Posted by & filed under IT and Politics, Politics.

As U.S. authorities guard against dirty tricks from foreign adversaries in the run-up to the Nov. 3 presidential election, an unlikely source has come under new scrutiny as a major conduit of Russian-linked disinformation: a Montreal-based website run by a retired University of Ottawa professor.

The platform, Global Research, features a Canadian domain name and offers an ever-expanding collection of conspiracy theories, such as the myth that the 9/11 attacks and COVID-19 pandemic were both planned in order to control the population. The website also hosts articles experts have attributed to a Russian spy agency.

With more than 275,000 Facebook followers and a potential readership in excess of 350,000 per article, the site has the biggest reach among “Kremlin-aligned” disinformation sites, according to the U.S. State Department.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: October 22nd, 2020

Link to video and article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/russian-disinformation-global-research-website-1.5767208

Discussion

  1. What, if any, responsibility does or should Facebook have for allowing the sharing of this sort of content?
  2. Is this a technology issue at all?

Posted by & filed under Self-driving vehicles.

The Pod (see video), as this vehicle is known, was made by Einride, a Swedish firm founded in 2016 by Robert Falck, an engineer who used to work for Volvo. Mr Falck thinks that the technology of vehicle autonomy, long experimental, has now evolved sufficiently for driverless goods vehicles to begin earning their livings properly. Some Pods are already in trials for real jobs: running between warehouses, hauling logs from forests and delivering goods for Lidl, a supermarket group. Pods use the same technology of cameras, radar, lidar (the optical equivalent of radar) and satellite-positioning as other contenders in the field, but they differ from those others in the way their maker tries to deal with the regulatory concerns which prevent fully autonomous vehicles from being let loose on public roads. Einride’s approach, at least at the moment, is to avoid these by avoiding the roads in question. Instead, the Pod’s first version operates on designated routes within the confines of enclosed, private areas such as ports and industrial parks. Here, Pods act like bigger and smarter versions of the delivery robots which already run around some factories—though by having the ability to carry 16 tonnes and with room on board for 15 industrial pallets’-worth of goods they are indeed quite a lot bigger.

Source: YouTube and The Economist

Date: October 22nd, 2020

Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eokpf5Ty464

Discussion

  1. This Einride Pod is autonomous – ” Pods use the same technology of cameras, radar, lidar (the optical equivalent of radar) and satellite-positioning as other contenders in the field ” but it is also under human supervision, with the person overseeing things remotely back at HQ. The Economist says “The radical step is that Mr Falck believes you do not need a remote driver for each Pod. Einride already uses one person to control two Pods, but plans eventually for a single driver to look after ten. ” What do you think to this approach of have one human control up to 10 driverless trucks?
  2. This remote-controlled truck is currently “area restricted”. That is it ” operates on designated routes within the confines of enclosed, private areas such as ports and industrial parks. Here, Pods act like bigger and smarter versions of the delivery robots which already run around some factories—though by having the ability to carry 16 tonnes and with room on board for 15 industrial pallets’-worth of goods they are indeed quite a lot bigger. ” How useful is this?

Posted by & filed under Google.

If your washing machine is on the blink and you’re looking for appliance repair, be wary — new evidence reveals that you can’t always trust Google when it comes to finding a reliable local appliance repair person.

A months-long investigation by CBC’s Marketplace found questionable business practices such as fake Google Maps addresses and bogus company names are plaguing the appliance repair industry.

In some areas, as many as 50 per cent of the local appliance repair companies returned in a Google Maps search appeared to be fake. Fake company names and locations change all the time, so a phoney company listing that appears on Google Maps one day may be gone the next, the investigation found.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: October 16th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/appliance-repair-industry-online-listings-1.5762489

Discussion

  1. ” Experts in online searching question why Google hasn’t been doing more to combat fraudulent map listings. ” Why do you think Google is not doing more to combat this problem?
  2. How might Google go about detecting this sort of issue?

Posted by & filed under 5G.

Apple’s new 5G-capable iPhone 12

New research from OpenSignal, which collects data from mobile users via a speed test app, shows just how early in the rollout of 5G we are – and how variable an experience customers are receiving.

Its report shows that, in Saudi Arabia and South Korea, 5G customers are getting average download speeds of over 300Mbps – many times higher than what is available on their 4G networks. In the United States, by contrast, the average 5G download is just 52Mbps, less than twice what is on offer via 4G.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 16th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-54574320

Discussion

  1. ” Marta Pinto, mobile device specialist at the research firm IDC, tells Tech Tent that it is in China that Apple really needs a 5G offering to compete: ”It’s important because you have other vendors there that already have a 5G device. It’s a ‘too big to fail’ market. “
    What does “too big to fail” market actually mean?
  2. Why are US operators ” mainly focused on using the kind of 5G spectrum that gives wide availability, rather than the highest speeds”?

