#Google; #Investigation; #EU; #Fitbit
New York, Aug 4 (Canadian-Media): An in-depth investigation is being opened by European Union (EU) officials into U.S. tech giant Google's plan to buy fitness tracking device maker Fitbit, because of the concern that deal would expand Google's "data advantage," and raise barriers for rivals to match Google's online advertising services, media reports said.
Google. Image credit: Twitter handle
Google's plan to acquire Fitbit was a bold step into health and fitness technology in its efforts to become a force in consumer hardware.
"This deal is about devices, not data," said Rick Osterloh, Google's senior vice-president for devices and services. "We've been clear from the beginning that we will not use Fitbit health and wellness data for Google ads," he wrote in a blog post.
With its initiative, Fitbit had launched wearable fitness technology with devices to track activities such as running, cycling and swimming and record sleep patterns and heart rates.
Fitbit has more than 28 million active users worldwide and has sold more than 100 million devices.
Citing privacy and antitrust concerns, authorities have been called by privacy and consumer groups to block Google's deal to buy Fitbit in November for $2.1 billion US.
"Investigation aims to ensure that control by Google over data collected through wearable devices as a result of the transaction does not distort competition," said EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who has been at the forefront of the movement to govern and control the likes of Google and its Silicon Valley rivals.
During her first five-year term as competition commissioner, she hit Google with nearly $10 billion in penalties for multiple antitrust cases involving its Android operating system, advertising business and shopping service.
The investigation also underscores the leading role of EU authorities in global efforts to regulate the big technology companies.
#Kitchener; #Ontario; #MIX; #IAAP; #SITIP; #SMEs; #IP; #Covid19
Kitchener, Jul 17 (Canadian-Media): A made-in-Ontario Intellectual Property Action Plan (IPAP) along with COVID-19 Research Projects -- to ensure the social and economic benefits of taxpayer-funded research and innovation stays right here in the province -- was unveiled July 17 by Ontario Premier Doug Ford in a news conference at Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX) in Kitchener, Ontario.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Twitter handle
In addition, the second round of research projects approved and supported through the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund was also unveiled to enable researchers to find ways to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19.
Details were announced at MIX by Ford, Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
Strengthening of Ontario's intellectual property (IP) position through the IPAP will enable the province's long-term economic competitiveness by prioritizing IP generation, protection, and commercialization.
A Special Implementation Team on Intellectual Property (SITIP) is also being created by the government comprising of the IP experts -- who previously served on Ontario's Expert Panel on Intellectual Property -- to provide advice on the implementation of the IPAP including the commercialization of research and IP in the province's postsecondary institutions and innovation centres to ensure that Ontario is open for jobs and open for business.
Together, Ontario's SITIP and IPAP will respond to the report prepared by the Expert Panel on Intellectual Property and will work with postsecondary and research institutes to strengthen their organization's mandates related to commercialization entities; developing standardized, web-based basic and advanced IP education curriculums to strengthen Ontario's IP literacy by creation of a centralized provincial resource entity to allow increased access to sophisticated IP expertise; and develop a governance framework for organizations that support entrepreneurial and innovation activities, which incorporates IP considerations.
"Ontario is home to some of the brightest and most innovative people and businesses in the world, and it's critical that we leverage that advantage globally, while ensuring we keep the value of homegrown ideas in the province for the benefit of Ontarians," said Minister Fedeli at MIX.
The postsecondary, research and innovation sector will also take a leading role in Ontario's economic recovery and future prosperity and would be funded by the government's $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.
Projects announced in May, 15 as part of the first round are focusing on areas such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences and is receiving additional funding to help commercialize the Rapid Research Fund projects here in Ontario, ensuring that taxpayer-funded research benefits Ontarians first.
As part of its summer consultations, the government will seek feedback from colleges, universities, research institutes and other key partners to explore how best to support researchers and ensure that discoveries made in Ontario benefit Ontarians and the Ontario economy.
A recent Canadian Intellectual Property Office report said small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aware of or holding registered IP rights are more likely to have expanded, or intend to expand, to domestic and international markets. The report also finds that just two percent of Canadian SMEs hold at least one patent.
With an existing memorandum of understanding with MIX, non-medical manufacturing companies with are provided by Ontario government free support as they retool to provide essential supplies and equipment to health care facilities during COVID-19.
#BC; #CleanBC; #ARC, #EVTechnology; #EconomicDevelopment; #ClimateAction
British Columbia, Jul 11 (Canadian-Media): CleanBC Advanced Research and Commercialization (ARC) program offers $4.18 million in new funding to B.C. companies that are developing new technologies in the electric vehicle (EV) sector, media reports said.
