Issue 834

Wednesday, 13th March 2019

In This Issue


NSW's iVote software has a flaw in it that allows someone to alter votes

Researchers have found a flaw in Switzerland's sVote system used to run referendums and elections online that could allow someone to alter votes. That sucks and is not good, but more relevant to readers of The Sizzle, NSW's iVote (used by those who can't get to a voting centre on election day) uses the same core system as Switzerland's - a Spanish software package called Scytl. To make matters worse, there's an election in NSW right now and the iVote system is being used. The NSW Electoral Commission confirmed that the flaw found in sVote is present in iVote and that a fix will be deployed "this week", but they also said that the area of the system where the flaw is present runs offline, so anyone wanting to fudge some votes "would need all the right credentials and the right code to alter the software", so it's unlikely there's been a hack.

Elon responds to the SEC's fresh complaint about his tweets

Elon Musk's lawyers finally submitted his response to the SEC's complaint over recent tweets about how many cars Tesla will produce in 2019 that the SEC reckon break the deal they agreed to last September. There's some hyperbole about how the SEC is being unconstitutional, but the central point of Elon's defense is that what he said on Twitter is just re-iterating what was in an earlier Tesla stock market filing, so it's no big deal. This might be true, but Elon and the SEC agreed that Elon would be pre-approval from Tesla for any tweet that could potentially impact Tesla's stock and the fact Elon just tweeted that out on a whim proves that Elon isn't getting his tweets checked by Tesla and is breaking the agreement he had with the SEC. God speed SEC!

News Corp (aka the Daily Tele, Herald Sun, want the Google broken up

News Corp is bleating in a submission into the ACCC's digital platforms inquiry that Google's search business be split from the rest of Alphabet, plus many other requests, so as to create a more level playing field for Australian media businesses. The entire submission is 21 pages of whining, but its core complaint is that "Google continues to find new ways to keep consumers within its own ecosystem, generating data that further strengthens its ability to dominate the supply of targeted advertising. For publishers, the result is eroding margins from an inability to monetise content through publishers' own advertising and reduced ability to convert readers to subscriptions". I would have thought that creating content that's worthless to people is the main reason News Corp can't turn a buck, not the fact Google controls the online ad market.

Sydney dude busted selling stolen accounts for online services

A 21-year-old entrepreneur from Dee Why in Sydney had his home raided by the AFP yesterday after a "joint international cybercrime investigation with the FBI into an account generator website called", that "sold stolen account details for online subscription services, including Netflix, Spotify and Hulu". This thriving Australian startup made over $300,000 in the two years it was operational and had over 120,000 customers. Old mate will appear in Sydney Central Local Court today charged with of offences relating to the alleged use of false identifies and cybercrime. What a massive blow to the Australian tech industry.

Miscellaneous news

A large glut of minor news has firmly lodged itself in my bookmarks and is causing me discomfort. Time to drink a glass of e-Metamucil and push some out:

Not News, But Still Cool

30 years since Sir Tim published his world wide web manifesto

Can you believe it's been 30 years today since Tim Berners-Lee published "Information Management: A Proposal", which then lead to the creation of the world wide web in December 1990? CERN held an event in Geneva to reflect on this milestone, with a 1 hr panel featuring Sir Tim Berners-Lee chatting about the monster he naively created, Zeynep Tufekci discussing how making information so easy to access hasn't been as awesome as we hoped it would, plus other people I've never heard of (but probably should) give their two cents on this world wide web thingo. It's a shame the web has ended up more or less a cesspool 30 years later, it was heaps more fun 20 or 15 years ago.

Firefox Send looks like a nice way to share files around the joint

Mozilla launched Firefox Send today. They call it "a free encrypted file transfer service that allows users to safely and simply share files from any browser". Send uses "end-to-end encryption to keep your data secure from the moment you share to the moment your file is opened. It also offers security controls that you can set. You can choose when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add an optional password for an extra layer of security". You can send files up to 1GB totally anonymously, or 2.5GB if you sign in with your Firefox account. This kinda thing is nothing new, but it's nice to have a relatively secure service from a reputable outfit that costs nothing to use.

Cheap Foxtel, Samsung 34" monitor, refurbished Fetch TV PVR, Sony speaker with Google Assistant

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Chasing Waterfalls - Faux Pas