Issue 685

Monday, 23rd July 2018

In This Issue


Assange's eviction from the Ecuadorian embassy is imminent

Ecuadaor's president is getting his ducks in a row over in London so he can cut Julian Assange loose, according to Glenn Greenwald over at The Intercept. Why now, after 6 years in the Ecuadorian embassy? Apparently Spain is "still seething over Assange’s denunciation of human rights abuses perpetrated by Spain’s central government against protesters marching for Catalonian independence" and the relatively new Ecuadorian president wants to keep Spain happy. It's all domestic Ecuadorian politics stuff. The only thing he's currently charged with is skipping bail in the UK, as the Swedes dropped the rape charges. The wild card here is the USA and Trump - will they lean on the UK to ship Assange so they can waterboard him or whatever they do these days, or does Trump not give a shit? Nobody really knows.

Large Singapore EMR was hacked with 1.6m impacted, including their PM

The electronic medical records system of Singapore's largest healthcare provider was hacked between late June and early July, with over 1.6 million people's "name, national registration identity card number, address, gender, race and date of birth" pilfered, along with info on the medicines prescribed to 160,000 patients. Included in those 1.6m people is the Singaporean Prime Minister, who's info was "specifically and repeatedly targeted". This would never happen to Australia's military grade secure My Health Record, designed and operated by the highest skilled IT managers in the country. Also MHR related, private health insurance vultures are circling, wanting a taste of its sweet, juicy data and Labor is agitating to have MHR set back to opt-in.

Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter want to make it easier to export & share data

Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have teamed up to announced the Data Transfer Project, "an open source initiative dedicated to developing tools that will enable consumers to transfer their data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it". Some examples given in Google's whitepaper on the topic include being able to transfer photos from Twitter or Instagram directly to a photobook printing company (you can do this already can't ya?), sharing playlists between music streaming platforms (YES), transfer your supermarket purchase history from one grocer to another (what? who cares about your supermarket purchase history??). There's more info at the Data Transfer Project website. More ways to get my data off these platforms, the better. Thanks GDPR for kinda making tech companies do this.

Facebook confirms it wants to launch a LEO internet satellite in 2019

Facebook is getting in to the satellite internet game, wanting to launch its own satellite, named Athena, in early 2019. It'll join SpaceX and OneWeb in making constellations of small, low Earth satellites, that will be able to provide fixed wireless internet at relatively low latency (25ms-35ms) and up to a gigabit of bandwidth (well that's what SpaceX reckons anyways). There's not much more detail on Facebook's plans other than some emails between Facebook and the FCC, but it makes a lot of sense considering Facebook's main problem these days (besides the poor optics surrounding its business practices) is that not enough people have internet access. A constellation of satellites providing free access to Facebook (aka the internet for many people) would be a pretty nifty way to get the next billion or so people into Zuck's data funnel.

Australia is the 2nd best e-government in the world according to the UN???

For some reason, the United Nations placed Australia 2nd in the world in its 2018 E-Government Survey, just below Denmark and ahead of South Korea. "The decision to establish the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is one of the reasons Australia is in second spot, the UN's report says, also praising the national broadband network and the upcoming Consumer Data Right". Hmm, the DTA is okay, I guess, but hardly amazing and the Consumer Data Right stuff will be interesting to watch in the real world once businesses get around to implementing it, but the NBN? Carnnnn, that shitshow surely kicks us down a few places?! Australia still manages to get to 2nd place despite all the fuckups and controversies? Man, the rest of the world must be absolutely horrible.

Not News, But Still Cool

Crikey's Prying Eyes series will make you set your computer on fire and toss it out a window

Crikey has just wrapped up an excellent series of articles on the various ways businesses collect data on you and use it in ways most people would not be comfortable with. The series also go into detail on how useless the government currently is to prevent businesses from doing it. Optus monetises websites you visit. Political parties have dossiers on practically everyone in Australia. Websites full of deliberately confusing UI make us spend more money than we want to. It's all the shit things about technology in a neat little package. If you aren't a Crikey subscriber, it's definitely worth grabbing a free trial to read these stories.

US state prison systems using VR to help long term prisoners get adjusted to the outside

Here's some straight up dystopian shit for ya - prisoners using virtual reality to get acquainted with the outside world after long stints in the can. Over in the USA, state prison systems are hiring VR games developers to create these virtual worlds that mimic real life to literally guide prisoners through common tasks like cooking for themselves, using an ATM and walking in a large crowd, so they don't freak out when they get released. What a sad problem to have to solve.

Cheap SSDs, Xiaomi battery, Xbone TV tuner, Sony A6000 camera, P20 Pro & iPhone SE

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Slipknot - Before I Forget