Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Sun’s ID specialist: Don’t sweat PIPEDA (April 19)

I am reading your interview with Bill Malik and may be a test case for the following section: Companies

may have all the best intentions of complying with privacy legislation, but they still aren’t always prepared to adhere to it.

Bill Malik: We’re in the real early days. We’re still rubbing the sticks together to see which ones make fire, with regard to IT. I would be hard pressed to believe that a company that tried to do all the right things and missed some relatively minor legalism, would be the test case for privacy legislation.

The shortened version of my situation is:

I had returned a laptop for a minor repair that I thought was going to be done at the store. As it turned out, they had to send it away for the repair and asked me if I would like them to back up my data, for a fee. I said no, it did not matter if I lost my data. The company has a policy whereby if your product is not back within 60 days, you get a replacement. Well, one week, then two turned into 60 days. The company honoured their policy and I received a replacement computer.

That was Dec. 16, 2003.

On Feb. 2, 2004, I received a phone call from a man who purchased a laptop at this store on Jan. 10. It still had all my data on it. It never dawned on me that this would happen. It also took the company by surprise. The new owner of my information was not cooperating with the store’s efforts in returning that product (he has his own issue with them). This man has contacted the national media as well as the local police. Finally, on April 8, 2004, he took that computer to the police. It is still there.

This is extremely embarrassing and very frustrating. I have learned that I must remove all data prior to taking a computer in for repair, but at that time I never considered something like this could happen. We, as Canadians, have a lot of trust in big companies. My banking info was on that and some work files. My career could be jeopardized and I may yet have my identity stolen. This is definitely scary.

Lawyers tell me that my best bet for recourse is by filing a complaint under PIPEDA. Small claims court is out of the question as it will cost me more than I will receive. How do I ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else?

In March, I filed a complaint with the privacy commission, but only after I tried to resolve this with the company first. I spoke with someone from the privacy office and they said I had a valid complaint, under their jurisdiction, and so I decided to file.

To date, I have not had a response, but was informed that I should send a follow-up letter. I will be doing that today, along with a phone call. Of course, there is quite a bit more to this story, but I thought it may be of interest to you.

Maureen O’Donnell

Re: CGI’s Godin predicts outsourcing panic bubble (April 19)

My remarks are actually two specific questions to Mr. Godin:

1. Since you are willing to share with the readers (and I appreciate that) the number and percentage of CGI jobs growth in Bangalore, India (“”from 650 to 1,000″”) in the next eight months, I would be curious to know how many new jobs is CGI considering adding in Canada during the same period of time. Where in Canada those jobs are expected to be created would provide even more usable information, in terms of possible relocation, for the IT unemployed workers in Canada.

2. Mr. Godin remarks that “”jobs involved in systems architecture and design . . . are better suited to remain here.”” I would welcome a rough estimate from Mr. Godin regarding the percentage of these specialties within the overall IT workers’ specialties employed by CGI in Canada.

Ariel Lifshitz

Re: Linux desktops in the Real World (April 15)

As per usual, I thoroughly enjoy your editorials.

I have been keenly interested in the Linux debate and I’ve been following it in terms of both my office and home computing spaces. I’ve also done some extensive testing of Linux at home, and we have some Linux Web servers here at the office.

Linux can run basic desktop applications, as in simple MS Office-like applications, e-mail and Web browsing. Linux can also serve as a telnet client to a mainframe. Some other applications have been ported as well.

As far as I can see, there are a few truly major advantages to the Microsoft offering that the Linux OS cannot yet compete with.

The first is enterprise support, pure and simple. There are great tools out there for managing MS desktops on an enterprise level. On the Linux side, you’ll have to write them yourself, do it manually, or hire a consultant.

Secondly, there is a huge catalogue of hardware and applications that run very well on the Wintel platform. There are even less on the Linux side than on the Macintosh side!

Third, and perhaps most importantly, is the issue of drivers. I run really high-end firewire audio recording hardware and software on my home PC; my audio “”card”” alone is worth almost twice the cost of your average white-box PC. A good portion of that cost is the driver development. I’ve noticed that a lot of the 16-bit pre Windows 2000 players that had excellent drivers for their products no longer exist, or are now marginalized. That’s because they couldn’t figure out how to write stable drivers in the new 32-bit multi-tasking environment. There seem to be significantly less driver professionals on the Macintosh side, and fewer still on the Linux side.

So, I won’t be switching anytime soon!

David Taubner

Re: Vonage rings up Canadian VoIP opportunity (April 13)

This is fantastic news. Some of my colleagues in the U.S. have the service and not only is it reliable and convenient, it is cheap. I’ve been trying to get the service here, but they won’t accept a Canadian billing address. I’m looking forward to the service being available to us in Canada. We travel a lot, and to have your computer ring when you’re sitting in your hotel room or at Starbuck’s, if you need to be in touch, is a godsend.

Tony Petruzziello

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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