Posted by & filed under Robotics.

Automata robot

You hear EVA before you see it. A whirring and whizzing noise greets you as you enter the offices of Automata, a start-up robotics company based in London.

To one side a robotic arm is going through an intricate set of moves: six joints twisting and turning in a sequence which, in the real world, would place a label on a parcel.

That’s EVA, and it has being doing those moves non-stop for months to test its reliability.

Around the office and workshop there are more than a dozen other EVA units, some being dismantled by the engineers, others awaiting testing.

It must be very eerie at night as EVA continues its work, simulating attaching labels, while surrounded by its silent clones.

Source: BBC Technology of Business

Date: February 25th, 2020



  1. ” EVA was developed from cheap reliable parts. It uses the same motors that power the electric windows in cars, while the computer chips are similar to those used in the consumer electronics business. This is allowing them to sell EVA at £8,000. ” The developers talk about their ” the intention to democratise robotics, to make automation accessible and affordable to as many people as needed it.” How does an $8,000 robot that can place stickers on packages “democratize” anything?
  2. Since the dawn of man using tools to accomplish tasks, each new tool has (usually) led to some form of democratization. What does it mean to “democratise robotics”?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Privacy.

I’ve been a customer since 1999, and rely on it for everything from grass seed to birthday gifts.

There are Echo speakers dotted throughout my home, Ring cameras inside and out, a Fire TV set-top box in the living room and an ageing Kindle e-reader by my bedside.

I submitted a data subject access request, asking Amazon to disclose everything it knows about me

Scanning through the hundreds of files I received in response, the level of detail is, in some cases, mind-bending.

One database contains transcriptions of all 31,082 interactions my family has had with the virtual assistant Alexa. Audio clips of the recordings are also provided.

The 48 requests to play Let It Go, flag my daughter’s infatuation with Disney’s Frozen.

Other late-night music requests to the bedroom Echo, might provide a clue to a more adult activity.

Source: BBC Technology

Date: Feb 25th, 2020



  1. Why is, that even after reading that Amazon has collected “transcriptions of all 31,082 interactions my family has had with the virtual assistant Alexa. Audio clips of the recordings are also provided”, that almost no one will change their behavior despite concerns about their own privacy?
  2. Is it right that Amazon can collect this level of data from what you do at

Posted by & filed under Facial Recognition, IT and Politics.

The federal privacy watchdog and three of his provincial counterparts will jointly investigate Canadian use of facial-recognition technology supplied by U.S. firm Clearview AI.

Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says he will be joined in the probe by ombudsmen from British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

The investigation follows media reports that raised concerns about whether the company is collecting and using personal information without consent.

Clearview AI’s technology allows for the collection of huge numbers of images from various sources that can help police forces and financial institutions identify people.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News

Date: February 21st, 2020



  1. What can you do (if anything) to protect your personal privacy from Clearview?
  2. What should the Canadian federal government do about this?

Posted by & filed under Career, Cyber Security, Microsoft.

After Microsoft announced a cloud data breach that resulted in the accidental exposure of 250 million customer support records last week, cloud misconfiguration issues once again burst into the cybersecurity spotlight. On the bright side, Microsoft launched a model response, illustrating how a quick and effective reaction can preserve the public’s trust and prevent a media disaster following a cloud data breach announcement.

Source: LMG Security

Date: February 21st, 2020



  1. ” Although Microsoft has features that can help identify and protect against misconfiguration errors, they were reportedly “not enabled for this database.” This gets to the crux of many cloud data breaches: while cloud providers do offer many security features, they are often not enabled by default.  ” What can we learn from this?
  2. Audit your cloud configuration – Routine cloud configuration reviews are now an essential part of a strong security program.” What new career opportunities are available from this advice?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Risks and Controls.

Michelle Keith and dog

Michelle Keith was distressed last April when her basset hound puppy ate some of the big chocolate Easter eggs she had laying on the top of a cupboard.

Knowing that chocolate can be toxic for dogs, she knew she had to do something.

But she was reluctant to rush Dinah into an emergency clinic at a local vet and pick up a hefty fee for the visit.

Instead, she called, via a video chat service, a vet available through Pawsquad, a UK based start-up.

“I got advice that the amount of chocolate she had eaten wouldn’t be toxic, based on her weight,” says Ms Keith, who lives in Greenock, 40 minutes west of Glasgow. “I also learned about the symptoms to look out for if my dog took a turn for the worse.”

Source: BBC Business

Date: February 20th, 2020



  1. What steps would you need to take to roll out a similar app service in the U.S. or Canada?
  2. What are some of the business risks and technology risks of a service like this?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack, Phishing.

