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Privacy commissioner learned of RCMP spyware use from media, calls for stronger laws

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OTTAWA — Canada’s privacy commissioner says his office learned about the RCMP’s use of spyware through the media, and he wants Parliament to strengthen and modernize privacy laws.

Philippe Dufresne is appearing before a House of Commons committee that is investigating the use of technology that can be covertly and remotely installed on devices like computers and cellphones to monitor messages and even turn on cameras and microphones.

He says the country’s laws should be changed to include “privacy by design” and create a section in the Privacy Act that requires organizations and departments to do a privacy impact assessment when new technology is introduced that could affect the public’s right to privacy.

Dufresne says his office has asked the RCMP for more details, which are expected later this month, and that the force says it did a privacy assessment in 2021 but did not notify his office.

The commissioner says it raises issues of trust when questions are asked publicly about spyware technology after it’s already been in use.

Members of the RCMP who have overseen the use of spyware technology in a limited number of investigations will appear before the committee later today.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Former Chinese Justice Minister sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption

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Former Chinese Justice Minister sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption

Changchun, China- Former Chinese Justice Minister Fu Zhenghua, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after having been convicted of corruption and abuse of power.

Fu was handed a suspended death sentence that will be commuted to life imprisonment after two years, with no possibility of parole.

Prosecutors convicted Fu of using his authority as the nation’s top public security official to trade favours for gifts and money worth some 117 million yuan ($17.3 million), in return for helping others with business operations, legal cases, and securing official positions.

The 67-year-old served as Justice Minister from 2018 to 2020 after a lengthy career in law enforcement and the security service. He had also spearheaded several major corruption investigations of his own but he fell under suspicion in October, after he was accused of serious violations of discipline and national laws.

President Xi Jinping has made cracking down on corruption a cornerstone of his reign since assuming the country’s highest office in 2012. Over 100 000 people were indicted for graft during his first three years in office alone, with investigations opened against more than 1 500 public officials. Dozens of senior military officials have also been punished.

Meanwhile, Ronson Chan, the head of Hong Kong’s journalists’ association has been allowed to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) for a six-month-long journalism fellowship which is set to be hosted by the Reuters Institute at Oxford University, in October, after a Court granted him bail and declined to place restrictions on his movement over a charge of obstructing Police officers.

At a Court appearance on Thursday, Judge Peter Law granted Chan bail ahead of the next Court hearing in April 2023.

As part of his bail conditions, Chan will be required to inform the Police of his address and contact details once in the UK.

In a statement, the Institute’s director, Rasmus Nielsen, said they were looking forward to welcoming Chan in October.

“He is a distinguished and experienced journalist with much to share, and everyone here is looking forward to hosting him,” said Nielsen.

Chan was arrested on 7 September while he was covering a residence meeting at a Hong Kong housing estate. Police allege he refused to provide his ID and behaved in an uncooperative way despite multiple warnings, and he was charged this week, but he has claimed innocence, saying he was within his rights to ask Police for identification before he produced his.

The Hong Kong journalists’ association has been under immense pressure to disband, as it has been accused of being an anti-China organization with links to foreign actors.

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Tesla announces nearly 1.1 million of its car windows can pinch a person’s fingers

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Austin, United States of America- Tesla has announced that nearly 1.1 million of its vehicles in the US have a defunct window system as the windows can pinch a person’s fingers when being rolled up.

According to Tesla, windows are supposed to stop if they detect an obstacle in their path but testing discovered a possible problem in some of its windows.

However, Tesla said it should be able to fix the problem with an over-the-air software update, and that car owners won’t need to bring their cars in to be serviced.

Tesla discovered the problem during production testing in August and owners with the defunct windows will be notified by the letter starting on 15 November.

The models involved are the 2017-2022 Model 3, the 2020-2021 Model Y, and the 2021-2022 Models S and X.

Tesla has previously recalled vehicles for features that allowed its cars to slowly roll through stop signs in some circumstances when in full self-driving mode, one that allowed video games to be played on a console in the middle of the dashboard even when the car was being driven.

Meanwhile, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), has revealed that 2015 to 2019 Hyundai and Kia models are roughly twice as likely to be stolen as other vehicles of similar age, with the reason being that many of these vehicles lack some basic auto theft prevention technology included in most other vehicles, even in those years.

According to the HLDI, the method of theft, which involves serious damage to the ignition system, indicates that these cars are being stolen for fun rather than for resale.

“When you forcibly break the ignition, you are causing so much damage that it’s not easy to re-VIN (to re-VIN a vehicle means to change or replace its Vehicle Identification Number, an identification code made from 17 letters and digits, to make the vehicle harder to trace) and resell the vehicle on the open market,” said Darrell Russell, director of Operations at the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

However, Hyundai vehicles produced after November 1, 2021, and those with push button start cannot be easily stolen in this way due to electronic immobilizers which became standard on all Hyundai vehicles, including those with keyed ignitions, after that date.

Moreso, Kia vehicles in the US now also have push-button start systems that make theft more difficult.

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Falling apart and alone

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Falling apart and alone

I Knew someone who struggled
to keep himself clean and free from the itch.
But no matter how he worked towards sobriety
this man could not achieve his freedom dream.

Describing how this interior struggled continued
day in and day out into the night.
While he worked, played and shopped throughout the day
this itch, craving and pain would not subside.

There was the time he watched over the kids,
like a careful daddy was he,
but then while the toddlers were playing free,
he found a bottle of booze he once hid away.

All his attention was on the bottle,
and for a time he forgot the little ones in his care.
His attention was centred upon that booze
like a sniper’s target, it became the world to him.

A sharp cry from a child pivoted his attention,
to the one who demanded all he had to give that day
and this man held his child dearly
and poured that dreaded booze into the sink.

Day by day, minute by minute he struggles,
the itch he feels will not go away.
Too much coffee, a drink perhaps will bring him to a cliff of despair,
as this man searches for a way to freedom’s glory.

Acknowledging that he cannot do it alone,
that he needs a helping loving hand,
Opening himself to another’s assistance realized,
the victim becomes much more than an addict.

No longer alone, but part of a fellowship was he,
from AA, family or friend came a helping hand.
Alone he was a weak substitute to the mighty,
but together with another, he becomes a powerful “We”.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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