Archive for June, 2017

Supreme Court Of Canada Tells Google To Filter Search Results…. That’s A Bit Of A Problem

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 30, 2017 by itnerd

Earlier this week The Supreme Court Of Canada dropped this ruling on the universe:

Canadian courts can force Google to remove results worldwide, the country’s top court has ruled, in decision criticised by civil liberties groups that argue such a move sets a precedent for censorship on the internet.

In its 7-2 decision, Canada’s supreme court found that a court in the country can grant an injunction preventing conduct anywhere in the world when it is necessary to ensure the injunction’s effectiveness.

“The internet has no borders – its natural habitat is global,” the supreme court wrote in its judgment. “The only way to ensure that the interlocutory injunction attained its objective was to have it apply where Google operates – globally.“

Let me explain why this is problematic by going back to what sparked this case:

The case stems from claims by Equustek Solutions Inc, a small technology company in British Columbia that manufactures network devices, that a distributor, Datalink Technologies Gateways, relabeled one of its products and sold it as its own online and acquired trade secrets to design and manufacture a competing product.

In 2012, Equustek asked Google to remove Datalink search results until the case against the company was resolved. While Google removed over 300 specific web pages associated with Datalink, it did so only on the Canadian version of its search engine.

The supreme court of British Columbia subsequently ordered Google to stop displaying search results in any country for any part of Datalink’s websites.

So Google appealed that decision to the Supreme Court Of Canada and lost. And here we are. What the court did is it told Google it cannot include a company in its search results because the company might be stealing. There has been no trial (largely because the people behind Datalink cannot be found) and there has been no finding of guilt or innocence. What happens do Datalink if it’s the latter? Well, what happens is the company has taken a significant hit to it’s bottom line and its reputation. Not that that’s the case here as it appears that Datalink is in the wrong here. But it is worth considering. Plus, until this is actually dealt with in a court, Google is the gatekeeper to keep Datalink at bay. Why isn’t any other search engine mentioned in this decision? It seems really odd to single out Google. And since when are they the police for the entire Internet?

The broader issue is this in my mind: Canadian law is not the law of planet Earth. But in this case, The Supreme Court of Canada has decided that it is the law of planet Earth. This is a dangerous precedent as it basically says that a Canadian court has say over the entire Internet. That seems to be insanely broad to me. It also seems like a slippery slope. What happens when some nation decides that its view of the internet is the legally correct one for example? It makes me wonder what the future of the Internet will be based on what happened this week.

 

 

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Infographic: Building The Digital Workplace

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 30, 2017 by itnerd

Citrix - Digital Workplace infographic - 05 08 2017.jpg

Source: Oxford Economics And Citrix

NGO Releases New Mobile Health App to Help Iranians Struggling with Addiction

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 29, 2017 by itnerd

Today, United for Iran, a Bay-Area NGO working to promote civil liberties and civil society in Iran is announcing the release of Haami: a new android app that is designed to provide help for recovering from addiction.

Haami, which means “ally,” is a mobile health application that will aid Iranians dealing with addiction by assisting them with dialing back compulsion and offering buffers for dealing with triggers. Haami offers a range of resources to recovering addicts including a tried and tested roadmap to sobriety through Narcotics Anonymous’ Basic Text, and other educational information to guide them on the road to recovery. A section of the app is designated to support family, friends and allies of recovering addicts.

Additionally, Hami offers an index of recovery centers in various Iranian cities and provinces. The app has a feature, called “I’m Not Ok,” for those who are experiencing an immediate urge to use. In this section, app users can find inspirational stories of people who have successfully been able to stay clean for many years.

According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Iran has one of the gravest addiction crises. Health ministry officials in Iran estimate there are 2.2 million drug addicts in the country of 80 million, 2.75% of the population. However doctors working with recovering addicts believe the actual figures are higher.

Haami is the fifth app to come out of United for Iran’s app incubation project, the IranCubator.

Key facts about United for Iran’s IranCubator app development project – The IranCubator:

  • United for Iran launched its new app incubation program in June 2016, seeking to match civil society activists with app developers and programmers to build smartphone applications for the 40 million smartphone users currently living in Iran.
  • IranCubator provided financial and technical support to winning developers and activists with projects that advance civil society in Iran.
  • All submissions were judged by the IranCubator Advisory Board consisting of notable technology and security experts, internet freedom advocates and social entrepreneurs including Allen Gunn, Christopher Allen and Danny Kennedy.
  • Ahead of the IranCubator competition, United for Iran conducted an extensive Community Needs Assessment with Iranian activists to determine the specific tools for advancing civil liberties.  Based on those findings, the IranCubator Advisory Judges prioritized apps and ideas that fight against the legal and socio-cultural discrimination against women, immigrants, people with disabilities and LGBTQ communities, as well as projects that promote education for underserved communities.

