Rogers services are back online for most customers after a daylong outage at the telecom giant that left millions of Canadians without internet and cellular service, while also disrupting government services and payment systems.
Some individual users saw their internet connections and cellphones come back to life Friday evening, and an update sent to CBC’s IT department said the problem in Rogers’s “core network … looks to have recovered.”
In an update Saturday morning, posted to Twitter, Rogers said it has now restored services for the “vast majority of our customers” and that its technical teams are working hard to ensure that the remaining customers are back online as quickly as possible.
The Toronto-based company has offered no timeline for when service may be restored to all customers.
Tony Staffieri, chief executive and president of Rogers, said in an open letter that the company apologizes for the service interruption. He gave no explanation for the outage or how many customers were affected.
The outage began some time early Friday morning; throughout the day the company said little about its cause or when it might end.
“We don’t understand how the different levels of redundancy that we build across the network coast to coast have not worked,” said Kye Prigg, Rogers’ senior vice-president of access networks and operations, on CBC’s Power & Politics.
“We are working very, very hard on making sure that we get everything running as soon as possible,” he told host Catherine Cullen.
The company has approximately nine million wireless customers and just shy of three million on the cable and internet side of the business.
Responding to questions about compensation, Rogers said earlier that it would be “proactively crediting all customers” — but did not provide further details.
There is “no indication” the outage is due to a cyberattack, according to a statement from Canada’s electronic spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment.
The U.S.-based cybersecurity firm Cloudflare agreed with that assessment, saying in a in a blog post that the outage was likely “an internal error.”
Whatever the reason, the impact has been dramatic. Internet monitoring watchdog group Netblocks.org reported that total internet traffic in Canada was at 75 per cent of its normal level on Friday morning.
Rogers-owned flanker brands like Fido and Chatr also went offline, as did services not directly controlled by Rogers, such as emergency services, travel and financial networks.
Debit payment services have also been interrupted.
“A nationwide telecommunications outage with a network provider … is impacting the availability of some Interac services,” a spokesperson for Interac confirmed to CBC News.
“Debit is currently unavailable online and at checkout. Interac e-transfer is also widely unavailable, impacting the ability to send and receive payments.”
Bell confirmed that it is having no issues on its network, although it says customers are having difficulties connecting to anything on a Rogers network.
“The Bell network is operational and calls and texts between Bell customers or to other providers are not impacted,” the company said on Twitter.
Telus networks were also working normally.
CBC’s radio station in Kitchener, Ont., went offline and off the air as a result of the outage.
Spoke to the CEO of Rogers. Shared with him the frustration of millions of Canadians.<br><br>Also spoke w/ the CEOs of both Bell and Telus. Everyone is in solution mode, willing to help.<br><br>This unacceptable situation is why quality, diversity & reliability are key to our telecom network
The Toronto Police Service tweeted that Rogers customers in that city were having trouble connecting to 911, but stressed that the 911 service itself was working properly, as long as people weren’t calling from a Rogers-affiliated device.
“We are working to resolve these issues,” the force said.
Other emergency services reported a similar status.
“Although Rogers is experiencing a nationwide outage, our tests have shown 911 is still working,” a spokesperson for the Fredericton Police Service told CBC News.
Officials in Winnipeg and Vancouver also stressed that emergency services are operational, but people on the Rogers network can’t seem to access them.
Under Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) rules in place since 2017, telecom networks are supposed to ensure that cellphones are able to contact 911 even if they do not have service.
Canada’s telecom regulator did not immediately reply to a request from CBC News as to whether the 911 problems seen Friday are in breach of those rules. In a tweet, the CRTC said it also doesn’t have reliable phone service due to the Rogers outage.
They aren’t the only ones. Ordinary Canadians told CBC News on Friday that the outage is unacceptable.
“This can’t happen again without changes being made,” said Torontonian Andrew Revai. “People can tweet all the memes they want about losing connectivity but how will Rogers keep this from happening again?”
Ottawa resident Robert Hubscher said “it’s incomprehensible” that a company as big as Rogers could have an outage this widespread for this long.
He uses Rogers for his cellphone and home internet, and said he’s glad he has some services with other companies to maintain connections right now.
