Conservative commentator Andrew Bolt has opened fire on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over his handling of the National Broadband Network, stating Turnbull has “fumbled” the catch on the NBN and let the project blow out to twice the cost and four years behind the delivery that Turnbull promised.
The NBN company is secretly overbuilding portions of the Fibre to the Premises network which the nation’s biggest telco Telstra built in the several years up to 2013, in a move that calls into question whether the Telstra FTTP infrastructure will ever become part of the National Broadband Network.
One of the Coalition’s most vocal critics of the National Broadband Network, former Treasurer Joe Hockey, has used his final speech to Federal Parliament to praise the previous Labor Government for initiating the project, which he described as “a very significant commitment”.
The Attorney-General’s Department this week claimed it had received "positive" feedback from Australia's telco sector regarding its engagement on the Data Retention policy, despite also acknowledging that it has not yet worked through most of the plans which telcos and Internet service providers have sent it detailing how they will implement the policy.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended the NBN company’s purchase of 1800km of brand new copper from repeated attacks by the Opposition in Question Time, telling the Parliament yesterday that the copper cable was “simply part of the architecture” of the NBN company’s new Multi-Technology Mix approach.
If you’re wondering how the NBN company decides which locations around Australia it will roll out the National Broadband Network infrastructure to and why, wonder no more. This issue of The Inside Track will examine the company’s selection criteria.
This article is by Marc C-Scott, Lecturer in Screen Media, Victoria University. It originally appeared on The Conversation. analysis There has been a decline in...
Those with a close interest in electronic surveillance may recall that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was given new powers last year that would allow the agency to hack into computers remotely for investigation purposes -- and even break into the computers of completely innocent Australians on the way. Well, now they're not the only ones.
Some of you may recall that then-Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull was fond of using the word "heroic" with reference to the NBN company's rollout targets and revenue assumptions under the previous Labor Government, indicating that he did not believe they were realistic. With this in mind, we were surprised this week to read in the pages of the Financial Review that the NBN company's chair Ziggy Switkowski has chosen the same word to apply to the NBN's rollout plans for the next five years.
Analysis of the National Broadband Network’s three year plan released last week appears to show that the NBN company is not following a politically motivated pattern with respect to its rollout, with Labor and the Coalition largely receiving equal treatment from the company ahead of the upcoming Federal Election.
Technology blog Gizmodo yesterday published an article regarding the Federal Government’s controversial Data Retention policy which contains factually inaccurate information and draws some false conclusions that could lead those taking the article’s advice to have their data being captured by this and other electronic surveillance schemes.
The deadline for the Government’s Data Retention policy to go live has come and gone, and yet large Australian telcos such as Telstra have openly stated they are not yet complying with the policy. What’s holding things up? We’ll provide a view from the inside in this edition of The Inside Track.
By all accounts the innovation policy hackathon held by new Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy in Sydney over the weekend went quite well.
According to the Brisbane Times, Uber is fighting back against regulation by ... blocking the Queensland Government's inspectors from booking its services and thus being able to fine its drivers.
It hardly comes as a surprise that the head of M2 Group, Geoff Horth, is calling for a bit of bipartisanship on the NBN from here on in.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has described the previous Labor Government’s near-universal Fibre to the Premises approach to the National Broadband Network as a “fantasy model” and “unachievable”, despite the fact that almost all of the progress on the NBN thus far has been based on that model.
The NBN company’s new three-year rollout plan has revealed the company plans to overbuild TransACT’s long-established Fibre to the Node and HFC cable networks in Canberra, Mildura and Geelong with more Fibre to the Node cables, in a decision which appears to make no technical or commercial sense.
The NBN company appears to have slightly reworked a blog post it published yesterday defending the state of the copper network it is buying from Telstra, in effect removing its claim that it had not had to replace any copper to ensure the Coalition’s Fibre to the Node technology functioned correctly.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has rejected a claim by the Opposition that Malcolm Turnbull asked the NBN company to generate “distorted” information to help the Coalition attack Labor’s previous Fibre to the Premises approach to the NBN.
The Federal Government’s Digital Transformation Office has announced its work program over the initial period of its operation, listing a number of thorny problems that have been plaguing Australians for some time in terms of their interaction with the Federal Government.
Attorney-General George Brandis has confirmed the Federal Government still plans to introduce mandatory data breach laws before the end of 2015, in a move that is aimed at making the Government’s controversial Data Retention scheme more transparent.
The Financial Review newspaper has launched an extraordinary attack on Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based National Broadband Network policy, describing it as an “expensive joke” and a “Kevin Rudd vanity project”, claiming that Labor has “no credibility” when it comes to broadband.
