In the News

Sep 17, 2019

It has been disclosed that a retired member of the U.S. Marine Corps and now a security industry executive, has been detained in Russia on espionage charges since last December. The Kremlin has rebuffed diplomatic efforts to have a doctor see Paul Whelan and now members of Congress are demanding his release, saying there are no grounds for the charges.

Sep 17, 2019

Edward Snowden, the Central Intelligence Agency contractor who sought refuge in Moscow, says that while France and Germany are considering granting him asylum, he still hopes to return to the U.S. However, having leaked details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies, he says he wouldn’t get a fair trial back home.

Sep 17, 2019

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says “the time is right” for reconciliation between the European Union and Russia. His suggestion comes just as the U.S. Congress prepares to resume consideration of sanctions against Russia, which could heighten tensions between the EU and the U.S.

Sep 17, 2019

Personal information on potentially every person in Ecuador have been posted online after a massive national data breach. More than 20 million files, including those involving an estimated seven million minors, evidently were exposed. Ecuador’s official population is 16.5 million.

Sep 17, 2019

Hamza Bin Laden, son of al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden and an increasingly active player in global terrorism, has been killed in a U.S. operation. President Donald Trump confirmed his death but no details on where or when the operation occurred have been released.

Sep 17, 2019

Jens Stoltenberg, the Dane who has been Secretary General of NATO since 2014, worries about Middle East tensions rising after the weekend drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s main oil-processing facility. While there’s an ongoing argument about who was responsible, Stoltenberg said Iran is “destabilizing” the region.

Sep 17, 2019

The U.S. intelligence community is said to be developing biometric identification systems which could single out individuals at a distance. Facial recognition and other biometrics technologies have improved in recent years but evidently are still prone to errors.

Sep 17, 2019

The Angus Reid Institute says the vast majority of Canadians see money-laundering as a critial issue in the aftermath of an expert panel’s conclusion that the annual flow-through could be nearly $50 billion. The last federal budget proposed several countermeasures but many Canadians evidently feel the government is not being aggressive enough.

Sep 17, 2019

The Communications Security Establishment and other intelligence resources are reported to be closely monitoring the possibility that at least six foreign government are working through their diasporas in Canada to influence the results of the Oct. 21 general election. A report cites China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Sep 17, 2019

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says the force is still trying to understand the fallout of allegations levelled against a senior civilian staffer. Cameron Ortis, director general of the RCMP's national intelligence coordination centre, has been charged with, among other things, preparing to share operational information with a foreign entity or terrorist group in the past year.

Sep 17, 2019

Australia, Britain, France and the U.S., Canada’s partners in the Five Eyes intelligence community, are raising questions about the type of information accessible to Cameron Ortis as the director of an intelligence unit within the RCMP. Diplomatic sources say the alliance is concerned that Ortis, who has been arrested and charged, had access to their intelligence information.

Sep 16, 2019

All U.S. civil and military organizations will be prohibited, effective Sept. 17, from using cybersecurity products or other software produced by Russia-based Kaspersky Lab. In finalizing the decision, the administration is acting on legislation approved by Congress in response to intelligence community concerns that Kaspersky executives could be forced by Moscow to share information.

Sep 16, 2019

Gen. David Goldfein, the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, says the military has much to learn from Apple’s “unleashing” of open-source technologies, which became a core in which other companies were founded and have flourished. He writes that the engineering and business lessons are important for the defence sector which he says has too often procured systems which cannot communicate with each other and are difficult to update.

Sep 16, 2019

The U.S. and Iran are locked in a war of words after a devastating weekend attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest petroleum processing facility. Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility for the use of drones, but the U.S. says it has evidence that Iran was responsible. Iran is decrying that as “maximum lies.”

Sep 14, 2019

British Airways has begun advising passengers planning to travel to and through the U.K. two weeks hence to cancel their reservations. The carrier is trying to limit the fallout from a pilots’ strike slated to begin Sept. 27.

Sep 14, 2019

An Iranian-aligned rebel group in Yemen is claiming responsibility for attacks on two major Aramco oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Drones evidently were used against the state-owned company’s largest refinery and one of its oilfields.

Sep 13, 2019

Cameron Ortis, a civilian RCMP director general, is facing charges arising from alleged intelligence breaches which have prompted concerns about whether there are implications not only domestically but also with Canada’s allies. He has been charged under the Security of Information Act which deals with communicating or confirming special operational information.

