Federal Court of Appeal gives sword of transparency to air passenger rights advocate

Monday, 8 June, 2015
Dr. Gabor Lukacs pix on twitter in Fed Court of Appeal

Dr. Gabor Lukacs pix on twitter in Fed Court of Appeal

Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) took the position that its own “Public Record” is NOT “Publicly Available”. Dr. Gabor Lukacs, a Halifax-based Canadian air passenger rights advocate, disagrees and took the matter all the way to a judicial review and won the argument for all Canadians today.

A panel of three Federal Court of Appeal judges has unanimously agreed with Lukacs and concluded that the redactions of its Public Record (in this case, a dispute resolution proceeding between Air Canada and a family whose flight from Vancouver to Cancun was delayed) were “impermissible.” The panel held that since the documents sought by Lukacs were already on the CTA’s Public Record, they were Publicly Available, and thus the Privacy Act does not restrict their disclosure.

David vs Four Goliaths

The path to official recognition as a Canadian air passenger rights advocate by the court and the unanimous judgement did not come easy. Lukacs has spent over a thousand dollars of his own money, hundreds of hours of his spare time in research, documents filing, preparations, and moot courting with friends (one of the friends is a lawyer). All the hard work and money culminating in a March 17th, 2015 formal self-represented court room appearance (above picture) by Lukacs, a Mathematician, against four experienced lawyers representing the CTA, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and the Attorney General of Canada in front of the panel of three Federal Court of Appeal judges.

The judgment vindicates Lukacs, who wanted to view the complete file of the complaint to decide if the CTA’s decision was based on grounded reasoning or biased to benefit Air Canada. Common sense would lure people to believe CTA would not be so blatant in its bias to help Air Canada in a dispute resolution by redacting details such as the names of Air Canada’s lawyers. Yes, the names of the lawyers. Are those Air Canada lawyers 12 years old minors needing Of course, common sense is not common. And names of Air Canada’s lawyers were redacted under the pretext of compliance with privacy legislation.

Lukacs saw through the guise of “privacy” protection and challenged the redactions based on the fact that none of the documents were subject to a confidentiality order, and the open court principle, which requires adjudicative proceedings to be open and available for public scrutiny. “This principle has been hailed by the Supreme Court of Canada as one of the hallmarks of a democratic society, held to be tied to the freedom of expression and press guaranteed by the Charter, and is frequently invoked by the media to gain access to court documents.” states Lukacs.

Airlines’ dirty laundry, Cans of worms

Lukacs explains, “The CTA is a federal tribunal that adjudicates transportation-related disputes, such as passengers’ complaints against airlines. The CTA operates like a court, and its adjudicative members function like judges. According to the CTA’s own rules, all documents filed by parties must be placed on “public record,” unless a confidentiality order is granted.”

This landmark decision is like giving the advocate (and all Canadians) a can opener which may be used to open many cans of worms in CTA. Lukacs replied, “Certainly, I intend to open more cans of worms.” And tellingly, the official Air Passenger Rights tweeted, “CTA can no longer keep the airlines’ dirty laundry in secret.” Dirty laundry indeed should be Read the rest of this entry »

Google+ Hangout Technical Insights and Ideas to Reshape Newsrooms

Friday, 29 July, 2011


KOMU G-Plus Hangouts - pix 00a - Sarah Hill and Nina Moini

It has been my pleasure to attend a number of KOMU anchor Sarah Hill‘s interesting Google+ newsroom Hangouts since July 19, 2011. In this article, I will try to share some of my technical observations and insights. (note: For my general and business insights, you can read my previous article.)

Using G+ Hangout as a control room of 9 Electronic News Gathering (ENG) team


1) News anchor running G+ Hangout connecting to maximum of nine Electronic News Gathering (ENG) teams in the field.

2) Each of the nine reporters will have a notebook computer connecting to the internet via a 3G/4G data stick. And each reporter has a handheld SD/HD camera hooking up to the notebook as its camera. (note: SD or HD probably doesn’t matter here because the data will be compressed and you are transporting over 3G/4G network anyway.) (Aug 11 update: Currently, G+ Hangout doesn’t support external video cameras. I have reflect this request to G+ engineers.)

3) Any “newsroom” can probably set this up easily.

In fact, any team of volunteer citizen journalists may even be able create such a reporting setup with less trouble. All it takes is each individual citizen journalist to have a notebook computer, a fast 3G/4G data stick, and a camera. And these citizen journalists can work together depending on needs and events, etc.

4) Feed the G+ Hangout video stream out to the wider world using tools like Livestream for mass distribution.

5) Use cases: Will be quite cool to report on elections, street festivals, concerts, and live events.

Non-ideal use cases: Any major crisis, earthquakes, etc where the mobile 3G/4G networks are expected be extremely congested and overloaded. In these rare cases, old school dedicated microwave or satellite transmission will likely provide more stable transmission than overloaded mobile data networks.

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 07 - Norway https link

Fixing the insecurity of G+ Hangout

At the moment, Google+ Hangouts is known to be insecure, in the sense that each hangout participant has the clear text “https://talkgadget.google.com/hangouts/…” link (see the top of the above photo) and can copy and then share with Read the rest of this entry »

Cisco shutdowns Flip Video

Tuesday, 12 April, 2011

Cisco kills Flip Video - pix 2

Today, on April 12th, 2011, Cisco shutdowns its consumer video division Flip.


Cisco kills Flip Video - pix 1

Kodak patent moment: $1 billion from Apple & RIM

Saturday, 26 March, 2011

Here is a $1 billion Kodak moment. Kodak has already settled with Samsung and LG for a combined $964 million over the same patent.

