Issue 701

Tuesday, 14th August 2018

In This Issue


Draft of Australia's end-to-end encryption busting legislation is out

The federal government unveiled a draft version of the long anticipated legislation aimed to access encrypted communications. You can read the "Assistance and Access Bill 2018" now and this is the Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security's press release (it includes the obligatory paedophiles & terrorists justification). The draft only came out this morning, so I think the best interpretations of the law will take a few days to percolate, but going by the news articles I've read today, the government wants companies who make tech products to give them a way in to specific devices, not the product in general. So for example - the AFP want to look at my iPhone running Whatsapp, not everyone's iPhone running Whatsapp. They don't say how do to this, just that if a company is requested to do this and they don't, they'll be punished. Super fun times ahead!

Elon Musk confirms Saudi interest in Tesla & denies he was on acid while tweeting

Elon Musk put up a post on Tesla's blog explaining that his claim that funding to turn Tesla private is secure, isn't actually as secure as he first thought. The Saudi's are keen to do a deal with Tesla, apparently harassing Elon for years about doing something together. Elon took this as confirmation, but the Saudis were really just interested in having a chat to start the process, not like, actually handing over money. To make things even weirder, Azealia Banks (a pop artist the kids are into) was allegedly at Elon Musk's house to do some work with Elon's girlfriend, Grimes (another musician the kids like) when he let loose with the famous "I'm taking Tesla private" tweets. Azealia is now saying Elon was on acid when he sent that out and the entire weekend she was there, she witnessed Elon absolutely losing his shit when everyone around him lost their shit when they saw the tweet.

New Turing GPU from Nvidia is very fast and very expensive

At SIGGRAPH 2018, Nvidia announced its next generation GPU architecture, Turing. The details are incredibly nerdy as this GPU is focussed on professional uses of GPUs like 3D rendering, video encoding, GPU computing and machine learning/AI. I don't know enough about the area to say if it's good or bad, but it's a shitload faster than the current Pascal GPUs. Nvidia's making a big deal of the Turing GPU being able to pump out "10 Billion (Giga) rays per second, which compared to the unaccelerated Pascal is a 25x improvement in ray tracing performance". That sounds fast to me? There's also a lot of stuff about more CUDA & tensor cores for GPU computer and machine learning applications. It'll make its first appearance on Quadro RTX cards later this year. They're not cheap either, with the starting price for a Turing GPU card coming in at US$2300.

Even if you disable Google's Location History, they still track ya

You've probably seen Google's Location History feature before - it creeped me out a little the first time I saw it, but you can opt out of it. The Associated Press is reporting that even if you disable Location History, "some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking". Like when you do a Google Search, or the weather widget on your Android phone pings for an update, Google has been storing your location when that happens and adding it to your Location History. Most people would assume that if you opt-out of the Location History feature, nothing is recorded, but Google reckons that's not what's supposed to happen and you have to disable all this location tracking individually.

ALP wants a full senate inquiry into My Health Record

Despite the government extending My Health Record's opt-out period until November and the imminent introduction of legislation preventing law enforcement access without a warrant, the Labor party is pushing for a senate inquiry into the shitshow. The inquiry will be a "root and branch look at the legislation, the regulation and the implementation of the My Health Record before we can regain critical public support in this health reform". It's also important to note that My Health Record was kicked off by the ALP when they were in power and according to a tweet from Greg Hunt, the ALP voted in parliament for My Health Record to go from opt-in, to opt-out. So.. yeah, nice one ALP.

Not News, But Still Cool

A bunch of kids at DEFCON totally own US state electoral systems

This year's DEFCON had a "Voting Machine Hacking Village", where a group of 50 kids were given the task of hacking in to "13 imitation websites linked to voting in presidential battleground states". These replica sites are apparently "very accurate", which makes it even sadder to know that "an 11-year-old girl also managed to make changes to the same Florida replica website in about 15 minutes, tripling the number of votes found there". The systems securing election results in the world's largest democracy are so pissweak, a bunch of kids can absolutely own it, fan-fucking-tastic. Also, they let kids into DEFCON?!

Lenovo's ThinkPad P1 15.6" laptop looks fantastic

Lenovo announced the ThinkPad P1 overnight and it's basically what Apple should have done with the MacBook Pro, but in black. 15.4" screen (with a 4K, 100% AdobeRGB option), a range of CPUs up to the 6-core i9, Nvidia Quadro GPU options, up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM with ECC, dual PCIe SSD slots for RAID0/1 options, 2x USB-C, 2x USB-A, HDMI 2.0, card reader, ethernet (via a passive dongle) - all while weighing 100g less than the MBP and only 2.3mm more than the MBP. Looks like an awesome machine if you can run Windows or Linux (Ubuntu & Redhat certified) and don't have macOS Stockholm syndrome. No word in Australian pricing or availability, but will be out in the US later in August and start at US$1949.

Cheap prepaid SIMs, GoPro, 120GB SSD, Xiaomi power bank, portable SNES emulator

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Sunk Loto - Everything Everyway