The NBN company has categorically rejected comments by Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare that it is replacing “kilometers” of dilapidated copper cable with brand new copper to ensure the Fibre to the Node technology work, stating that it has not had to replace “substantial” copper yet.
We knew that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was a technophile, but I suspect many of us didn't quite appreciate how focused on technology the Member for Wentworth truly is.
If you believe what you read, the Australian Labor Party plans to ditch Malcolm Turnbull's Fibre to the Node technology and shift the NBN back to a full Fibre to the Premises model if it wins the next Federal Election. However, the truth is a great deal more complicated than the headlines would suggest.
Today's release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn't survive to the end of the negotiations.
The NBN company is deploying many “kilometres” of brand new copper in some areas to ensure that the Coalition’s Fibre to the Node model functions correctly, the Opposition said today, with Telstra’s copper network in such bad condition that up to “90 percent” of the copper needed to be repaired or replaced in some areas.
One of the most high-profile executives appointed shortly after Malcolm Turnbull became Communications Minister has signalled he plans to depart the NBN company in search of greater challenges.
A portfolio reshuffle announced by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten this afternoon has brought both good and bad news for Australia’s technology community, with tech-focused MP Ed Husic taking on additional responsibilities for digital innovation and startups, but Michelle Rowland losing her Assistant Minister role in the Communications portfolio.
news Two of Australia’s most high-profile chief information officers in the health field have been appointed to sit on a new committee overseeing the...
Stephen Conroy needs to stop dithering about with wishy washy attempts to extract basic information from the closed shop that the NBN company has become under the Coalition and actually use the full powers of the Senate to hold the Government to account over the tragic mess it has made of the project.
Given that the Government's Data Retention legislation passed the Parliament some seven months ago, you would expect that Attorney-General George Brandis and his merry band at the Attorney-General's Department would have at least gotten all their ducks in a row at the nation's biggest Telstra. I mean, it would be an embarassment of epic proportions if even Telstra -- a multi-billion-dollar telco giant with about a million IT professionals on hand to help it with the implementation -- couldn't get this thing done. Right? Right?
A letter tabled in the Senate by the Government yesterday has revealed that as Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull explicitly asked the NBN company to create information that could help the Coalition make the case that Labor’s Fibre to the Premises model was not worth pursuing.
The catastrophic failure of the Attorney-General’s Department to successfully implement the ludicrous Data Retention scheme its incompetent bureaucrats dreamed up at the behest of Australia’s intelligence and law enforcement cabal comes as absolutely no surprise. In fact, many people have been predicting it since the start of this doomed project.
The Federal Government has comprehensively bungled the implementation of its controversial Data Retention policy, with data released by the Communications Alliance today showing the Attorney-General’s Department has proven comprehensively unable to successfully administer the scheme.
The NBN company has revealed it will conduct a pilot trial of HFC cable technology on the National Broadband Network starting in November this year and lasting until March 2016, in a move which appears set to finally provide some hard data around the performance of the HFC networks the company is buying from Telstra and Optus.
The national competition regulator has taken a dim view of the proposed ‘ihail’ taxi booking app, issuing a draft determination today that would see the centralised booking system for taxis Australia-wide blocked on competition grounds.
The Australian Labor Party has lampooned the NBN company for its willingness to deploy brand new copper cables in some areas to ensure the Government’s Fibre to the Node model will succeed, welcoming the company back to the “1940’s”, when copper cables were regarded as state of the art technology.
Malcolm Turnbull has advised the public not to assume that Government email services are more secure than private systems, in the wake of news that the new Prime Minister will continue to use non-Government email and instant messaging platforms for communication.
US-headquartered copyright enforcement company Rightscorp this week revealed it had received an Australian patent for its technique for identifying copyright infringement online, in a move that appears to signal the organisation’s plans to target Internet pirates down under.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has acknowledged he is using a private email platform hosted by a non-government provider for official business relating to his ministerial roles, in a revelation which has already reminded commentators of the hot water which US presidential candidate Hilary Clinton found herself in for the same behaviour.
Remember how Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy publicly discussed the possibility of holding an innovation policy ‘hackathon’ to generate new policy ideas to help develop Australia’s economy into an innovation powerhouse? Well it’s already organised, and it’ll be Saturday week in Sydney, with tech accelerator BlueChilli doing much of the organising.
Australian email provider FastMail has claimed it will not be subject to the Data Retention law which is shortly scheduled to come into force in Australia, due to the fact that it is not a telecommunications carrier and does not operate hosting infrastructure in Australia.
This article is by Leith Campbell, Honorary Fellow, Melbourne School of Engineering and Sascha Suessspeck, Economist and Ph.D. Electronic and Electrical Engineering student, both...
