Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are Canadians too polite when it comes to collecting owed money?

Fewer than three per cent go online to remind about owed money, though etiquette expert says it's perfectly polite

TORONTO, September 28, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadians are stereotyped as some of the world's most polite people, but that endearing trait may be holding us back when it comes to collecting money owed from friends, family and co-workers, according to an Interac® network survey, conducted by The Strategic Counsel. The survey results are based among 530 respondents who were ever owed less than $500 by a friend or family member at one time.

Although Canadians are also among the world's most frequent Internet users, the survey shows that we aren't taking advantage of online tools to simplify what is for some an awkward task. Fewer than three per cent of respondents use the Internet as their primary means of reminding someone about money owed. Do Canadians think it's awkward or rude to talk about owed money via the Internet? Do their manners need to evolve for the digital age? For the one in five respondents who said outstanding money owed has definitely or probably factored in a relationship gone sour, the answer may be a relief.

Canadian etiquette expert Louise Fox gives online money talk the green light. "Canadians do everything online - from shopping to banking and even dating," says Fox. Yet very few people are communicating online when it comes to reminding someone they owe them money.

"There's no reason to be shy about bringing conversations about owed money online and into the 21st century - it's perfectly polite," says Fox. "Whether in-person or online, the key to handling money matters politely involves being up front about repayment expectations in a way that makes others feel comfortable, so whether you choose to email a friendly reminder or use Interac Email Money Transfer to invite someone to pay you back online, asking for repayment via the Internet is absolutely fine."

Nearly two in five respondents (37 per cent) say they find it very uncomfortable or feel awkward asking a friend or family member to repay money owed, and the top reasons cited as causes of this discomfort suggest that our politeness is to blame. Most respondents either said they didn't want to pressure someone for repayment in case the person didn't have the money or they didn't want to give the impression that they didn't trust their friend, family member or co-worker to repay them.

"The Interac Email Money Transfer service provides even those of us who are comfortable about reminding friends and family members about owed money with a subtle, online means to remind them using the 'Invite Tool,' while also suggesting they pay you back electronically, right from their bank account to yours," says Caroline Hubberstey, Director, Public and Government Affairs, Acxsys Corporation, whose shareholders are the architects of the Interac network. "No need for cheques or cash - with Interac Email Money Transfer it's simple and immediate - and secure."

Interac Email Money Transfer allows Canadians to send and receive money directly from one bank account to another, simply and securely, using online banking and email notification. Interac Email Money Transfer is integrated with online banking, so the sender does not need to know the recipient's banking information, which means personal financial information is never shared. Email is used to notify the receiver about the transfer, while the money is transferred by the sender's financial institution to the recipient's financial institution, through online banking and the Interac network.

A new feature available through www.interac.ca/invite , called the Invite Tool, provides Canadians a convenient way to remind a friend or family member - via email - about money owed and invites them to use Interac Email Money Transfer for repayment.

The Interac Email Money Transfer service is currently available to customers of 25 banks and credit unions including BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, President's Choice Financial, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust among others. More information about the Interac Email Money Transfer service and a complete list of participating banks and credit unions can be found at www.interac.ca/consumers/productsandservices_ol_emt.php.

About Acxsys Corporation

Acxsys Corporation, comprised of eight large financial institutions as shareholders, is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The Corporation's shareholders are the architects of the Interac network, Canada's national debit network. Acxsys specializes in the development and operation of new payment service opportunities, as well as consulting and management services in the field of electronic payments. Acxsys Corporation businesses include the operation of the Interac Email Money Transfer service, the Interac Online service and international services, through agreements with NYCE Payments Network, PULSE, and China Unionpay. For more information, please visit www.interac.ca.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Privacy Commissioner completes Facebook review

OTTAWA, Ontario, September 22, 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has finished reviewing the changes that Facebook implemented as a result of her investigation of the social networking site and has concluded that the issues raised in the complaint have been resolved to her satisfaction.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart today issued the following statement:

The changes Facebook has put in place in response to concerns we raised as part of our investigation last year are reasonable and meet the expectations set out under Canadian privacy law.

The investigation has resulted in many significant changes. Facebook has put in place measures to limit the sharing of personal information with third-party application developers and is now providing users with clear information about its privacy practices.

A major concern during our investigation was that third-party developers of games and other applications on the site had virtually unrestricted access to Facebook users' personal information. Facebook has since rolled out a permissions model that is a vast improvement. Applications must now inform users of the categories of data they require to run and seek consent to access and use this data. Technical controls ensure that applications can only access user information that they specifically request.

We're also pleased that Facebook has developed simplified privacy settings and has implemented a tool that allows users to apply a privacy setting to each photo or comment they post.

It has been a long road in arriving at this point. These changes are the result of extensive and often intense discussions with Facebook. Our follow-up work was complicated by the fact that we were dealing with a site that was continually changing.

Overall, Facebook has implemented the changes it promised following our investigation.

The issues related to the investigation - and, to be clear, I am only speaking about those issues rather than the site as a whole - have been resolved to my satisfaction.

However, our work with Facebook is not over.

While we are satisfied that the changes address the concerns raised during our investigation, there is still room for improvement in some areas. We've asked Facebook to continue to improve its oversight of application developers and to better educate them about their privacy responsibilities. We have also cautioned Facebook against expanding the categories of user information made available to everyone on the Internet - and over which users cannot control through privacy settings. As well, we had recommended that Facebook make its default settings for photo albums more restrictive than "everyone on the Internet" - though this concern has been mitigated to a large extent by Facebook's per-object privacy tool.

Facebook is constantly evolving and we are actively following the changes there - as well as on other social networking sites. We will take action if we feel there are potential new violations of Canadian privacy law.