CleanBC ARC Program. Image credit: https://arcbc.ca
Developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, CleanBC supports the commitment to meet B.C.’s emission targets in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action.
Created in 2018, the ARC program provides funding to B.C. companies across all aspects of the EV supply chain to create employment opportunities and expand B.C.-based businesses in the electric vehicle sector, attract international investment in the electric vehicle sector to B.C., and expand exports of B.C.-based electric vehicle products, services and technologies.
Ten years after the first electric vehicles hit B.C. highways, there are now more than 42,000 on the road.
In 2019, electric vehicles represented 9 percent of new cars bought in British Columbia.
The EV sector includes an estimated 250 companies in B.C. that provide 6,000 full-time equivalent jobs (up by 2,150 from 2015) and contribute $600 million to the provincial gross domestic product (GDP) –almost double the 2015 GDP contribution of $373 million.
The companies in this sector include all aspects of the EV supply chain – from raw materials to final consumer products – related to vehicles and vehicle components, batteries and fuel cells, charging stations and other technologies.
“With British Columbia’s economic restart well underway, now is the time to decide the type of recovery we want to see in our province,” said Premier John Horgan in a news release. “The ARC program is part of CleanBC and the work our government has been doing since day one to power a more sustainable economy.”
John Horgan. Image credit: Twitter handle
Part of the Province’s CleanBC plan, the ARC program supports the growth of the EV sector by providing targeted funding for the research and development, demonstration and commercialization of made-in-B.C. technologies, services and products.
“Through CleanBC, we are building a low-carbon economy and creating new jobs and opportunities across the province,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in a news release. “By supporting innovative companies, we can develop and produce made-in-B.C. clean technologies, and be a global leader in the growing electric vehicle sector.”
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said in a news release that the positive results in the EV sector seen through CleanBC along with these investments will support expanded opportunity for companies, researchers and employees.
A panel comprising experts from the Province, local and federal governments and B.C. post-secondary institutions would be responsible for reviewing funding submissions to the ARC program.
Webinar on glocalization: the effect of COVID-19 and the 4IR on integration within global value chains
#UN; #UNIDO; #GMIS; #Covid19Effect; #Glocalization; #DevelopingCountries
Vienna (Austria), Jul 5 (Canadian-Media): The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation (GMIS) Digital Series 2020 kicked-off with a high-level panel webinar addressing “glocalization: localizing production and capacity building for survival and success," UNIDO reports said.
The focus was on the effect of COVID-19 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) on integration within global value chains, the implications for micro, small and medium enterprises and the labour force, particularly in developing countries. The session featured UNIDO’s Cecilia Ugaz Estrada, Bright Simons, President, mPedigree, and Yi Xiaozhun, Deputy Director General, World Trade Organization.
Yi stated that world merchandise trade may fall by 13 per cent due to the pandemic, and that the current disruption differs from that of the 2008 crisis. “I don’t believe that these changes are likely to stay with us forever,” he said. “Going forward, the structure of the supply chain will depend on whether the experience accelerates two trends that have been underway for several years. One trend is China moving up the value chain due to its industrial strategies or rising labour costs. Another important trend is increasing adoption of labour-saving technologies in modern manufacturing, such as industrial robots..
Ugaz Estrada stressed that closing borders would reduce the potential for trade integration and warned of the potential erosion of comparative advantage in many developing countries. “I think developing countries have a real opportunity to be able to expand their markets by exporting to and importing from their neighbours…there remains the possibility of expanding markets by using trends of regionalization,” she said.
Ugaz Estrada also pinpointed a number of factors which would be key to SMEs in developing countries being able to absorb advanced manufacturing technologies in the current challenging environment. These include upgrading digital infrastructure; creating preparedness strategies; digital upskilling and training; empowering women; and creating strong multi-stakeholder partnerships.
“It’s a moral imperative for international corporations to really provide a proper learning process for participation in the value chain; it’s a sine qua non condition. At UNIDO we are in the business of trying to help countries - the governments in particular -to be able to provide this learning infrastructure,” she said, citing UNIDO’s Centre for Mechatronics and Automation Technology in Uruguay as an example.
Simons stressed the dampening effects of COVID-19 on regional integration, connectivity and trade, as well as possible border closures.
“The barriers that COVID-19 has imposed affects regional trade, as much as it affects global trade,” he said. “So if you are following the discussion around the Continental Free Trade Agreement which now has now been imperiled because of COVID-19, given that it is the avowed aim of all African governments to forward the continental integration agenda, it will be quite surprising if they will be able to achieve that by closing borders,” said Simons.
He mentioned that SMEs in Africa had often been constrained in exporting by stringent standards and certification requirements, but that technologies are emerging that are helping to streamline these processes.