“It’s a little scary that the regulatory bodies are not looking at this more seriously,” Hubscher said.
Government services including already bottlenecked passport offices, Service Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency are also affected.
The Canada Border Services Agency says the ArriveCan app is disabled because of the outage, so anyone arriving in Canada must have a paper copy of their vaccination status.
Telecom analyst Vince Valentini with TD Bank, who covers Rogers, says it’s not good for the company’s reputation to have an outage of this scale, especially since it seems to be across all of its services, from internet to wireless.
“The longer this situation lasts, we believe there could be minor risks to customer churn,” he said. “And also there could be credibility issues for Rogers in the future as it attempts to ramp up sales.”
It’s the second time in as many years that Rogers has been rocked by a major outage, as the company’s wireless and cable networks went down in a similar fashion in April 2021. At the time, Rogers blamed an issue with a software update at one of its telecom equipment suppliers.
That time, the company offered customers rebates for their services, which ended up working out to a few dollars per customer. If the same metric is applied this time, Valentini says the company could be on the hook for about $28 million in rebates.
Technology analyst Ritesh Kotak says he suspects the cause of the outage is “an update gone wrong” in one of Rogers’ internal systems.
Regardless of why, Kotak says it underscores how vulnerable Canada’s economy is to outages like this, and says he makes sure all his telecom services come from different providers for this exact reason.
“It shows just how reliant we are on this technology,” he said in an interview. “From some government services … to working from home, all that has literally been shut down.”
Vass Bednar, executive director of of McMaster University’s Master of Public Policy in digital society program, says the outage underlines a long-simmering problem with Canada’s telecom network, which is that both the infrastructure and the services themselves are owned by private companies.
That’s not the case everywhere in the world, where private sector players control one or the other, and often compete with a public option.
“The internet and cellular services … seem like a public good,” she told CBC News. “They seem like critical digital infrastructure that we all need to use, and yet they are privately owned and operated.”
“Maybe it’s time for Canadians to seriously rethink that.”
Zimbabwean lecturer develops low-cost sun cream set to help people with Albinism
Harare, Zimbabwe- Dr. Joey Chifamba, a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) chartered industrial chemist and pharmaceutical nanotechnology expert has developed a low-cost sun cream which is set to help people with Albinism.
According to Dr. Chifamba, the sun cream harnesses zinc and titanium from natural sources as well as indigenous trees and was made using 5th generation emerging technologies including nanotechnology and biotechnology.
Speaking to a local publication, The Herald, Dr. Chifamba said his ground-breaking sun cream will help people living with Albinism who suffer from actinic (solar-induced) skin damage, freckles, sunburn as well as other various skin cancers.
“No product has ever been developed to protect Albinistic persons from actinic damage. The sunscreens that are given to them are designed for white-skinned people and do not take into consideration specific conditions and differences found on Albinistic skins.
This makes them not very effective and not very suitable especially for all-day everyday wear since Albinism is a lifelong condition.
We employ nanosized metallic oxides sunblocks conjugated together with nano-optimized indigenous herbs with antibacterial, antifungal and wound healing effects to create aesthetically pleasing cosmeceutical products for every day all day use by Albinistic persons.
In our innovation we have developed ground-breaking cosmeceuticals which are not only sunscreens but complete actinic damage retarding treatments that consider Albinistic skin differences and deal with various symptoms of actinic damage including wrinkles, premature aging, inflammation, bacterial and fungal infections,” said Dr. Chifamba.
Furthermore, Dr. Chifamba said the products which were developed in consultation with the Albino charity organization of Zimbabwe and other Albino welfare groups, are already available to people living with Albinism who are registered with the charity organization.
People with Albinism have skin that is very sensitive to light and sun exposure. Sunburn is one of the most serious complications associated with Albinism because it can increase the risk of developing skin cancer and sun damage-related thickening of the skin.
Albinism is a rare genetic condition caused by mutations of certain genes that affect the amount of melanin your body produces. Albinism can affect people of all races and all ethnic groups
For most types of Albinism, both parents must carry the gene in order for their child to develop the condition. Most people with Albinism have parents who are only carriers of the gene and don’t have symptoms of the condition.
