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Canada could threaten U.S. security by allowing Huawei into 5G network, says U.S. senator

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Canada’s inclusion of Huawei technology in 5G network infrastructure would pose a risk to the U.S., a senior American senator said Thursday in an interview with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.

“There are no two countries that are closer connected than the United States and Canada,” said Democratic Sen. Mark Warner. “Our telecom networks are totally meshed together and if there was a vulnerability in the Canadian system, it would make America vulnerable. And vice-versa.”

Warner, who also serves as vice-chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, has been part of a bipartisan effort with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to convince Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reconsider allowing the Chinese telecommunications giant access to 5G network infrastructure in Canada.

“These Chinese telecom companies are directly influenced by the Chinese government. They are not necessarily direct arms of the government,” said Warner. “The government and the communist party (have) the ability to influence their capabilities.”

Under Chinese national security law, individuals and companies are required to cooperate with state intelligence operations.

“My specific concerns are particularly as we move into the next generation of wireless — the so-called 5G networks — that if a country were to purchase this equipment, it might have built-in backdoors so that, down the line, once the equipment was installed, the Chinese could intercept messages, communications [and] violate the security of the networks,” Warner said.

Canada is conducting a comprehensive review of 5G, the next generation of high-speed mobile data technology, but has not announced a ban on Huawei technology.

Several countries have moved to bar Huawei equipment from their 5G network infrastructures, including the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

In September 2018, Scott Jones — head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and the federal government’s top cybersecurity official — told a Parliamentary committee on public safety that there was no need for a ban on Huawei because of existing Canadian safeguards.

Warner said he doesn’t agree.

“Huawei technology may not come with built-in malware, for example, but Huawei has the ability … to send electronically any kind of upgrade to your system,” he said. “Any kind of upgrade to your switch. Any kind of upgrade to your handheld equipment.

“In sending those upgrades, you can plant malware. You can plant a backdoor. You can plant the allowance, in effect, the ability to spy on Canadians or the Canadian government or Canadian national security ability to communicate.”

Warner said it would be really hard to predict the consequences should Canada decide to proceed with Huawei technology, but there would have to be some degree of “untangling” of Canada-U.S. telecom networks.

“I think that it would prove to be a real challenge,” he said, adding that it could add further tension to a Canada-U.S. relationship that “is a bit unstable.”

Watch the full interview below.

Vice-Chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner joined Power & Politics Thursday to discuss American national security concerns with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. 16:40

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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