Issue 657

Wednesday, 13th June 2018

In This Issue


Australian High Court permits defamation case to proceed over Google search results

Milorad Trkulja is pissed off with Google's image search thinking he is gangster. When you search for "Melbourne criminal underworld photos", his face turned up alongside real gangsters Carl Williams and Tony Mokbel. He sued Google and won in 2012, but in 2017 the win was overturned, because "the case had no prospect of successfully proving defamation" by Google. Milorad took his fight to the High Court and today, they disagreed with Google's "innocent dissemination" defence, allowing Milorad to sue Google again at the Victorian Supreme Court. The ultimate decision will set an interesting precedent for what an internet company's liability is for linking to or collating content created by a third party.

Apple tightens up rules regarding how apps can use your contacts

Fresh off banning crypto mining in iOS apps yesterday, today Apple changed (or journalists just noticed the change today?) some rules surrounding the way apps handle contacts. You know how apps ask "give us access to all the contacts on your device so we can invite them to use this app you love so much!"? Apparently that was often used as a ploy to create a database of names and emails and phone numbers that would then be on sold to a third party company to do dodgy stuff with. This shady practice no longer allowed. If an app is caught asking for your contacts for a specific reason, then using it for something else, the app will be kicked out of the app store.

NEC booted off federal govt IT job as costs double and deadlines fly past

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission wanted to replace an outdated fingerprint identification system with a "multi-modal biometric identification" service, incorporating fingerprints, footprints and facial recognition. Sounds hard, but NEC thought they're up to the job, taking the $52m tender back in 2016. This week, NEC's work on the project was suspended and "staff members were escorted from the building by security" as the project's cost blew out to $95m and failed to be complete by the June 2018 deadline. Just another failed Australian government IT project for the shitheap. Is anyone keeping track of all this waste?

QLD govt puts out $380m tender to modernise public transport Go Card

Queensland is planning to spend $380m to bring its Go Card public transport ticketing system into the 21st century. According to the budget announcement, this upgrade will provide, "customer facing functionality including payment by contactless debit and credit cards, mobile phones and wearables in addition to go card and paper tickets". Cubic Transportation Systems (same outfit that do Oyster in London and Opal in Sydney) currently operate the Go Card system and have had their contract extended until 2020, but this upgrade has been put to a "global procurement process", so who knows when it will actually be in production and how much it will really cost. QLD's state budget has a bunch of other IT related things too.

Nintendo's E3 announcements

Nintendo let loose a bunch of new stuff at E3 overnight. You can watch the full 42 min keynote on YouTube. There's some new gameplay footage of Super Mario Party (coming in October), a weird Pokeball controller for the upcoming Pokemon game on the Switch, news that the classic Grim Fandango is coming to the Switch and details on Super Smash Bros Ultimate for the Switch too. The biggest news is that the super popular Fortnite is coming to the Switch today and features cross-play with Xbox One, PC, Mac, and iOS/Android (but not PS4). Vooks has all the Nintendo related E3 stuff you need. For all the other E3 announcements, E3RECAP has literally everything shown at E3.

Not News, But Still Cool

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TypingDNA reckons it can identify you via how you type

Being able to determine who you are via unique traits in their typing style seems pretty unreliable to me, but TypingDNA reckon it's robust. According to this TechCrunch article, users "just enter their name and password into a window, then TypingDNA will analyse their typing and confirm that it’s really them". It works by looking at two things: "how long it takes you to reach a key and how long you keep the key pressed down". I dunno man, sounds kinda sketchy to me. I don't think I'd trust this with anything important.

Charge your USB devices via pedal power during the apocalypse

The K-Tor Power Box is a set of bike pedals with a power outlet on it. You pedal, it powers an appliances at 120V/20W. It's tiny and can go under a desk. It doesn't seem to be available in Australia (gotta ship it from the US) and costs US$195, so it isn't cheap. I do not know why I bookmarked this really. It's interesting, but it's not something I'm gonna go out and buy, is it? I guess it's a way to burn calories and recharge an iPad? I honestly don't know. Maybe useful in an emergency, but US$195 gets you heaps of batteries that'll cover ya until things get back to normal.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Ramones Blitzkrieg Bop