* Bloomberg, “Kodak Wins a Round in $1 Billion Apple, RIM Patent Dispute

“The patent covers a feature that previews low-resolution versions of a moving image while recording still images at a high resolution. Higher resolution requires more processing power and storage space. Kodak, which generated $838 million from patents last year, contends the image-preview feature is used in every digital camera and phone with a camera.”

* AP, “Kodak patent complaint against Apple, RIM revived

3twenty Solutions gives new life to old shipping containers – CBC Dragons’ Den

Friday, 4 February, 2011

3twenty Solutions‘ Bryan McCrea, Channing McCorriston & Evan Willoughby gave a wonderful pitch of their business on CBC Dragons’ Den. I love interesting use of containers, and I am impressed with the 3twenty‘s business and its tagline of “durable, stackable, transportable modular structures – give new life to old shipping containers”. Seem like a wonderful business idea with some good potentials. As a business, new entrants to the market can probably copy and compete with them without much difficulties but I trust the entrepreneurs will work very hard to ensure a good return for themselves and their investors.

Best of luck to the 3twenty team. Check out their Facebook, YouTube video, Twitter, and Flickr photos. Here is their pitch video on the Den.

Here is a CBC news video clip (posted in May 2010) about 3twenty going to the Den to ask for money with more details.

Feb 8, 2011 Update: See Financial Post article Anatomy of the 3twenty Solutions deal. Here is an excerpt,

The pitch Bryan McCrea, Channing McCorriston and Evan Willoughby first crossed paths with dragon and philanthropist Brett Wilson when they competed in and won the Idea Challenge, a competition at the University of Saskatchewan’s Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence in 2009. […] They used their winnings of $30,000 to launch Saskatoonbased 3twenty Solutions. […]

Mr. Wilson was on hand for the unveiling of the first container: “He walked in and said we should come on the show,” Mr. McCrea says. About a month before appearing on Dragons’ Den, 3twenty Solutions made its first two sales worth $70,000. The momentum was building, but they decided to take Mr. Wilson’s advice and enter the Den mainly to get a strategic partner.

“Many of our target clients watch the show. We knew if we could make our pitch on the Den we would be hitting the right market,” Mr. McCrea notes.

Honibe on CBC Dragons’ Den – The Business and Patent

Thursday, 3 February, 2011

Honibe pitched their dry solid honey “honey you can hold business on the Jan 19, 2011 episode of CBC Dragons’ Den. Although I haven’t tried the product and don’t know how good/bad it tastes, it seems like a good idea (even it may seem a bit pricey).

Knowing I won’t have time in the next while to write a more detail article about Honibe, let me share with you what I’ve found so far. Here are links to Honibe’s Canadian trademark (TMA729391) and patent (CA 2649936) for interested readers. I had tried but was unable to find Honibe’s US patent filings (to me, US patent is important to have since US is a much bigger market than Canada). For those that are new to patents, one can learn a lot about about a business from its patents (in this case, Honibe’s patent).

National Post has an article “Sweet deals buzzing around honey firm” about the pitch and the business and provided an update of the deal. News from CBC, “Dragons’ Den offers $1M deal to P.E.I. company

There is a press release from the governments,  “Federal and Provincial Governments Congratulate Island Abbey Foods on Winning International Award” when Honibe won the prize for Best in Canada 2010, Best of Sweet Grocery Category 2010 and Best New Food Product in the World 2010, the Global SIAL d’Or, at the Paris-based awards.

Here is a video of Honibe Dragons’ Den pitch.

Ricky Gervais – The funny business with Golden Globes

Friday, 21 January, 2011

I love frank and engaging interviews and Piers Morgan had a great chat with Ricky Gervais, one of my favourite comedian, especially after Ricky’s Golden Globes performance. In case you missed Ricky’s performance, here is his Golden Globes 2011 – Opening Monologue and maybe you can see what some of the fuzz was about. The night got better or worst depending on who you talked to.

When was the last time a host got so much attention to Golden Globes a week after the show? I agree with Seattle Pi, Bring back Ricky! Also check out Ricky’s blog for his takes on things.

* Hollywood Reporter, “VIDEO: Ricky Gervais Funny, Revealing, Joyfully Unrepentant on Piers Morgan’s Show – Great hour of talk; Morgan less cocky, more likable and Gervais thoughtful.”

* CNN (with video clips), “Ricky Gervais offers no apologies for Golden Globes jokes”

* Seattle Pi, “Bring back Ricky!

* Gawker.tv, “Ricky Gervais’ Targets Come to His Defense” (with video clips)

* UK Press Association, “Cruel? I was doing my job: Gervais”

* Hollywood Reporter, “Ricky Gervais: If I’d Been Too Nice at Golden Globes, It Would Have Been ‘Nauseating'”

* ABC News, “Ricky Gervais: The Couldn’t-Care-Less Comedian – On ‘Piers Morgan Tonight,’ Ricky Gervais Refused to Apologize for Golden Globe Remarks”

* By the way, I think the following exchange between Ricky and Piers Morgan was very revealing of Ricky as a person. Hollywood Reporter, “Ricky Gervais: It’s the ‘Right Thing’ for Steve Carell to Leave ‘The Office'” Here is an excerpt (emphasis added).

“”I sent him an email saying I think you’re doing the right thing,” Gervais — who serves as an executive producer on the NBC hit after originating the ditzy boss role in the U.K. version — said on Piers Morgan Tonight Thursday. […]

As a producer, I was expected to try and stop him because he’s a big part of it,” continued Gervais. “[But] you know, it can survive. Whether it should or not, I don’t know. I’m just an adviser and he’s done an amazing job. He’s done his time. It sounds like a prison sentence, doesn’t it?””

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