The required date for Australia’s Internet service providers to address the Internet piracy issue has long ago come and gone. Now our new Communications Minister appears determined to let the issue lie. Has the Government decided to abandon its efforts to curb Internet piracy?
If you've ever started your own business (hint: it isn't easy, but it's worth it), you're probably familiar with the fact that you suddenly have to pay a great deal more tax than you previously had to. Australian companies are taxed on their profits, they usually have to collect GST, and that's just the start. Well, now a backbench Coalition MP who has previously been involved with the national technology sector has put forth a proposal which appears to be gaining strength in Government ranks: Remove the annoying capital gains tax when applied to investors in early stage startups.
This article is by Charis Palmer, Deputy Business Editor at The Conversation. It originally appeared on The Conversation. After eight years and 19 rounds of...
The NBN company has recently been putting out conflicting messages about what it will do when faced with sections of Telstra’s copper network which are too degraded to use for Fibre to the Node. But when you did a bit deeper, the truth is that the company appears to have a preference towards remediation or even replacement of the copper rather than upgrading it with fibre.
Australia will languish at the bottom of international broadband ranking ladders for “many years to come”, veteran telecommunications analyst Paul Budde has said, due to delays in the rollout of the National Broadband Network and the Coalition’s decision to switch to the controversial Multi-Technology Mix approach to the project.
The Australian Labor Party has issued a fiery statement noting that it was responsible for commissioning the National Broadband Network satellite that successfully launched from French Guiana this morning, reminding the electorate that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull “fought tooth and nail” against the idea of the NBN company launching its own satellite infrastructure.
From this day on, whenever Australian engineers are facing a tough task, they should look up into the skies and remind themselves of the power of the Australian mind. If Australian ingenuity can put such a hunk of incredibly complex communications infrastructure into orbit to serve our broadband needs, purely on the strength of some clear thinking and a lot of hard work, then we truly can do anything. And we will.
news The ACT Government this morning announced it would legalise and regulate ride-sharing services such as UberX, in the wake of a wide-ranging review...
All glory to the Fibre to the Node cabinet.
Australia’s peak body representing Internet users has warned that “some, perhaps many” of Australia’s smaller Internet service providers could be forced out of business in the near term as a result of the lack of clarity over the Federal Government’s plans to reimburse ISPs for part of the cost of implementing its controversial data retention policy.
As you may remember, when Malcolm Turnbull seized the Prime Ministership from Tony Abbott two weeks ago, I took the chance to publish an examination of the Member for Wentworth’s history leading the Communications Portfolio over the past five years for the Coalition. What you may not have known is that it was also mentioned on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Michael Ascharsobi arrived by boat in Australia as an asylum seeker. Now he works for Google and teaches at the University of Technology, Sydney. Not a bad effort -- not bad indeed.
Australia has taken another step in the wrong direction down the global rankings of countries with the best broadband, with the latest report by technology giant Akamai showing average broadband speeds in Australia actually decreasing and the nation slipping behind neighbours such as New Zealand and even Thailand.
New Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Christopher Pyne appears to have mildly misled the public on the Government’s approach to funding innovation, pushing the Coalition’s credentials in the space without mentioning the significant amount of programs and funding Tony Abbott’s administration has cut over the past several years.
Labor has fired the first shot at Malcolm Turnbull in what looks set to become a war beterrn the major parties on who can develop the best innovation policy, announcing it will extend the HELP system to allow university students to take 12 months after their degree to launch their own startup.
We've seen some pretty wild demands made in the Federal Parliament, but this one probably takes the cake ... at least for this week. Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan has accused the Australian Greens of being hypocrites for simultaneously having concerns about Australia's mining sector while also using smartphones which use minerals in their manufacture.
Australia’s new Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy has only been in the job for two days, but he’s already strongly demonstrated that he understands the needs of Australia’s technology startup sector. Are we about to enter a new era of tech-savvy politicians in Canberra?
If you follow Australia's technology startup scene at all, you are probably aware of the 'Startup Weekend' or 'hackathon' events that are regularly held across the country. It's a lot of fun and a great way to get involved in the tech startup community. So much fun, apparently, that the newly minted Assistant Minister for Innovation, Wyatt Roy, wants to bring the concept to the public policy debate over innovation.
Senator Mitch Fifield appears to have opened the door for the NBN company to change its percentage mix of broadband technologies, in his first interview since being sworn in as Malcolm Turnbull’s replacement Communications Minister on Monday this week.
Malcolm Turnbull didn’t “fix” the National Broadband Network … but he did do an extraordinarily successful job at turning what was formerly a visionary nation-building project into an incredibility politicised, tragic mess.
