In This Issue


DSpark sucks up all our data and sells it to Australian governments for policy making

A relatively unknown company called DSpark has been sucking up data from other companies and packaging it up for government use. DSpark's "country head", Paul Rybicki, told the SA government that "we take mobile phone data, we take GPS data from various apps, we look at the roads network, we have some data in on immigration so that we can also look at how people who are from abroad traveling in Australia are moving throughout the country, [and] we ingest public transport information". They are apparently "very close" with Optus, who they say are a big source of their data. The government then uses the reports DSpark provides to make decisions like "how to allocate recovery funds and how to prioritise that based on actual volume of impact and percentage of impact", in the case of this summer's bushfires. It’s naive to assume this wasn’t happening, so I guess it’s nice to put a face to who is doing it?

Internet banking transfer comments are being used to harass people now

The Commonwealth Bank has uncovered over 8,000 customers that have been harassed via internet banking transfers. How do you get harassed via internet banking transfers? "multiple low-value deposits, often less than $1, with potentially abusive messages in the transaction descriptions – in effect using them as a messaging service". The article is unclear if this is genuine abuse or mates sending cheeky messages to each other. Who hasn't repaid their mate for beers with a vulgar note in the comments field? I have no doubt though, that there are total ratbags that would happily spend money sending insults their victims can't block. How petty do you have to be to go through the effort of doing this kinda thing?!

Indian app that’ll remove Chinese apps from your smartphone removed from American-run app store

An Indian app called Remove China Apps appeared on the Google Play Store and skyrocketed to the the number one spot on the free download charts. The app does what it says it would - find apps on your phone made by Chinese developers and asks you to delete them. Google swiftly removed the app however, claiming it violates their Deceptive Behavior Policy where apps can't "cannot make changes to a user's device settings, or features outside of the app, without the user’s knowledge and consent, and it cannot encourage or incentivize users into removing or disabling third-party apps". Fascinating to see an app that arguably, was doing nothing wrong as it required user permission to delete the "Chinese" apps, be handled so quickly by Google when other apps that are blatant malware linger around for weeks until Google gets around to removing it. A more cynical person than me could argue that the negative connotations with China helped speed things up.

Not News

Dyson officially ends trying to make an electric car, but still shows us what they achieved

Remember how Dyson said they're going to make an electric car that's gonna have a massive battery and be super cool? Today they formally announced the project is dead with a fancy website showing off what they managed to achieve. It looks like Dyson got to the point where it was production ready, but the costs of actually putting it into production scared them off and no other OEMs wanted to take it on. Looks like a cool car, shame they couldn't make it happen. Autocar has an interview with Mr. Dyson who elaborates more on what went wrong.


🎶 Institutionalized - Suicidal Tendencies

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

📡 Aussie Broadband is the best ISP I've used since Internode's glory days. Their CEO gives talks at AUSNOG about their network and they even have network utilisation charts for every NBN POI. Their pricing isn't the cheapest, but if you want an ISP that's fast & reliable, give them a shot. Use my affiliate link or my referral code (1001031) and we both get $50 credit on our next bill.

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.​