Issue 1256 - Tuesday 24th November, 2020

In Today's Issue

The News

Victoria Police blame IT error for listening to lawyer convos & spy agency accidentally collected COVIDSafe app data

Victoria Police have revealed that "due to an inadvertent IT error", private lawyer and client conversations were recorded during wiretaps and the contents of the calls presented to investigators. Oops. At a federal level, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security found that in the course of "lawful collection of other data" one of Australia's intelligence agencies collected the data COVIDSafe generated while executing a warrant, alongside the usual crap they spy on. Pardon me, my bad! In both cases there is no evidence to suggest the information "accidentally" gained was used. Surrreeeee mate.

The Solomon Islands to ban Facebook, saying cyberbullying of politicians is out of control

The Solomon Islands has decided to ban Facebook, with their Prime Minister explaining that "cyberbullying on Facebook is widespread, people have been defamed by users who use fake names, and people's reputations that have been built up over the years [are destroyed] in a matter of minutes" as the reason for the ban. That is bullshit of course. The real reason being that the Solomon Island government is hopelessly corrupt, just got busted inappropriately spending COVID-19 economic recovery funds and is tired of people exposing their bullshit via the only means they have - going public on Facebook.

China launches mission to collect rocks from the moon and further practice for a crewed moon mission

China's Chang'e 5 mission launched this morning, with the aim of collecting 2-4kg of lunar samples from the Moon and bringing them back to Earth. If successful, China will be the third country to do so and the first time humans have stolen rocks from the Moon in almost 50 years. It's a pretty wild setup, with a lander that goes around collecting samples, an ascent vehicle that the lander uses to go back into space and an orbiter that waits for the samples and then heads back to Earth. Wikipedia has a diagram explaining the steps involved. If it all goes well there will be a few extra kegs of moon rock for us to poke at around December 16-17.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Troy Hunt's adventures in smart home devices lead him to Home Assistant (but IoT devices still suck)

Troy Hunt has a big old lovefest for Home Assistant, which started out due to his frustration that hardly any "smart" home devices like lights or switches don't come with support for Apple's HomeKit. For those unfamiliar with Home Assistant, it's a smart home hub platform you can run on your own server (Raspberry Pi, Docker, whatever) and plays nicely with the dozens of smart device ecosystems and devices out there. It's deep in nerd territory, editing YAML files and what seems like constant troubleshooting for the simplest of things, but if you want to get a sweet smart home setup going you'll want to look into Home Assistant and Troy's post is a nice introduction about what life is like with it.


The End

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