Sep 13, 2019

A former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security says the U.S. should not use telecom giant Huawei as leverage in broader trade negotiations with China. Tom Ridge says Huawei has repeatedly shown that it is “an instrumentality” of Beijing.

Sep 13, 2019

Decades-old U.S. policies requiring all federal agencies’ Internet traffic flow through a central facility are about to updated to enable them migrate to the cloud while maintaining cybersecurity. The update is being pushed by the Office of Budget Management as part of a broader modernization initiative.

Sep 13, 2019

A U.S. Senate committee has scuttled Democrats’ attempts to block the diversion of more Department of Defense funds for construction of a wall along the border with Mexico. Senate Republican plan to pass as many bills as they can by the end of the fiscal year in an attempt to prevent another government shutdown.

Sep 13, 2019

The cost of dealing with “forever chemical” contamination leaching into watersheds from U.S. military facilities is expected to surpass a initial estimate of $2 billion. The admission comes as Congress prepares to discussion draft budget legislation.

Sep 13, 2019

Traffic jams and crowds paralysed the French capital Sept. 13 as transport workers went on strike. They were protesting President Emmanuel’s plan to consolidate dozens of pension schemes for different professions.

Sep 13, 2019

Plans for a protest against a proposed third runway at London Heathrow airport, which would have seen drones flown within a no-fly zone, evidently fell apart after two persons were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance. Airport authorities say no commercial traffic was affected.

Sep 13, 2019

A bipartisan group of Members of Congress wants to identify Chinese companies which might “steal” western technologies for military use. A Chinese embassy spokesperson in Washington dismissed their concerns as groundless, calling the move evidence of a “cold war mentality.”

Sep 13, 2019

In an bid to end a western blockade against its 5G technology, Huawei is offering to sell its software to a western company which then could rewrite problematic code. The U.S. has been urging its allies not to permit 5G over concerns that alleged “backdoors” would enable the Chinese government to spy on telecom systems.

Sep 12, 2019

Chief executives of dozens of top-tier U.S. corporations are pressing the Republican-controlled Senate to expand background checks on all firearms sales. They are calling on them to enact bills introduced in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

Sep 12, 2019

Raytheon Co. expects a surge in international sales of its Howler aerial countermeasures technology, which has been field-tested by the U.S. Army. James McGovern, vice-president of mission systems and sensors, says there have been many expressions of industry at various trade shows.

Sep 12, 2019

Looking ahead to the 2022 expiry of the long-standing Airbus Defence and Space contract to manage the ground station element of the Skynet 6 communications satellite program, the British government has launched a new competition it expects will yield a new contract in late 2020.

Sep 12, 2019

With Canada’s 43rd federal general election campaign off to a fast start, a new report uses case studies and other research to underscore the need for heightened vigilance against cyber threats in the run-up to the Oct. 21 vote. Distributed by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries, the report lauds Elections Canada’s paced adoption of protective technologies, noting that early adopters have encountered serious challenges.

Sep 11, 2019

A Canadian trucker was arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle $6 million worth of cocaine into Ontario from Michigan. U.S. federal border officers made the discovery after pulling Jatinderpal Singh over for a sniffer dog inspection as he tried to cross the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit into Windsor early Saturday morning.

Sep 11, 2019

It’s finally official: Canadians will be going to the polls in a general election on Monday, October 21. The election writ was issued Sept. 11 for a vote which is expected to be a close-run thing between the incumbent Liberals and the Conservatives with the New Democratic Party and the Greens evidently scrapping for third place.

Sep 11, 2019

While Russian officials are dismissing reports that the U.S. had a mole in the Kremlin for many years, Russian media have published a name. Oleg Smolenkov, an aide to President Vladimir Putin, reportedly was extracted amid fears his cover was about to be blown.

Sep 11, 2019

A new Pew Research Centre study indicates that although Americans are becoming more receptive to biometric scans and facial recognition technologies, their growing acceptance is so far limited to law enforcement’s use. They apparently are less trusting of the private sector.

Sep 11, 2019

The U.S. government says it will spend nearly $1 billion on non-military artificial intelligence research and development in 2020. Details are set out in a supplement to the administration’s budget request for the coming fiscal year.

