Items tagged with Australia

Go home, Australian government, you're drunk. That's the general sentiment among technology firms and privacy advocates around the world, in response to a controversial encryption bill Australia's parliament passed this week. The new legislation forces companies to crack their own encryption when and if it's requested by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. That in and of itself is controversial—Apple, for example, refused the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's demands to build a backdoor into iOS so that it could crack an iPhone that was confiscated from a crime scene. The issue was headed to court, until the FBI found another way to unlock the iPhone, and subsequently dropped... Read more...
Apple has a history of butting heads with government officials over the topic of encryption, and specifically whether the Cupertino outfit should be forced to install a backdoor into its iOS devices primarily for law enforcement to use. It's not just the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Apple disagrees with, though. Apple is taking the Australian government to task over a "dangerously ambiguous" bill that deals with encryption. Australia's draft Access and Assistance Bill grants authority to certain agencies "to secure critical assistance from the communications industry and enable law enforcement to effectively investigate serious crimes in the digital era." The bill seeks to establish... Read more...
For Australians, access to truly high-speed broadband isn't exactly easy to find. We Americans might complain about broadband monopolies and slow internet speeds (especially in rural areas), but the United States still ranks 11th in the world with average download speeds of 74.68 Mbps. Australia, on the other hand, ranks in 55th place at 25.18 Mbps according to Speedtest. So, you would think that Australia would be doing everything in its power to expand its national telecommunications infrastructure. Well, the country is definitely trying, but mother nature is threatening to thwart its plans. In fact, one particular type of bird is chewing through cables, causing tens of thousands of dollars... Read more...
There is an ongoing hostage situation, at the time of this article’s publication, in the central business district (CBD) of Sydney, Australia. According to various reports, up to 40 people have been taken hostage. But while everyone is concerned for those involved, Uber seemed to think it was a good idea to increase the rates for its ride-sharing service – a decision that it shortly backtracked on. A tweet from the @Uber_Sydney account stated, “We are all concerned with events in CBD. Fares have increased to encourage more drivers to come online & pick up passengers in the area.” No sooner was the tweet sent before the public started to express outrage on social networks with some... Read more...
A recent death that may have been caused by a faulty USB charger has prompted Australia's Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, to issue a warning to consumers about the potentially fatal risk of using non-compliant or otherwise unapproved USB style charges. These are typically cheap knock-offs that can find at discounted sites and on eBay. They can also be found in local stores. Stowe said that Fair Trading investigators recently removed a bunch of unapproved and non-compliant USB chargers, travel adapters, and power boards at a mobile phone accessory shop at a Campsie area. The person running the shop faces possible prosecution. In such cases, maximum penalties for an individual are $87,500... Read more...
We reported that the secret and top secret agencies of several countries including Australia, the UK, and the U.S. had banned China-based Lenovo computers for fears of spying. Allegedly, the Lenovo machines could have backdoor access built into the hardware which would therefore allow Chinese hackers to access those agencies’ networks. Predictably, Lenovo bristled at this allegation and informed us that Australia’s Department of Defence had posted a notice on its site stating that the report was incorrect: Reports published on 27 and 29 July 2013 in the Australian Financial Review allege a Department of Defence ban on the use of Lenovo computer equipment on the Defence Secret and... Read more...
If you live in the United States, chances are that you don't think much about the prices other people pay for US products. Everyone is generally aware of the exchange rate, so it's logical to assume that a game, PC, or other product costs the same here as it does in England or Australia, save for shipping costs and taxes. It might surprise you, therefore, to learn that companies like Microsoft and Adobe make huge profits off foreign customers by drastically inflating prices well beyond their US equivalents. Sixty years ago, there was some logic as to why a product made in America would cost more in Australia than here, and the Australian dollar, historically, was much weaker than the United States'... Read more...
You know Steve Wozniak as the oft-outspoken American programmer who co-founded Apple and invented the Apple I and and Apple II systems, but if he gets his way, you'll soon know him as a bona fide Australian citizen. One of the reasons why Woz finds taking up permanent residence in Australia so appealing is because the country's rolling out a national broadband network. "I support it very much. It's one of the reasons why I actually like this country and want to become a citizen. I live in a country where we don't have any regulation of telecommunications," Wozniak told The Australian Financial Review in an interview. According to Wozniak, he'll be able to retain his American citizenship, though... Read more...
Britain wants Internet for all, South Korea wants 1Gbps Internet by 2012, and Australia wants to make both of those initiatives look like child's play. According to a new report from Down Under, the Australian government is planning to create a "publicly owned company to build a national high-speed broadband network worth 43 billion Australian dollars in one of the largest state-sponsored Internet infrastructure upgrades in the world."Prime Minister Kevin Rudd didn't shy away from announcing the remarkable $31 billion price tag, nor did he suggest that it would be completed sooner than eight years from now. Still, the sound of "37,000 new jobs" sure is sweet in today's environment, and we're... Read more...
By now you are probably aware of wildfires that have ravaged the southern state of Victoria in Australia. 108 people are dead at the time of this writing, over 700 homes destroyed, with 850 square miles (2,200 square kilometers) burned.Google engineers have pulled together a Flash map that shows the extent of the tragic wildfires happening.The map is updated in real-time from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website via an RSS feed. The number in each marker shows the number of fires at the location. A green marker means the area is called "safe" by the CFA. Yellow means "controlled". Orange means "contained". Red means "ongoing".  Unfortunately, it won't embed succesfully in our site, so... Read more...
Perhaps those of us who live the United States take our freedoms for granted. We can complain all we want about inappropriate content in Grand Theft Auto IV, but we'll stand behind the right of Rockstar Games to sell it. We might not want our children surfing for porn, but we have no intention to tell other folks that they can't view it just because we might find the content objectionable. We're obviously generalizing here; there are plenty of U.S. citizens out there who would love to ban all objectionable content, but they do not represent the majority.In the U.S., we have a self-regulating organization that assigns and enforces content ratings: the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).... Read more...
Australian Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy today announced a requirement for ISPs to provide a "clean feed" for all homes, schools and any public PCs accessible by children. This follows up on a pre-election Nov. 19th Labor Party press release which first announced a proposed Cyber-safety plan.Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy says new measures are being put in place to provide greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites. Senator Conroy says it will be mandatory for all internet service providers to provide clean feeds, or ISP filtering, to houses and schools that are free of pornography and inappropriate material. Online civil libertarians... Read more...
Everybody wants a raise. But substantial wage growth depends not only on the value of the work you're doing, but also on a local shortage of people that can perform that work. It appears there's lots of IT work in Australia, and not enough people to do it, as IT salaries have gone up almost 12% in the last year alone."The survey taken over the past 12 months by one of Australia's largest IT recruiters, Greythorn Group, shows that Australian salaries in positions such as .Net development, business analyst, database administration and project management are matching and in some cases surpassing those in highly paid centers such as the US, UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. The report found that demand... Read more...