Local Edmonton Court Reporting Company Supporting Local Businesses

Local Edmonton Court Reporting Company Supporting Local Businesses

Our Court Reporters Support Other Local Businesses!

Edmonton Independent Reporters is an Alberta-owned court reporting company. We’re not owned by a corporation from the United States, nor are we managed by people who are not from Alberta. We are local and, by being Albertans, we know our strength comes from working with other Alberta companies

Like other businesses in this province we believe that it is important to support businesses in Edmonton and area so that we can continue to prosper once things start to return to the new normal after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. This will only help to ensure we continue to provide the necessary services in our community to keep our local economy moving and strong.

Why Support Local Business?

When any of us buys or uses services from a company in Alberta, we all benefit. Yes, it is sometimes hard because the larger corporations make it more convenient or advertise they have a wider selection, we tend to believe many items cannot be found from a local business. However, in many instances and with a little research, you can likely what you need from a local company. The people that run these businesses are our neighbours, friends, coaches or family members. Why would we not support these people instead of sending your money to an unknown corporate behemoth?

Services That Excel

Since this pandemic has hit, court reporters started to offer services remotely. But did you know that Independent Reporters has been providing lawyers with the capability to take the testimony of witnesses by video connection for over 15 years?

In fact, Independent Reporters may well be the most experienced company in Canada that offers remote questioning. We know how to do this and we’ve been doing it longer than many of the corporate companies have been in business. That experience over the years has helped us to smoothly transition lawyers to quickly allow our clients to move to a remote option of questioning witnesses by video without any issues. Our staff and team have provided video connections to every continent on the planet, except Antarctica. Doing this is nothing new for us. We well understand how these services work and provide support.

Let’s All Support Other Local Edmonton Companies

We asked our court reporters for other local companies that they are buying from at this time and who they will continue to support in the future. IR would like you to consider the same and when you are looking for any products or services, please do think about spending your money with these local businesses.

Local Business NameType of BusinessAddressWebsite
Eldor-WalCourt Runners1200, 10123 99 ST NW
Contemporary Office InteriorsOffice Furnishings10406 124 Street NWhttps://coi.bz/
Milk & Cookies Bake ShopBakery5532 Calgary Trail NW
The ColombianCoffee Shop#1, 10340-134 Street NW
Italian Centre ShopGroceries/Food Products3 locations in Edmonton
Polish Food CentreGroceries/Food Products10131 Princess Elizabeth Ave NWNo website
Polonia Sausage & DeliGroceries/Food Products10135 Princess Elizabeth Ave NWNo website
H & W ProduceGroceries/Food Products5 locations in Edmonton
The GrowleryLocal Craft Bbeer40 Airport Road
Sowing Seeds NaturallyNatural Facial Products and All-Purpose Spray CleanerFacebook Only
Rig Hand DistilleryNisku-Based Distillery2104 8 St, Bay B, Nisku
EvoolutionOlive Oil, Vinegar and Salts10130 104 Street NW

And of course, when you are looking to schedule any upcoming services where you need a court reporter, we ask that you also support Independent Reporters and book a court reporter with us online or by calling us to book court reporting services in Edmonton.

 

Remote Discovery Proceedings Security

Remote Discovery Proceedings Security

What steps does Independent Reporters take to maximize security for remote discovery?

Remote discovery and questioning witnesses that are not present in rooms with counsel and a court reporter are now the current norms during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has raised questions on how Independent Reporters (IR) is providing remote services to clients and reducing concerns for clients using remote video connections? Here’s how!