Sep 11, 2019

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the families of three Australians detained in Iran. While the department would not provide further details, the Australian state broadcaster says one of the detainees has been in custody for nearly a year, the others for several months.

Sep 11, 2019

A Rand Corp. report urges the U.S. should step up distribution of intelligence with all NATO members if the alliance is to respond effectively to a Russian attack against a NATO member. The think-tank says this could be particularly critical in the early phases of any conflict.

Sep 11, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex parts of the disputed West Bank if he wins reelection and is able to form a coalition government.It would include the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.

Sep 11, 2019

The federal government's latest Arctic strategy includes promises profound change but one policy researcher says it’s short on detail. He says that there is nothing new in the current administration’s approach, that it basically retiterates commitments by previous administrations in Ottawa.

Sep 10, 2019

President Donald Trump turned to social media again Sept. 10 to announced that had fired National Security Adviser John Bolton after months of policy differences. Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations who was Trump’s third NSA, says he resigned.

Sep 10, 2019

A high-level source within the Russian government was successfully extracted in 2017 after the U.S. administration mishandled classified information which could have led to the spy’s exposure. This was after President Donald Trump had discussed intelligence issues with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his ambassador to the U.S.

Sep 10, 2019

Only hours after North Korea had offered to resume nuclear negotiations with the U.S., the “hermit kingdom” launched two “projectiles” into the Sea of Japan. South Korea’s military, while providing no other details, continues to monitor the situation.

Sep 10, 2019

The United States will impose sanctions on whichever country buys oil from Iran’s oil or does business with its Islamic Revolutionary Guard. Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, says there will be no exceptions.

Sep 10, 2019

Intermittent U.S. power grid shutdowns last March were caused by hackers exploiting utilities’ firewall vulnerabilities. The North American Electric Reliability Corp. says grids were down for up to five minutes at a time but that the software issues have been resolved.

Sep 10, 2019

A class-action lawsuit seeks at least $125 million in damages from the federal government over alleged abuse at a program for youth offenders run in partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces nearly 40 years ago. The suit says the CAF failed to protect youth sent to a B.C. training centre.

Sep 09, 2019

A Chinese academic has been charged with fraud for allegedly taking technology from an unnamed California company for the benefit an unnamed Chinese telecommunications company. Arrested in Texas, Bo Mao, an associate professor at Xiamen University, was released under bond after consenting to proceed with the case in New York, where he pleaded not guilty.

Sep 09, 2019

Brad Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corp., says the Chinese tech giant Huawei should be permitted to purchase U.S. technology despite President Donald Trump’s ban. He says such decisions should be based on “fact, logic and the rule of law.”

Sep 09, 2019

Reacting to confirmation that a U.S. soldier was among the victims of a bombing in Kabul, President Donald Trump canceled a hitherto secret weekend meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders.

Sep 09, 2019

By this time next year, the U.S. Department of Defense will require suppliers to have cybersecurity certification to continue doing business with it. The DoD, which has its own stringent processes for verifying information technology products and services it uses, points out that doing business often requires the sharing of sensitive information.

Sep 09, 2019

A British Airways offer of an 11.5 per cent pay hike over three years did not prevent the carrier’s pilots from striking for the first time in BA’s history Sept. 9. It affects nearly 200,000 booked passengers on the first two days.

Sep 09, 2019

A new artificial intelligence centre in the U.S. Department of Defense is the foundation for a potential AI-powered cyberdefence suite. The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is working with the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command and dozens of civilian suppliers on standardiziang data collection.

Sep 09, 2019

Despite President Donald Trump’s professed support for the European Deterrence Initiative, his administration is considering taking $771 million away from projects earmarked for the EDI. Created by the previous administration in a bid to reassure allies in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, its annual budget has grown to $6.5 billion from $1 billion in 2014

Sep 09, 2019

Fast-track approval of a draft National Defense Authorization Act is on the agenda when Congress returned Sept. 9 from a summer recess. However, differences between the drafts presented to the House of Representatives and Senate were problematic.

Sep 09, 2019

The fact that some 5.4 million Canadians living in remote areas have at best limited Internet has prompted a suggestion that Huawei technology could be a solution. Despite lingering concerns about security, the Chinese giant is already partnering with two northern companies to expand service to 70 communities.

