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Tulip Festival uproots and leaves the National Capital Commission’s parks

OTTAWA—THE CANDIAN TULIP Festival is switching venues for its 60th anniversary. The festival, which attracts over 500,000 visitors each year, will be put on in community sites around the city, instead of on the National Capital Commission’s (NCC) property, like Major Hills Park and Commissioner’s Park.

David Luxton, the festival’s volunteer chair and long-time financial patron, says hosting the Tulip Festival on NCC-owned sites has become too expensive—somewhere in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“I do this for philanthropic reasons, and while I’m happy to support something like the Tulip Festival, I’m not in the business of subsidizing the NCC,” said Luxton in the Ottawa Citizen.

Jean Wolff, a NCC spokesperson, has responded by saying the fees for this year’s festival were agreed upon in 2011.

“The NCC staff, on many occasions, have had numerous recommendations to the Canadian Tulip Festival about ways to mitigate the festival on the site and to reduce the amount of work and the cost of the work necessary afterwards,” said Wolff in the Ottawa Citizen.

The Tulip Festival receives grants from the City of Ottawa, Ontario government, and Heritage Canada, and has an operating budget of $1.2 million annually.

This year’s festival will see a change of locations, but international cuisine, performers, and a speaker’s series will continue on, with the $10,000 Great Canadian Tulip Treasure Hunt making a return.

Sofia Hashi

Selling your tweets

LONDON, ENGLAND—TWITTER, A SOCIAL media powerhouse, is now selling its users’ information to companies willing to pay for the data. Gnip Inc., based in Boulder, Colo., and DataSift Inc., based in both the U.K. and San Francisco, have been licensed by Twitter to search archived tweets and basic user information, and sell it to their clients.

DataSift Inc. recently announced it will be selling data packages, which have up to two years worth of information. Gnip Inc. can only access the last 30 days worth of tweets, providing short-term and real-time information about current issues, such as gathering stock market opinions.

Companies like Coca-Cola could find out what people in Toronto are saying about it, while Starbucks Corporation could see how people are liking its white mocha in Ottawa.

The archiving and selling of tweets has raised concerns about privacy rights. Currently, there are restrictions on what kinds of data these marketing companies can reach. Private conversations and deleted tweets are not accessible.  DataSift is obliged to regularly update its system and clean out information that has been erased by any Twitter user.

“The only information that we make available is what’s public,” says Rob Bailey, DataSift CEO, in an interview with Reuters. “We do not sell data for targeted advertising. I don’t even know how that would work.”

Tiolu Adedipe

Lawsuit against Google over urinating privacy

ANGERS, FRANCE—A 50-YEAR-OLD MAN is suing Google over a published photo taken by Google Maps, exposing him urinating in his front yard. The man is a local resident of a village in the Main-et-Loire region, home to 3,000 people. He fears becoming the object of ridicule for years to come because resident members were still able to identify him, despite his face being blurred out.
The man is calling for the immediate removal of the picture in addition to being awarded 10,000 Euros (approximately $13,300 CAD) in damages.

Jean-Noel Bouillard, the man’s lawyer, acknowledges the hilarity of the situation, but strongly asserts the serious violation of individual privacy.

“Everyone has the right to a degree of secrecy,” says Bouillard, quoted in the Ottawa Citizen. “If he had been caught kissing a woman other than his wife, he would have had the same issue.”

His lawyer made no comment as to why the man decided to relieve himself outside that November day.

The opposing lawyer for Google, Christopher Bigot, is requesting the dismissal of the charges altogether. The outcome of the case will be determined on March 15 in court.

Kajahni Tharmarajan


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