Purchasing legal “pot” or working for the industry? You might want to know this.

If you pay for the purchase of cannabis, with your credit card, know that the data of the transaction could be scrutinized by the US government, thanks to the Patriot Act (voted shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001).

Why would the US government be snooping Canadian legal purchases? Well, the servers of the Visa and MasterCard companies are almost all located in the United States. Since cannabis is a prohibited drug in the United States, the US government could ban you for life if it found you bought pot or derivatives at the Quebec Cannabis Society (or elsewhere in the country), because you paid with your credit card or smartphone using RFID technology.

Purchasing legal marijuana?In other words, the American credit companies like Visa and MasterCard can identify transactions that are considered illegal in the US, and “flag” the people to the customs authorities. This means that when the customs officer takes the passport for the “scanner”, or when we “scan” ourselves at the airport, this is where it will appear on the screen of the customs officer.

The same goes for social media. If you post a photo of yourself on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, etc. with pot or derivatives or say that you consume in a post, the US government will know about it.

Do you work legally for a cannabis company or for the new crown corporation? Under US law, you participate in the illegal trafficking of a banned substance. Ridiculous. Yes. Absolutely. Unfortunately, it true.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the new version of NAFTA provides that it will be prohibited, by law or by contract, to force the centralization of data in servers based in Canada to escape the US authorities!

Urban Disconnect

A family member shared this story with us after feeling quite shaken by the realization that we live in a world that is extremely connected with social media and text, but is also disconnected from human lives and relationships that surrounds us.

This family member lives in an apartment building like many others in the city.

Yesterday, a stranger knocked on her door. He was a man in his late sixties.

Urban Disconnect - TopicsWithPassion.blog“Hi mam, I’m sorry to bother you. I’m a friend of your neighbor, Mr. X, and I am without news for numerous weeks. I tried calling the hospital, but he’s on anyone’s patient list. Have you seen him?” he asked visibly worried.

She thought about it and realized that she hadn’t seen her neighbor since earlier this month. It’s been almost 3 weeks since she last spoke to him. She used to cross his path regularly and he would ask about her children. She felt bad for not having notice his absence.

Now also worried and feeling guilty, she spoke to a few neighbors asking about Mr. X and nobody had seen him. They knocked on is door, there was no answer. They called the building owners with their worries.

The building owners gained access to the apartment, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. They call the hospitals again and this time they learned that Mr. X was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of the month and passed away.

This terrible news was quite a chock. The building owners are now looking for family members.

We often hear of people dying alone in their apartments or homes without being noticed. I always found that strange. Now that it’s happened to someone close, I now understand and find the reality sad and worrisome. We are constantly connected to distant friends, family members and coworkers through our devices, but I can’t even name my neighbors.

We pass our lives with friends, family and coworkers, yet when we are old and retired, we can die and our absence can go completely unnoticed.

Online Shopping

My entire wedding was pretty much ordered online through Etsy and Amazon. Issues can arise even with the best sites, good customer service can be the difference between a good purchase and a bad one.

online shopping - TopicsWithPassion.blogBefore shopping online with a new seller, read customer reviews to see if other consumers have had positive or negative experiences, especially when it looks too good to be true.

Advertisers have access to your behavior and can try to sell your information to businesses around the world. This is nothing new, but has recently been more in the news because of the Facebook scandal.

If you want to have fun with these social media advertise is to go to travel sites just so you can see pics of pretty beaches on your news-feeds. ūüėõ


How to protect yourself against ransomware

Ransomware¬†is an extortion technique that blocks the contents of your hard drive. It’s a type of malware that infiltrates computers when opening a downloaded file on the Internet, an email attachment or the content of an infected USB stick, much like a computer virus. Certain ransomware, not only holds your data hostage but also threaten to spread your personal information over the Internet.

#Technology - TopicsWithPassion.blogThis type of operation can pay big dividends to the scammers, victims being willing to pay a high price to recover their bank details, browsing history, business data, family photos, passwords, working documents, and so on.

Ideally, it’s better not to pay the ransom, because you would then finance and encourage this type of activity. Especially that nothing¬†guarantees that hackers will send you the key to help you decipher your data. In addition, you risk seeing your bank account compromised by the transfer of money.

What’s the solution?¬†

I personally have been able to get rid of the ransomware by starting the computer in safe mode and restoring to a previous date. The client only lost a few days of data.

If you do not have a backup copy, it is recommended to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center to¬†report the attack. Odds are, you will regain use of your computer, but you won’t get the data back.

How to protect yourself? 