  • Independent Reporters will have a set login and password protection on all remote discoveries and mediations. Each discovery has it’s own unique ID and password and none of these are recycled.
  • We will always ensure that we provide the session ID and password only to individuals that are needed to attend the remote video discovery. This ensures minimal chance of a party outside of the session having access.
  • All parties are tested in advance with the same session they will use for the upcoming remote questioning.
  • IR uses the “Waiting Room” feature and monitors this so that only participants on the list can join. Participants are held in the waiting room until our administrator confirms attendees, then opens the room.
  • The Chat feature is disabled. This avoids any situation where a malicious link could be shared or comments are sent to parties that they were not intended to receive.
  • We will always have an administrative technician on hand who monitors the platform. This allows us to ensure no one else can gain access.
  • With Chat disabled there is no way to share documents through the Chat functions. Instead, if any exhibits need to be shared, this is done through the Screen Share function. (Ask us how to use this in the training)
  • IR will ALWAYS provide training before and support during the meetings to ensure all parties are comfortable in using the platform.
  • Independent Reporters is always reviewing new security enhancements available with the online platforms we use and ensuring our systems are always up to date.

We currently utilize two platforms for the backbone for IR Connect – Zoom and WebEx. This provides clients with options. While our preference is Zoom as it is more robust, provides better video and audio and is easier to use, WebEx is also available. We recently did a review of traffic and server usage that may be of interest to those that want to better understand how these platforms send data. You can click here to learn more about this report.

And to schedule a court reporter for remote services you can find our online booking pages here. As always the traditional method of giving us a call is also available. Here is how to contact our Calgary and Edmonton offices.

IR Connect Remote Technical Review

IR Connect Remote Technical Review

Zoom vs WebEx Technical Comparison Traffic Test

With all the current media coverage surrounding the security of the Zoom platform, IR has conducted internal technical tests to determine which platform we are supporting going forward.

IR believes both platforms work and are secure for our usage. We offer WebEx as an alternative to Zoom if for any reason a client does not want to use it. However, IR prefers the quality of the video, audio and simplicity of use in Zoom over WebEx.  As a small business ourselves, we like to support them. Although Zoom is no longer in this category, we have been supporting them since they were once a small business.

Zoom and WebEx both operate in similar ways, both establish a connection to one of their servers and then data is transmitted to the other computer in the connection.

Zoom

Zoom establishes a connection with a single server, hosted with AWS (Amazon Web Services), based in the USA. A small amount of data is transmitted over this connection, it is a standard secured TCP port 443, similar to most current web traffic. The bulk of the data (video + audio) is then sent directly to the other computer participating in the call, which has also established a connection to the AWS server. We only have access to basic statistical software for web tracking purposes as we are not a software engineering firm. The assumptions on data patterns point towards a connection to the AWS server to ensure both parties are on the same call, and then to transmit data directly between the parties.

This will bring us to the first publicized concern about Zoom claiming end-to-end encryption. As the data is sent via UDP, encryption isn’t possible as it is only supported on a TCP connection. However, current IP based video conference software, supplied mostly by Cisco and Polycom, and used by courthouses and governments across the country is also UDP based, which isn’t encrypted. All VPN servers where someone can remote connect to an office computer is also UDP based. It is a direct tunnel, which doesn’t confirm where data is going, it just assumes it is going to the right location since a secure connection was established previously telling it where to go.

The second common Zoom complaint is “Zoom-Bombing.” This addressed people trying to gain access to Zoom meetings by randomly generating the Meeting ID codes to show up to unrestricted meetings causing havoc. IR has addressed this issue by requiring passwords in place for all Zoom meetings, as well as restricting guest access. Our usage of Zoom is similar to being in a small boardroom where it is obvious if someone enters who isn’t supposed to be present. The Zoom-Bombing issue leans towards a company that may be hosting large meetings with hundreds of attendees, similar to being in a conference hall where controlling access can be more difficult.

The third issue which sparked initial debate involved someone generating a link in the chat. When someone clicked this link, it would automatically send that person windows login credentials. This isn’t new, and technically is a Windows security flaw, of which Windows and other operating systems have had and been around for years without being addressed. The general good practice that most people follow is not to click on unknown email links. The same applies to any online chatroom, including WebEx.

