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Intellectual property

Business Internet Quebec

Quebec financial watchdog raids offices of man prohibited from promoting PlexCoin

The Quebec financial watchdog raided last week the offices of Dominic Lacroix, a Quebec City man who has been prohibited by a tribunal to promote and solicit investors for a new virtual currency called PlexCoin.

The raid turned up a list of people from around the world, including Quebec, the U.S., and Africa, who expressed an interest in investing in PlexCoin, said Sylvain Théberge, a spokesperson with the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the regulatory and oversight body for Quebec’s financial sector.…

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Business Internet Quebec

Quebec financial watchdog considering its options over PlexCoin

Quebec’s financial watchdog is considering handing over the case involving Dominic Lacroix and his companies, who has been prohibited by a tribunal to promote and solicit investors for a new virtual currency called PlexCoin, to police authorities.

The Autorité des marchés financiers, the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector, is also considering launching penal proceedings against Lacroix and his companies, said Sylvain Théberge, AMF’s spokesperson. Such proceedings would take place before the Court of Quebec, a provincial court.

“We are talking about thousands of persons who have shown an interest in this system,” said Théberge, adding that a decision as to whether to call in police or refer the matter for penal proceedings will take place this week. “We are extremely concerned. It seems to us, until the contrary is proven, that investors may become involved in a high-risk investment.”…

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Business Internet Quebec Rulings

New virtual currency targeted by Quebec financial watchdog

The Quebec Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal issued a series of expansive ex parte orders prohibiting Dominic Lacroix and several of his companies from promoting and soliciting investors for a new virtual currency set to be launched.

The Tribunal, at the request of Quebec’s financial watchdog, issued a broad order barring Lacroix, DL Innov inc., Gestio inc., PlexCorps, and PlexCoin from engaging in activities for the purpose of directly or indirectly trading in any form of investment covered by the section 1 of the Quebec Securities Act, either in Quebec or from Quebec to outside of the province. Section 1 describes a wide range of forms of investment, including securities, instruments, deposits of money, shares in an investment club, and options or non-traded derivatives.

The Tribunal also ordered them to pull out advertisements or solicitations on the internet over any securities or investment vehicles, and to shut down the site plexcorps.com and plexcoin.com – or at the very least make them inaccessible to Quebec consumers.

The Tribunal also ordered Facebook Canada Ltd. to shut down the Facebook pages of PlexCorps and PlexCoin. Facebook declined to comment. "We can’t share details about cases," said a spokesperson.…

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Business Class actions Intellectual property Privacy

Monetizing data, without consent

You can still download the application if you want. But if you believe what Kyle Zak has to say about it, it’s not something you would do. Not unless you don’t mind the trade-off between ease-of-use and the reams of information you will allegedly provide to the popular audio maker Bose Corp.

The lawsuit filed by Zak against Bose is the latest to allege companies of surreptitiously tracking consumers, without their consent, to collect data and then to either solicit more business or sell it to third parties.

Early this year Ottawa-based sex toy maker We-Vibe settled a privacy lawsuit for $5 million after a line of its vibrators were found to have secretly collected and transmitted “highly sensitive information” about consumers without their knowledge or consent.…

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Internet Legal business Legal Practice Management LegalTech

Legal profession concerned about algorithmic bias

Algorithms, the set of instructions computers use to carry out a task, have become an integral part of everyday lives, and it is immersing itself in law. In the U.S. judges in some states can use algorithms as part of the sentencing process. Many law enforcement officials in the U.S. are using them to predict when and where crimes are likely to occur. They have been used for years in law firm recruitment. And with advancements in machine learning they are also being used to conduct legal research, predict legal outcomes, and to find out which lawyers win before which judges.

Most algorithms are created with good intentions but questions have surfaced over algorithmic bias at job hunting web sites, credit reporting bureaus, social media sites and even the criminal justice system where sentencing and parole decisions appear to be biased against African Americans.…

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Intellectual property Legal business Quebec

Montreal AI chatbot helps people immigrate to Quebec

Days after U.S. President Donald J. Trump issued a controversial executive order that barred refugees and temporarily suspended immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries, Amir Moravej and his team decided to lend a helping hand and launched an artificial intelligence immigration chatbot months ahead of schedule.

The AI-driven chatbot uses machine learning to assist people through the complicated process of putting together an immigration application. Immigration into Canada and Quebec (which has different programs in place) is a laborious three-step process. Applicants must determine if they are eligible, then must provide supporting documents, and finally fill out an application form, which in itself can be tricky.

That’s where the web-based application at Botler.ai can come into play. It automatizes much of the process. After an applicant answers questions about their qualifications and circumstances, Botler assesses if they are eligible for the immigration program.…

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Intellectual property Legal business

A third of large law firms hacked

Large law firms, though commonly perceived to have stringent cybersecurity procedures in place due to large in-house Information Technology staff and devoted legal IT budgets, are in fact more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than smaller ones, with one in three the target of a cyber-attack over the past year, according to a legal benchmarking report on law firms from the United Kingdom.

The report by NatWest reveals that 24 per cent of all U.K. law firms suffered a cyber-attack over the past year, 16 per cent of whom were small firms (generating fees of less than $3.75 million), 31 per cent large ones (generating fees between $3.75 million and $8.3 million), and 28 per cent very large firms (generating over $8.3 million in fees).…

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Canada Intellectual property Privacy

Ashley Madison agrees to US$1.7 million settlement

A month after the parent company of the controversial adult dating website Ashley Madison settled a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and state charges over the 2015 data breach that exposed the personal data of more than 36 million users and highlighted the site’s unfair and deceptive practices, the firm is now trying to thwart 20 class actions against it by invoking online arbitration agreements the plaintiffs signed when they subscribed to its matchmaking services.

Just before the Christmas holidays, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM) agreed to pay US$1.6 million and implement a comprehensive data-security program, including third-party assessments, to settle claims by the FTC who worked in collaboration with 13 U.S. states. According to the FTC complaint, until August 2014, operators of the site “lured” customers, including 19 million Americans, with fake profiles of women designed to convert them into paid members.…

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Business Financial services Intellectual property Weekend reads

Early days for fintechs in Canada

It may be early days in Canada for fintechs, a catchphrase for new innovative financial technology start-ups and major technology companies that are challenging traditional financial institutions on their turf by offering cheaper and easier-to-use Internet or smartphone based services like payment apps or peer-to-peer lending or digital currencies, but Canada’s Big Six banks are paying heed even though they appear to be on solid ground.

There is an inescapable sense that a transformation in the way that consumers access financial products and services is underway. Canada’s fintech sector is relatively new and small, with some 100 companies, but holds promise.…

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Business Financial services Internet Legal business Legal Practice Management Weekend reads

The sharing economy: A Pandora box for legal protection insurers

The practice of law is under duress.

Legal service innovations driven by digitalization and globalization are propelling seismic change. So too is the emergence of the sharing economy model which has taken the world by storm. Novel ways of delivering new products and services are seemingly materializing daily to satisfy increasingly demanding and fickle consumers.

The rapidly evolving landscape is putting a strain on traditional business models, while governments and regulatory authorities are scrambling to keep up with the dizzying pace of change. But with change comes challenges – and opportunities – for legal service providers and legal protection insurers alike, all of which was explored at a conference held in Montreal recently by the International Association of Legal Protection (RIAD).…

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