The Opposition has accused Malcolm Turnbull of being a “failure” as a Communications Minister, highlighting yesterday’s launch of Fibre to the Node technology in New South Wales as a prime example of how the “self-appointed Digital Prime Minister” is taking Australia back to “pre-war technology”.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ripped responsibility for copyright (including Internet piracy), classification and censorship matters out of the portfolio of Attorney-General George Brandis and allocated them to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, in what appears to be a damning indictment of Brandis’ handling of the issues.
Seven days ago Malcolm Turnbull formally resigned as Communications Minister to take the top role from Tony Abbott. But yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle reveals that upgrade to be an illusion: Our new PM will, in fact, retain direct control of his former portfolio through several able lieutenants who will do exactly as he bids.
Spare a thought for Senator Mitch Fifield. Just as the new Communications Minister was being sworn in at Government House in Canberra this morning, his web developer was apparently knocking his website offline for maintenance.
The NBN company today took a major step towards its goal of implementing the Multi-Technology Mix approach which Malcolm Turnbull has brought to the project, formally launching its Fibre to the Node product as an option to retail broadband providers some two years after the 2013 Federal Election.
Malcolm Turnbull’s outgoing Parliamentary Secretary Paul Fletcher has publicly praised what he described as the new Prime Minister’s “fact-based” approach to revamping Labor’s National Broadband Network project over the past two years.
Malcolm Turnbull has appointed veteran Senator Mitch Fifield to be Australia’s new Communications Minister as part of his new Cabinet, with the new Prime Minister’s former Parliamentary Secretary Paul Fletcher leaving the portfolio and current Attorney-General George Brandis to retain his role.
Prime Minister or not, there is simply no way that Malcolm Turnbull is going to reverse five years of bitter campaigning and return the National Broadband Network to its previous near-universal Fibre to the Premises model. So let’s give up hope on that misguided delusion right now and save ourselves a great deal of painful mental anguish.
Several of Australia’s telecommunications analysts have published statements noting they expect Malcolm Turnbull to reveal his ‘real’ views about the National Broadband Network project after taking the Prime Ministership and perhaps even return the project to a footing more based on its previous Fibre to the Premises technology.
Australia has never before in its history had a digitally literate Prime Minister of the likes of Malcolm Turnbull.
Malcolm Turnbull has used his first brief comments as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister to emphasise that Australia is facing disruption driven by technology, and that the nation needs to work to take advantage of that trend rather than rejecting it.
He might be charismatic, he might be popular, and pretty shortly he might be Prime Minister. But when it comes to technology policy, Malcolm Turnbull has been a disaster. The Member for Wentworth will be remembered as Australia’s worst ever Communications Minister — the man who singlehandedly demolished the NBN and put a polite face on draconian Data Retention and Internet piracy laws.
Malcolm Turnbull has reportedly resigned his post as Communications Minister and from Federal Cabinet to challenge Tony Abbott for the Prime Ministership, in a move that has the potential to result in a dramatic shake-up of the way the National Broadband Network project is run.
Just when you thought Australia's broadband scene couldn't get any more absurd, along comes something which breaks the mold yet again.
University of Melbourne academic Rod Tucker attracted strident criticism this week for his claim that Malcolm Turnbull’s Multi-Technology Mix approach to the National Broadband Network will result in Australia remaining an “Internet backwater”. However, the unfortunate reality is that Tucker’s comments are all too accurate.
The NBN company has furiously rejected the claim by telco academic Rod Tucker that Malcolm Turnbull’s Multi-Technology Mix approach will turn Australia into an “internet backwater”, arguing instead that the controversial network model will be a “game-changer for the Australian economy”.
The Coalition sold the Australian public a product that was supposed to be fast, one-third the cost and arrive sooner than what Labor was offering us. Instead the Coalition’s NBN will be so slow that it is obsolete by the time it’s in place, it will cost about the same as Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises NBN, and it won’t arrive on our doorsteps much sooner.
I just wanted to drop readers a brief note to let you know that yesterday I was approved to join the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery in Canberra.
Conservative Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has labelled the performance of his his new National Broadband Network fibre connection as “quite amazing”, but has slammed the NBN company for a bungled installation which required repeated visits to get the connection running.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reportedly promised to attempt to intervene in the Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme to accelerate the deployment of a mobile tower in Dwellingup in Western Australia, in what appears to be an effort to boost the Liberal Party's chances in the Canning by-election in the state.
The Parliament’s Joint Committee on Law Enforcement has recommended the Australian Taxation Office be added to the list of agencies able to access data retention under Australia’s new data retention legislation, as part of a report that also recommended other technological measures to curb financial crime.
Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland has delivered a speech criticising the Coalition’s version of the National Broadband Network for not being “fair”, highlighting among other factors the fact that premises with inferior technologies such as Fibre to the Node will pay the same access charges as those on full fibre.
