Canada’s Competition Bureau is holding a series of three panel discussions to address the issue of online and mobile mass marketing fraud. One of the discussions, organized in collaboration with Professor Mourad Debbabi, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13 at Concordia.
Debbabi, Concordia University Research Chair in Information Systems Security, will also participate as a panellist during the discussion. “I’ll be talking about our research, which is related to fraud detection, prevention, and attribution,” he says. “For example, we conduct research on brand abuse (the false use of known brand names to attract visitors to websites), false associations, and detecting and geo-locating cybercrime servers.”
Deputy Commissioner of Competition for the Competition Bureau Lisa Campbell says the purpose of the discussions, also scheduled for March 6 in Ottawa and March 8 in Edmonton, is to promote discussion and raise public awareness about the issue of mass marketing fraud through the Internet and mobile devices.
“We really hope that we can get some more information out there and stimulate debate around these issues,” she says.
According to Campbell, the panellists will explore ways that consumers can protect themselves from mass marketing fraud, and that businesses can make it easier for consumers to navigate the cyber marketplace.
“We’re all about truth in advertising, and promoting innovation,” she says. “Especially in these tough economic times, you want to allow companies to innovate. You don’t want them to suffer because someone is perpetrating a scam that then taints them.”
Debbabi will be joined during the Concordia panel discussion by Professor Jacques Nantel from the Department of Marketing at École des hautes études commerciales de Montréal (HEC). Nantel is an expert in consumer behaviour, product positioning, and e-commerce.
Sergeant Michael Haring from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Integrated Technological Crime Unit will also join the two academics during the panel discussion. Having received certificates of appreciation from the RCMP for his work on the Mafia Boy file, which involved a computer attack by a young Canadian on several Internet companies in the United States, and for his work investigating attacks against the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rounding out the panel is Dominic Thérien, assistant deputy commissioner of the Competition Bureau’s Quebec and Atlantic regional offices. Thérien, a partner with Montreal law firm McCarthy Tétrault, has been involved with a number of transactions requiring clearance under Canada’s Competition Act.
Campbell, who will participate as a panellist during the Ottawa event, says that each discussion will follow slightly different themes depending on the specific interests of the panellists. “For example, I may talk about the issue of privacy in social media because it’s an interest of mine,” she says. “The Competition Bureau is also one of the three agencies responsible for implementing Canada’s new anti-spam law, so we’ll be mentioning that as well.”
The panel discussions are free for people to attend, and each presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.
When: Tuesday, March 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Norman D. Hébert, LLD, Meeting Room (Room EV-2.260), Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building, 1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.), Sir George Williams Campus
• Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering
• Competition Bureau