#UN; #UNIDO; #Technology&Innovation; #ITPO; #Covid19Pandemic; #HealthEmergency; #Energy; #Environment; #UNSDGs
Rome, Jul 5 (Canadian-Media): More than a thousand of participants have contributed their innovative solutions to the Global Call “Innovative Ideas and Technologies vs. COVID-19 and beyond” launched by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), UNIDO reports said.
Image credit: UNIDO
Inspired by UNIDO’s Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) Italy and promoted by UNIDO’s network of ITPOs, the initiative was designed to identify, promote and scale innovations worldwide to tackle the current pandemic and to lay the foundation for more resilient economies in developing countries.
Over 1100 applications were submitted by start-ups, companies, universities, research centres and many other stakeholders operating in different fields, including incubators, business consortia, non-governmental organizations, associations and public-private partnerships, from 106 countries all over the world.
To address the effects of COVID-19, most proposals focused on the “Health Emergency” and “Food and Agriculture” categories, engaging in the response to the ongoing sanitary crisis and the severe repercussions on food shortages and global food supply chains.
Many submissions were also received within the categories “Energy and Environment” and “Resilient Industries and Infrastructure”, promoting fundamental solutions to ensure a successful and sustainable economic recovery after the pandemic outbreak.
UNIDO ITPO Italy Head, Diana Battaggia, commented: “We are extremely proud of the great number of participants joining our Global Call and sharing their innovative ideas from all over the world, notably during these challenging times. In this spirit, our initiative will facilitate knowledge-exchange, economic partnerships and international cooperation towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
The received applications will now be evaluated by an ad-hoc jury and the four winners will be invited to participate as guests of honour and speakers in an award ceremony, which will be held live streamed on 14 July 2020.
Ontario's delegation to participate virtually in Collision from Home, world’s largest tech conference
#Ontario; #VirtualTechConference; #CollisionFromHome, #InternationalParticipation
Jun 24 (Canadian-Media): Ontario with a delegation of 65 companies would showcase its vibrant tech sector at the world's biggest tech conference, Collision from Home to be held in 2021, a unique virtual program for international participants, media reports said.
Collision from Home. Image credit: Twitter handle
Originally scheduled to be held in Toronto prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Collision 2020 conference will return to Toronto in 2021.
A related international program featuring 22 sessions, would also be offered in this conference by Ontario, to over 500 international companies and technology buyers who want to take advantage of the business opportunities being offered by Ontario.
While participating in these digital sessions, Vic Fedeli, Ontario's Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade would meet virtually with investors to showcase Ontario's two of the largest start-up ecosystems in the world, Waterloo and Toronto.
Vic Fedeli. Image credit: Twitter handle
"We cannot let the pandemic prevent us from attracting investment and creating jobs here in the province...That's why it is so important that over 65 Ontario companies, each at the forefront of their respective industries, are participating as part of the Ontario delegation in this influential global conference..."The lasting connections formed through Collision from Home will benefit the growth of Ontario's tech and innovation sectors and keep us focussed on future development, " said Vic Fideli June 22 in a news release.
With over 300,000 tech workers and 23,000 firms, and being North America's second-largest IT cluster, after California, Ontario is called home to the world leaders in artificial intelligence, fintech, cybersecurity, and digital media.
Global leaders in the IT sector, including Google, Uber, and Microsoft, have operations in Ontario.
Toronto, North America’s fastest-growing tech market, having equaled the number of tech jobs created in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2013, has also added about 80,100 tech jobs in the past five years.
#USDeptOfState; #UK; #SensitiveTechnologySafeguards; #USSpaceLaunches; #MTCR
United States, Jun 17 (Canadian-Media): The United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) concluded on June 16 the Agreement on Technology Safeguards Associated with U.S. Participation in Space Launches from the United Kingdom, or the U.S.-UK Technology, U.S. Department of State reports said.
U.S. Department of State. Image credit: Twitter handle
The agreement between the two countries was concluded by U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford and the UK’s Ambassador to the United States, Karen Pierce
This Agreement, when enforced, establishes the technical safeguards to support U.S. space launches from the UK while ensuring the proper handling of sensitive technology consistent with our long-standing partnership and roles as founding members of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
Besides, protecting sensitive U.S. technology, this agreement also sets the standard for the how the of use such sensitive technology in the conduct of satellite and rocket launches from foreign locations should be done by others.
#Twitter; #USSocialMediaCompany; #ChineseGovt;
New York, Jun 12 (Canadian-Media): A vast network of accounts of false information favorable to the country's Communist Party that was allegedly linked to the Chinese government has been removed by Twitter, the U.S. social media company, media reports said.
