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Chinese Takeover of Canadian Technology

Governments around the world are very cautious when Chinese companies seek to take over western technology companies. The one exception seems to be the Canadian Government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. With little or no scrutiny, the Liberal government is allowing the sale of Vancouver-based Norsat International Inc. to the Chinese company Hytera Communications. Norsat International owns patented satellite communications technology that has security, public safety, and defence applications. Norsat s customers include the Pentagon and the Canadian Coast Guard. Shockingly, the Liberals refused to conduct a national security review of this potential takeover against the advice of national security experts. Richard Fadden, a former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said that he would have suggested a review out of an abundance of caution.

University of British Columbia professor Michael Byers said it is incomprehensible that this takeover is not being subject to a national security review. China s Ambassador has suggested that national security reviews constitute protectionism . Judging by their actions, the Trudeau Government apparently agrees. However, Canadians did not elect this government under the expectation that Canada would become subordinate to Beijing and that China s interests would be put ahead of Canadian interests, or those of its allies. Further muddying the water is the Liberal Party s history of holding exclusive fundraisers with Chinese billionaires with ties to China s Communist Government. Questions remain over the donation from one of these Chinese businessmen, who shortly after a fundraiser with Justin Trudeau, donated $200,000 to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation as well as $50,000 to build a statue of the former prime minister.

As the Official opposition, we call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to set aside his admiration for China s basic dictatorship; respect Canada s traditional allies and alliances, such as NATO and NORAD; and immediately undertake stringent national security reviews of this and any other proposed sale of Canadian technology to China.

The Kaggle data science community is competing to improve airport security with AI

The Kaggle Data Science Community Is Competing To Improve Airport Security With AI

Going through airport security is a universally painful experience. And despite being slow and invasive, the TSA doesn t have a great record at catching threats[1]. With the help of the Kaggle[2] data science community, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is hosting an online competition to build machine learning-powered tools that can augment agents, ideally making the entire system simultaneously more accurate and efficient. Kaggle, acquired by Google earlier this year[3], regularly hosts online competitions where data scientists compete for money by developing novel approaches to complex machine learning problems. Today s competition to improve threat recognition algorithms[4] will be Kaggle s third launch this year featuring more than a million dollars in prize money. With a top prize of $500,000 and a total of $1.5 million at stake, competitors will have to accurately predict the location of threat objects on the body. The TSA is making its data set of images available to competitors so they can train on images of people carrying weapons. Importantly, these will be staged images created by the TSA rather than real-world examples a necessary move to ensure privacy.

The Kaggle Data Science Community Is Competing To Improve Airport Security With AI

Competitors will be competing to predict the likelihood that weapons are hidden in 17 body zones. Of course, the problem the TSA faces isn t just a machine learning issue. Expensive physical machines are complicated to upgrade, and none feature the kinds of sophisticated GPUs found in modern data centers. Thankfully, Google, Facebook and others are heavily investing in lighter versions of machine learning frameworks, optimized to run locally, at the edge (without internet). This means that it s possible that some submissions to this competition could wind up in use on actual scanning machines it s just a matter of training beforehand and optimizing for the constrained conditions. The DHS has promised to work closely with the winners to explore potential real-world applications.

This is a really hard problem, machines do not have crazy GPUs, Anthony Goldbloom, Kaggle s creator, told me in an interview. But one thing that gets lost is that doing inference doesn t necessarily need such heavy compute.

Another concern that Kaggle and the TSA had to account for was the risk of bias influencing the automated threat detection process a potential nightmare for travelers that could be inappropriately segregated based on arbitrary factors. To mitigate this, the TSA put special effort into creating the data set of images that will ultimately be used to train the detectors.

The TSA did a nice job in setting this up, Goldbloom emphasized. They recruited volunteers but made sure that they had a decent amount of diversity so models don t fail on a certain type of person.

Google plans to make GCP available to competitors in the near future. And though Google owns Kaggle, it is thankfully not forcing people to use TensorFlow, its own open-source framework. You can check out additional details here[5]; the competition will draw to a close in December.

