In the News

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.

Jan 28, 2020

The Public Health Agency of Canada says there is no connection between the slowly-spreading coronavirus outbreak and the ouster of two Chinese scientists last year from the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. The “baseless” rumour has been spread on social media, including within China. 

Jan 28, 2020

Commercial air travel has never been safer and, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, the trend should continue. Based on a review of 2008-2017 flight data, it concluded that the risk of fatality was less than half the risk during the previous 10 years.

Jan 27, 2020

Artificial intelligence, already in widespread use in gathering data for a range of purposes, needs to be hardened against attack if the intelligence community is to exploit its full potential. Dean Souleles, a key technology advisor within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in Washington examines, among other things, how Open Source Enterprise can be used to keep pace with developments.

Jan 27, 2020

Ontario MP Erin O'Toole, a former Royal Canadian Air Force officer, confirmed 27 January that he would seek the Conservative Party of Canada leadership, to be decided at a June convention in Toronto. First elected in a 2012 byelection, he was Minister of Veterans Affairs for 10 months in 2015, and placed third in the 2017 leadership ballot won by Andrew Scheer.

Jan 27, 2020

Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, says a New York-based company’s facial recognition technology “appears to pose particularly chilling privacy risks.” In a letter to Hoan Ton-That, the chief executive of Clearview AI, which provides its technology to the law enforcement community, Markey also says it could be exploited by criminals or foreign adversaries.

Jan 27, 2020

Five Katyusha rockets were fired at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone 26 January but there were no reports of injury or serious damage. All were officially described as having impacted a riverbank but a source says one landed within the diplomatic compound. The source of the missiles was not known but Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi reiterated his country’s commitment to protecting “all diplomatic missions.”

Jan 27, 2020

Capella Space Corp. has released the design for a new satellite which would use synthetic aperture radar to provide imagery regardless of weather or cloud cover, unlike other platforms with optical sensors. The San Francisco-based startup’s technology is expected to provide valuable data not only to natural disaster and search and rescue responders but also the military and intelligence communities.

Jan 27, 2020

A new analysis of U.S. involvement in Middle East affairs states that more than 60 years after it declared that it was willing to use military force to defend its “national interests” in the region, Washington’s policies seem to have come full circle.

Jan 27, 2020

Despite the “expenditure of substantial resources,” the U.S. State Department stands accused by  internal auditors of continued failure to secure itself against cyberattacks. Its Office of the Inspector General says in a new report that “significant” shortcomings put sensitive information at risk at home and abroad.

Jan 27, 2020

The number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus outbreak in China has risen to 81 with some 3,000 other cases diagnosed as Beijing maintains a broad quarantine to contain travel. At least 44 cases, none fatal, had been confirmed elsewhere as of 27 January.

Jan 27, 2020

Canada's second presumptive case of coronavirus was confirmed 27 January in Toronto. Health officials said the woman had recently returned with her husband, the first diagnosed case, from a visit to Wuhan, where the outbreak was first reported in early December.

Jan 27, 2020

The B.C. Supreme Court judge hearing the extradition case against detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has reserved her ruling. Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes did not indicate when her decision would be announced.

Jan 27, 2020

Ten days after an informal announcement on social media, former defence minister Peter MacKay officially launched his bid for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership. He made the announcement 25 January, warning the party must heal internal rifts.

Jan 24, 2020

Some three years after the fact, details are available on a major “real world” test of cyber  cooperation between the U.S. and coalition partners in their Daesh campaign. Operation Glowing Symphony in November 2016 was the largest exercise of its kind operations and the details show that U.S. Cyber Command considered sharing information typically held closely. The details are in documents released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by George Washington University archives.

Jan 24, 2020

As the death toll from a coronavirus continues to rise slowly but steadily from initial diagnosis in early December, China has widened its travel restrictions in Hubei province. As of 24 January, they affect some 35 million residents in 10 cities. At least 26 fatalities have been reported in China and a few isolated cases have been confirmed elsewhere, including France, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S. (one case each in Chicago and Seattle), and Vietnam.