Image purportedly used in Hamas honey trap

Dozens of Israeli soldiers have had their smartphones hacked by the Hamas militant group posing as women seeking attention, Israel’s military says.

A spokesman said the soldiers were sent fake photos of young females and lured into downloading an app without knowing it could access their handsets.

He said there was no “significant breach of information” before the scam was foiled.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Israel view each other as mortal enemies.

It is the third such attempt in recent years by Hamas to infiltrate Israeli soldiers’ phones, but was the most sophisticated yet, according to Lt Col Jonathan Conricus.

“We see that they’re of course learning and upping their game,” he said.

Source: BBC

Date: February 17th, 2020



  1. You frequently hear that a simply phishing attack like this is “sophisticated”. What was involved in this phishing hack, do you think? Does that make it “sophisticated”?
  2. How do you stop phishing attacks like these?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security.

Federal departments or agencies have mishandled personal information belonging to 144,000 Canadians over the past two years, according to new figures tabled in the House of Commons — and not everyone who was swept up in a privacy breach was told about it.

The new figures were included in the federal government’s answer to an order paper question filed by Conservative MP Dean Allison late last month. The nearly 800-page response didn’t offer an explanation for the errors, which range in seriousness from minor hiccups to serious breaches involving sensitive personal information.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: February 14th, 2020



  1. ” In one of those cases, a protected hard drive containing personal information belonging to 11,780 individuals was inadvertently made accessible to some CRA employees in January 2019. “
    How do you stop (or control for) a “protected hard drive” for being “inadvertently made accessible”?
  2. ” The Department of National Defence said most of its 170 breaches, which affected more than 2,000 people, were due to inappropriate access to…personal information”
    What steps could (and should) have been taken to make sure access was appropriate?

Posted by & filed under Automation, Future of Work.

Programmes preparing workers facing layoffs for their next career are on the rise. But experts are cautious to call ‘outskilling’ the perfect solution to the automation takeover.

Source: BBC Beyond the 9-to-5

Date: February 14th, 2020



  1. ” As the global march toward automation continues, particularly threatening jobs in factories, retail, food service and distribution centres, a significant gap in middle-skill workers (those with more education than a secondary school diploma) has also emerged. ” Is this statement about the threat of automation correct, or not?
  2. One of the very best articles about which jobs are at risk due to automation is here:
    Based on this article, is the quote in question 1 above true, partly true, or false?

Posted by & filed under Cyberloafing, Future of Work.

When Stephanie Andel can feel her eyes glaze over scrolling through academic papers, institutional emails or student marking, she’ll open a new tab in her web browser and explore. “I take a few minutes every hour or two to surf the web, look at news or scan my Facebook feed to catch up with friends,” Andel, assistant professor of psychology at Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis, admits.

She’s not alone. Research shows that workers drift from their contracted tasks to personal email, social networks and the far corners of the internet for anything between a few hours a week to a few hours a day. Six out of 10 people admit they can’t get through the workday without checking their social media, according to online learning firm Udemy, while two-thirds of us say Facebook is the biggest time-sink. This phenomenon – known as cyberloafing – is an issue that costs businesses $85bn a year through lost time, according to researchers at the University of Nevada.

Source: BBC Productivity

Date: February 14th, 2020



  1. ”  research shows that cyberloafing can keep employees happier and mitigate against negative effects of workplace culture ” What are your thoughts on the positive impacts of “cyberloafing”?
  2. The article suggests that whether “cyberloafing” is positive or negative depends on ” the type of organisation, the job and work conditions “. Discuss what different types of organization, job and work conditions change whether “cyberloafing” might have a positive or negative effect.

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack, Ransomware.

To town councillors in Essex, Ont., it sounded like an expensive, if necessary, proposal.

At a public meeting last August, the town’s insurance provider pitched a new type of policy that he said a growing number of municipalities are buying: coverage against cyberattacks.

“By purchasing this layer of protection, you can have a little peace of mind,” Wally McNeilly, of Aon Risk Solutions, told the councillors.

Spurred by reports of criminals hijacking computer networks and demanding payment, more and more local governments and companies are purchasing specialized insurance coverage against these high-tech crimes. However, some security experts warn that insuring against attacks — and, in particular, paying ransoms — is likely to embolden hackers by increasing their confidence they can get paid. 

Source: CBC News

Date: February 6th, 2020



  1. Does it make sense that have insurance to pay off a ransom demand makes it more likely that ransomware criminals will ask for more money?
  2. “There’s no industry that’s not picked on anymore when it comes to cybercrime.” What are you doing to be a part of this growing cybersecurity industry?