Canadian Security Magazine

Focus On Government Security highlights drones, digital hygiene and more

By Staff   

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Focus On Government Security attendees were treated to a variety of perspectives from experts who spoke on everything from the future of drones to how the Canadian Government is rethinking online access to services.

Focus On Government Security, held Oct. 7 in Ottawa, began with a session from cyber security and cyber terror expert Rafal Rohozinksi, who challenged those in attendance to consider how the world of surveillance has undergone radical change. He pointed out the weakest point in almost any cyber defence mechanism — humans — and how easy it can be to compromise a network in the absence of adequate knowledge and training among users. Social media, added Rohozinksi, is an incontrovertible part of daily life, so simply asking users to refrain from it won’t work. A more suitable approach is to educate them on the effective use of social media and to avoid over-sharing personal data or information.

Director-general of Civil Aviation at Transport Canada Aaron McCrorie provided insight as to how the Federal Government is dealing with the growing popularity of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, on home soil. Through what McCrorie called the “democratization of aviation,” everyone from hobbyists who fly drones for recreation to real estate agents who want decent aerial photos of property is taking to the skies. McCrorie spelled out the government’s legislative roadmap for dealing with increasing numbers of UAVs in a safe and secure manner while still respecting private and commercial ambitions to use the technology effectively.

Allan McDougall of Canada Border Service Agency provided insight on how security paradigms are changing as relationships between public and private organizations continue to evolve and as we improve our holistic view of project management. He provided a framework comprising elements such as training, mentorship and leadership, as well as resource management and innovation. Technology must be part of the system, said McDougall — it is not the system itself.

The fourth speaker of the day was Greg Fyffe, a long-serving member of Canadian government who has served in multiple assistant deputy minister positions. Now the president of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, Fyffe shared his perspectives on leadership, bureaucracy, complexity, client/partner relationships, cyber hygiene, the international terror landscape and much more.


The day closed with Rita Whittle, Executive Director, Security and Identity Policy Management Division, Chief Information Officer Branch, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Whittle described how the Federal Government was able to create a means for the Canadian public to access some online government services using their private sector credentials like banking user IDs and passwords. Privacy and security had to be the foundation for such a project to work. Its success has created a new approach to federated identity for citizens, enabling cyber access to essential services in a trustworthy manner.

Focus On Government Security, presented by Canadian Security magazine, was attended by more than 70 public and private sector security professionals and was supported by sponsors including G4S Canada, Commissionaires Ottawa, Aiphone, Pivot3, Paladin Security, Qognify, the Ottawa Chapter of ASIS International and the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries.

Focus On Health Care Security will take place in Toronto on Dec. 7.

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