Jan 23, 2020

Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre, first elected to the House of Commons in 2004, announced 23 January that he would not seek the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. He had served in two cabinet portfolios in the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and most recently has been Opposition finance critic.

Jan 23, 2020

Alberta’s auditor general plans to investigate how the province has been left to clean up 3,406 oil and gas wells left behind by bankrupt companies and why an arm’s-length government agency failed to address the situation. An additional 94,000 inactive wells in the province also could require remediation at public expense.

Jan 23, 2020

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has ordered measures to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in predominantly Buddhist Muslim Myanmar despite its military’s insistence that it was combatting extremists. Thousands of Rohingya have died and more than 700,000 have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh during an army crackdown that began in 2017.

Jan 23, 2020

Volkswagen Group has been fined $196.5 million in the Ontario Court of Justice after pleading guilty to having illegally imported 130,000 VW, Audi and Porsche automobiles that violated emissions standards. The company and the federal government had agreed to the penalty handed down 22 January by Judge Enzo Rondinelli.

Jan 23, 2020

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ metaphoric Doomsday Clock has ticked 20 seconds closer to midnight, to 100 seconds, the closest it has ever been to the prospect of a global catastrophe. Created in 1947, when it was set at seven minutes to midnight, the iconic marker has shifted back and forth 23 times and had been at two minutes since 2018. The latest shift, announced 23 January, reflects growing concern about the “existential” threats of nuclear war and climate change, which the group says are exacerbated by cyber-enabled information warfare.

Jan 23, 2020

Dave Calhoun, the new chief executive officer at Boeing Inc., says the company expects to resume 737 Max production in a matter of months even as it also begins a “clean sheet” design of a new jetliner. Max production was stopped in December after two fatal crashes attributed mainly to a control software problem.

Jan 23, 2020

A Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport owned by Coulson Aviation (USA) Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Columbia-based Coulson Group, crashed 23 January while fighting wildfires in Australia. The three-member crew of American residents died.

Jan 22, 2020

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh wants a “thoughtful approach” to ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which suggests that the Liberal minority government’s preference for fast passage is at risk. Singh pointed out 22 January that the pact’s forerunner, the North American Free Trade Agreement, had to amended to suit U.S. political interests.

Jan 22, 2020

Former Alberta MP Ron Ambrose has announced that she will not seek the Conservative Party of Canada leadership. She said on Facebook 22 January that she “struggled” with the decision. Ambrose, who held portfolios in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, including the government's procurement arm, Public Works & Government Services, resigned from the House of Commons in 2017.

Jan 22, 2020

Wuhan, a city of more than 11 million people in China’s Hubei province and the epicenter of a potentially-deadly coronavirus outbreak, is effectively being quarantined by the Chinese government. Effective 23 January, Beijing is cancelling air and train travel from the city and suspending internal bus, subway and ferry services. The pneumonia-like virus has killed at least 17 persons and affected more than 400 others since its diagnosis in December.

Jan 22, 2020

The Canadian Security Intelligence Services is being sued for racial and religious discrimination by a longtime employee who alleges that his Muslim faith marked him as a target. File last week in Federal Court, the action alleges a pattern of bullying and prejudice stretching back almost two decades.

Jan 21, 2020

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest announced 21 January that he will not seek the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. The former federal cabinet minister said, among other things, that the organization had changed significantly since he quit in 1998 to enter provincial politics.

Jan 21, 2020

The first case of the potentially deadly Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S. has been reported in Seattle. The federal Centers for Disease Control says the patient, in his 30s, had travelled from Wuhan in Hubei province, where the virus first was identified in December.

Jan 21, 2020

The global corporate tax environment is in sore need of an overhaul, says Tim Cook, chief executive officer at Apple Inc. His call for an end to tax havens being used as “headquarters” by companies seeking to reduce their tax liability, flows from an Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development recommendation. Apple itself has been at the centre of just such a controversy.

