CanCon Podcast Ep. 5: Startup frat bro culture and the pressure to scale

Zenefits

With Patrick in Barcelona to cover MWC, the CanCon podcast returns with a special guest star to discuss Canadian tech and tech from a Canadian perspective: The Disruptors co-host Bruce Croxon!

This week, we begin with a U.S. tech story with global implications: Apple’s fight for the security of its platform and the privacy of its users. We then transition to discuss current expectations of privacy and harassment online following recent landmark legal cases in Canada before closing on the privileged activities of one major tech startup.

Tune in as the CanCon podcast team – Erin Bury, Managing Director of 88 Creative (and former BetaKit Managing Editor), and Rob Kenedi, TWG’s Entrepreneur in Residence and host of the amazing #smallrooms podcast – asks the question: do you have an expectation of privacy on your consumer tech, or do you already assume the government is looking at your snaps? Post a comment below with the answer, or better yet, rate CanCon 5-stars on iTunes and post your answer there.

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Special thanks to our presenting sponsor, PayPal, and our media partner, TWG, for helping make the CanCon Podcast happen!

CanCon Podcast Episode 5 (02/22/16)

Apple’s fight for privacy
Apple’s customer letter
‘Too dangerous to create’: Apple opposes court order to unlock iPhone
Facebook and Twitter join Apple’s side in encryption battle

Canadians fight to not be harassed online
Canada’s first Twitter trial highlights need to curb online harassment
Cyber bullying: Bereaved mum appeals to children to ‘stay safe online’
B.C. man Patrick Fox aims to ‘destroy’ ex-wife with revenge website

#FriendswithZenefits are not your friends
How Zenefits Crashed Back Down To Earth

Canadian Content music clip (under fair dealing): “Bad as They Seem” by Hayden
What is the CanCon podcast all about? Read this.

Feature image courtesy Buzzfeed via Instagram.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

  • Jeff Brassard

    Great show guys, I found it very interesting. Doug, thanks for the shout out, but because you did it in the middle of the show instead of, as you normally do, at the end I instinctively shut the podcast down… I hope you didn’t say anything interesting after that :).

    On the Apple vs FBI issue. I’m kind of taking my cue mostly from Paul Thurrott over at Petri, which is usually pretty safe ground because he tends to be pretty thoughtful and isn’t a particularly reactionary journalist. But here is what I’ve gathered from reading/listening to him. According to the FBI they are not looking for a master key to all iPhones, what they want is for Apple to create a system that they could install on that iphone that would prevent it from deleting all of its content after x number of incorrect guesses of the PIN. So basically they are looking for a way to brute force the phone (and probably some others) without totally destroying anything valuable stored therein. Conceivably this could be done at their headquarters in Mordor… I mean Cuppertino… FBI director James Comey said “the particular legal issue is actually quite narrow. The relief we seek
    is limited and its value increasingly obsolete because the technology
    continues to evolve. We simply want the chance, with a search warrant,
    to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially
    self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess
    correctly. That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a
    master key loose on the land. I hope thoughtful people will take the
    time to understand that. Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more
    terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t. But we can’t look the survivors in the
    eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don’t follow this lead.”

    My reading of this is that Apple is trying to get some marketing out of this, positioning themselves as the true and right defenders of public freedom and privacy, knowing well that they are probably going to lose this case, either now, or when Congress passes a law that essentially changes the legal code.

    That said I think they should fin a way to give the FBI what it wants. The Bureau has gone through the correct legal process and rules of evidence for this case, and those same rules, protect our basic freedoms far more than Apple, Google, Microsoft etc… can ever be counted upon to do. I get the privacy argument, but I feel like for the most part that is a massive red herring that the tech industry is throwing out there. We are going to need to find a way to balance the needs of law enforcement with the needs of people for privacy protection. Because we can’t have tools so good that terrorists, human traffickers, drug dealers, etc can use them to hide their activities. The argument that, to paraphrase “if we give the FBI a way to unlock iPhones the criminals will just find another way”, is essentially a non sequitur. It does not follow that simply because theoretical criminals may find another way, thus making what the FBI is asking for less useful, that we shouldn’t bother at all. This case deals with a real crime that happened, and that we can investigate, we will have to deal with other tools and other criminal techniques as they appear. Their theoretical appearance doesn’t mean we just just throw up our hands and do nothing in the present. Going forward, law enforcement is going to be playing a constant game of whack-a-mole with new technologies used by criminals and terrorists, we can’t just do nothing because they are clever. At each step we have to do our best to investigate them on the platforms they are using.

    Again, great show, really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next one.

  • danakin

    CanCon music, CanCon podcast – a cute start.

    The podcast started with the topic that’s become inescapable in the tech blogoshpere: the creation of FBiOS.

    It was encouraging to hear the group stay true to an examination of the issue at a high level discussion. Far too many podcasts attempt a deeper dive and end up getting turned upside down by the facts, rumours, and spin (Apple’s and the FBI’s). The allegory of 90’s dating services to the current situation suffered from a minor case of false equivalency but had noble intentions. Ultimately it was Doug who hit the nail on the head. The issue isn’t the current request’s impact, nor the creation of a single modified firmware; it’s the legal precedent such an action would have. You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

    I was disappointed by one comment made at the tail end of the discussion. Erin’s first comment on how the public is digesting and/or reacting to the Apple/FBI issue was to state that they’ll do nothing because they’re… “lazy”. She did, later, use a more apt analogy to how people react to charitable efforts: “I’m only one person, what can I do?”. Erin’s “lazy” comment struck me as arrogant and, while I don’t believe this is her’s or the podcast’s opinion of the readers and listeners, it was disappointing.

    Overall, however, the trio did well and avoided the sanctimony of many others. Perhaps if one of them had adopted the devil’s advocate postion and played the role of the FBI’s argument the discussion could have been richer.

    The segment on Twitter harrassment was the highlight of the podcast. All three hosts did well to illustrate how “piling on” can now be done on an exponential level thanks to anonymity and global reach. Erin made excellent points on how vitriolic the comments sections of on-line publications can be. Stronger they would have been had her “lazy” comment not been made minutes earlier.

    The final block on VC culture was also well executed and informative. My only complaint was with Doug going Frat-boy-bro; chanting (Wolf of Wall Street style) while Bruce was making his points. Not very effective or cordial.

    Overall, an enjoyable podcast finding its legs.