Sep 09, 2019

An Iranian-flagged tanker hunted by the U.S. is reported to have offloaded its oil at an undisclosed Mediterranean terminal. Previously named the Grace 1, the vessel was seized in early July by British forces near Gibraltar on suspicion it was bringing oil to Syria in breach of sanctions that apply to the European Union.

Sep 08, 2019

Canadians must be wondering if the courts share the interpretation that the law exists to protect public safety. An OpEd by Christie Blatchford details the recent Court of Appeal decision to overturn the conviction of two men found guilty of terrorism in 2015 (for a plot to attack Toronto-bound passenger train) and order a new trial over what the defence argued was improper jury selection.

Sep 06, 2019

As the U.S. Administration apparently contemplates significant cuts in its refugee intake, the Department of Defense could be one of the few holdouts at the cabinet table. A recently-retired four-star Army General, Joseph Votel, has warned that flows of refugees from Middle East countries is one of the driving forces of instability in the region.

Sep 06, 2019

When the chief executive officer of an unnamed British subsidiary of a multinational company was asked to transfer €220,000, he readily complied. After all, the call had come from his boss whose voice he recognized. But it hadn’t.

Sep 06, 2019

A man with a teddy bear strapped to his chest has precipitated a review of British defence security after he gained access in broad daylight to a Royal Air Force base. Before he was intercepted 20 minutes later, when his car was pinned against an RAF CV-22 Osprey, he had gained access to the flightline.

Sep 06, 2019

Growing attempts by China and Russia “to disrupt the international order” are being used by U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper to support his call for more European cooperation. He says this is critical to preserving the results of “decades of shared sacrifice.”

Sep 06, 2019

The U.S. Army says that embedding computer tool developers and coders within its ranks is a key to successful cyber operations. It has historically depended on civilian contractor support but now says rapid shifts in operational environments require in-house expertise.

Sep 06, 2019

Anne Neuberger, recently appointed to head the new cybersecurity directorate within the National Security Agency, wants to improve information-sharing not only with other U.S. government bodies but also the private sector. She says this would enable the U.S. to get ahead of digital threats instead of mostly just reacting to them.

Sep 06, 2019

Adm. Craig Faller, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, says there is growing urgency and complexity in the challenges facing the West. He says the “collective neighbourhood” is being attacked by a “vicious circle” of corruption, organized crime, violent extremism and foreign governments’ subversive activities. 

Sep 06, 2019

A New Jersey man who defrauded the U.S. Department of Defense and illegally shared sensitive technical information has been sentenced to three years in federal prison. Roger Sobrado also has been sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $8 million in restitution.

Sep 06, 2019

Four Canadian universities have received Department of National funding for proposals under the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program. The initial support focuses on emerging and advanced materials, including advanced manufacturing methods, for defence and security applications.

Sep 06, 2019

Other countries hosting U.S. military facilities are being urged by Defense Secretary Mark Esper to consider paying for overdue upgrades which have been undercut by the Administration’s diversion of $3.6 billion in military funding to pay for the U.S. border wall with Mexico. The facilities include schools and daycare centres for military families.

Sep 06, 2019

The Northwest Territories government is getting up to $150 million in federal funding over the next five years for a 3,000-feet runway extension and facilities upgrades at Inuvik Airport. Among other things, it will enable the RCAF’s forward operating location to handle larger aircraft for domestic and NORAD operations.

Sep 06, 2019

Wednesday Oct. 16 is when the Canadian Association of Defence & Security Industries presents its Subject Matter Experts Day as part of its annual conference in Ottawa. CADSI calls it an opportunity for the private sector “to make the most of the tools available . . . through government and NGO initiatives.”

Sep 06, 2019

China’s detention of two Canadians is an “unacceptable” tactic in the countries’ dispute over the U.S. request for extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. In a meeting with the Toronto Star’s editorial board, the PM said that kind of tactic has raised fears in other countries about China using the same levers against them.

Sep 06, 2019

Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, and Porter Airline were hit with $45K in fines for violating new passenger protections. These are the first monetary penalties issued by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) for violating the new federal Air Passenger Protection Regulations, the first phase of which took effect on July 15.

Sep 05, 2019

The federal government has announced up to $500,000 in initial emergency assistance to support humanitarian relief efforts in the northern Bahamas, which have been ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, the worst storm of its kind on record.

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