Archive for January 2010

Health Records Havoc


I attended an H1N1 Vaccination clinic in  a local temporary clinic during early December. I went there with the express purpose of protecting myself against a known danger. Two weeks later I receive a letter from that same Regional Health office to advise me that they “might” have put my personal information at risk because of their inability to protect my data.

Systemic stupidity

Let’s get this right. This clinic was run by employees of the Durham Region Health Department. Their job is important and they are in the business of handling private and personal information for their clients. At this clinic they had many laptops which seemed to be networked together and they collected private information in order to identify the visiting patients. It seems they allowed an employee to copy this data on to a USB stick, walk out of the clinic and (a camera caught this) set the USB down on a rock in front of the clinic! From there nobody knows where it went to. Read more here.

The Privacy Commissioner has derided the Regional Health Department for not using strong encryption for mobile devices. What? Is my data that resides on their internal and non-mobile devices not encrypted? Every health record must be encrypted so as not to be compromised at all. This debacle has surely cost the Durham Region significantly more that actually using encryption capabilities—go figure.

Self Protection

Let this incident be a lesson to all of you folks who use portable devices for carrying around your corporate or private data. If you have a portable device (read laptop, smart phone, USB stick, portable drive etc.) you need to encrypt it. Encryption is easy and cheap. We use an very good open source encryption called TrueCrypt. If you are looking for something that will protect your sensitive data in mobile situations this is at least a start.

Misappropriated Mobile And The Missus


Things couldn’t have been worse for the jealous wife from Skåne, southern Sweden. It seems she suspected her husband of extramarital activities and stole his mobile to check out his contacts and SMS. In her haste to do this all very secretly she stole away to the back yard in the wee hours of the morning and climbed up into her son’s tree house. As you might expect this story is going from bad to worse very quickly. She got stuck going up the tree and had to use the purloined phone to call for a rescue. You can read all about the ensuing rescue, the public ridicule and ongoing jokes at the local police station. The story was carried in a Swedish newspaper, The Local.

Pioneer Philanthropy


In  a recent road trip through Georgia I was walking about a rest stop and noticed a granite block at the bottom of a flag pole. Curious as I am I wandered over to it and was amazed to find a commemorative stone obviously laid as a reminder of the good work that the Telephone Pioneers of America have done over the years. The Pioneers will have a 100th anniversary of during 2011.

Another interesting fact is that Alexander Graham Bell was a founding member! If you are interested in becoming a member or just want to learn more about the Pioneers check out a local group in your area.

Nortel Necropsy-The Novel


Nortel was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of the burial was signed by the bankers, the accountants, the auditor, and the retired employees. Old Nortel was as dead as a door-nail (with our apologies to Dickens).
However, it took James Bagnall, a journalist for the Ottawa Citizen to attempt the full autopsy while the vultures carried away the tasty bits.
Continue reading ‘Nortel Necropsy-The Novel’ »

Social Studies


In a recent move, that we applaud, Telstra recently has attempted to educate it’s employees about acceptable online behavior. They’ve done it by posting some of their guidelines online—a novel idea.
Continue reading ‘Social Studies’ »