Issue 762

Monday, 12th November 2018

In This Issue


Person in charge of privacy at My Health Record quits because nobody listened to her

Late Friday arvo it was revealed in the SMH that Nicole Hunt, the director of privacy Australian Digital Health Agency (who are the government agency operating My Health Record) resigned recently. She didn't go on the record about the resignation, but "two sources close to Ms Hunt confirmed that she had left the business out of frustration that privacy and security concerns her team had raised with senior management were often ignored". Not a good look for a program that's got everyone worried about how their privacy will be impacted and yet another example that the government is more than happy to ignore the advice of experts when that advice clashes with their aims.

Apple launches repair programs for iPhone X & 13" MacBook Pro

Apple's launched two repair programs for recent devices. If you've got an iPhone X that has a "display or part of a display that does not respond to touch or responds intermittently, or a display that reacts without being touched at all", Apple will fix it for free. If you have a non-Touch Bar 13" MacBook Pro that was sold between June 2017 and June 2018, Apple are replacing the 128GB and 256GB SSD in these units as they "have an issue that may result in data loss and failure of the drive". Make sure to back up your data before sending your MacBook Pro in, as everything on it will be deleted (because they're replacing the entire drive with a new one). Both repair programs are valid for 3 years after the first retail sale of the unit.

An Amazon Echo might have evidence on a murder, again

A New Hampshire judge has ordered Amazon "to disclose not only the audio files but any associated data—such as what phones were paired to the smart speaker—that may be connected to the January 2017 murder of Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini". Police reckon the pair were murdered in their kitchen, where an Amazon Echo was located and that Amazon's speaker may have recorded audio of what went on, or have other metadata useful to their investigation. A similar case happened in 2017 in Arkansas, but Amazon refused to hand over any info until both the suspect and the owner of the Echo agreed. I'd be interested to know what kinda info Amazon has that could be useful here.

First successful commercial payload launch for NZ's Rocket Lab

New Zealand's Rocket Lab successfully launched their first commercial payload into orbit yesterday, from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. Onboard was two Australian Proxima cubesats from Fleet that will be part of a planned LoRaWAN gateway service backed by satellite based internet connectivity. This mission was supposed to launch back in April, but kept on being delayed by an issue with a motor controller, which has since been redesigned. There will be another Rocket Lab launch in a few weeks apparently, carrying more small satellites. Rocket Lab seem to be like a mini SpaceX, making rocket launches for mini satellites a pretty routine and mundane thing.

Cloudflare makes it easier to use their DNS on smartphones

Cloudflare has launched an iOS and Android app that makes it easy to use their privacy-focused DNS service instead of your ISP's probably shitty one. On most devices, it is pretty trivial to change DNS settings for wi-fi, but for mobile it often can't be modified. What the Cloudflare app does (on iOS at least), is create a VPN profile that simply modifies the DNS server to use. Doesn't re-route any traffic as far as I can tell. Apparently that's the only way to change DNS server settings across all network interfaces. Would be awesome to make one that uses a DNS server running Pi-Hole so ads can be blocked over 4G.

Not News, But Still Cool

Companies are starting to get their employees microchipped

Some British companies are thinking about microchipping their employees according to The Guardian. Biohax of Sweden is apparently "in discussions with several British legal and financial firms about fitting their employees with microchips, including one major company with hundreds of thousands of employees". The owner of Biohax claims that the implantable chips are a good way for companies to control access to sensitive files. The article doesn't go into much detail and trots out a union official to say something about how employers shouldn't track staff, but I assume the microchipping in question relatively benign and works like an access card/2FA device that you tap on something, but because it's implanted in you can't be lost. I guess in that sense it's not too bad, as long as it can be removed without consequence.

Excellent source of USB charger reviews so your house doesn't burn down

I bookmarked lygte-info yonks ago, but only dug it up this morning - it's a must visit if you're in the market for a new USB charger, digital multimeter, LED flashlight or some other piece of cheap Chinese electronic crap and want to make sure it's going to work and not electrocute you. My main interest is the USB charger section, as I'm always paranoid that leaving one plugged in overnight to charge a high current device is going to result in my smoke alarm going off at 3am and scaring the shit outta me. Someone (probably me), should go through the reviews, find the good ones and add Aliexpress affiliate links to them.

Cheap Vodafone TV, Corsair mech kb, Acer Predator X34P monitor, Lenovo T480 laptop, LIFX bulb, Mi Band 3, refurb Samsung S7, Tetris Effect, Adobe Creative Cloud, OnePlus 6T, iPad Pro, 400GB microSD

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Sonic Youth - Kool Thing