Sound bites: StatsCan pushed pause on a plan to collect the banking info of 500,000 Canadians • Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques landed safely at the International Space Station • three people were killed in Paris’ growing protests • Tumblr is shutting down adult content on its platform.
After facing harsh scrutiny, Statistics Canada is hitting pause on a plan to collect the personal banking info of 500,000 Canadians. It’s also temporarily halting plans to obtain credit records from TransUnion, an international credit bureau. Reminder: in October, Canadians found out that StatsCan had accessed 15 years’ worth of their credit rating data - without their consent. In accessing this data, StatsCan accumulated social insurance numbers, names, addresses, dates-of-birth, and detailed credit info. Then, a report came out that really got gears grinding. StatsCan said it would start asking banks to release the personal transaction data of randomly selected Canadians. The agency claimed that because of low survey responses, it needed another way to obtain reliable info on financial habits.
Can they do that?
As the federal agency responsible for producing data on Canada to inform national policies and programming, StatsCan has the authority to force any organization to hand over consumer data, even without permission. But, just because they’re allowed to do it, doesn’t mean people are happy about it. Privacy advocates launched a campaign to end the relationship between StatsCan and TransUnion. The project, which was scheduled to start in January, is now on hold while under investigation by the Privacy Commissioner.
INFINITY AND BEYOND
NASA’s Russian spacecraft Soyuz MS-11 blasted off from Kazakhstan yesterday and successfully landed at the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft was launched by Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and American astronaut Anne McClain. The trio joined three other astronauts at the ISS, who are scheduled to head back to Earth on Dec. 20.
Why is this a big deal?
It’s the first man-launched attempt since NASA’s failed launch in October when a Soyuz rocket tried to blast-off but had to make an emergency landing because of a failed rocket booster. Russia put the breaks on all space launches until the failure-to-launch was investigated. The current mission is scheduled to last 6.5 months and marks the first time a Canadian has landed at the ISS since 2013 when Canadian Chris Hadfield serenaded us with musical performances from space.
Who is David Saint-Jacques?
Saint-Jacques, 48, is a doctor who joined the Canadian Space Agency with engineering and astrophysics degrees, and a commercial pilot’s license. He was born in Quebec City and raised in the Montreal suburb of Saint-Lambert. Aboard the ISS, he’ll conduct experiments and test out new technologies. One of his coolest projects is to observe the effects of space on bone density and the brain to help NASA better understand how to train astronauts for a potential mission to Mars.
French students and paramedics joined rallies yesterday in the worst wave of anti-government protests to rock Paris in decades. Reminder: the Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) movement began on Nov. 17 when French drivers led 280,000 people to peacefully protest against a green tax on fuel expected to go into effect Jan. 1. The tax was announced earlier this year by French President Emmanuel Macron as part of a larger plan to reduce France’s reliance on fossil fuels. The movement gets its name from the fluorescent yellow vests all drivers must have in their cars.
What’s the latest?
The movement has grown significantly, and the Gilets Jaunes now want a higher minimum wage and new elections. Over the weekend, the riots turned into violent clashes in Paris, where 412 people were arrested, and torched cars and broken glass littered the streets. Police say three people have been killed since the beginning of the protests, including an 80-year-old woman who was hit in the face with a tear gas canister. At least 260 people have been injured. Paramedics who joined as allies to the demonstrations are fighting against changes to their working conditions. Meanwhile, Macron held an emergency security meeting and is considering declaring a state of emergency, which would give the government a wide range of special powers to deal with the situation.
Tumblr is banning all adult content from its platform. So, if you want to browse explicit GIFS, videos, and photos, Tumblr says you should peruse other “sites on the internet.” The move to wipe out nudity and sexual content comes just days after the blogging site was removed from Apple’s app store due to a child porn incident on its platform. The company flatly stated “adult content will no longer be allowed here,” as of Dec. 17. Since launching in 2007, Tumblr has been a breeding ground for adult content, and the company has, for the most part, turned a blind eye. But, under the new ownership of Verizon’s Oath, Tumblr implemented new community guidelines in August that banned revenge porn and hate speech. You can still post photos of sext-messages, but most explicit posts will be flagged and deleted by algorithms.
WATCH LISTEN READ
• Introducing, the hummus milkshake; made with chickpeas, tahini, bananas, and almond milk.
• Finally, you can watch the new trailer for Marvel’s Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson.
• Singer Dua Lipa covers British Vogue’s The Future Issue.
• Paper magazine’s latest Break the Internet feature is all about Lindsay Lohan. She opens up (reluctantly) about constantly being under media scrutiny and having her mistakes publicized.
• Speaking of Lindsay Lohan, check out the trailer for her upcoming MTV reality show, Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club.
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