Monday, 29 October 2018

Who protects your privacy?

The 2016 Presidential elections in the U.S brought forward many concerns about the use of social media and privacy issues. Cybersecurity has become the issue of our times, and more citizens are becoming paranoid about their personal information, and the extent to which they are protected by their governments.
Facebook and Google are being investigated by several governments regarding their data collection and how they are using it. Organizations like Cambridge Analytica harvested advertising data, and used them in the pro- Brexit, as well as the Trump Presidential campaigns. While there is no proof, it is very conceivable that other firms may collect data from Facebook and other social media users.
The increasing use of personal data collection is alarming because there seems to be no end to the ability of criminals as well as governments to access the data and use it without permission. Foreign governments interfere with the democratic process during elections, and criminals are attacking individuals and corporations. Some of the most infamous 2018 breaches have included the following:
·         Cathay Pacific – 9.4 million passengers
·         Facebook – 90 million users
·         Uber -57 million customers
These are only some of the many breaches experienced by corporations, but government data have not been immune to attacks, and these breaches involve very personal data which include Social Security, and  Healthcare data etc. So it seems that data which used to be private are no longer so, even when shared with government agencies.
This brings me to my next point concerning government data collection.  Some years ago, the Harper government decided to eliminate the Long-form census which collected data about housing, transport, employment, income and other key attributes required by various tiers of governments to plan and deliver public services. The outcry from the Chief statistician Munir Sheikh, was such that he resigned his position. In some ways I can understand the concern about who collects data and for what purpose. But today I am more concerned about what is collected and the security issue.
Governments can collect data, but how certain are they to keep them secured? The ability to collect data through the information system is so easy that what is being collected should concern citizens. Recently it has been reported that the Canadian government will be asking financial institutions to collect and provide data from some 500,000 Canadians without their knowledge. According to a report from Global News:   “the national statistical agency plans to collect “individual-level financial transactions data” and sensitive information, like social insurance numbers (SIN), from Canadian financial institutions to develop a “new institutional personal information bank. Statistics Canada will be acquiring individual payments and income history information from financial institutions,”
Canadians should not only be alarmed that their private data will be collected without their consent, but that they may not be assured that their information may not be used by criminals in case of a breach. There is no guarantee that any data collected by private or public sector organizations is immune form cyber hacking and theft.
In my opinion, this latest government collection of data reeks of ‘Big Brother’. While there may have been concerns about the abolition of the Long-form census, we should be more concerned about the government’s brazen intrusion in our private lives, and its inability to protect our privacy.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Going down the rabbit hole

Ever since the defeat of Hilary Clinton by Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential elections, politics in the U.S have turned upside down. The losing Democrats have resorted to resistance, obstruction and even violence by some of their supporters.  The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has brought a new dimension to the left’s ire, accusations and delusion.

The claim of sexual assault committed by Judge Kavanaugh some four decades ago was brought up by Democrats at the eleventh hour of the confirmation hearing by the Judiciary Committee. As a result we saw a repeat of the kabuki dance always performed by the Democrats when the Republicans nominate a Supreme Court judge. Their ugly character assassination came to the fore again just like they did when Judge Robert Bork and Judge Clarence Thomas were nominated. Democrats are obsessed by sexual abuse when it comes to conservative nominees, and yet ignore the dalliances and abuse perpetrated by their own. Character assassination has become a trade mark of the Democrats.

While abuse of any human being, albeit man or woman, is abhorrent and should never be condoned, we should never attack somebody with unsubstantiated accusations. In this case Judge Kavanaugh has been investigated six times by the FBI for each of his previous positions as a judge, yet that was not enough when a number of seemingly coerced witnesses came forward and accused him of crimes that have not been proven.

Both the victim Prof. Ford and judge Kavanaugh testified in lengthy depositions. While Dr. Ford was evasive on many answers, judge Kavanaugh’s answers were deemed to be temperamental when he defended himself from heinous and deviant sexual crimes.
Sen. Flake in another RINO moment sided with Democrats and demanded a further FBI investigation, which in the end may have helped the process to move forward. The Judiciary Chairman agreed to the request and the President ordered another FBI investigation which did not find any misconduct by the judge.

What happened should have been anticipated, The Democrats even before judge Kavanaugh was nominated decided that they were going to vote NO. It would have mattered very little who was nominated. Had Trump nominated George Washington or Mother Theresa, the same Democrat NO vote would have been cast. The strategy was to delay the proceedings as much as they could, and stop any Republican nominated judge from becoming a Justice of the Supreme Court so that perhaps they could win the mid-term elections in November. The Democrats’ behavior has been a demonstration of character assassination at its worst, and a continuation of their delusion and vengeance.

Having seen their hopes of a postponement dashed they also resorted to accusing judge Kavanaugh of being political when in his defence he quoted the Democrats tactics as being based on their affiliation with the resist movement and the Clintons, forgetting that in 2016 before the election of President Trump, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the New York Times is reported to have said:  "I can't imagine what this place would be -- I can't imagine what the country would be -- with Donald Trump as our president," Then they questioned his temperament, when he strongly and emotionally defended himself,

The continued attack on President Trump by the left is morphing into a real civil war. Democrat lawmakers condone attacks on opposition politicians, and anarchy. It is said that you reap what you sow, and the Democrats must remember that it was the Obama administration that started all this with the help of then Senate leader Harry Reid, when they passed Obamacare and their judiciary appointees.

As citizens, we should be very concerned about the Democrats’ tactics. Their disgusting performance as lawmakers should be a warning to us all, as they now believe that ‘the presumption of innocence’ is no longer the rule of law. That anybody can be accused of the most heinous crimes and should not be allowed to defend themselves, because what they say may be construed as being sexist, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, or homophobic. The left has now appropriated the right to free speech and have apparently become the sole arbiter of morality.

The left is not fighting Trump’s policies or judge Kavanaugh as much as they are fighting for globalism and progressivism. Their goal is to have open borders, redistribution of wealth and the continuation of failed Obama policies which they thought were going to be perpetuated and enhanced under a Clinton Presidency.

Unless we follow Alice in Wonderland, conservatives the world over must rise up to this growing progressive movement, which sometimes verges on socialism or even fascism.