In This Issue


Former head of DTO & opposer of awful government digital policy Paul Shelter passed away

Paul Shelter, former head of the federal government's Digital Transformation Office, died of a heart attack at age 59 last week. If that name sounds familiar, it's because despite being a suit and tie wearing dude that hanged around smelly politicians, he was one of the few public servants that stuck his head out to tell them their IT projects were crap and bad ideas. He lost his job over it but continued to be a voice of reason in the media. Asher Wolf and Justin Warren have written short pieces remembering Paul and explaining why despite coming from very separate worlds, Paul was sympathetic to the cause of making technology work for the people - not the other way around.

Coronavirus scare mongering and lies to be removed from Facebook

Facebook has decided it will take down any posts spreading disinformation about the coronavirus outbreak. This is great, but also confusing as Facebook refuses to take down anti-vaxx content and basically any other content that isn't a straight up hate crime. Facebook justifies removing false coronavirus posts as such content would fall under misinformation leading to physical harm - but so much of the bullshit that spreads across Facebook leads to physical harm. It's almost as if Facebook is making shit up as it goes along. The ABC has a good article showing how stupid the stuff being spread that people fall for about this coronavirus is. Department of Diseasology Parramatta anyone?

Governments around the world join forces to figure out how to tax multi-national tech giants

The OECD has agreed to come up with a "unified" approach at taxing multi-national companies that make money in one jurisdiction (i.e: Australia) but pay tax in another (i.e: Singapore). Traditionally companies pay tax where their headquarters is, but tech companies in particular have been able to spread around the world with minimal physical presence. This lost taxation revenue has pissed governments around the world off for long enough and they're finally doing something about it. The proposal looks complex and I don't really want to read through this boring shit to find out what it is.

Not News

This guy tricked Google Maps into thinking there was a traffic jam by hauling 99 phones in a trolley

German artist Simon Weckert's latest piece of work is "Google Maps Hacks". He placed 99 smartphones in a little trolley, fired up Google Maps on each one and went for a little walk down the street pulling them along. This tricked Google into thinking the street is heavily congested and telling legitimate cars to bypass the area. I'm surprised Google's algorithm wasn't smart enough to realise the phones are so close together (they're literally in a pile) and that they aren't cars. Would be fun to try this out for myself. 2nd hand Android phones are cheap as.


🎶 Heavy Business - Magic Dirt

😁 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.​