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LifeLabs Data Breach May Affect 15 Million Canadians

LifeLabs, a private provider of health diagnostic testing, announced that a recent hack to its computer systems put the personal data of 15 million people at risk. Information in the breached data included addresses, passwords, birthdays and health card numbers. LifeLabs told privacy commissioners in Ontario and BC about the hacks on 1 November. The company paid a ransom to retrieve the information, but it could not make assurances that the data was not copied.

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Misinformation in Canada

The advance of computers into all aspects of our lives and the rising role of the Internet have led many people to call this the Information Age. But with news travelling fast, and often with few checks and balances to ensure accuracy, it can also be seen as the Misinformation Age. Learning how to separate facts from misinformation or so-called fake news has become a critical modern skill as people learn to evaluate information being shared with them, as well as to scrutinize information they may share themselves.

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Roland Galarneau

Roland Galarneau, CM, machinist and inventor (born 16 February 1922 in HullQuebec; died 22 May 2011 in Hull). In the late 1960s, Galarneau invented the Converto-Braille, a computerized printer capable of transcribing text into Braille at 100 words per minute. This was a landmark innovation for people with visual impairments, as it increased their access to textbooks and other written information. Galarneau developed faster versions of the Converto-Braille in the 1970s. The company he founded eventually adapted the machine into software for IBM computers in the 1980s. This software was a precursor of the Braille software used today.

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Computers and Canadian Society

Canadians use computers in many aspects of their daily lives. Eighty-four per cent of Canadian families have a computer in the home, and many people rely on these devices for work and education. Nearly everyone under the age of 45 uses a computer every day, including mobile phones that are as capable as a laptop or tablet computer. With the widespread use of networked computers facilitated by the Internet, Canadians can purchase products, do their banking, make reservations, share and consume media, communicate and perform many other tasks online. Advancements in computer technologies such as cloud computing, social media, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are having a significant impact on Canadian society. While these and other uses of computers offer many benefits, they also present societal challenges related to Internet connectivity, the digital divide, privacy and crime.

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Canada and the Digital Economy

The digital economy is the economic activity conducted through digital technologies such as the Internet. It is also called the Internet economy, the new economy or the web economy. Many scholars see the digital economy as the fourth industrial revolution. As of 2013, it consumed approximately 10 per cent of the world’s electricity. Many of the world’s biggest companies operate in the digital economy. A growing number of Canadians depend on it for their livelihood. In 2017, nearly 5 per cent of all jobs in Canada were in the digital economy. The gross domestic product (GDP) connected to it represented 5.5 per cent of Canada’s total economy — a bigger percentage than mining or oil and gas extraction. However, the often-hidden infrastructure of the digital economy brings new threats to the environment. The rise of cryptocurrencies could also dramatically change how people buy and sell things.