he was preparing to share sensitive information with a foreign entity or terrorist organization.

Jan 28, 2020

A bipartisan group in the U.S. Congress want to reform legislation used by the National Security Agency and other bodies to gain access to telephone records and other domestic communications. The access through the Patriot Act was facilitated mostly in the aftermath of the September 2011 terrorist attacks in the U.S. However, the proposed Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act would constrain that access.

Jan 28, 2020

Federal departments and agencies involved in national security have been wrestling with how to address growing right-wing extremism, according to redacted briefing notes prepared for deputy ministers last year but made public through the Access to Information Act. Among other things, the notes point out that hate crimes investigations are largely the remit of local law enforcement which, in many communities, is the RCMP.

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