That law threatening to lock up tech company execs if they don't clean the internet passed both houses of Parliament yesterday. It's an amendment to the Criminal Code called "Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material" that makes it a crime if "content service providers and hosting services" don't remove "abhorrent violent conduct" (e.g: errorist acts, murders, attempted murders, torture, rape or kidnap) within a "reasonable" (apparently 1 hour) time frame. The punishment for not doing so is jail or a fine that's up to 10% of its annual global turnover. Atlassian's Scott Farquhar is pissing blood over this and the Assistance and Access Bill. Looks like you've got to buy way more tablets at the next Liberal and ALP fundraisers matey. Welcome to the real world.
Another day, another series of Facebook security fuckups. For some reason, Facebook has been verifying the email addresses of some new users by asking them to enter the password for their email (yes, you read that correctly) before activaing their Facebook account. Why in God's name anyone thought that was a good idea is beyond me. Meanwhile, an info sec company found a giant trove of data belonging to over 540 million Facebook users (profile info, location check-ins, stuff they've liked, comments they've made, etc.) sitting on two public AWS S3 buckets. Just another reason why even if you trust the company collecting the data, you can't trust who they share that data with, so the only way to be safe is not to save or generate the data in the first place.
Bloomberg has a story exposing how YouTube's executives knew all about how their platform was being used to spread hate and that their algorithm was being exploited to spread it even further - but did nothing about it because that would have got in the way of making money. Engagement was the holy grail at YouTube, with all attempts to warn executives about how the anti-vax, flat earth, Islamaphobia and all the other garbage floating around there was a result of their algorithm, totally ignored. All this shit boils down to greed. YouTube could still have made loads of money and been able to sleep at night knowing they're not actively spreading harmful crap. Instead they turned a blind eye to it all and took the cash fully aware of what's going on. Shameful.
You know how everyone told the government that the copper part of the NBN is going to be a piece of shit that won't even get 25mbit/sec speeds? NBN themselves have come out and said that 183,000 users on FTTN cannot achieve 25mbit/sec - approximately 7.6% of the FTTN install base. Under the NBN statement of expectations, all premises must be capable of peak download speeds of "at least 25Mbps" and the number of users unable to achieve those speeds has increased since last year. Combine this with the thousands of poor souls on fixed wireless who can't get a stable connection, you've got a huge chunk of Australians who can't get internet faster than 25mbit - what a waste of time the NBN has been.
Want a pair of Apple's AirPods headphones, but have fucked up ears that mean they don't fit properly? The new Beats Powerbeats Pro are kinda like a souped up version of the AirPods. They've got the same H1 wireless chip as in the new AirPods, but are of an in-ear style for better isolation, hook around your ear so they don't fall off and are sweat-resistant-ish (unlike the AirPods). Unfortuantely, they cost US$249, the case doesn't have wireless charging and it's a bit too big to go into your pocket, but still - wireless headphones that "just work" with a bit more sturdiness to em than the AirPods will be welcome by many.
Cloudflare's launched their own VPN (kinda) service called Warp. I say it's kinda like a VPN, in that what Cloudflare has done is make a super quick private tunnel between your internet connection and Cloudflare's. Because Cloudflare have a very fast network, there's a good chance the routes Cloudflare chooses to access a server are faster than the ones your ISP chooses. In theory, not only do you get the benefit of an encrypted tunnel of traffic so the network you're connected to (i.e: public wi-fi) can't see your data, you may also get a speed boost. It's free, a piece of piss to use and Cloudflare isn't dodgy (yet), so give it a crack. I don't think you can choose the country your endpoint is in though.
Do you know who Alexandra Elbakyan is? No? Well you should be fucking ashamed of yourself. She's the creator of Sci-Hub, a modern day Library of Alexandria. If you don't even know what Sci-Hub is, double that shame and add a side dish of regret, as it's 1000x more noble than any useless shit you've ever accomplished. Alexandra used the skills and knowledge she gained trying to access LiveJournal within Kazakhstan, to make Sci-Hub, which gives you free access to research and scientific papers that are normally hidden behind expensive paywalls. It's fantastic and I use it often, despite the copyright cartel trying to shut her up. If you want to know more about Sci-Hub, Alexandra has posted a fresh bio and FAQ to her blog.
That's it, see ya Monday, because tomorrow is Josh's turn to edge you closer to throwing your smartphone out of a moving train and going off-grid in the Strzelecki National Park.