Twitter. Image credit: Twitter handle
Beijing denied involvement Friday and said accounts smearing China should be taken down.
Twitter suspended 23,750 accounts with posts of pro-Beijing narratives, and another 150,000 accounts dedicated to retweeting and amplifying those messages.
A range of co-ordinated and manipulated activities were engaged by the network mostly in Chinese languages, applauding China's response to the coronavirus pandemic and "deceptive narratives" about Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, Twitter said.
Taiwan and Guo Wengui, an exiled billionaire waging a campaign against China's President Xi Jinping and his administration were also tweeted in their accounts.
Twitter suspended these accounts under its manipulation policies, which ban artificial amplification and suppression of information.
Most of the accounts had little to no followers and failed to get much attention.
Twitter and other social media services like Facebook and YouTube are blocked in China.
Although China has denied involvement, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Friday that Twitter should shut down those accounts which attack and discredit China, and added that China was the biggest victim of false information.
More than 1,000 accounts linked to a Russian media website were also removed by Twitter as these accounts were found to be engaged in state-backed political propaganda in Russia.
Twitter had also suspended a network of 7,340 fake or compromised accounts used for "cheerleading" the ruling party in Turkey.
#Amazon; #FacialRecognitionTool; #IBM; #Microsoft
New York, Jun 10 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made by Amazon on June 10 that it would be putting one-year pause on letting the police use its facial recognition tool, due to growing concerns that the technology may lead to unfair treatment of African-Americans, media reports said.
Amazon. Image credit: Twitter handle
Amazon’s technology had received criticism in the past for misidentifying people of color, but Amazon said its tools were accurate but were improperly used by researchers.
Face Recognition App. Image credit: Facebook page
Amazon's independent ethics board also recommended that the technology is not currently reliable enough to ethically justify its use.
“Face recognition technology gives governments the unprecedented power to spy on us wherever we go,” Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties director for the American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) of Northern California, said in the statement. “It fuels police abuse. This surveillance technology must be stopped.”
Facial recognition technology has been used by law enforcement agencies to identify suspects and missing children by trying to match facial pattern data extracted from photos or video with those in databases.
A police reform law was introduced by Democrats in the House this week to ban the use of facial recognition technology with police recording equipment.
Civil liberties advocates began calling for a ban on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement in 2018, after a report by academic researchers found racial bias in the systems.
The facial technologies made by IBM and Microsoft could correctly identify the gender of white men in photographs about 100 percent of the time but it was less accurate to identify the gender of darker-skinned women.
Whereas IBM and Microsoft quickly improved their systems. Amazon found itself under scrutiny.
Last fall, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, said the company was drafting privacy legislation for facial recognition. but did not provide details about the company’s proposed legislation.
#Ontario; #BIODigital; #LifeSciences; #BIO;
Toronto, Jun 9 (Canadian-Media): The Ontario government is bringing a delegation of 35 companies to the first-ever, fully digital Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) international conference, BIO Digital, where Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade will highlight the top reasons investors in the life sciences should choose Ontario.
BIO. Image credit: Website.
Minister Fedeli, joined by Nina Tangri, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister, will lead the province's delegation and promote Ontario as the premier destination for investment and trade in life sciences to a global audience.
Vic Fedeli. Image credit: Twitter handle
"This delegation of 35 companies is our largest to BIO to-date, which speaks volumes to what an incredible opportunity this is for Ontario to showcase our thriving life sciences sector," said Minister Fedeli. "More than ever, creative thinking in the life sciences sector will help us address the economic challenges we are facing today, and help lead to greater economic growth and prosperity in the future."
Ontario's life sciences sector is the largest in Canada, with about 1,900 firms including Sanofi, Roche, Apotex, BlueRock Therapeutics, Johnson & Johnson, and GSK. It provides 66,000 high-value jobs in the province, with a yearly payroll of about $5 billion. In 2018, Ontario's life sciences sector exported about $9.7 billion in goods, including essential vaccines, critical medicines and medical devices. Ontario's life sciences and digital strengths are converging, resulting in leading edge technology and services, such as Cyclica's proprietary AI-augmented drug discovery platform, currently being applied to identify compounds for infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
The conference's digital format presents a unique opportunity for Ontario's 35 participating companies to meet with potential partners, industry leaders and deal makers from major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies around the world. Last year, Ontario led a delegation of 14 companies to the conference in Philadelphia.
"We are proud to promote Ontario's deep talent pool, cutting edge innovation ecosystem, competitive business costs, welcoming immigration system and unparalleled access to global markets," said PA Tangri. "These advantages make our province an ideal partner for trade and investment and a destination for new ideas and technologies."
Tech & Innovation