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Pregnant Canadian woman stuck in Wuhan, China, coronavirus epicentre – Times Colonist

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A teacher who is living with his pregnant wife and child in a city that is at the epicentre of China’s coronavirus outbreak is hoping to get his family out safely.

Tom Williams is a British expat who has been living and working for about five years in Wuhan, which is the capital of Hubei province in China.

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His wife Lauren, who is from Langley, B.C., is about 35 weeks pregnant, he said in a telephone interview from Wuhan. He also has a two-and-a-half-year-old son, James, who was born in White Rock, B.C.

“We are quarantined in the city,” he said.

While he said things are “pretty calm” and “under control” he noted the road closures have added a “little bit of worry” for when they will have to get his wife to the maternity hospital. She is due in the middle of February, he said.

“We’re due to give birth in Wuhan. That’s becoming a little bit more risky as time goes on,” Williams said. “It’s a changing picture. It’s changing everyday. New stuff and new guidelines going on.”

He contacted the emergency hotline for the Canadian embassy over the weekend, he said.

Staff there put him through to Ottawa and he said he was told that he and his family should stay put.

“There’s no imminent plans to evacuate Canadians from the city,” Williams said, adding that he would like to get out of Wuhan “as soon as possible,” but was prepared for the alternative.

“If I have to stay behind, so be it. As long as my wife is guaranteed a safe birth.”

Other countries need to follow the lead of the United States, which has had a flight approved while working with the Chinese authorities, he said.

“Particularly for people who are at higher risk.”

China has now reported more than 2,700 cases of the new virus with at least 80 deaths, and officials say the rate at which it’s spreading is accelerating.

In a news conference in Ottawa Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said 167 Canadian citizens in the affected region have registered their whereabouts with the federal government, a voluntary move that helps Canada keep track of them and get them information.

Eight of those have requested some form of “consular assistance,” he said.

Canada doesn’t have a standing diplomatic presence specifically in Wuhan. Some of its allies, such as the United States, have large consulates, which they’re evacuating. They’re taking some particularly vulnerable citizens with them on charter flights, where there’s room alongside the diplomatic staff.

Canada does have a hotline for Canadians to call if they need help.

“We are also liaising with our international partners to ensure options to ensure the safety and well-being of all Canadians who need consular assistance in China,” Champagne said.

In Wuhan, Williams said local shops are still open and well-stocked, however, some of the roads are allowing only approved vehicles.

“If you are more central in the city or closer to the epicentre of the virus then there are only approved vehicles allowed on those.”

People have to wear masks according to guidelines and local authorities are checking peoples’ temperatures, he said.

Williams and his family are not in the central part of the city, so cars are still allowed but there’s very little traffic, he said.

Although the situation is “sad and upsetting,” Williams said he’s quite peaceful about it.

“It is what it is. You can’t control these things sometimes,” he said. “We’re trying to have hope instead of fear.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020.

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'It starts with regret': TMX says it needs to regain trust after outage – BNNBloomberg.ca

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The interim head of TMX Group Ltd. said the company needs to start rebuilding investors’ faith in its trading platforms.

“It starts with regret,” said John McKenzie, interim TMX chief executive officer, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Friday. McKenzie spoke a day after a technical outage took the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture and Alpha out of commission for over two hours

“We’re actually quite sorry that we made that challenging for our clients to execute yesterday because that’s our number one objective. We start today with rebuilding trust and credibility, and we’ll do that in the way we operate the market every single day. But that starts right now.”

The TSX Alpha was halted at 1:51 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the TSX and Venture exchanges were halted three minutes later. The outage continued throughout the rest of the trading day.

“The simplest way to describe it is; if you think about the activity in the marketplace that we saw yesterday leading to almost-unprecedented levels of order entry coming into our system,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said the TMX system saw approximately 190 million buy, sell, and cancel orders on Thursday, compared to an average daily total of 90 million.

“That led to some challenges in the system that we are still working through, in terms of diagnosing what they mean for the long-term, but (we) went straight to the fix last night so we could make sure we were steady, reliable and up to open the market this morning, and you could have confidence in what we’re doing today.”

The S&P/TSX composite index opened sharply lower, down 452.20 points, or 2.70 percent, at 16,265.31 at 9:35 a.m. Friday morning.     

McKenzie is the acting CEO of the TMX Group, having taken over the mantle from Lou Eccleston in January. He said that while the decision about whether “interim” is removed from his title rests with TMX’s board of directors, he remains focused on the here and now.