WebEx

When a WebEx meeting is started, a connection is established with a Cisco Server, on the same TCP 443 secure port. The difference is the mass bulk of the data is transferred through that connection to multiple US, and in our test case, Netherlands-based Cisco Servers. Multiple servers are required to send the video and audio data because a secure TCP connection is much slower than a direct UDP connection to the other party. In our test case, we could see up to 15 different servers in use, 14 in the USA and 1 in the Netherlands. Again, we cannot see individual packet data, but all the video data was transmitted in this manner. The assumption here is that to maintain the speed required to transmit video, several servers are needed. This is a similar way in which the older free Skype platform functioned, except Skype didn’t use secure ports. We cannot tell if this connection is encrypted, and it is important to note a very large difference in a secure vs encrypted transmission of data. Very few items can be properly encrypted, and it is a very difficult approach for a video feed due to the size of the data. Typically, the initial request to establish a connection between 2 parties can be encrypted, but the video data itself would be difficult if sent on a real-time basis.

This type of connection to several servers to transmit data does delay transmissions slightly, but mostly shows a reduction in AV quality in the connection. Cisco has a lot of servers, it shouldn’t show a big reduction, but theoretically, the more people using it the slower the connection would need to be as servers reach capacity. In the current landscape Internet traffic is becoming an issue with how much data is being sent around everywhere, so we’d likely see connection issues on both Cisco and Zoom platforms deteriorating from home and office-based internet overload before a server slowdown.

Our Conclusion

This analysis was done in house, by people who have been technology focused since before Windows existed. The rapid expansion of the digital age brings tons of questions about many things, security included, and unfortunately, a lot of the answers provided by these companies can raise more questions than they answer. The best we can do its try to form an educated opinion about choosing a way we are comfortable doing something given all the information available.

We operate a more hands-on mentality when it comes to security and control of our equipment, and still hold house in-house servers in place of cloud-based options. IR does not use any third party ISP-provided routers due to our own internal security concerns and we only use commercial level equipment that can be properly monitored. Most people we talk to think this is overkill, but we don’t feel the ISP needs to be aware of the computers on our network.

This summary is in no way intended to endorse one company over another, and IR will continue to offer clients a choice of service through this time frame in order for everyone to try to be able to continue to work as efficiently as possible through the current landscape.

Contact us to learn more or book online to arrange remote court reporting services for your upcoming discoveries.

 

How To Still Depose A Witness During COVID-19 Outbreak

How To Still Depose A Witness During COVID-19 Outbreak

 During this unprecedented time of dealing with COVID-19, we are receiving questions from clients about what they can do to question a witness. Many people do not want to meet and remain in the safety of their trusted office space or remaining at home.

The solution is something that Independent Reporters can assist you with – Remote Questioning. For the time during the COVID-19 outbreak, Independent Reporters will waive our normal video connection fees for these services.

What do you need to do?
First, discuss with the parties that you will arrange a remote questioning using the IR Connect service. Then call us, let us know the dates you need and the parties that will need to be in attendance. This will include other counsel and the witness(es) if they will also be remote.

What equipment do you need?
If you have videoconferencing services at your office, we will work with your IT department to ensure connectivity is not a problem.

If you don’t have any systems in place at your office, no problem. We can provide an encrypted link that will allow you to use your computer, laptop or tablet. You will just need to make sure you have a webcam and speakers. Other parties will need the same.

What platforms will this work with?
We can work with operating systems that include Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebooks and Android. Our systems also allow for connecting other parties and witnesses with their own devices. This includes desktop PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones.

What are the costs of these additional services?
There will be no fees billed during the time of the outbreak. We will also waive any fees related to bridging services to connect older proprietary systems.

Why use IR Connect over something I have on my personal computer? 
IR Connect uses broadcast-grade services and encryption. These systems are designed for business and are typically point-to-point versus sharing resources on consumer platforms.

Where will the court reporter be?
Our court reporters can still attend at one of the locations if that is preferred. However, we understand the desire for everyone to minimize contact and, if preferred, the court reporting services will also be provided remotely. Your court reporter will also be on video and take down the testimony as they normally would.

Contact us to learn more or book online to arrange court reporting services for your upcoming discoveries.