Featured Image: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images

References

  1. ^ the TSA doesn t have a great record at catching threats (www.huffingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Kaggle (www.kaggle.com)
  3. ^ acquired by Google earlier this year (techcrunch.com)
  4. ^ Today s competition to improve threat recognition algorithms (www.kaggle.com)
  5. ^ here (www.kaggle.com)

Japan coast guard confirms seven missing after US destroyer collides with container ship

AT SEA – SEPTEMBER 8: (FILE PHOTO) In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) is on patrol on Sept. 8, 2014, in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman David Flewellyn/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

AT SEA – JUNE 1: (FILE PHOTO) In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) is underway with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, on June 1, 2017 in the western Pacific region. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. Navy forces routinely train together to improve interoperability and readiness to provide stability and security for the Indo-Asia Pacific region. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelsey L. Adams/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

AT SEA – AUGUST 20: (FILE PHOTO) In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) is underway on August 20, 2013 in the Pacific Ocean. Fitzgerald is on patrol with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

AT SEA – MARCH 7: (FILE PHOTO) In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) launches a missile from the aft missile deck during Multisail 17 on March 7, 2017 in the Philippine Sea. The bilateral training exercise is designed to improve interoperability between the U.S. and Japanese forces. This exercise benefits from realistic, shared training enhancing our ability to work together to confront any contingency. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

US destroyer USS Fitzgerald arrives at the former US naval base in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, north of Manila on June 27, 2013, to join the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises close to a flashpoint area of the South China Sea. The six-day exercises involving three US Navy vessels, including the USS Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer, are an annual event but this year they will be held off the west coast of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, close to Scarborough Shoal which China insists it owns. AFP PHOTO / David Bayarong (Photo credit should read david bayarong/AFP/Getty Images)

US destroyer USS Fitzgerald arrives at the former US naval base in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, north of Manila on June 27, 2013, to join the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises close to a flashpoint area of the South China Sea. The six-day exercises involving three US Navy vessels, including the USS Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer, are an annual event but this year they will be held off the west coast of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, close to Scarborough Shoal which China insists it owns. AFP PHOTO / David Bayarong (Photo credit should read david bayarong/AFP/Getty Images)

US destroyer USS Fitzgerald arrives at the former US naval base in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, north of Manila on June 27, 2013, to join the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises close to a flashpoint area of the South China Sea. The six-day exercises involving three US Navy vessels, including the USS Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer, are an annual event but this year they will be held off the west coast of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, close to Scarborough Shoal which China insists it owns. AFP PHOTO / David Bayarong (Photo credit should read david bayarong/AFP/Getty Images)

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Seen at Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan

QINGDAO, CHINA – APRIL 19: (CHINA OUT) Chinese naval soldiers welcome the arrival of the USS Fitzgerald at Qingdao Port on April 19, 2009 in Qingdao of Shandong Province, China. China’s navy is set to hold a huge maritime ceremony to mark its 60 years of the Chinese navy and has invited ships and top officials from dozens of countries to attend. (Photo by Zhang Lei/VCG via Getty Images)

QINGDAO, CHINA – APRIL 19: (CHINA OUT) The USS Fitzgerald docks at Qingdao Port on April 19, 2009 in Qingdao of Shandong Province, China. China’s navy is set to hold a huge maritime ceremony to mark its 60 years of the Chinese navy and has invited ships and top officials from dozens of countries to attend. (Photo by Zhang Lei/VCG via Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) leaves the USS Fitzgerald, a US Navy destroyer, docked at the Manila bay, after signing a declaration marking the 60 years since the United States signed a security treaty with the Philippines on November 16, 2011. Clinton vowed military support for the Philippines, delivering a firm message from the deck of an American warship at a time of rising tensions with China. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

US destroyer USS Fitzgerald arrives at the former US naval base in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, north of Manila on June 27, 2013, to join the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises close to a flashpoint area of the South China Sea. The six-day exercises involving three US Navy vessels, including the USS Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer, are an annual event but this year they will be held off the west coast of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, close to Scarborough Shoal which China insists it owns. AFP PHOTO / David Bayarong (Photo credit should read david bayarong/AFP/Getty Images)

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