Jan 21, 2020

A lawyer for Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei telecom executive facing possible extradition to the U.S., has accused the U.S. of trying to use Canada to enforce its economic sanctions against Iran. Her counsel said at the beginning of a B.C. Supreme Court hearing that despite the Crown’s claims to the contrary, the case is all about the sanctions the U.S. alleges Meng has tried to circumvent. “We're being asked to impose on Canada an obligation to assist the U.S. in the enforcement of its sanctions — sanctions that we have expressly rejected.”

 

Jan 21, 2020

An outbreak of coronavirus in China has resulted in more stringent screening of passengers arriving at Vancouver International Airport. Also, the Public Health Agency of Canada in introducing arrivals-screen messages reminding travellers from Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the outbreak has claimed a number of lives, that they must advise Canada Border Services Agency personnel if they have any flu-like symptoms.

Jan 21, 2020

Draft legislation introduced by a group of senior U.S. Senators could require common operational standards for mobile networking equipment as a way to avoid Chinese providers which the U.S. considers a national security threat. The bipartisan bill has been welcomed by the domestic telecom sector.

Jan 19, 2020

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid David, says U.K. manufacturers cannot expect any regulatory “alignment” with the European Union after Brexit. He declined to say which EU rules would be scrapped but the automotive, pharmaceutical and food and drink sectors all have expressed concerns.

Jan 17, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is extending the use of facial recognition technology to its optional Global Entry program for frequent travellers. Until now, those “low risk” persons only had to have their passports and fingerprint scanned on entry but CBP says the use of facial biometrics eliminates the passport and fingerprint requirements.

Jan 17, 2020

Unprecedented physical, social, economic and geopolitical shifts in the Arctic present a “considerable impact” on the region’s security, according to a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Ekaterina Klimenko writes that security issues too often are handled in isolation from each other. Her observations flow from a SIPRI workshop in London last year.

Jan 17, 2020

Canadian legislation, which gives U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers the power to question, detain and even strip-search visitors while they are still in Canada, faces growing criticism. The rules permitting the CBP to position officers at Canadian airports ostensibly were designed to enhance border security and facilitate travel but have become increasingly problematic for some.

Jan 17, 2020

The British Columbia government’s attempt to regulate what can flow through commodity pipelines, especially an oil pipeline expansion project planned by Crown-owned Trans Mountain, was struck down 16 January by the Supreme Court of Canada. The case essentially boiled down to which level of government has constitutional jurisdiction.

Jan 17, 2020

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has used a mass prayer session in Tehran to defend the country’s Revolutionary Guard for having maintained Iran’s security by shooting down a Ukrainian airliner 08 January. Among other things, the cleric used his rare appearance to say that Iran’s “enemies” were “as happy about the plane crash as we were sad,” and called U.S. President Donald Trump a “clown.”

Jan 16, 2020

An agreement aimed at easing a U.S.-China trade war which has had global fallout is described by President Donald Trump as “transformative” and by Chinese leaders as a “win-win” deal. However, while committing to increase imports from the U.S. in return for a reduction in some U.S. tariffs, the deal signed 15 January is already under pressure for more negotiations because it retains many U.S. protectionist mechanisms.

Jan 16, 2020

Nearly three years after Turkey blocked access to Wikipedia when the site refused to delete critical material, the country's Constitutional Court has ruled that the ban violated freedom of expression. The articles said, among other things, that Ankara had cooperated with Islamic State and al-Qaeda forces in Syria

Jan 16, 2020

Families of U.S. paratroopers deployed to Kuwait earlier this month have been advised to check their social media settings and report anything strange. A spokesman says families have reported unsolicited contact with “some menacing messaging.”

Jan 16, 2020

U.S. adversaries’ evolving technological capabilities mean that the government needs cyberspace protection, says Glenn Gerstell, who is leaving his position as general counsel to the National Security Agency later this year. He shared his concerns at an American Bar Association event 15 January.