United for Iran is an independent nonprofit based in the San Francisco Bay Area working for civil liberties in Iran.

myDevices & X-TELIA Allow For Deployment of IoT Applications in Quebec

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 29, 2017 by itnerd

myDevices, the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions company that “simplifies the connected world” and creator of the Cayenne IoT solution builder, and X-TELIA, the first LoRaWAN public network in Quebec, today announced their partnership dedicated to the development and deployment of IoT solutions.

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myDevices develops technology that allows businesses to quickly design, prototype and commercialize IoT solutions. myDevices’ Cayenne IoT Project Builder has become the industry standard for creating and delivering finished IoT solutions. The X-TELIA network is specifically designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) and will provide the infrastructure necessary for the development of solutions that require highly secure, low-power, long-range and low-cost connectivity.

The X-TELIA network currently covers much of Montreal, an area with a population of more than one million. The company plans to deploy its network throughout Quebec soon, before expanding into other provinces. Both companies are also collaborating on a Living Lab program designed for university students to design real-world IoT solutions.

myDevices and X-TELIA are contributing members of The LoRa Alliance.

Schneider Electric Celebrates Canada’s 150th Birthday By Joining Habitat For Humanity In Building Homes

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 29, 2017 by itnerd

This July, power protection company Schneider Electric Canada is proud to join President Carter and First Lady Mrs. Rosalynn Carter, who bring their energy to cities across Canada for Habitat for Humanity’s 34th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. While the project will take place across Canada, President and Mrs. Carter will focus their efforts in Edmonton, Alberta, and Winnipeg. Schneider Electric Canada will be onsite at these locations to assist with building for this milestone endeavour.

In recognition of Canada’s 150th birthday milestone, Schneider Electric Canada will join the Carter Work Project as it builds 150 homes alongside 150 Habitat for Humanity families across the country. Projects during the week of building include 75 homes in Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan, 25 in Winnipeg and 50 in territories and other provinces. Habitat for Humanity and volunteers will be helping families build the strength, stability and independence they need to create a better life for themselves.

Supporting Habitat for Humanity’s efforts for more than 22 years, Schneider Electric Canada has provided hardworking Canadian families with the hand up they need to raise their children in a safe, decent and affordable home, helping with builds for thousands of Canadian families in need. During that time, Schneider Electric Canada has also invested more than $2 million in cash and gift-in-kind in support of Habitat for Humanity’s homebuilding program in Canada.

For more than 30 years, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter have traveled across the world with Habitat for Humanity with thousands of volunteers, donating their time and voices to build and improve homes alongside Habitat homeowners. Their efforts help raise awareness of the critical need for affordable homeownership. Together with the Carters, volunteers have built, renovated or repaired more than 4,000 homes in 14 countries.

This Week’s Ransomware Attack May Have Been Aimed At Ukraine

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 29, 2017 by itnerd

Research and investigation into Petya ransomware which has affected computers in over 60 countries has yielded three interesting facts according to Comae’s Matthieu Suiche:

  1. Ukraine was the epicenter of the attack. According to Kaspersky, 60 percent of all machines infected were located within Ukraine.
  2. The attackers behind the attack have made little money. At most they made around $10,000. Which suggests that money wasn’t a motive at all.
  3. Petya was either “incredibly buggy, or irreversibly destructive on purpose.” Thus Suiche suggests that this ransomware was really a “wiper” which is malicious code meant to destroy and damage.

Here’s some more details from Suiche:

We believe the ransomware was in fact a lure to control the media narrative, especially after the WannaCry incidents to attract the attention on some mysterious hacker group rather than a national state attacker like we have seen in the past in cases that involved wipers such as Shamoon.

The attacker took an existing ransomware which he repackaged.

Lately, the number of attacks against Ukraine increased from Power Grids being shut down to the car a top military intelligence officer exploding yesterday — the day Petya.2017 infected Ukraine.