Other types of Albinism, including one that only affects the eyes, mostly occur when a birthing parent passes the gene for albinism on to a child assigned male at birth.
Donald Trump loyalist, Alex Jones ordered to pay US$49 million in punitive damages
Austin, United States of America (USA)- A jury in Texas on Friday ordered Alex Jones, a loyalist to former US President Donald Trump, to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.
The jury announced its decision a day after awarding the parents more than U$4.1 million in compensatory damages and after testimony on Friday that Jones and Free Speech Systems, the parent company of his media outlet, Infowars, were worth US$135 million to US$270 million.
Prior to Friday’s Court proceedings, Jones told his audience that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax and that the grieving parents of those who died were actors.
The total of US$49.3 million is less than the US$150 million sought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators killed in the deadliest classroom shooting in US history.
“He stood up to the bully Adam Lanza and saved nine of his classmates’ lives. I hope that I did that incredible courage justice when I was able to confront Alex Jones, who is also a bully. I hope that inspires other people to do the same. This is an important day for truth, for justice, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Lewis.
Before the jurors began deliberating about the punitive damages, Wesley Todd Ball, a lawyer for the family, told the jury that it had the ability to send a message for everyone in the country and perhaps this world to hear.
“We ask that you send a very, very simple message, and that is, Stop Alex Jones. Stop the monetization of misinformation and lies. Please,” said Ball.
Jones, who has portrayed the lawsuit as an attack on his First Amendment rights, conceded during the trial that the attack was 100 percent real and that he was wrong to have lied about it, but Heslin and Lewis told jurors that an apology wouldn’t suffice and called on them to make Jones pay for the years of suffering he has put them and other Sandy Hook families through.
The parents told jurors about how they have endured a decade of trauma, inflicted first by the murder of their son and what followed, gunshots fired at the home, online and phone threats, and harassment on the street by strangers. They said the threats and harassment were all fueled by Jones and his conspiracy theory spread to his followers via Infowars.
Jones who was in the courtroom briefly on Friday but not there for the verdict still faces two other defamation lawsuits from Sandy Hook families in Texas and Connecticut.
Nevertheless, Jones has also claimed, among things, that the Pentagon was using chemical warfare to turn people Gay, that COVID-19 is not real and that September 11 was an inside job perpetrated by the government.
FBI still worried of another attack from Afghan rebel groups
Washington D.C, United States of America (USA)- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), head, Christopher Wray has expressed grave concerns over another attack from Afghanistan rebel groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.
His comments come just days after the US killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan via drone strike.
“I am worried about the possibility that we will see al Qaeda reconstitute, ISIS-K potentially taking advantage of the deteriorating security environment, and I am worried about terrorists, including here in the United States, being inspired by what they see over there,” said the FBI director during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Al-Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike, ending a years-long manhunt which placed al-Zawahiri near the top of the FBI’s most-wanted list. The 71-year-old Egyptian national headed up the group after the death of terrorist kingpin Osama Bin Laden in an American raid in 2011 and is thought to have helped plan the 9/11 attacks.
The Department of State also cited it believes there is a higher potential for anti-American violence given the death of al-Zawahiri.
Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating a possible assassination plot against Iranian-American journalist, Masih Alinejad.
According to US news sources, a man was arrested carrying a loaded AK-47 rifle in a possible plot to assassinate her.
Alinejad herself shared security camera footage of the suspect at her front door on Twitter on Sunday, saying, “My crime is giving voice to voiceless people. The US administration must be tough on terror.”
The arrested man was taken in by Police after a traffic stop. They said he ran a stop sign and when they checked his vehicle, they found a gun in the backseat, according to the complaint filed by the FBI.
He was charged with possessing a firearm without a proper serial number. At his Friday (last week) hearing, the Judge ordered him to be held without bail.
The suspect initially claimed that he knew nothing about the weapon and said he was just in the area looking for an apartment, but later he told the investigators that he owned the gun and that he was looking for someone in Brooklyn.
In July last year, US prosecutors charged four Iranian spies with trying to kidnap Alinejad from her home in Brooklyn and taking her to Venezuela. Investigators said that they had also tried to lure her to the Middle East before that.
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