#CyberFLASH: Next year’s Ontario literacy test will be paper-only as investigation into cyber attack continues

gv_20140408_biv0108_140409938.jpg__0x400_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscaleAfter widespread technical issues forced the cancellation of the first-ever online Ontario literacy test earlier this year, the agency tasked with administering the exam says next year’s version will be paper only.

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) said Friday it would be temporarily shelving the online version of the test after its October launch was marred by a cyberattack. The organization said it still hasn’t successfully completed a large enough trial of the system since the attack and doesn’t know when the online version will be ready to use.

“Given the considerable frustration and anxiety that resulted from the cyberattack, EQAO feels that it would be irresponsible to put students at risk of any further issues without having completed a successful large-scale online trial,” the agency said in a news release.

The announcement comes after a brand new system for administering the test online crashed in October, leaving many students unable to complete the test.

The EQAO said the network was the target of an “intentional, malicious and sustained” cyberattack involving a “vast set of IP addresses around the globe.”

Most of the province’s 900 secondary schools — representing some 147,000 students — had signed up to participate in the test, which was a technical trial run before the first official test scheduled next year.

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#CyberFLASH: Privacy watchdog to investigate RCMP over alleged ‘stingray’ cellphone surveillance

stingray.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxCanada’s privacy watchdog says it will investigate a privacy complaint about the alleged use of “stingrays” by the RCMP.

Office of the Privacy Commissioner spokesperson Valerie Lawton said the organization has opened an investigation into the RCMP’s refusal to admit whether or not it usesthe surveillance technology known as stingrays, formally called International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers.

During the course of an investigation, the privacy commissioner typically determines if any privacy laws have been broken and makes recommendations on future policy.

The complaint was filed by Laura Tribe, a digital rights specialist for free speech advocate OpenMedia, after she read a story in the Star about the RCMP’s refusal to answer questions about the devices.

“If these invasive technologies are not in use, then these agencies should have no problem confirming that their surveillance activities remain within the confines of the law. If these StingRay technologies are being used in Canada however, the public has a right to know,” said her complaint, filed in December.

The RCMP did not immediately return the Star’s request for comment.

The Mounties have remained tight-lipped about the tech, which mimics a cellphone tower and collects information such as identifying data, text messages and phone calls from people’s cellphones. The device casts a wide net that doesn’t distinguish between suspects in criminal cases and ordinary citizens.

In December, when the Star used the Access to Information Act to request policies related to the RCMP’s use of the technology, the RCMP wrote back that those records were exempt from disclosure. The OPP also wouldn’t comment on whether they used the devices.

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Facebook denies private messages leaked; says those posts were always public

TORONTO – Facebook says reports that private messages are being made public are not true.

Some Facebook users are adamantly insisting that private messages they sent to other members are now appearing on their timelines for others to see.

But Facebook says an investigation suggests that’s not the case.

“A small number of users raised concerns after what they believed to be private messages appeared on their timeline. Our engineers investigated these reports and found that the messages were older wall posts that had always been visible on the users’ profile pages,” reads a statement.

“Facebook is satisfied that there has been no breach of user privacy.”

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