Communications Technologies

RCMP radio gear cleared

The RCMP last year suspended a contract for radio-frequency filtering technology supplied by a B.C. company owned by Chinese interests, but an internal audit, which recommending changes to the procurement process, has concluded there were no security concerns. [node:read-more:link]

China restricts iPhones

In the latest step to reduce reliance on foreign technology and potentially enhance cybersecurity, China has ordered officials in central government agencies not to use Apple iPhones or other foreign-branded devices in the workplace. China is one of Apple’s largest single markets, accounting for some 19% of the company’s revenues. [node:read-more:link]

Competition Bureau on hook for costs

The federal Competition Tribunal has ordered the Competition Bureau to pay Rogers and Shaw some $13 billion in legal costs incurred in the communications companies’ fight against a failed attempt to block their merger. The tribunal says the bureau had “adopted an unnecessarily contentious approach throughout the litigation.” [node:read-more:link]

Canadian news content threatened anew

Even as it announced plans to cut 1,300 jobs and local broadcast news programming across its diverse network, Bell Canada Enterprises asked the federal telecom regulator to waive domestic content rules it says are based on outdated market realities. Its news media operations lost $40 million last year as Internet giants gobbled even more of the Canadian advertising market [node:read-more:link]

Social media giants “bullies”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said June 7 that California-based social media companies are using “bullying tactics” to block draft legislation which would require payment for news content sourced from Canadian publishers. “That these internet giants would rather cut off Canadians’ access to local news than pay their fair share is a real problem,” he said. Bill C-18, the Online News Act, ws inroduced by the government in April 2022 and is currently before the Senate, having received House of Commons approval in December. [node:read-more:link]

China extends polar footprint

The 1959 Antarctic Treaty stipulates that continent could not be used for military purposes, but the evolution of dual-use technologies is raising concerns about China, which has a growing interest in the Arctic, building a fifth Antarctic base which could be used to monitor communications in southern regions. [node:read-more:link]

Italy bans ChatGPT for now

The Italian National Authority for Personal Data Protection today ordered an immediate but temporary ban on access to the increasingly popular ChatGPT application. It said that the chatbot “suffered a data breach on March 20 concerning users’ conversations and payment information of subscribers.” The agency criticized the application’s owner, San Francisco-based OpenAI, for not giving users information on how their data is collected. The European police agency warned earlier this week that criminals were ready to take advantage of chatbots to commit fraud and other cybercrimes. [node:read-more:link]

Rogers-Shaw-Videotron deal done

The federal government has approved a licence transfer needed for Toronto-based Rogers Communications to complete its $26-billion buyout of Calgary-based Shaw Communications. Announcing the deal today, Innovation, Science & Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said his department approved the transfer of wireless licences from Shaw to Quebec-based Videotron, which has a side deal to buy Shaw’s mobile division. The deal includes 21 legally enforceable conditions, including improved service in rural, remote and indigenous communities. [node:read-more:link]

Internet promise falling short

Auditor General Karen Hogan reported today that 1.4 million Canadian households in rural and remote areas do not have access to the level of Internet services promised by the federal government. “When services are of poor quality, unaffordable or unavailable, people are effectively excluded from participating fully and equally in the digital economy, accessing online education, banking, medical care and government services or working remotely,” she said. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa eases back on remote work

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier’s office says some federal employees will be able to continue working remotely despite an earlier edict that all must be back in their official workplaces to days a week by month’s end. The policy easement affects mostly “high priority” information technology positions. [node:read-more:link]

Clock running out on TikTok

After the federal government, taking its cue from the European Union and the U.S. by banning the Chinese-owned TikTok social media app from on all government mobile devices. The roster of governments concerned about data protection and security vulnerability continues to grow with Nova Scotia the latest addition. [node:read-more:link]

Quebec also bans Tik-Tok

Taking his cue from the federal government, Quebec Cybersecurity & Digital Technology Minister Éric Caire today banned the installation and use of TikTok on government mobile devices. He said it is a “preventative measure” rather than a response to any indication the Chinese-owned social media app had been used to spy on government employees. [node:read-more:link]

Foreign broadcast content an issue

Ontario MP Michael Chong, a former cabinet minister and now the Opposition foreign affairs critic, wants the federal government to follow Britain’s lead and ban propagandist Chinese state broadcaster channels. Motivated by complaints against Mandarin and English channels in Canada, he points out that the government ordered the removal of a Russian channel last year for targetting Ukrainians. [node:read-more:link]

CanCon looms for streaming services

The Senate has amended government Bill C-11, a contentions plan to compel online streaming services to provide Canadian content accessible to Canadian subscribers or face penalties. Introduced in the House of Commons in April 2022, it now includes Senate changes the House must consider but Heritage Minister Pablo Rodrigues said February 2 that he is optimistic about final approval soon. [node:read-more:link]

Turkish firm wins NATO contracts

A Turkish engineering firm has won two contracts worth some €31.5 million to modernize intelligence infrastructure in the NATO Communications and Information Agency. STM says it is one of the largest software development projects assigned by the alliance to a Turkish company. [node:read-more:link]


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