The National Broadband Network should not be broken up into smaller parts. It should not be set up to compete with itself. And it should most definitely not be sold off to the private market. There is only one thing that the Government should do with the NBN. It should damn well get on with the job of building it.
In essence, what we’re seeing here is that Dallas Buyers Club and Marque Lawyers have decided to more or less accept Justice Perram’s ruling, but may be seeking to reword their approach to alleged copyright infringers to still target them for facilitating uploading of content online (as occurs in a BitTorrent situation, for example), rather than merely targeting them for downloading material.
So it's come to this. Other first-world countries are pushing so hard to attract lucrative technology startups to their shores to grow their own digital economies that they are actually paying to fly Australian entrepreneurs overseas to check out the local scene.
Global Internet networks expert Geoff Huston this week said Australia was at risk of being positioned as the “Global Village Idiot” courtesy of the Data Retention legislation passed by the “bureaucrats” in the Government, alleging that none of the organisations in support of the policy actually understand technology.
You may recall how earlier this week it was revealed that Dyson Heydon, former High Court judge and now head of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, had admitted he did not use a computer at either of his offices and did not know how to send and receive emails. Well, the plot thickens.
New polling data released over the past several weeks has shown that national support for Labor’s version of the National Broadband Network is weakening, in the context that Australians appear to strongly approve of the job that Malcolm Turnbull is doing as Communications Minister.
The chair of the competition regulator has repeated his view that the NBN company should ultimately be broken up into chunks that would compete with each other, in comments that appear to run directly contrary to the complementary network design model currently being pursued by the company.
The beleagured head of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption has admitted he does not use a computer at either of his several offices and does not know how to send and receive emails, being completely dependent upon his personal assistant to do so.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull appears to have called in National Broadband Network contractor Fulton Hogan to assist with a political photo opportunity associated with the by-election campaign in the Canning electorate in South-East Perth and Mandurah.
Two senior Government Ministers have praised the merger and research credentials of Australia’s peak scientific and IT research organisations, despite having simultaneously cut the groups’ funding levels to a level described as “to the bone”, causing the merger and the potential loss of several hundred jobs.
Film distributor Village Roadshow has officially confirmed it will take legal action to both sue alleged Internet pirates and block websites which host pirated material, in moves which signal the start of the implementation phase for the Government’s controversial policies on Internet copyright infringement.
The Federal Government’s Digital Transformation Office has revealed plans to locate a small office on-campus at the University of Technology Sydney, as well as embarking on a rapid hiring campaign in which it will seek the best Australian technologists to help deliver lasting changing in government IT service delivery.
Veteran telecommunications analyst Paul Budde has accused Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull of having “no clue what he was doing” with the National Broadband Network project, in the wake of news that the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix approach to the NBN has blown out in cost by up to $15 billion.
blog Sydney-based financial technology startup hub Stone & Chalk launched last night to great fanfare, with a solid wedge of politicians from both major...
Leaving the Member for Wentworth off Murdoch’s list at this point, taken together with the NewsCorp mogul’s sledge at the NBN, may be a signal indicating where Murdoch’s views on the subject of leadership lie.
The full resources of the Federal Parliament and other Government accountability mechanisms must be deployed to determine how a cost blowout of between $5 billion and $15 billion was allowed to occur in the National Broadband Network, and how to stop a similar situation from occurring again in future.
The Opposition has blamed the up to $15 billion National Broadband Network funding blow-out revealed this morning on “poor decisions” and “wrong assumptions” made by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull during his stewardship of the project, as the war of words between the major parties on the issue ramps up.
The National Broadband Network Company this afternoon revealed up to 550,000 less Australian premises would receive the full Fibre to the Premises rollout than had been previously been planned under the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix, with the project’s funding requirement also blowing out by between $5 billion and $15 billion.
Much has been written about the general lack of understanding which Australia's political sector has when it comes to setting good technology policy. But few have put it as bluntly as Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes did last week in an interview with Business Insider.
The NBN company has doubled the amount of premises it serves and the number of end user customers actually connected to its network over the past year, the company announced this morning, as the deployment of its broadband network around Australia continues to proceed.
The National Broadband Network company has acknowledged it is significantly delaying its rollout of Fibre to the Node technology in order to better test its own systems involved in the deployment, as debate continues to swirl around the controversial broadband rollout style.
feature The chief executive officer of upstart telco MyRepublic has described the Coalition’s move to significantly water down Labor’s National Broadband Network vision as...
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a wide-ranging review of Australia’s intellectual property regime. The review is an opportunity for an increasingly distracted government to set its stamp on the Australian economy for the next 20 years. It is an opportunity that will almost certainly be missed.
Are toddlers really becoming addicted to technology? There’s certainly a lot of media hype to suggest that they are. And there’s no question the footage of small children breaking down when their tablet is taken away is unsettling.