The fact of pretending to be a ransomware while being in fact a nation state attack — especially since WannaCry proved that widely spread ransomware aren’t financially profitable — is in our opinion a very subtle way from the attacker to control the narrative of the attack.

That would suggest that Russia was behind this as nobody else that I know of would gain a lot from destabilizing Ukraine. It also suggests that the computers in other countries that were affected by this were cover for this operation or they were simply collateral damage. Here’s the danger for any country, Russia or otherwise, who chooses to engage in activities like this. Sooner or later, someone will hit someone with some sort of cyber attack, and the recipient will hit back and hit back hard. That will lead to an all-out cyber war and that has the potential not to end well because the potential for a cyber war to spill out into something with bombs and guns is a very real possibility.

Review: Linksys MAX-STREAM AC4000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Tri-Band Router

Posted in Products with tags on June 29, 2017 by itnerd

In the age of the Internet of things, the average home has at least 10 devices connected to the Internet. And all of those devices want access to the Internet at top speed. Thus your router is going to be the bottleneck, or the best friend to those devices. And if you want a router that is more of the latter, you need to look at the Linksys MAX-STREAM AC4000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Tri-Band Router. Here’s what you get in the box:

  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet connection for your Internet access
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet connections for your wired devices
  • Two USB 3 ports for printers and storage
  • 802.11ac with MU-MIMO
  • A 1.8 GHz quad core CPU and three peripherial processors
  • Airtime Fairness which allows faster devices to have more airtime than slower devices
  • Amazon Alexa support
  • Seamless Roaming when paired with a range extender like the Linksys RE7000

Physically this router takes up a lot of real estate. Thus you might have issues finding a place to put it. It’s also very heavy as it weighs in at a hefty 3 pounds and has a lot of ventilation which is needed as it does get hot. That’s a sign that the router well built.

I’m going to highlight a few things that make this router faster than most. The first is MU-MIMO which allows a Wi-Fi router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. This decreases the time each device has to wait for a signal and dramatically speeds up your network. That means that gamers and Netflix users will remain happy while they do their thing. The second is the fact that it has a 1.8 GHz quad core CPU and three peripheral processors which combine to push the theoretical 4 Gbps that this router is capable of. Not that any single user will see that speed as that figure is an aggregate of the two 5 GHz bands, each capable of 1625 Mbps and single 2.4 GHz band which is capable of 750 Mbps. Third is the fact that the router supports beam forming. Meaning that the antennas (six of them) surrounding the router are all directional, but between them they cover a full 360 degree range and the router can utilize the antenna or antennas to deliver the best signal to a device. Thus wherever the device accessing the router happens to be, it is guaranteed to get a good connection.

So…. How well does this work in the real world? Very well in fact. Using my Rogers Ignite Gigabit connection, I was able to get an average of 680 Mbps downstream and 44 Mbps upstream over 802.11ac WiFi when I was close to the router which is very quick and very close to my current speed champion which is the Linksys MAX-STREAM AC5400 Router. However I noted that the speed of this router is better than MAX-STREAM AC5400 router in every area of my condo. Particularly in areas where I had problems getting a good quality signal. Thus if you have a large home, this router will ensure that all parts of it get speedy WiFi.

Setup was trivially easy using Linksys Smart WiFi as I had it setup and fully up to date from a firmware perspective in minutes. Linksys Smart WiFi also allows you to fully configure aspects such as parental controls, media priority, and block HTTPS sites which is a unique feature. You can do all of this over a webpage, or over apps for the iOS and Android platforms. Keep in mind that the router will be connected to the Linksys servers at all times for you to fully leverage Linksys Smart WiFi. By the way, future functionality is going to appear in this router such as VPN support, DUAL WAN support to take two Internet connections and combine them, link aggregation to give you faster file transfers on your home network, and dynamic frequency selection which will provide up to four times the wireless channels available on the 5GHz frequency band among other things that Linksys has on their roadmap.

Downsides? Two that I can think of. The first is that if you want to plug in a lot of wired devices, you need to get a Gigabit switch or look to the MAX-STREAM AC5400 router which has 8 Ethernet ports. It is also not cheap at $379.99 CDN. But those who want the best wireless performance possible will willingly hand over their cash to get their hands on the Linksys MAX-STREAM AC4000 as it is a router that is very balanced in terms of performance when it comes to overall speed and range. Consider this router if you stream 4K video or you frequently want to pwn your friends in your favorite online game.