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September 2017
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Canadian Cops Belatedly Asking For Authorization To Deploy Stingray Devices They've Been Using For Years

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Better late than never is the motto of Canadian law enforcement Stingray Squads. Documents obtained by Vice Canada show police scrambling to obtain warrants for equipment they were already deploying.

“Given recent media events my inspector has asked that I make an official request … for an authorization,” writes a member of the Calgary Police Electronic Surveillance Team on April 6 of this year. “There is some urgency to try and get this authorization in place as we are currently using the device.”The device in question is an International Mobile Subscriber Identity-catcher — known more commonly as an IMSI catcher, a Mobile Device Identifier, or by the brand name Stingray.
The Calgary Police join the rest of the nation's police forces in the officially un-admitted to use of Stingray devices. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the only agency to actually hold a press briefing to announce its use of the controversial devices. All other admissions have been dragged out of agencies, either through court filings or through public records requests.Perhaps sensing the government's regulators might have a problem with a bunch of unregulated signals, Canadian law enforcement agencies are obtaining "just in case" authorization, even as they state there's nothing legally preventing them from deploying the devices without the Innovation, Science and Economic Development agency's (Canada's FCC equivalent) approval.
In the RCMP’s letter, they argue that ISED doesn’t actually need to approve their IMSI catcher. Nevertheless, they submitted an application.“The RCMP was first made aware of ISED views on the RCMP’s use of [IMSI catchers] through media coverage in late March 2016,” they RCMP wrote, in requesting “timely” approval to keep using the devices. A second letter, this time from the Ontario Provincial Police, similarly requests permission to use the devices — so similar, in fact, it is nearly word-for-word for the RCMP’s earlier request.
Whether ISED will see post-dated requests as a sign of good faith remains to be seen. But there's no way cops are going to stop deploying Stingrays until proper authorization is obtained. And the top name in IMSI catchers is probably assisting agencies in keeping these devices up and running, even if it might mean playing fast and loose with the facts when asking for approval.Stingrays are the law enforcement's worst-kept secret -- on both sides of the border. A steady flow of documents that traces all the way back to a person imprisoned for tax crimes has resulted in plenty of public discussion about the privacy implications of cell tower spoofers… but very little in the way of published policies or judicial guidance. Only a couple of US courts have reached the conclusion Stingray deployments are Fourth Amendment searches. On the other side of the border things are just as unsettled.This isn't a failure of the court system. Instead, it's the result of Stingray best practices -- directly encouraged by federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI: let suspects walk rather than discuss the devices in court. But it's inevitable that more and more info on Stingray use will be divulged in court. And it all starts with paper trails like these belated requests for regulatory clearance.

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IOC President Tosses Shade At Including eSports In Olympics Over Concerns About Violence And Doping

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You will recall that a few weeks back we discussed the Paris Olympic Committee's open attitude towards looking at eSports for inclusion in the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games. This refreshing stance from an Olympic committee was a welcome step in the eSports trend, although it came with no promises taht we would actually see eSports in Paris seven years from now. The IOC, as always, would have the final say, and we all knew the massive headwind eSports would face with the grandpappy Olympic committee: eSports aren't real sports. Hell, I'm sure many advocates for competitive gaming were already gearing up to fight that fight.Unfortunately, it looks like the IOC is likely to turn its nose up at eSports for entirely different and far, far more stupid reasons. The first of those dumb reasons, according to IOC President Thomas Bach, will indeed have a familiar ring to gamers.

“We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people,” Bach told the South China Morning Post. “This doesn’t match with video games, which are about violence, explosions and killing. And there we have to draw a clear line.”
The Kotaku piece points out that Bach himself won the gold medal in 1976 for fencing. While nobody would want to make the claim that competitive fencing is violent, are we really to believe that fencing is less a simulacrum for violence than a video game? Not to mention that this blanket statement that video games are about violence at their core is simply wrong, even on the competitive eSports level. Many games of course include violence. But some do not. Bach himself went on to half-heartedly acknowledge this with a nod towards sports simluations that could perhaps still be included, but the very focus on violence is frustratingly dumb. After all, boxing, judo, karate and wrestling have been or are featured Olympic events, and all of them are clearly more "violent" than video games. And that sets aside sports like water polo, which are known to be physically brutal.But violent or no, eSports athletes may find themselves not included in the Olympics over an even more laughable concern: doping.
Bach also pointed out that the esports industry remains an under-regulated space compared to traditional sports: “You have to have somebody who is guaranteeing you that these athletes doing video sports games are not doped, that they are following technical rules, that they are respecting each other.”
Okay, stop it. Nobody would claim that eSports is without its drug issues, but the IOC of all organizations keeping it out of the Games over doping concerns is as farcical as it gets. The IOC would tell you, I'm sure, that it is opposite eSports in being one of if not the most regulated sporting event on the planet, and yet doping and PEDs are everywhere in the Olympics. The IOC and its event are no paragon of virtue when it comes to performance enhancing drugs. Listing that as a concern makes this whole thing seem like a joke.So what is this pushback actually about? Likely money, as with all things the IOC. If it felt that eSports being included would be a major money-maker for the IOC, these concerns would melt away faster than a Usain Bolt dash. Once eSports reaches a certain popularity threshhold, which the trend seems to indicate is likely, they'll get their Olympic bid. It just might not be in 2024.

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Jul/Aug 2017 Magazine

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Cover Story - MultiValue Database and Framework Benchmarking

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Jul/Aug 2017 - MultiValue Database and Framework Benchmarking

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Benchmarking has been a topic that's been around for several years, but nothing really has been provided to the MultiValue Community to use. I've heard many different reasons for the lack of benchmarking, so I'll go through a few of them.

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