“For me right now, the focus is on execution,” McKenzie said. “It’s not focused on the next role, it’s a focus on executing the strategy and making sure we’re delivering for clients through the interim period.”

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Two Calgary officers tested Clearview AI facial-recognition software – Calgary Herald

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Keith Raderschadt from NEC Corporation of America gives a detailed explanation and demonstration of the new facial recognition software being implemented by the Calgary Police Service at their CPS Headquarters, Westwinds Campus Media Centre in Calgary, Alta. on Sunday November 2, 2014. Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency


Darren Makowichuk / Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/ Q

The Calgary Police Service has confirmed two of its officers tested controversial facial-recognition software made by Clearview AI.

While the police service doesn’t use Clearview AI in any capacity, it said two of its members had tested the technology to see if it was worthwhile for potential investigative use.

“Neither officer used the software in any active investigations and both ceased use following the testing,” said a police representative. “Both have been told to delete any active user accounts.”

Calgary police said one of the officers currently works with the service and the other is seconded to another agency. 

Last month, it was revealed some Canadian law enforcement agencies were using Clearview AI software. The program uses billions of open-sourced images from popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which can then be used by authorities to identify perpetrators and victims of crime.

On Wednesday, Clearview AI revealed its client list had been hacked. It came to light that more than 2,200 law enforcement agencies, companies and individuals are using the software, including Toronto Police Service and divisions of the RCMP.

Both the Calgary Police Service and the Edmonton Police Service had denied use of the software earlier this month, but both have since come forward with reports that several of their officers had tested the Clearview AI software.

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Staff Sgt. Gordon MacDonald, of the Calgary police criminal identification section, said the service wouldn’t be interested in software that uses open-source images due to ethical concerns.

“As an organization, we wouldn’t be interested in it no matter the benefits it purports to bring,” said MacDonald.

“It’s just so fundamentally and ethically unsafe to start using that as a means to obtain some form of identification. It’s far better to go through our own photographs that we’ve obtained and can verify who these people are.”

Bonita Croft, chair of the Calgary police commission, said the Calgary Police Service has clear policies that guide the use of information technology and monitors to ensure compliance with those policies and privacy laws.

“We understand that CPS is evaluating the situation to determine whether the privacy commissioner needs to be notified,” said Croft. “The guidance of the privacy commissioner has been instrumental in how the CPS uses tools like body-worn cameras and facial recognition technology.”

In Edmonton, Clearview AI facial-recognition programs were used without approval at least twice by that city’s police service, which triggered an investigation by Alberta’s privacy commissioner, Jill Clayton.

She said in a statement that the situation serves as a “wake-up call to law enforcement in Alberta that building trust is critical to advancing the use of new technologies for data-driven policing.”

Three officers used the technology in Edmonton, according to Supt. Warren Driechel. All members have been directed not to use Clearview AI software moving forward.

Calgary police were the first Canadian police force to use facial recognition technology. Since 2014, the service has used biometric software created by the NEC Corp. of America.

Using the technology, police compare photos and videos, such as CCTV images of persons of interest, with their mug shot database of more than 350,000 images taken under the Identification of Criminals Act.

With files from Postmedia Edmonton

alsmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: @alanna_smithh

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Apple Disables Clearview AI's Developer Account After Violating Enterprise Certificate Rules – MacRumors

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Apple has disabled the developer account of New York City-based facial recognition startup Clearview AI and provided the company with 14 days to respond for violating the rules of its enterprise program, according to BuzzFeed News.

As part of the program, Apple issues enterprise certificates to large organizations to deploy select apps to their employees for internal use only, but the report claims that Clearview AI was distributing its facial recognition app to more than 2,200 public and private entities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, Macy’s, Walmart, and the NBA. This scheme allowed customers to download the app outside of the App Store by installing the certificate on their device.


Clearview AI’s website says that it “searches the open web” for “publicly available images,” helping law enforcement agencies to “identify perpetrators and victims of crimes” and to “exonerate the innocent.”

Earlier this week, Clearview AI revealed that an intruder “gained unauthorized access” to its list of clients, according to The Daily Beast. The New York Times profiled the controversial company last month, claiming it has “a database of more than three billion images” scraped from platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Apple took similar action against Facebook and Google last year after each company was found to be using enterprise certificates to distribute consumer-facing apps, but the certificates were later restored, presumably after Facebook and Google agreed to use them strictly for internal-use apps only as required.

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