Palmer United Party Senator Dio (Zhenya) Wang has taken the Government to task over its handling of Australia’s ICT research and tech startup sector, in a fraught Senate session which appeared to illustrate how little the Government’s Senate spokesperson on the issue appeared to understand about the sector’s basic dynamics.
The ACCC’s move to allow TPG’s buyout of iiNet is an appalling decision which will finally complete the long-running, gradual death of actual competition in Australia’s broadband market. The tragedy of the situation is that the well-meaning regulator has nevertheless contributed to the process at several key points along the way.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has issued a statement to the effect that the NBN company’s alleged “overbuilding” activities were based on regulatory decisions to ensure “fairer” competition in the broadband market that would allow the NBN company to compete with commercial providers.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has introduced a bill which would allow Australia’s free to air television stations to broadcast their primary channel in high definition, in a long-awaited move which will finally unlock the full potential of Australia’s huge fleet of HD-capable television screens.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has asked the Productivity Commission to commence an inquiry into Australia’s intellectual property arrangements, in a move which will see the nation’s copyright regime reviewed yet again, following a series of similar reviews.
The NBN company appears to be deploying its own competitive infrastructure to a housing estate in Sydney which Malcolm Turnbull specifically used during the 2013 Federal Election to highlight the strengths of his chosen Fibre to the Node technology.
The nation’s largest telco Telstra has recommended the Parliament assess the potential benefits of mandating the use of self-driving cars in Australia and support new transportation models such as Uber, as the Parliament’s inquiry into the use of ‘smart ICT’ in infrastructure gets up to steam.
Time and again, Australians have shown they are willing to pay for reasonably priced and accessible content. Copyright owners who try to extort money from downloaders are going about this the wrong way.
New Greens Leader Richard Di Natale has confirmed he will stand firm behind the original universal Fibre to the Premises version of the National Broadband Network, rejecting what he said was the “half-measures” being implemented by the Coalition Federal Government.
Attorney-General George Brandis has refused to confirm whether the Government will accede to the Opposition’s demand that it provide a revised draft of its planned telco national security bill, in the wake of loud complaints from Australia’s entire technology sector about the controversial legislation.
The claim that ridesharing is no safer than hitchhiking is not supported by empirical data. Much of the data used by critics of Uber rely on anecdotal data and media reports to support their view ridesharing puts passengers at personal risk.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning revealed the first of two satellites planned for the National Broadband Network will launch on 1 October this year from French Guiana, describing the infrastructure as “literally a marvel of science”.
The Opposition has backed comments by upstart Singaporean telco MyRepublic that the Coalition’s preferred Fibre to the Node technology is “shit”, despite acknowledging that its new National Broadband Network policy currently under development may feature the same technology.
Last night, while Coalition MPs debated marriage equality in a small room in Parliament House for six hours straight, tech-focused Labor MPs Jason Clare and Ed Husic flew to Melbourne and were partying on, Silicon Valley-style.
Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has reportedly demanded that the Government provide a revised draft of its planned telco national security bill, in the wake of loud complaints from Australia’s entire technology sector about the controversial legislation.
Your writer has been pretty supportive of the controversial comments made by MyRepublic chief executive Malcolm Rodrigues about the Coalition's version of the National Broadband Network. However, not everyone shares the same views. One very well-argued piece of detailed analysis comes from the founder of Communications Day, Grahame Lynch.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rejected what he described as MyRepublic’s “confounding” comments on the Coalition’s Multi-Technology version of the NBN, among other arguments reminding the Singaporean company of cost differences when deploying fibre in Australia.
The NBN company has rejected claims by Singaporean telco MyRepublic that the fledgling Fibre to the Node component of its network rollout is “shit”, stating instead that the rollout mechanism delivers “excellent” speeds to Australians.
The interjection by Singapore’s MyRepublic into Australia’s broadband debate this morning may have been inflammatory and used mildly offensive adult language. But there are some fundamentally good points being made by the upstart telco. The next step should be for the Senate’s NBN Committee to interview its chief executive in person.
Pioneering Singaporean broadband provider MyRepublic has reportedly damned Malcolm Turnbull’s Multi-Technology Mix vision as “shit” on the eve of launching predominantly fibre-based broadband services with unlimited quotas in Australia.
The Opposition has introduced a bill designed to significantly expand the powers of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security as well as freeing up its operations, in a move which could have a significant impact on the chief parliamentary oversight body of Australia’s national electronic surveillance regime.
The Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network will hold its first public hearing under the control of its new chair, Senator Jenny McAllister, this Friday morning, with nbn’s recent hiring spree and progress around its deployment of Fibre to the Node technology likely to be on the agenda.