  • Keep your operating system up-to-date to fix security holes.
  • Invest in an antivirus
  • Make regular backups of your data.
  • Avoid clicking too quickly on links or email attachments.
  • Change your passwords regularly.



Canadians embraces technology

According to Statistic Canada, Nearly all Canadians under the age of 45 (that’s me!) use the Internet every day. I can vouch for that one. Even if I didn’t have a blog, I still work on the Internet for my day job. Even my kids use the Internet to work on and submit homework.

76% of Canadians own a smartphone. They are an integral part of the lives of Canadians, who use them primarily to access the Internet.

77% of Canadians say that technology helps them communicate with other people.¬† Cell phone technology helps me keep in touch with my children. For example, one of them forgot their keys at school today and couldn’t get into the house. I was able to get my parents to pick her up and make sure she is safe while my husband and I got home.¬†Some teachers now use smartphone applications to keep in touch with parents.

66% of Canadians say that technology helps them save time.

52% of Canadians say that technology helps them make more informed decisions. It is true that with smartphones, laptops and tablets, we easy access to a lot of information on a myriad of subjects. Or, like one of my cousin, we can also just go on social media and quickly ask a question for our friends and connections to answer.

36% of Canadians say that technology helps them be more creative. Does creating and maintaining a blog count?

Arachnid is cleaning the web

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection situated in Winnipeg Canada has developed a new tool called Arachnid to combat the growing proliferation of child sexual abuse material on the Internet.

sisters-931151_1920The Arachnid is a very powerful automated crawler (robot) whose goal is to help reduce the online availability of child sexual abuse material and break the cycle of abuse. Every day it lists more than 2,800 sets of child sexual abuse images on the Internet, detects 80,000 different problem images per month and sends about 700 withdrawal requests per day to suppliers.When child sexual abuse material is identified, a notice is sent to the hosting provider to request its immediate removal, effectively cleaning the web. 

Thanks to this platform, more than 550 individuals have been arrested up to date.

Around Arachnid, you now have foreign partners of very high calibre, but also technological companies that allow us to increase our strike force. These alliances are essential since they allow the Arachnid robot to draw from the databases of organizations like Interpol to identify ever more compromising images.

All this, much to the relief of the victims, who live in the constant fear of being recognized by someone who has seen the images of child sexual abuse they have suffered.

What parents need to know about social media

When it comes to kids and technology, many parents said it’s difficult to keep up. There is a multitude of applications that our youth can use on their phone or any other electronic devices. There are new ones coming out every other day.


Many parents do not know what application their children use. Others know the names of the applications, but do not know anything about the privacy and security settings of these social media applications.¬† There’s a very good chance, you would¬†be shocked how much information about your child and your family is easily accessible online.¬†

Did you know that many social media applications have geolocalization and that it is possible for strangers to follow their whereabouts?

It’s somewhat unsettling but social media is a subject that must be talked with your kids over and over to learn more about the apps they use and make sure that they are being safe and the privacy and security setting are up to date.


Home Office WishList

I am working from home for the next month due to my mental and physical health. I already have the perfect work desk in a secluded area of the house, but I quickly noticed that working from home here and there is not the same as working from home every day. There are a few more things you will need when setting up a home office.

Good lighting 

EF1F60D1-8644-4B1B-B3F1-AB3D40309584Last week was pretty grey and rainy and that’s when I realized that my office has amazing natural light coming from multiple windows on sunny days, but gets really dark when the sun goes in hiding.

I was at IKEA this weekend with my best friend looking for options for her apartment¬†and I¬†saw this cute little lamp. It’s small, yet it makes all the difference.

I find it important to surround myself with little items that make the office look nice and calm. It helps deal with work stress and makes the day more enjoyable.

Still on my personal wishlist:

  1. An extension cord
  2. A good chair
  3. A trash can

Are you a Canadian with a Business Paypal account?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has asked PayPal to disclose some of the information regarding the business account holders of its online financial trading platform in order to ensure that all Canadian businesses are filing an accurate tax return. This request, by order of the Federal Court, requires PayPal to provide the full name, date of birth and social insurance number or business number of any individual or company with a Business Account with an address in Canada. 

As of November 10, 2017, Paypal has 45 days to provide the requested data for all accounts that made or received a payment between January 1, 2014, and November 10, 2017. It must also provide the number and total value of transactions for each year included in the request.

Affected account holders should already have been notified. If you haven’t, please check your junk emails. Paypal reminds business account holders are required, as part of their usual duties, to file their tax return.

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