As well, we have received several further complaints about issues that were not part of our first investigation and we are now examining those. The new complaints deal with Facebook's invitation feature and Facebook "Like" buttons on other websites.

Our ongoing work does not take away from the improvements Facebook has already made. Indeed, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Facebook for the cooperation it has provided throughout our discussions. We recognize that some of the changes needed in order for Facebook to meet its legal obligations in Canada were complex and time-consuming to implement. Ultimately, Facebook has made several privacy improvements that will benefit its users around the globe. I believe we have also demonstrated that privacy protection does not stand in the way of innovation.

I would also like to offer my gratitude to the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic for bringing these important issues forward. CIPPIC recognizes how much Canadians value their privacy and has become an important voice for privacy rights in Canada.

A large focus of our work with Facebook related to third-party applications. It is our expectation that application developers will take note of our investigation. Like Facebook, many of them have an obligation to respect Canadian privacy law.

Finally, Facebook users also have a responsibility here. They need to inform themselves about how their personal information is going to be used and shared. The investigation has led to more privacy information and improved privacy tools - Facebook users should take advantage of those changes.

Detailed information about the investigation is available on the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's website, www.priv.gc.ca.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman, advocate and guardian of privacy and the protection of personal information rights of Canadians.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The RCMP in Ontario has launched a Facebook Page!

LONDON, Ontario, September 21, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - On Monday, September 20, 2010, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ontario, also referred to as "O" Division, launched the official "Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ontario" Facebook page.

Using Facebook will allow us ("O" Division RCMP) to expand our profile, make connections with more people and audiences and promote the work that we do in this province.

To find our page, visit the RCMP "O" Division website at www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/on/index-eng.htm and follow the link to facebook . Or, visit www.facebook.com and search for "Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ontario" (not "RCMP").

Materials on the websites are produced for the purpose of providing Canadians with direct access to information about the programs and services offered by the RCMP and the Government of Canada.

The RCMP welcomes feedback from visitors and respects everyone's fundamental right to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression as provided for in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Before posting anything to our Wall, please review our guidelines below and keep in mind that all unacceptable/illegal comments will be removed and reported.


...civil and constructive comments, suggestions, information


...racism, hatred, slander, threats, obscenity, violence, vulgarity
...personal information about another person
...copyrighted material that belongs to another person
...links to inappropriate websites

If you want to report a crime, please contact your local RCMP detachment or the police service of jurisdiction in your area. The RCMP does not accept reports of crime via email. For emergencies, please call 911.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Silent Epidemic: Cybercrime Strikes More Than Two-Thirds of Internet Users

New Norton Study of 7,000 Web Users Is First to Gauge Emotional Impact of Cybercrime; Victims Feel Ripped Off…

Toronto - September 8, 2010 (Canada NewsWire Social Media Release)

The next time you surf the Internet, consider this: You might be just one click away from becoming the next cybercrime victim. A new study released today from security software maker Norton reveals the staggering prevalence of cybercrime: Two-thirds (65 percent) of Internet users globally have fallen victim to cybercrimes, including computer viruses, online credit card fraud and identity theft.

The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact shines a light on the personal toll cybercrime takes. The first study to examine the emotional impact of cybercrime, it shows that globally victims‘ strongest reactions are feeling angry (58 percent), annoyed (51 percent) and cheated (40 percent), and in many cases, they blame themselves for being attacked. Only 3 percent don‘t think it will happen to them, and nearly 80 percent do not expect cybercriminals to be brought to justice - resulting in an ironic reluctance to take action and a sense of helplessness.

"We accept cybercrime because of a 'learned helplessness'," said Joseph LaBrie, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University. "It's like getting ripped off at a garage – if you don‘t know enough about cars, you don‘t argue with the mechanic. People just accept a situation, even if it feels bad."

Despite the emotional burden, the universal threat, and incidence of cybercrime, people still aren‘t changing their behaviours - with only half (51 percent) of adults saying they would change their behaviour if they became a victim. Even scarier, fewer than half (44 percent) reported the crime to the police.

Canadian Findings

The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact polled Canadians and found 64 percent of respondents have fallen victim to some kind of online crime (53 percent received computer viruses/malware, nine percent responded to online scams, nine percent have been affected by online credit card fraud).

On average, it takes 17 days and costs CAD $582 to resolve a cybercrime in Canada. Compared to other countries, the process is fast – but the cost is higher. (Globally 28 days and US $334)

When it comes to behaviours online, Canadians are on par with other countries in their online ethics: 44 percent have lied about personal details online (45 percent globally), 31 percent have used a fake ID online (33 percent globally) and 20 percent have online regrets (22 percent globally). By contrast, some Canadian attitudes differ from the rest of the world. Only one percent of Canadians do not expect to become a victim of cybercrime (3 percent globally), and Canadians are the most skeptical (57 percent) about restoring a damaged online reputation (45 percent globally).

The "human impact" aspect of the report delves further into the little crimes or white lies consumers perpetrate against friends, family, loved ones and businesses. Nearly half of respondents think it‘s legal to download a single music track, album or movie without paying. Twenty-four percent believe it‘s legal or perfectly okay to secretly view someone else‘s e-mails or browser history. Some of these behaviours, such as downloading files, open people up to additional security threats.

"To avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime change your passwords often and make sure they are a combination of letters and numbers," said Lynn Hargrove, Director of Consumer Solutions, Symantec Canada. "Make sure you have a separate credit card for all your online transactions and keep your home computer secure by making sure it has an up-to-date security software."

For more tips, and insights from this groundbreaking study, or to better understand the alarming extent of cybercrime, the feelings of powerlessness and lack of justice felt by its victims, please view the full Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact here.