General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsRegulatory, Telecom & Media News - Feds to move forward with tax...

Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Feds to move forward with tax on foreign digital giants

Finance Minister Bill Morneau

The Government of Canada will move forward with a plan to tax large, foreign digital companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, according to Federal Finance Min. Bill Morneau. Morneau’s comments this week make good on a Liberal campaign promise to impose a 3% tax on global tech giants with worldwide revenue of at least $1 billion and Canadian revenue of more than $40 million. The tax, proposed to take effect in April, would apply to revenue from online ads and user data. France is planning to implement a similar tax regime in the face of threats of retaliatory tariffs from the U.S. 

The CRTC has taken further steps to combat caller ID spoofing and determine the origins of nuisance calls. Telecommunications service providers are being ordered to implement a new framework called STIR/SHAKEN by Sept. 30, 2020 that will enable them to certify whether a caller’s identity can be trusted by authenticating and verifying the caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. The commission hopes the measure will reduce the frequency of caller ID spoofing.

The CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer has issued a penalty of $100,000 to John Paul Revesz and Vincent Leo Griebel, partners operating under the business name Orcus Technologies, for developing, selling and promoting malware. An additional penalty of $15,000 was issued to Revesz for operating a secure dynamic domain name service that was allegedly used by hackers to communicate with infected machines. An investigation found that Orcus Technologies marketed and sold a Remote Administration Tool under the name Orcus RAT – a Remote Access Trojan that enabled hackers to install the program and take full control of a victim’s computer without their consent or knowledge. The CRTC says it’s estimated that the malware has infected thousands of computers worldwide.

vLex, an AI-powered legal information platform, and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society, University of Ottawa (CIPPIC), are aiming to increase public participation in communications policy through a new initiative. Using its Iceberg intelligence tech, vLex is developing a free and public communications law and policy research platform, that will see thousands of documents analyzed across hundreds of proceedings and make them available for advanced data mining. David Fewer, General Counsel of CIPPIC, says the impetus for the project was the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review, which alone is comprised of more than 2,000 submissions. The first public beta version of the research tool should be available in early 2020, and a comprehensive and permanent research tool within a year. Read more here.

TELUS Corporation, through TELUS International, has agreed to acquire privately-owned Competence Call Center (CCC), a Berlin-headquartered customer relationship management and content moderation provider operating in 11 European countries, for approximately CAD $1.3 billion. TELUS President and CEO Darren Entwhistle says the acquisition brings the organization’s estimated enterprise value to approximately CAD $5 billion. Entwhistle says the move also bolsters TELUS International’s growth strategy by positioning it for a potential future initial public offering in the next 12-24 months.

Quebecor has acquired a minority stake in Montreal events company Multicolore. The company will continue to be managed and operated by Pascal Lefebvre and his team, and will maintain its head office on Gaspé Street. Multicolore has been staging Quebec culture and events for 17 years, including Piknic Électronik, Igloofest, the MEG Festival, and the new Super Fête. It also boasts a production division, Matane Productions.

Desiree Brightnose and Shelby Emro

Jim Pattison Broadcast Group’s Prairie Equity Scholarship recipients for 2019 are Desiree Brightnose, a second year student in Assiniboine Community College’s Interactive Media Arts Program and Shelby Emro, a second year radio student in the Radio, Television, & Broadcast News program at SAIT in Calgary. During her first year, Brightnose – a member of Manitoba’s Chemawawin Cree Nation – developed a love for broadcasting that motivated her to volunteer for campus and community stations, work for local commercial stations and develop her own podcast. Emro has a passion for audio production, having already completed a Digital Audio Certificate program, and has a long volunteer resume, including the National Music Centre, Beakerhead (an art, science and engineering education festival), and Otafest (Calgary’s premiere Japanese animation festival). The Equity Scholarship was instituted in 2009 to address the shortage of broadcasters from four underrepresented groups: Aboriginal Peoples, Persons with Disabilities, Members of Visible Minorities, and Women. 

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) Awards, recognizing the best in Canadian investigative journalism work, are officially open for submissions. Enter your best stories published or broadcast in 2019 for consideration in 17 categories by Jan. 17. Winners will be announced in Montreal on May 30 at the CAJ’s annual national conference.

Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) annual Media Awards are inviting submissions from Ontario journalists who published or broadcast stories in 2019 on health or nursing. Nominations must be received online no later than Friday, Feb. 14. Winners will be announced in the spring with the awards to be handed out at the President’s Banquet during RNAO’s Annual General Meeting in June.

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