Hold Politicians’ Feet to the Fire: the People Need Solid Assurances

Their Data is Safe & Casino Hackers Can Be Prosecuted

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From “The Skeptic,” a regular breaking-news bulletin & companion to THE AWAKENING NEWSPAPER

ORILLIA, Ontario—The reported hacking of Casino Rama near Orillia is certainly a serious matter. Scores of employment records, including thousands of bank account numbers, the entire payroll, and Social Insurance data involving thousands of past and present employees, was stolen by hackers.
Information on casino customers was hacked, too. Their data is stored for those common plastic cards that many gamblers use to get in-house credits and perks.
Also, the hacking was announced around Nov. 10, but some say that Casino employees didn’t know about it until a week later.
And while at least two gamblers are seeking a class action lawsuit against Casino Rama for the hacking, this matter runs much deeper.
First, it’s important to note that mainstream Canadian media are too self-interested to tell the whole story. Virtually all such media outlets rely heavily on gambling advertisements, via government entities like Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG).
So, for corporate media to dig too hard would be like killing the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg. Ain’t gonna happen.
The editors here at THE AWAKENING have been discussing this matter at length while sending letters to area banks and politicians. The only thing we have experienced in response, so far, is the chirping of crickets.
Yes, you read that correctly. Repeated correspondence submitted to area banks, and to MPP Patrick Brown and MP Bruce Stanton—to seek comments, information and assurances that this hacking incident will be handled responsibly and reasonably soon, rather than being placed aboard a “time machine” and dealt with by our great-grandchildren—has been met with the usual chilly silence.
You’d think that the bankers, whose customers’ account numbers and other sensitive data was stolen, would be on the front lines issuing statements and publicly seeking information on how the hacking occurred, who did it, why, and how long it’s been happening. The large credit-reporting agency, Equifax, was hired by Casino Rama to assist in this matter. That’s a start.
But since we’re only being told the matter is “under investigation,” then, according to tradition, details will be sparse. Yet, Canadian mainstream media let it slip that the data which was hacked goes back more than 10 years—to 2004. And Casino Rama’s own newsletter says that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is getting involved, along with the OPP. But when one of the AWAKENING’S founding editors wrote to the RMCP on other matters involving theft and corruption inside Casino Rama as far back as 12 years ago, the reply was that somehow it was “not the RCMP’s jurisdiction.”
These past matters involved often serious violations of workplace standards resulting in frequent injuries of employees and customers, as well as a movie bootlegging-pirating scam involving one OPP officer and another retired OPP officer.
As the years went by, the OPP visited the house of a future AWAKENING editor with subtle threats, accusing the editor of “blowing the whistle too much,” which was deemed “harassment of local and national officials.”
That’s odd. Canadians are always told, “If you see something, say something.” That slogan sounds good on a road-side billboard, but that really only applies to the petty crimes of everyday people who aren’t politicians, corporations or police officers, right?
The whistle was blown mainly through a newsletter, called “Worlds Apart,” which was read in the community, including by casino employees on break. But casino management stole the newsletter from the hands of readers in 2008. Chalk up a point against free speech.
Yet, as these and several other problems at Casino Rama mounted, if you’ll pardon the pun, the mounted police, the pride of Canada, kept saying, “It’s not our jurisdiction.”
But now that the hacking has occurred, suddenly, it is the RCMP’s jurisdiction.
Above all, today there is a cloud hanging over this matter. Since the police aren’t talking and the media are ultimately compromised, obscurity and confusion will increase. So, we’re left to speculate to some extent.
What no one is talking about is that the hackers’ defense attorneys—that is, if the hackers are ever identified and arrested while we’re all still alive—may be able to argue: “Why prosecute my clients for stealing from under the roof of the casino when the OPP and RCMP have repeatedly refused to deal with various other issues at the casino involving theft, corruption and negligence?”
Plus, due to Canada’s culture of silence, we don’t know if the hackers (depending on their sophistication) got a hold of information that could be used to blackmail casino management and/or law enforcement from behind the scenes.
Accordingly, THE AWAKENING has been contacting MPs, MPPs, banks, lawyers, etc., seeking transparency, including answers on discriminatory practices in the application of law.
Bottom line: Canadians need to hold MPs’ and MPPs’ feet to the fire.
In other words, due to the past wrong-doings under Casino Rama’s roof, the hackers may be able to mount a constitutional challenge and get off on a technicality. So, our political leaders and police need to reassure us that the hackers can be prosecuted. And the banks need to reassure customers and employees that their data is truly secure.
One word sums it up: Responsibility. And let’s actually solve this hacking caper while we’re all young, please. ###