Issue 604

Monday, 26th March 2018

In This Issue


Telstra in trouble for not cancelling 3rd party premium services when customers asked

Telstra is facing up to $10m of fines and refunds over those stupid "premium billing services", like games and SMSs that would charge you heaps directly via your Telstra plan. The ACCC alleges that over 100,000 Telstra customers "unwittingly signed up to subscriptions or charges with third parties, without being required to enter payment details or verify their identity". To make matters worse, when customers did find out, Telstra fobbed them off to the third party instead of cancelling the recurring payments themselves. The exact amount Telstra will be fined is before the Federal Court, as Telstra has already admitted to being dodgy.

Facebook's still hoarding your private info

Facebook's bullshit is still clogging up tech news headlines. Here's the latest:

Russian intelligence staffer responsible for Guccier 2.0 DNC email leaks

Big news in infosec circles is the opsec fail of Guccifer 2.0, a hacktivist who took responsibility for hacking the Democrat's emails during the US election campaign (aka "Hillary's emails") and leaking them all over the place. Someone in control of Guccifer 2.0's social media accounts didn't cover their tracks properly and that small mistake lead to US intelligence officials discovering that it wasn't a lone hacker motivated by wanting to expose the truth. Guccifer 2.0 is "a GRU officer working out of the agency’s headquarters on Grizodubovoy Street in Moscow". This'll all make a mediocre tele-movie one day.

US law enforcement still busting to find a way into anyone's smartphone on demand

The New York Times has a new report on the F.B.I. and Justice Department figuring out ways to get their tentacles into your computers. They've been going around talking to security researchers and asking them to come up with ways to keep people's communications secure, but to also allow a way for law enforcement to peek in when they need to. It seems to me that the law is absolutely going to get its way eventually. The access method might not be as tidy as they have imagined in their heads, but something has to give sooner or later. Someone will sell out and give the cops what they want, then everyone else will follow.

Transport for NSW burned through $340m on an IT project with little to show for it

Transport for NSW is the latest government department to absolutely suck at rolling out an IT project. It planned to spend $425m to do a total overhaul of the department's data centre operations, end user computing facilities and its network. IBM, NEC, Telstra, Optus and DXC Technology have been given 80% of that $425m budget since 2013, but only a third of the project is complete and it's supposed to be all done by the end of 2018. Chances are Transport for NSW will need loads more cash to complete the job and it won't be done for a while yet.

Not News, But Still Cool

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ benchmarked

Phoronix got its hands on the brand new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and like any good nerds, ran heaps of benchmarks on it to see how the juiced up Pi compares with other boards and older Raspberry Pis. Good news is that the B+ runs much cooler despite being a bit faster and network performance is much better, but still not as good other boards with dedicated network interfaces. Basically, if you liked the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, the B+ is the same but more refined.

Details emerge of how crappy Uber's robocar is compared to the rest

Uber's killing machine/robocar has been a piece of junk for a while that really shouldn't have been on the road. Insiders at Uber leaked info to the New York Times that outlined how operators have been found asleep at the wheel, its disengagement stats are amongst the worst in the industry and that the robocar program was rushed so its new CEO could get a solo demo of the tech. The Drive eloquently compares Uber's actions in self-driving cars to the disgraced Theranos, with their careless actions setting the industry back.

Cheap 75" TV, AirPods, Xiaomi 360-degree cam, iPhone X, Galaxy S9, camera stuff

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Röyksopp - The Girl And The Robot