Thursday, February 6th, 2014
By Sharif Sakr
Voice-over-IP (VoIP) is nothing new, of course, but so far it’s been regarded merely as an add-on to America’s regular, analog-based copper and cellular voice networks — networks that are currently maintained as a matter of legal requirement. The FCC isn’t necessarily such a stickler for tradition, however, as it is now encouraging phone networks to explore what would happen if VoIP replaced everything else. In other words, how would the system cope if the only phone numbers were Internet Protocol addresses; if even emergency calls were transmitted over the web; and if remote rural communities became dependent on VoIP, with no other type of network as a backup? Companies that want to participate in the experiment have until late February to submit their ideas, with approvals expected to be granted as early as March — but don’t fear, the tests will only be permitted in “discrete geographic areas or situations,” which is the FCC’s way of politely reminding telecom providers not to get ahead of themselves.
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
Scary news out of Alberta. Another failure of personal information being compromised. This is why we are encouraging our customers to use a terminal or cloud server. No data is left to chance on a hard drive! If all the data had been stored properly on a terminal server, 620,000 people would not have been compromised. This begs us to ask a further question, with the technology available why wasn’t this IT professional at fault using it?
We stress these issues to our clients everyday, protect yourself. Hire a professional consultant with a great track record. Insure that they understand your demands of data security. And do not leave anything to chance.
Below is the article just released by CBC
Health officials recently informed of theft from last September
A laptop with the unencrypted personal health information of 620,000 Albertans was stolen last September, Health Minister Fred Horne announced Wednesday.
The laptop contained the names, dates of birth, provincial health card numbers, billing codes and diagnostic codes of the individuals seen at Medicentres between May 2, 2011, and Sept. 10, 2013. The computer was stolen on Sept. 26.
Horne said that he was informed of the theft on Tuesday, when he received a letter from the vice-president of Medicentres Family Health Care Clinics.
He has asked the privacy commissioner for an official investigation under the Health Information Act to find out why health officials have only just been told about the theft.
“On behalf of the citizens of this province, I am quite frankly, outraged that this would not have been reported to myself or my department sooner,” Horne told reporters.
“The theft of personal health information of 620,000 fellow citizens is unacceptable in Alberta’s health-care system in any circumstance.”
Edmonton Police, the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Alberta Medical Association have also been notified.
Check credit card statements
In a news release, Medicentres says they were told on Oct. 1 that the laptop belonging to an information technology consultant was stolen.
The release further states that police and the privacy commissioner were notified immediately. However, Edmonton police said the theft was reported four days later on Oct. 5.
“To date, Medicentres has no information to suggest that any of the personal information on the laptop has been accessed or misused,” the news release states.
“Medicentres has already implemented a number of additional security measures and we are further auditing our security policies and procedures and are implementing further measures to ensure that personal information is further safeguarded.”
The chief medical officer for Medicentres, Dr. Arif Bhimji, said the laptop was stolen in Edmonton.
The consultant had access to so much information because he was working on a database needed to submit claims to the Alberta government.
There was a delay in notifying the public because Medicentres was trying to figure out how to best do it, he said.
“We kept the privacy commissioner involved and advised of our progress over this period of time,” Bhimji said.
“I wish we could have done it sooner, but this was the first time ever having to deal with this sort of situation and it took a lot longer than we would have liked it to take.”
He is advising anyone who thinks that their information was stolen to check their credit card statements to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary.
Bhimji said Medicentres is now seeking answers on why the stolen laptop’s data wasn’t encrypted.
“We have certainly asked for a response to that question from our IT consultant, who we would have hoped would have understood that this would be an important privacy matter to be concerned,” he said.
Bhimji declined to name the firm where the consultant works.
“We are terribly sorry that this has occurred. We regret that it has taken much longer than we would have liked to inform Albertans with respect to this and we truly do apologize for the inconvenience that some of these people are going to face and the concern that this is going to cause them.”
Privacy boss to decide on investigation
Alberta privacy commissioner Jill Clayton is en route to Edmonton and will decide tomorrow whether to commence an investigation, her spokesman Brian Hamilton said.
Hamilton said the information contained on the laptop isn’t complete enough to commit identity fraud. However, he said that his office had been urging Medicentres to make the theft public since October.
Horne said anyone who might be affected can lodge a complaint with the privacy commissioner.
“When first asked for my reaction about this I was speechless. I find it incredibly hard to believe that in a province such as Alberta that such an incident could occur,” he said.
Opposition leader Danielle Smith of the Wildrose Party said it was inconceivable that it had taken so long for the breach to be made public and that the health minister wasn’t notified sooner.
“Why did all of this information exist in a single file on a computer in the first place?” Smith asked.
“The requirement of the Health Information Act is that vendors are only supposed to access the amount of information that they need to provide the service and no more.”
Friday, December 6th, 2013
What goes up must come down and on Wall Street, billions are made and lost betting on which direction companies are headed. Apple is the most valuable technology company in America by a huge margin so needless to say, it gets plenty of attention on the Street. At some point, be it sometime in the next few years or sometime in the next few decades, Apple will no longer be on top. It is inevitable. The question countless industry watchers try to answer, of course, is when. (more…)
Thursday, August 15th, 2013
If you care about privacy, it’s time to drop Google.
That’s what Consumer Watchdog is recommending following Google’s admission that people shouldn’t expect privacy when they send messages to a Gmail account, any more than people would were they to send a business letter that could be opened by an assistant.
Here’s how Google put it in on Page 19 of a brief filed recently in federal court [PDF] and reported on by Consumer Watchdog, a US consumer advocacy group, on Monday:
"Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient's [email provider] in the course of delivery.
"Indeed, 'a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.'" (more…)