Issue 813

Monday, 11th February 2019

In This Issue


Government gives Office of eSafety $10m for children's online safety education grants

The Prime Minister has announced that the federal government has given the Office of the eSafety Commissioner a $10 million pot of cash to hand out to "non-government organisations (NGOs) to deliver online safety education and training projects targeted at children". Dunno much more about the scheme than that, but there you go - time to make some saccharine web app about cyber bulling kids can click through on their Chromebooks at school and skim some of that sweet $10m. Meanwhile, the ALP are hyping up an "eSmart Digital Licence" program they will implement if they're elected, that Tanya Plibersek said "is the pen licence for the digital world". I never got a pen licence and I turned out just fine!

The NBN is too expensive for low income households, ACCAN wants a $20 concession

If you've got spare cash to drop on a stupid email newsletter like this, the cost of the NBN probably isn't much of an issue. You pay it and get on with life. But as more people are forced off their current ADSL plans onto NBN plans, those on low incomes already struggling to make ends meet are finding that the NBN is making getting online more of a challenge. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has launched the No Australian Left Offline initiative, which is pressuring the government to provide a $20/m broadband concession to low-income households. This will make a 50mbit NBN connection cost around $30/m, which will bring the percentage of disposable income a low income household spends on internet access (10%) closer to what the average household spends (3.5%).

Apple submits new plans for Melbourne Federation Square store

Apple's plans to open a store in Melbourne's Federation Square have gone up a notch, with the world's most valuable company submitting revised plans to Heritage Victoria. The new plans feature a pretty different design than the golden Pizza Hut Pagoda, with Apple instead opting for a rectangular box with massive moving glass walls and metal shields. A big balcony overlooking the Yarra River remains though, making it a great place to hold a workshop. Some people are still cranky with Apple being there at all, launching a mock crowdfunding campaign to raise $40m and buy Yarra Building off the government, saving it from demolition. Unless Heritage Victoria decide that the entirety of Federation Square is protected and can't be messed with (which I kinda hope they do), there's gonna be an Apple Store.

Brexit might result in arcane EU roaming rules & fees for Brits

Here's some Brexit related tech news: Because the UK is part of the EU, the UK telcos have to abide by regulations that force em to offer surcharge free roaming. Leave the EU and that regulation goes away, meaning UK telcos will no longer be forced to offer surcharge free roaming across Europe and the EU telcos might impose higher costs on the UK telcos that'll flow on to customers. Also due to Brexit, a heap of fintech businesses that are currently based in the UK have decided to get licences to operate in Lithuania, which is part of the EU, so they can offer EU customers products and services. Lithuania is struggling to keep up with all the applications, as the UK fintechs have left it really late to apply because they thought there'd be some sort of EU-UK deal that includes access to the EU market - but that looks unlikely.

Kenya introduces the most invasive national ID system outside of China

Kenya has jumped straight into the dystopian deep end, passing a law that'll mean its "National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) now requires all Kenyans, immigrants, and refugees to turn over their DNA, GPS coordinates of their residential address, retina scans, iris pattern, voice waves, and earlobe geometry before being issued critical identification documents. NIIMS will consolidate information contained in other government agency databases and generate a unique identification number known as Huduma Namba". That's a pretty hardcore database of personal info! The Kenyan government reckons it'll help improve the delivery of government services, but the tin-foil hat brigade (hello, I love you) point out the clear security concerns (what a nice honeypot), surveillance concerns (big brother is watching like he never has before) and even ethnic discrimination thanks to mandatory DNA collection. Nobody tell Peter Dutton aye, he'd love a slice of this.

Not News, But Still Cool

Crims are using brute force techniques & other scams to get around iCloud locked iPhones

An iPhone can be locked down pretty tightly these days - biometrics, passcodes and remote locking features make it hard for thieves to put the device back to its factory settings and resell it. According to Motherboard, to get around those controls, muggers are apparently forcing their victims to unlock the phone and remove it from iCloud at knife/gunpoint, then stealing it. I don't think I could enter my iCloud password properly under that kinda stress! Apparently there's also other ways to get around the remote lock, like faking receipts and going to the Apple Store, begging for the device to be removed from iCloud or social engineering/hacking access to GSX - Apple's service and support portal for techs. Failing that, there's a large black market for stolen iPhone parts to go into legit iPhones!

NASA found a bunch of never before seen, super high quality video footage of the Apollo missions

You'd think by now that every aspect of the Apollo space program would be unearthed and covered to death - but fresh out of the NASA vaults are 165 reels of 70mm film covering Apollo 8 to Apollo 13! 61 of those 165 are to do with Apollo 11 (the one that went to the moon for the first time). Apparently MGM was going to make a movie using footage from real NASA missions, but backed out towards the end, but NASA asked the director to keep on shooting, for Apollo 11 at least. The result is absolutely magnificent quality, never before seen footage of this historic moment. It's been edited and is available to watch in a documentary simply called Apollo 11 (that'll make it a pain to search for), but I don't know when it's going to be released. National Geographic also has an Apollo 11 related documentary coming this year (2019 is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing) which also has more "never-before-heard" content.

Cheap Xiaomi schooter, Nokia 6.1, Samsung USB-C flash drives, Aus hosted VPS, Aldi smarthome stuff, Apple TV, Kogan 34" monitor & free Bitcoin

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Last Resort - Papa Roach