Archive for March 14, 2017

Spotify is now available on Waze

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 14, 2017 by itnerd

When it comes to the perfect in-car experience, great music and easy navigation go hand in hand. That’s why, today, Waze and Spotify are launching a new partnership to bring your favourite Spotify playlists into the Waze app – making your commute, next road trip or even a traffic jam more enjoyable. Get the best directions and playlists in your car – all on the same screen.  


Starting today, this new feature will roll out to Android users over the next few weeks. With it, you can 

  • Start navigating with Waze from within Spotify
  • Access your Spotify playlists from within Waze and easily change tracks
  • When your car is at a complete stop, easily switch between apps with one tap for an uninterrupted listening experience

Once set up, your music will play automatically when your journey begins, or you can browse your playlists when your car is at a complete stop.



Canadian Connected Sex Toy Company Fingered For Data Mining Users Without Consent

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 14, 2017 by itnerd

Ottawa based connected sex toy company Standard Innovation who makes an apparently popular sex toy called WeVibe apparently did more than make the sex toy and the app for your phone that goes with it. It also apparently data mined users by collecting real-time data of their connected sex toys usage without the users knowledge. Clearly that’s more invasive than it should be. So it’s no surprise that when users found out about it they went to court and got a $3.75 million (CDN) settlement. The Financial Post has the intimate details:

Under the terms of the settlement, Standard Innovation Corp. has agreed to destroy the personal information it has collected from users of the vibrator and stop collecting such information from now on. The vibrator, known as the We-Vibe Rave, could be paired with a smartphone app to allow a partner to control it remotely.

About 300,000 customers purchased the vibrators, with about one-third of them using them with the app, according to the settlement agreement. App users are entitled to a share of a fund up to US$10,000 after expenses and fees, with anyone who purchased vibrator without using the app entitled to up to US$199.

The company won’t have to admit that they did anything wrong as part of this settlement.

My take on this is that in the era of the Internet of Things, you can fully expect that your data will be used in some way that you don’t expect it to. That includes what you do in your bedroom. Now the company is wrong for not telling users that they were collecting real time stats of their intimate activities. But part of me isn’t shocked by this at all as data is very valuable these days. Thus if this is the sort of thing that you’re into, because if it is there’s nothing wrong with that, you might want to keep the fact that you may not fully control the data that your activities generate in mind.

PSA: Windows Vista Has Four Weeks Before It Goes EOL

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 14, 2017 by itnerd

The mistake from Redmond known as Windows Vista goes End of Life (EoL) four weeks today. If you’re running it for whatever reason, it really is time you bought a new computer. Or at least a new operating system. But you’ll likely be doing the former as the computer you’re running Vista on is likely not powerful enough for Windows 10.

So, why should you care? Let me list the reasons:

  • It will be a security nightmare as no more security related patches will come out for the OS or for Internet Explorer 9 which is the last version of IE that runs on the OS. That will leave you open to being pwned by hackers.
  • Applications are no longer being written or updated for the OS. So forget about running everything from Firefox to the latest copy of Office on Vista.

But if you don’t believe me, here’s the official Microsoft party line on the subject for your reading pleasure. I suggest that you take heed of these warnings and plan to update before April 11 which is the date the good times stop for Vista.

The CRA Shutdown…. The Story Sort Of Changes

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 14, 2017 by itnerd

Yesterday, I posted a story on the Canada Revenue Agency site being shut down over the weekend. At the time the CRA posted this as the reason:

The CRA takes the protection of Canadians’ tax information very seriously. Upon becoming aware of an internet vulnerability that affected some computer servers used by websites worldwide, the CRA acted quickly to temporarily take down our online services, including electronic filing, and put in place the necessary maintenance security patches to ensure that all information and systems remained safe. We took this action as a precaution, not as the result of a successful hack or breach.

Well. The story seems to have changed. Sort of. Here’s what the CBC said after a news conference that was held yesterday on the matter:

Federal government officials say no personal information was compromised by a software security risk that prompted a two-day shutdown of Canada Revenue Agency’s online tax services.

The issue with the open source software called Apache Struts 2, which is used widely around the world in the public and private sector, prompted the CRA filing portals to go offline Friday. Services were restored late Sunday afternoon.

During a briefing with reporters in Ottawa Monday, officials also revealed that Statistics Canada’s website was hacked, but said only data that was already publicly available was accessed from what they called a “soft target.”

Jennifer Dawson, deputy chief information officer for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, said IT security disabled affected servers and patched the cracks before returning digital services back to normal.

“Due to our quick and proactive approach, we’re confident that we’ve prevented government information, including the personal information of Canadians, from being breached,” she said. “We’ve seen no evidence of this information being compromised.”

So… While they did take a proactive stance on this, there was a hack of sorts. Though not with the CRA. So while the story that the CRA put out there remains true, it’s can be argued that it is true from a certain point of view as there’s clearly more to it than what has been put forward thus far. It might be wise for the CRA and any other part of the government that are involved in this to get the full story out there rather than have it leak out bit by bit. I say that because I have a feeling that this story is far from over.