Jan 16, 2020

The U.S. Senate voted 89-10 on final congressional approval 16 January of a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, rebranded by President Donald Trump as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Trump is expected to sign the bill next week. 

Jan 15, 2020

Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev resigned 15 January shortly after President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes which could keep in him power after his current term expires in 2024. Medvedev said there could be “significant changes” in the balance between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

Jan 15, 2020

The United States “is better at cyber than anyone else” or so says President Donald Trump. Asked during a televised interview about a possible cyberattack from Iran, he replied that if it did happen, “we’ll be able to hit very hard.” He characterized cyber as “a new form of war” which the U.S. has “very well under control.”

Jan 14, 2020

Ukraine is mounting a coordinated effort to facilitate its joining NATO and the European Union despite what its Dmygro Kuleba, Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, sees as a “discouraging environment. He said during a visit to Washington last month that joining both alliances is vital as his country deals with Russia.

Jan 14, 2020

president Donald Trump plans to divert $7.2 billion from the Department of Defense budget to fund continued construction of his border wall with Mexico this year. That would be five times the amount authorized by Congress and would bring the total spent on the wall during his presidency to $18.4 billion

Jan 14, 2020

Britain, France and Germany say they do not accept Iran’s defence of its decision to remove all limits on its production of enriched uranium as provided for in a 2015 pact. The U.S. withdrew from the agreement last year and now the European partners, along with Russia and China, are trying to maintain the restrictions on a program Iran insists is for peaceful use.

Jan 14, 2020

Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company which figures prominently in U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, was hacked by Russian military intelligence in November. Area 1 Security, a California company which specializes in counter-phishing, says the "Fancy Bear" hackers are known to cybersecurity researchers.

Jan 14, 2020

A U.S. Department of Commerce directive plan to prohibit the purchase of information and communications technologies from “foreign adversaries” is getting some push-back from smaller telecom carriers. One says the executive order might even be illegal.

Jan 14, 2020

U.S. Attorney General William Barr wants Apple to unlock two of its iPhones which were owned by a Saudi air force officer who was shot by police after he had killed three persons at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida last month. Insisting 13 January that it is “very important” to know about the shooter’s communications, Barr says Apple has not given investigators “substantive assistance”, a claim the company denies.

Jan 14, 2020

An Iranian Judiciary official said 14 January that “extensive investigations” into last week’s missile shoot-down of a Ukrainian jetliner has resulted in an undisclosed number of arrests. All 176 persons aboard the Boeing 737-800, including 57 Canadian citizens, died in the crash minutes after Flight PS752 had taken off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport en route to Kiyv, Ukraine.

Jan 13, 2020

A Pakistani high court in Lahore has revoked a guilty verdict and death sentence handed down last month to former President Pervez Musharraf. A government official explained 13 January that the special judicial tribunal which handed down the original sentence was unconstitutional. The tribunal head also said that the former military leader, who is undergoing medical treatment in Dubai, should die before he could be executed, his body should be hung in public.

Jan 13, 2020

An emergency Ontario-wide alert that woke thousands to warnings of an unspecified “incident” at the Pickering nuclear station near Toronto 12 January was erroneously sent out during a training exercise. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says there was no danger to the public or the environment.

Jan 13, 2020

A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee has been told that government agencies could play more crucial roles in countering online deception of Americans. One witness suggested the problem could be address by expanding existing infrastructure.

Jan 10, 2020

Iranian state television has reported that its military "unintentionally" shot down the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 minutes after it took off from Tehran International Airport 07 January on a flight to Kyiv, Ukraine. All 176 persons aboard,  including 57 Canadian passengers, were killed. The report that "human error" resulted in a missile strike came at approximately 10 p.m. EST on 10 January -- early in the morning in Tehran.

Jan 10, 2020

The Indian government's prolonged internet shutdown in its Kashmir administrative revion has been criticized by the country’s Supreme Court. Responding to a number of petitions, the court has given the government a week to review its decision.

Pages