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Privacy veil slapped on Dot CA WHOIS searches

WHOIS searches on .ca domain names are about to get a whole lot less informative.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority is slapping on new privacy restrictions. The name of the registrant, plus the contact information for sites registered to individuals will no longer be available via WHOIS. That means journalists researching who is behind a site will hit a dead end.  Searches for information on corporate sites will not be affected. Neither will searches of sites not in the dot CA domain.

CIRA says the restrictions are required by federal privacy law and come after a long period of consultation and review. The policy goes into effect June 10.

Information to be suppressed includes (from the CIRA.ca website):

  • The name, address, phone number, email, and fax number (if provided) of the Administrative Contact and Technical Contact;
  • The Registrant’s CIRA assigned Registrant number;
  • The name of the Registrant;
  • The CIRA assigned domain number for each domain name registration held by the Registrant;
  • The description field which the Registrant or the Registrant’s Registrar filled out during the registration process describing the Registrant or the Registrant’s business.

    More at www.cira.ca 

    More on the policy at http://www.cira.ca/en/Whois/whois_intro.html

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    Nova Scotia to post restaurant inspections online

    The Nova Scotia government says it will begin to post restaurant health inspections online this summer. The announcement came in the provincial legislature in response to an opposition private members bill to make such postings mandatory. Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor says the system will post results going back three years, starting from the date the system goes into effect, according to the Halifax Chronicle Herald.
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    Much Ado about CAIRS

    The decision by Ottawa to scrap its CAIRS system for tracking access to information requests has caused one of those passing flaps on the Hill. But is the move a real threat to openness? I’m not sure, because it doesn’t appear there’s been much openness to threaten lately. 
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    Citizen analysis shows Liberals fail to vote a third of the time

    Ottawa Citizen reporter Glen McGregor once again showed why he’s one of the best CAR reporters in the country with his analysis of House of Commons votes by the Liberal opposition.

    McGregor downloaded electronic copies of the house journals, which record such matters as votes. He then extracted the vote information into a database to discover that Liberal MPs, on average, had participated in just 64 per cent of votes.

    Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion participated in just a third of votes, the Citizen reported.

    The Liberals have been finding every way possible to avoid defeating the Conservative government of Stephen Harper, and thus forcing an election.

    More than 60 per cent of Liberal votes backed the government. “They are giving Mr. Harper the capacity to take the country down the wrong path, not just on high-profile items like Afghanistan, but just in general, they are there to support the government,” the Citizen quoted NDP leader Jack Layton as saying.

    Read the rest of the story here.

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    CBC loses key data access case

    CBC has lost an important case about access to electronic data. The decision provides important backing for a position advanced by federal bureaucrats that data requested under the Access to Information Act should be withheld if there is a chance someone could be identified by linking anonymous details in the data to other information that is already public.
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    Sun completes takeover of MySQL

    Sun Microsystems has announced the completion of its $1 billion takeover of MySQL.

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    A tale of numbers from the New York Times

    We’ve all heard the advice to take care with numbers, and not treat imprecise numbers as if they were precise. Here’s a cautionary tale from the New York Times, and public editor Clark Hoyt.

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    Jan. 10 Air Canada incident – Links to useful resources

    The heart-stopping ride for 83 passengers aboard Air Canada flight 190 from Victoria to Toronto Jan. 10 has raised questions about why the Airbus A319 pitched and yawed, throwing objects flying and injuring 10 people. The plane made an emergency landing in Calgary. There are many resources reporters can turn to to find background and information to advance their stories.
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    New Executive Director at IRE/NICAR

    IRE/NICAR has a new executive director, replacing Brant Houston who is now Knight Chair for Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. Mark Horvit, projects editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas is moving into the job, conditional on becoming a faculty member at the University of Missouri, which hosts IRE/NICAR.
    Many Canadian journalists are members of IRE/NICAR, an organization that provides training, resources and support for journalists doing investigative and CAR work.
    Read more in the IRE press release and in Editor and Publisher.
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    Northwestern Readership Institute on putting data online

    More and more news organizations are putting data online so readers can drill down to information relevant to them. I did it as part of a Hamilton Spectator series on restaurant safety in 2001, and it became the biggest traffic generator we had had to that point. Since then, organizations such as the CBC, Toronto Star and Edmonton Journal have followed suit.
    This piece by Rich Gordon of Northwestern University for the Readership Institute explores the trend as it is unfolding in the U.S.
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