Tech firms have a duty to cooperate with police says BlackBerry Ltd

WATERLOO, Ont. — The head of BlackBerry says tech companies have a duty to be “good corporate citizens” who co-operate with reasonable lawful requests from the police.The comments were in response to a story last week by Vice, which reported the RCMP intercepted and decrypted more than a million BlackBerry messages as part of an investigation between 2010 and 2012.The probe, dubbed “Project Clemenza,” involved the killing of a Mafia crime family member.In a blog post Monday, BlackBerry chief executive John Chen said firms need to strike a balance between protecting the right to privacy and helping investigators apprehend criminals.The RCMP has had key to ‘unlock’ BlackBerry messages since as early as 2010, report saysWhy time is running out for BlackBerry Ltd’s handset businessBlackBerry Ltd unveils BlackBerry Radar tracking system at trucking showChen wrote that the world is a “dark place” when companies put their reputations above the greater good.He noted that the case resulted in a major criminal organization being dismantled.“For BlackBerry, there is a balance between doing what’s right, such as helping to apprehend criminals, and preventing government abuse of invading citizen’s privacy, including when we refused to give Pakistan access to our servers,” Chen wrote.“We have been able to find this balance even as governments have pressured us to change our ethical grounds. Despite these pressures, our position has been unwavering and our actions are proof we commit to these principles.”Chen said the company’s BES server, a key part of its system, was not involved.BlackBerry declined further comment.There is a balance between doing what’s right … and preventing government abuse of invading citizen’s privacy.The debate over police access to encrypted smartphone messages came to the forefront in recent weeks following a fight between Apple Inc. and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.The FBI took Apple to court, in hopes of forcing it to help with accessing information on an iPhone used by a mass killer in the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. The company refused, but the authorities eventually were able to hack into the phone themselves.Bloomberg News read more



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Supreme Court to review 1969 deal that sparked longtime QuebecNL hydro feud

The Churchill Falls power development in central Labrador, is pictured under construction which was completed in late 1971. The Supreme Court of Canada says it will review the 1969 Churchill Falls energy deal that has been highly profitable for Hydro-Quebec but much less so for Newfoundland and Labrador. Under the deal, Hydro-Quebec agreed to buy almost all the energy generated by a hydroelectric plant to be built on the Churchill River in Labrador. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO Supreme Court to review 1969 deal that sparked longtime Quebec-N.L. hydro feud by Sue Bailey, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 20, 2017 7:50 am MDT Last Updated Apr 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Perhaps no one was more cautiously thrilled than Tom Marshall to hear Thursday that Canada’s top court will review the long disputed Churchill Falls hydro deal — a case that could reap big money for a cash-strapped province.The former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador was justice minister seven years ago when he read a collection of legal opinions. They offered hope that there might be a way to win one of the most bitter political feuds in the country: the fight over wildly lopsided benefits from the Churchill Falls hydroelectric dam and power station in Labrador.Terms of the 65-year contract signed in 1969 have so far delivered about $27.5 billion for Hydro-Quebec versus $2 billion for Newfoundland and Labrador.If the Supreme Court of Canada rules the deal should be reopened, it could mean a massive windfall in a province that desperately needs one.“We’re not asking for the contract to be cancelled,” Marshall said in an interview. “We’re asking the court to order Hydro-Quebec to renegotiate the contract with us and, if they don’t, that the court itself establish a new contract.“It would give us the fairness that the people of the province have always wanted.”A spokesman for Hydro-Quebec said Thursday it’s “unfortunate that both parties are devoting so much energy to litigation rather than looking into more constructive avenues.”“The courts have always found in favour of Hydro-Quebec with respect to its position to uphold the 1969 contract,” Serge Abergel said in an emailed statement.Under the deal, Hydro-Quebec agreed to buy almost all the energy generated by the hydroelectric plant it financed on the Churchill River in Labrador.The contract set a fixed price for the energy that would decrease in stages over time.At issue in this latest legal argument is whether Hydro-Quebec has a “good faith” obligation to take into account how electricity markets have changed since 1969, Marshall said.“When you have long contracts, in many cases the circumstances that existed when you entered into them have changed, and changed substantially. That’s what happened here.”The case draws on legal opinions based on civil law in Germany and France, Marshall said.“We all owe a duty, especially in long contracts, of good faith to each other — not only at the time we started, when we entered into it, but when we execute it over its long term.”Still, Marshall is realistic about the prospects of the case. Various aspects of the contract have already been argued before the highest court on different legal principles, twice, without success.“There’s never a guarantee you’re going to win, especially when a new law would have to be made here.”This most recent court challenge began seven years ago.Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corp. Ltd. — whose parent company is Crown corporation Nalcor Energy — went to Quebec Superior Court in 2010. It argued, without success, that profits of such magnitude from electricity were unforeseen in 1969 and that Hydro-Quebec had a duty to renegotiate the contract.The Quebec Court of Appeal upheld the 2014 lower court ruling, agreeing the provincially owned power utility has no obligation to reopen the agreement.Under the 1969 terms, Hydro-Quebec may purchase the electricity at low prices before reselling it at much higher values on the domestic market and for export.The legal challenge said the contract was unfair and essentially broken by “unpredictable events” that have transformed energy sales.But the five Quebec Court of Appeal judges rejected those arguments.“It is inappropriate to re-examine the parties’ circumstances when they signed the contract,” they ruled. “The uncontradicted evidence establishes that they knew that the price of hydroelectric power was subject to fluctuation but they voluntarily agreed to fix the price.”The court also found the general principle of “good faith,” as found in Quebec’s civil code, doesn’t apply to Churchill Falls as the contract has remained “profitable” for Newfoundland.Siobhan Coady, natural resources minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, welcomed news that the Supreme Court of Canada will take another look.“That would be of tremendous financial benefit,” she said of a potential win. Public spending soared during an offshore oil boom and the province has suffered punishing fiscal hits since prices dropped. It faces years of deficits and escalating net debt.For now, Coady said the high court hearing, expected sometime in the next year, must play out.“This has been a very long process.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter. read more



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