Social Media

PM sets out Johnston’s mandate

Former Governor-General David Johnston, tasked with looking into foreign interference in Canadian politics, has been promised “complete access” by the Prime Minister. While he has two months to decide whether a public inquiry is warranted, Johnston’s mandate letter gives him more time to dig into the “extent and impact of foreign interference”, to determine “what the government did to defend Canada”, and how it could be improved. [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]

No Tik-Tok on federal devices

Effective February 28, all federal government mobile device will be banned from using Tik-Tok. Confirmed the decision today, Treasury Board President Mona Fortier said there is an “unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security” and the Chinese-owned social media app’s data collection leaves users vulnerable to cyberattacks. [node:read-more:link]

Brit faces extradition to U.S.

A Spanish court has approved the extradition to the U.S. of a British man wanted by California and New York courts to face 14 charges of fraud and extortion, among other things, from hacking the social media accounts of executives, politicians and celebrities. Joseph James O’Connor, who can appeal the ruling which is subject to cabinet approval, was arrested in July 2021. [node:read-more:link]

Wagner head founded “troll farm”

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Russia mercenary Wagner Group, disclosed February 14 that he also financed the Internet Research Agency, a “troll farm” the U.S. says meddled in the 2016 presidential election. “I created it, I managed it for a long time,” he said on social media. “It was created to protect the Russian information space from the West’s boorish and aggressive anti-Russian propaganda.” [node:read-more:link]

G-G facing on-line abuse

Governor General Mary Simon’s office said today it is turning off the comments sections on its social media accounts due to increasing “abusive, misogynistic and racist engagement on social media and online platforms, including a greater number of violent threats.” Appointed in July 2021, the former civil servant, broadcaster and diplomat is the first indigenous holder of the vice-regal office. [node:read-more:link]

EU mounts fake news counteroffensive

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign affairs and security chief, said February 7 that EU missions worldwide are being assigned special staff to deal with growing traffic in disinformation. “We have to address this politically at the highest possible level,” he said, having specifically mentioned Russian-sourced fake news. [node:read-more:link]

On-line political threats worrisome

Heavily-redacted reports released by the federal government in response to an Access to Information request show a disturbing trend of “violent rhetoric and intimidation tactics” in on-line threats to federal politicians. Targets included government opposition Members of Parliament and a far-right social network said some should be executed for treason. [node:read-more:link]

Greens mishandled membership data

Personal information on thousands of Green Party of Canada members and supporters were published online for an indefinite period of time in violation of the party’s own rules but the party closed down access to the Google Drive document January 26. Anne Cavoukian, a former Ontario information and privacy commissioner, called it an “appalling” breach of trust [node:read-more:link]

Vaccine misinformation fatal and costly

The Council of Canadian Academies says coronavirus misinformation fostered vaccine hesitancy and contributed to more than 2,800 Canadian deaths as well at least $300 million in hospital and intensive care costs. It reports that 2.35 million people postponed or refused vaccination between between March and November 2021, effectively setting themselves up for infection. [node:read-more:link]

Home Depot shared consumer data

Federal Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne disclosed January 26 that Home Depot shared details from customers’ electronic receipts with Meta, the corporate parent of the Facebook social media platform. The information included encoded email addresses and purchase details which the social media used to target the chain’s customers with specific advertising. [node:read-more:link]

Trump’s social media access renewed

Meta, the corporate parent of Facebook and Instagram, announced today that it will reinstate Donald Trump’s accounts “in the coming weeks” after shutting him down over his inflammatory posts about the January 2021 assault on Capitol Hill . However, Global Affairs President Nick Clegg said there will be “new guardrails in place to deter repeat offences.” Trump continues to insist he did nothing wrong. [node:read-more:link]

Time out for TikTok?

The head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security says Canadians should be wary of apps that could leave their data in the “wrong hands.” Sami Khoury’s warning comes as the globally popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok faces claims that it is data harvesting. “You have to ask yourself the question: do they need to access that information?” he says. “In some cases, it lands in places that don’t live by the same principles of rule of law (and) respect for human rights.” [node:read-more:link]

Outgoing New Zealand PM threatened

New Zealand's incoming prime minister, Chris Hipkins, has vowed to protect his family from the “abhorrent” abuse to which his predecessor, Jacinda Ardern received while in office. Hipkins, to be sworn in January 25, blamed a “small minority’ for the escalating threats against Ardern and said it “does not represent who we are as a country.” [node:read-more:link]


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