standardized seed financing docs for canucks

Some of my loyal readers may recall one of my posts earlier this year about the development of standardized seed financing docs in the US, where there were, at the time, about four different sets of docs which had been developed. It pointed to a more detailed article by Brad Feld. In any event, I had asked the question whether anyone was aware of a similar initiative in Canada but didn’t hear from anyone. Was actually going to try doing it myself, but free work that you give away sometimes goes quickly to the back burner (or rather off the stove altogether) when things get busy. Least that’s my excuse.

In any event, I was very happy to hear that someone in Canada has in fact undertaken this initiative. The folks at MaRS here in Toronto, and in particular Mark Zimmerman, have apparently developed a nice set of Canadianized templates, including a term sheet (.doc) a subscription agreement (.doc), articles of amendment (.doc) and a shareholders’ agreement (.doc), with a founder’s agreement and employment agreement in the work. They already have a template independent contractor agreement (.doc).

I haven’t had a chance to look at them, but if you happen to need a set of seed round docs, and you’re here in the great white north, I’d encourage you to check them out. The folks at MaRS deserve a pat on the back for taking the initiative.

Tip o’ the fedora to Jonathan Polak for bringing this to my attention.

“Anonymized” data really isn’t—and here’s why not – Ars Technica

You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.

So spoke Scott McNealy more than a decade ago. At the time he made this statement, he received a fair amount of criticism. Turns out, he might very well have had a point, though perhaps for reasons he might not have foreseen.

A recent paper highlights the issue of the “reidentification” or “deanonymization” of anonymized personal information. However, the issue goes beyond anonymized information to the very heart how one should define personal information that is or should be protected under privacy legislation.

“Anonymized” data really isn’t—and here’s why not – Ars Technica.

Canadian privacy legislation simply defines personal information as “information about an identifiable individual” (excluding certain information about someone in their capacity as an employee). However, what does “about an identifiable individual” mean? Does it mean that the person collecting the particular nugget of information can associate it with a person’s identity? Or, perhaps more disconcertingly, does it include data that has the potential to be associated with someone by analyzing that particular bit of information, which alone (or even in conjunction with all the other information collected by a given organization) could not be linked with a particular individual, with information available from other sources?

canadian hacker puts judge in prison

Odd where you find stuff and don’t find stuff. Noticed this story in The Inquirer. The nub:

The case was all started when a Canadian hacker Brad Willman broke into the judge’s Irvine home computer and discovered sexually explicit images of young boys and a diary that revealed Kline’s fantasies involving young boys. A subsequent police search of the Judge’s court computer revealed more images and more dodgy Web sites.

Kline is the judge in question. In Orange County. Apart from the irony of the situation I thought it was somewhat interesting that it didn’t (apparently) see much coverage in Canada, notwithstanding the origins of the hacker in question.

ITAC – First Canadian Municipal Wireless Conference and Exhibition

Wow – lots happening the last week of May. Also forgot to mention previously the First Canadian Municipal Wireless Conference and Exhibition being organized by ITAC at the Direct Energy Conference Centre at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, May 28-30, 2007:

Whether you live or work in a large urban municipality, a small rural town or village, the impact of wireless applications has already or will soon impact the quality of your life and the services you offer your community. If your organization engages in digital electronic services to customers, e.g., taxpayers, suppliers, emergency service providers, other levels of government, non-profit organizations and associations, you need to learn about the latest proven strategies to ensure the success of your wireless programs.

ITAC’s 1st Canadian Municipal Wireless Applications Conference and Exhibition will not only update you on the latest initiatives of Canadian Municipalities, but will provide you with real case study insights, proven strategies, commentary from leading wireless experts and techniques for deploying wireless applications in your communities. If you are currently engaged, or plan to be engaged, in a municipal wireless project, your attendance at this event is essential.

Thoughts on Quantum Computing

Interesting article in Wired News where they interview David Deutsch who they refer to as the Father of Quantum Computing. He has a kind of low key but interesting take on the recent demonstration of a real, live 16 qubit quantum computer by D-Wave, a Canadian company based out of Vancouver.

Low key insofar as he doesn’t seem particularly enthused about the potential of quantum computers, other than perhaps their ability to be used to simulate quantum systems and of course encryption:

Deutsch: It’s not anywhere near as big a revolution as, say, the internet, or the introduction of computers in the first place. The practical application, from a ordinary consumer’s point of view, are just quantitative.

One field that will be revolutionized is cryptography. All, or nearly all, existing cryptographic systems will be rendered insecure, and even retrospectively insecure, in that messages sent today, if somebody keeps them, will be possible to decipher … with a quantum computer as soon as one is built.

Most fields won’t be revolutionized in that way.

Fortunately, the already existing technology of quantum cryptography is not only more secure than any existing classical system, but it’s invulnerable to attack by a quantum computer. Anyone who cares sufficiently much about security ought to be instituting quantum cryptography wherever it’s technically feasible.

Apart from that, as I said, mathematical operations will become easier. Algorithmic search is the most important one, I think. Computers will become a little bit faster, especially in certain applications. Simulating quantum systems will become important because quantum technology will become important generally, in the form of nanotechnology.

(my emphasis). Interesting thought about being retrospectively insecure. Particularly given spy agencies have, in the past, been sufficiently bold to transmit encoded messages on easily accessible shortwave frequencies.

I imagine the spook shops already have their purchase orders in for quantum crypto stuff (or have developed it already internally). Was a bit surprised by the statement above regarding existing technology for quantum computing. I had heard of some demos a while back, but didn’t realize that there are actually several companies offering quantum cryptography products.

D-Wave’s Quantum Computing Demo

As I mentioned earlier, there was a Canadian company that announced it would demonstrate a working quantum computer this week. And demonstrate they did. Yesterday. In California. Then they released this press release, which is frustratingly short on details.

There was some other minor press coverage, including a short article in Scientific American. The nub:

For the demonstration, he says D-Wave operators remotely controlled the quantum computer, housed in Burnaby, British Columbia, from a laptop in California. The quantum computer was given three problems to solve: searching for molecular structures that match a target molecule, creating a complicated seating plan, and filling in Sudoku puzzles.

But experts say the announcement may be a bit – er – premature. Even if the computer were to work as advertised, it still would be nearly 1,000 times too small to solve problems that stump ordinary computers. Moreover, researchers do not know whether it will work at bigger sizes.

A similar tone was in most other articles that didn’t parrot the press release – namely, that the demo was not very impressive. That part is rather unfortunate, although not wholly unexpected – the company did indicate (somewhere) that this was intended to be a proof of concept to gain interest.

So I guess at least for the foreseeable future, the cryptography industry will still be around.

Pretexting, Canadian Style

From one of my very smart colleagues at the firm – a recent Canadian case involving “pretexting” like activity a la HP.

The short story: A company hires an investigator to see what some former employees are up to, since they’ve started a competing business. Based on what they find out, they sue the employees. In discovery (in rough terms, the process through which each party gets to look at the information that the other side has supporting their case), the employees find out that the investigator has obtained their phone records and also has recorded them on video at their business premises, in both cases without their consent and without a court order.

Sound somewhat familiar?

So the employees countersue the company and the investigator. It turns our that the company wasn’t aware of the methods used by the investigator and so is left off the hook, but the action against the investigators is given the green light.

Whether or not the claim of the employees will succeed remains to be seen. In the meantime, folks thinking of using investigators, for whatever purpose, would be wise to give serious consideration to the nature of information that they want to collect.