The Sizzle

Issue 421 - Monday, 26th June 2017


More threats from Australian politicians who want to control the internet
Word has got out to the rest of the world that Australia will be leading the way at the next Five Eyes meeting for tougher regulation of digital communications. "As Australia's priority issue, I will raise the need to address ongoing challenges posed by terrorists and criminals using encryption. These discussions will focus on the need to cooperate with service providers to ensure reasonable assistance is provided to law enforcement and security agencies" Senator Brandis said in a statement on Sunday. Also over the weekend, Malcolm Turnbull said to his Liberal party buddies that "the Internet cannot be an ungoverned space" - that's it, the party is over people. First it was the suits, then mums and dads ruining the internet. Now the cops are here! Fucken hell, time to bail I reckon.

Google will stop scanning your email and will delete private health info from searches
Google will no longer scan your email and use the information it gleans from your inbox to sell you ads. It's not so much a change of direction from Google to be less intrusive, but rather, to clear up the distinction between paid and free Gmail accounts. The paid accounts that enterprise users have, never had their inboxes scans (or so Google said), yet people are often confused about this, making it a harder sell compared to Microsoft's Office enterprise cloud stuff, which everyone knows isn't scanning ya email to sell you ads. Meanwhile, Google will remove the "confidential, personal medical records of private people" from their search results. How the fuck they ended up there in the first place is a long story (leaks, hacks, etc.), but I'm glad Google realised having this stuff in their search engine helps nobody.

Another company got approval to launch a low latency internet satellite constellation
Another company has received approval from the FCC to roll out loads of low-orbit, low-latency internet satellites. OneWeb plans to have 720 satellites, 1200km above the earth that can provide ~50Mbps internet with just 30ms latency. They're going to start throwing birds in the sky early next year and hope to have the first users from Alaska online in 2019. NBN's Skymuster is looking more and more like a piece of shit now hey. If NBN doesn't upgrade to this sort of system, they're selling rural Australia short. Related: SpaceX did the launch and relaunch of a rocket again. This happening relatively nonchalantly is why all these satellites can go up, as the cost of launching a satellite has decreased immensely.

ISPs mad, red and nude over incoming broadband levy
And on the topic of NBN, the government recently passed a "broadband tax" is also known as the regional broadband scheme and is designed to fund telecommunications infrastructure in the bush. As of July 2018, the government will start collecting $7.10 from each connection on a "super-fast broadband network" that isn't the NBN - but not the first 25,000 connections, so small-ish ISPs are exempt. The big ISPs are pissed off with the government's upcoming broadband tax, who don't see it as a way to fund bush internet, but as a blunt general revenue raiser. Telstra and Vocus said it's not fair that services that don't even compete with NBN (i.e: "dark fibre running between two business premises" and "leased high capacity services between data centres and business premises") will be slugged with the levy. TPG straight up say that the levy is just a way to prop up the NBN's busted business model and that because the levy isn't on wireless broadband, it just makes the threat of wireless usurping NBN connections even juicer.

000 to get location info along side a call in new system
The federal government wants to roll out AML - Advanced Mobile Location, for emergency 000 calls in Australia. Telstra currently runs the 000 service, but the contract is up for renewal and as part of that new contract, anyone who runs it, needs to be able to include location data with any incoming calls - a pretty useful feature to want. AML is built in to all Android phones post-Gingerbread (they call it ELS, Emergency Location Service), but isn't yet part of iOS, which is a bit shit. If ya wanna know how AML works, check this page out from the EU body responsible for managing it over there.


Why people in a small pocket of Carlton couldn't lock or start their cars
Within a few Carlton blocks, people had trouble locking their car doors or even starting their cars. Nobody knew why, but the local newsagents were selling a bunch more remote control batteries than usual. After a while, people thought it could have been the cops listening in on some crims or a criminal jamming the radios of all these central locking and ignition systems so they can break in and steal stuff. The cops were too busy, the council didn't know what the fuck and the power company weren't interested. The Age got involved somehow, called ACMA and bam, they found a faulty door sensor that's part of a security system at a dentist near by, that was spewing data on the 434Mhz frequency 24/7. Turn off the security system and everything is back to normal.

Maccas USA rolling out ordering kiosks, wide spread automation of low wage jobs begins
McDonalds USA is gonna roll out 2,500 of those ordering kiosks across the USA this year, then another 3,000 in 2018. Together with mobile ordering going online for all McDonalds stores by the end of 2017, we are now witnessing the start of the replacement of low-wage labour with robots. Instead of McDonalds having say, 3 or 4 people just there to take orders, there might be 1 person there wrangling the kiosks until society is used to it and the kiosks are reliable enough, and McDonalds can just get rid of customer facing people and the food is just thrown out of chute. This, obviously, excites investors big time - look at all those staff you no longer have to pay! Zero Hedge has an excellent analysis of how much money McDonalds will save by installing these "Big Mac ATMs".

Reflecting on 10 years of iPhone
This is the 10th year the iPhone has been a thing. 10 years of something is considered an anniversary in society, hence, there's been a bit of reflection of late as to how the iPhone came to be. The Wall Street Journal has a relatively interesting 10 minute video with some of the people involved with making the iPhone. If you liked that, the Computer History Museum in San Francisco had a 2hr chat with some of the engineers and with Scott Forstall last week, that goes a bit more in-depth about the process of creating the iPhone. Oh and if you're in the mood for hour long chats with Apple employees, video of The Talk Show recorded at 2017 WWDC featuring Schiller & Federighi being interviewed by John Gruber (aka Daring Fireball) is also on YouTube.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers. Know someone who could use a bit of Sizzle in their life? Buy them a gift subscription!