Posted by & filed under COVID-19, FinTech.

Shutterstock

You may have heard the relatively new term “FinTech” bandied about, but what actually is it? And why is it important for all entrepreneurs to know about and understand?

FinTech stands for Financial Technologies, and in its broadest definition, that’s exactly what it is: technologies used and applied in the financial services sector, chiefly used by financial institutions themselves on the back end of their businesses.  But more and more, FinTech is coming to represent technologies that are disrupting traditional financial services, including mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fundraising, and asset management.

Source: Forbes

Date: October 16th, 2020

Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2017/02/10/a-complete-beginners-guide-to-fintech-in-2017/#33a7c6b73340

Discussion

  1. Although this article is over 3 years old I have posted it because FinTech is something that should be covered, at least the basics, in every Intro to MIS class. One of the important things to discuss is “what is FinTech”?
  2. How has the global COVID-19 pandemic hastened the arrival of FinTech?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, COVID-19.

Quebec has joined the COVID Alert app, leaving B.C. and Alberta as the only remaining provinces with no immediate plans to activate the digital tool. Both Nova Scotia and P.E.I. have committed to joining in the coming days.

The federal government-administered smartphone app allows users to report a positive coronavirus test and alert others of a potential exposure.

Health Canada says more features could be on the way, but the federal agency says its priority remains to have all provinces and territories join the app “as is.”

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: October 9th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/covid-alert-app-features-coronavirus-quebec-1.5751497

Discussion

  1. The installation and use of these “contact-tracing” apps comes down to a balance between privacy of the user of the app and the public health benefits for all of the use of the app. What are some of the privacy issues here?
  2. ” Fitness apps and automatic screen time logging provide examples of the way a COVID app could share data with users about their behaviour and help shape their actions.” Why do some people use and love fitness apps, whereas others don’t? How might this help inform how to get people to use the contract-tracing app?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, IT and Politics.

Beatrice Atobatele in new york

“Earlier this year, I attended a conference and was shocked to find that you could actually buy voting machines on eBay. So I bought one, two months ago, and have been able to open it up and look at the chips.”

Beatrice Atobatele is trying to hack one of the most commonly used voting machines in the US, to look for security vulnerabilities, but not with any criminal intentions.

Beatrice is actually one of more than 200 people who have signed up to a volunteer group of security experts and hackers called the Election Cyber Surge.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 8th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-54378961

Discussion

  1. “by understanding how this machine works, she hopes she can ensure any vulnerabilities are fixed. “I’ve bypassed the authentication itself,” she says.”
    What might she mean when she says “authentication” here?
  2. “The problem with US elections, Beatrice and others say, is how disjointed they are. Most estimates suggest there are about 8,000 separate election jurisdictions. The equipment and voting methods vary dramatically. And every step of the process is vulnerable to hackers and human error.”
    Some would say that have 8,000 different voting jurisdictions actually makes the voting process safer, as it is hard to impact a large amount of voting. What are your thoughts on this?

Posted by & filed under Internet of Things.

Cellmate

The maker of a male chastity toy that was vulnerable to a hack attack has suggested the device can be easily removed with a screwdriver.

Researchers found a flaw in Cellmate’s app that could have let hackers simultaneously remotely lock all the devices in use, with no manual release.

Now the Chinese firm has defended the product, saying it can be cracked open.

It added that anybody trapped in their chastity toy could also call its customer hotline to be released.

The flaw was found by security firm Pen Test Partners, which shared its findings with Guandong-based Qiui, which makes the Cellmate toy.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 8th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-54468207

Discussion

  1. This device is part of the “Internet of Things”. What is/are the “Internet of Things”.
  2. Why are Internet of Things devices so vulnerable to hack attacks?

Posted by & filed under Self-driving vehicles.

The name of the Scottish indie band We Were Promised Jetpacks alludes to disappointment that the future isn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Well, you can now buy a functioning jet pack if you have a spare $600,000.

A self-driving taxi to pick you up at your Canadian home? That’s still in the future. Some experts say the distant future.

That’s certainly not what it felt like a few years ago, and enthusiasts who expected things to move much faster are beginning to sound discouraged.

When I wrote about robot taxis in 2015, I quoted experts from Google’s self-driving car project — since spun off as a subsidiary under the name Waymo and still considered by people I spoke to as the one to beat — saying autonomous vehicles would be “available to the public in two to five years.”

Source: Canadian Broadcasting News

Date: October 1st, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/driverless-cars-pittis-1.5739153

Discussion

  1. ” Certainly one technique, Wells said, might be to designate some areas as autonomous-only, where the vehicles all follow the same rules without the presence of pesky humans. ” What do you think about this idea?
  2. What sorts of areas could you set up as “autonomous-only” right now?