Last week the Senate Standing Committee on Economics handed down a detailed report following its inquiry into Australia’s emerging digital or crypto-currency sector. The release was hailed as a “watershed” moment for this financial technology — here’s why it matters, in five succinct points.
Australia’s technology sector is almost universally opposed to the Government’s planned national security telco legislation in its current form, submissions published this morning to the exposure draft of the bill have revealed, in a further sign that the Government has alienated industry on the issue of national security.
If you attended the Australian American Leadership Dialogue in Melbourne over the weekend, you might have caught a most unusual sight: Australia's noble Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and his Shadow, Jason Clare, breaking bread together in a most congenial display of bipartisanship.
The Opposition has demanded that the Government release a full business plan for its heavily revised version of the National Broadband Network.
If you're a regular user of 4chan, then you're probably aware that the Internet board is notorious for the number of Internet subcultures and memes it has created. What you probably wouldn't expect to find on 4chan is classified Department of Defence documents.
Questions have continued to arise about whether nbn’s planned Gigabit upgrade of the HFC cable networks it is acquiring from Telstra and Optus will be able to deliver on its speed promises, with a number of telecommunications industry sources pouring cold water on the long-term capacity of the ageing networks.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has accused the Australian Labor Party of underestimating how much demand the National Broadband Network would see for its satellite service, without mentioning that he personally had stated in Opposition that sufficient capacity already existed, alleging there was no need to build more.
Those of you who follow the crypto-currency scene in Australia may remember that the Australian Taxation Office hasn't always treated the most popular type of crypto-currency, Bitcoin, the way that those involved in its trade would prefer. However, the long-running crypto-currency inquiry by the Senate Standing Committee on Economics may be about to disagree with the ATO.
Foxtel has indicated it will shortly take to the courts to use brand new legislation to have websites allegedly infringing copyright blocked, with analysis of the company’s public statements on the issue indicating that popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay is likely to be one of the pay television giant’s first targets.
Like the fictional Frank Underwood’s ‘America Works’ program, the massive nbn hiring spree unveiled by Malcolm Turnbull in the wee hours of this morning is pure election fodder — a beguiling program designed to demonstrate to the electorate that the reigning Government is instantly responsible for thousands of new jobs.
nbn this morning unveiled plans to train a further 4,500 workers to join the ranks of its construction partners and the company itself, in a move which Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has hailed as a victory for a project he dubbed “The Coalition’s NBN”.
Good news from the Googleplex this morning. Google Australia has decided to take some of the hard-earned money that it's been piping through Singapore to avoid paying tax in Australia and decided to plough it back into directly funding the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills in Australia.
It turns out that four months after the legislation passed, the Government still hasn't quite worked out the funding model for its data retention package.
Not everyone in Australia's startup sector believes Labor has yet demonstrated it can walk the talk when it comes to the digital economy: Can these feel-good events actually translate into solid policy?
Tired of reading article after article about how Speaker of the House of Representatives Bronwyn Bishop should resign? Bored at work on a Thursday afternoon and need some diversion while the boss isn’t looking at your screen? Bronny Copter — an online game in the style of Flappy Bird from Melbourne developer Ricky Sullivan — is here to save you.
It's not often we get a deep window into the inner workings of Australia's electronic spying operation, but this week the ABC's 7:30 program delivered just that in an expose on how the local industry is pitching solutions from the Hacking Team firm to Australian Government agencies.
Parliamentary Secretary Paul Fletcher has taken the extraordinary step of publicly advocating for Australian technology firms to sell products and services into the booming Chinese market, while the Federal Government that he is part of is seeking to pass legislation which may block Chinese companies from selling to Australia’s public sector.
Australia’s telco industry will formally write to the Government to request a formal delay in enforcing the controversial new data retention legislation, while Internet service providers around Australia struggle to meet the October 13 deadline for enacting its requirements within their operations.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning travelled to Geelong to spruik the benefits of its looming Fibre to the Node deployment, braving the ire of local residents and Labor politicians, who are increasingly demanding local Liberal MP Sarah Henderson support the technically superior Fibre to the Premises version of the NBN instead.
The Australian Labor Party has created a new internal policy group focused on building a “new economy” through fostering innovation, startups and entrepreneurs, in a move that appears to have support from the highest political levels within the party.
Major telcos Optus and TPG have joined the rest of Australia’s broadband sector and sharply warned Malcolm Turnbull’s Department to stop interfering in the competition regulator’s decision to cut Telstra’s wholesale pricing by 9.6 percent.
Four of Australia’s most important industry groups have joined forces to deliver an unprecedented and comprehensive rejection of the Government’s planned national security telco legislation, labelling the bill ineffective and adding burdensome regulation and costs on the private sector.
Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis has raised the “alarm” over the Opposition’s decision to undertake a review of its support for the Government’s controversial Data Retention legislation, saying Labor must ‘stick to its word’ and continue to show support for the policy.
The Australian Labor Party passed a motion at its National Conference on Friday that will see it formally review the Data Retention legislation passed earlier this year — despite the fact that such a review is already enshrined in the legislation itself.
The short-lived political party formed around Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission after it fell short of the requirement to have 500 registered members.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed that the telecommunications industry and the Government are on a “unity ticket” with respect to the new tranche of national security-related telco reforms, despite sharp disagreement from the industry and a recent history of the Government ignoring industry concern on such issues.
A group of major Australian telcos have issued a fiery statement damning Malcolm Turnbull’s Department of Communications for its “extraordinary” attempt to support Telstra’s profitability and keep telecommunications prices from dropping.
Huawei appears to have become increasingly successful at collaborating with senior figures in the Coalition, as the party gradually warms up to the Chinese manufacturer’s advances.
Westpac’s top technologist has issued a sharp warning to the nation’s corporate, educational and political sectors, placing them on notice that Australia is not prepared for the ongoing digital revolution that will see many workplaces completely shaken up and jobs taken by computers.
A war of words has erupted between the ACCC and Malcolm Turnbull’s Department of Communications, with the department claiming a pricing decision by the regulator has the potential to delay Australians migrating to next-generational National Broadband Network infrastructure.
Labor’s Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland has made a series of nebulous statements expressing vague concern about the Government’s latest package of telco-related national security reform, but without actually taking a position on the controversial legislation.
Three months after the deadline set by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the telecommunications and content industries are still deadlocked on who will pay for the cost of administering their co-developed industry code to deal with Internet piracy.
The telecommunications industry is up in arms over proposed new legislation which could give the Government unprecedented access to and control over their networks in the name of national security, with both Telstra and the Communications Alliance publicly expressing their strong concern on the issue this morning.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning released research which shows that about a quarter of Australian Internet users pirated Internet content, in a joint effort with the UK Government aimed at displaying the need for international and industry cooperation to tackle the issue.
Should the Federal Government consider underwriting the management fees of venture capital firms to attract large-scale institutional investors like the superannuation funds?
Labor MP Ed Husic has published a lengthy article arguing new legislation and industry self-regulatory measures pushed by the Government will “do little” to resolve the issue of Internet piracy, arguing the issue is a market problem and needs to be addressed by focusing on bad corporate behaviour instead.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has stated that the Government is spending about $70 billion building its version of the National Broadband Network, in comments which appear to run contrary to existing estimates about the Government’s investment in the project.
The English High Court appears to have struck down the United Kingdom’s hastily enacted data retention bill due to its lack of compliance with European laws, in a move that may force the UK Government to add extra safeguards into its approach to the retention of telecommunications data.
In which Tony Abbott attends Startup Weekend Brisbane, flanked by LNP MPs Wyatt Roy and Teresa Gambaro.
Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor Government in Queensland yesterday revealed plans to throw $24 million at the state’s rapidly expanding startup sector, as part of a much wider $180 million package of reforms aimed at creating “jobs of the future”.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Australian Labor Party will abandon its Fibre to the Premises National Broadband Network plan and adopt the Coalition’s alternative Multi-Technology Model as official policy before the next Federal Election.
For many politicians, the Blackberry would have been their first real experience of a smartphone that did much more than telephone calls and SMS. Times have changed, but some offices in Parliament House change slower than others.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull today confirmed nbn would meet its rollout targets for the start of the 2015/2016 financial year, although the success appeared to be based almost entirely upon the continual deployment of Labor’s previous Fibre to the Premises model, and not the Coalition’s technically inferior multi-technology alternative.
Australian and international cryptographers have published statements noting they remain “deeply concerned” about Australian legislation that places some controls on research involving sensitive technologies such as encryption, despite several years of consultation resulting in recent multi-partisan moves to rectify flawed legislation first introduced in 2012.
Hi everyone, welcome back! Delimiter starts publishing again today, and from today I'm also commencing work on my technology policy book, The Frustrated State. It...
This book will be a major step taken by Australia's technology community as we reboot our politicians' understanding of technology policy. It will not be the only step, but it will be one of the first. I look forward to taking it together with all of you.
For far too long, Australia's political sector has gotten technology policy completely wrong. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore. Let's take Delimiter into the Canberra Press Gallery and literally write the book on tech policy while we're there.
In the wake of the news yesterday that the Coalition and Labor are supporting a raft of new electronic surveillance measures, the Pirate Party of Australia has called for a rational debate to be held over the issue, in the context of widespread opposition to increased surveillance by the Australian public.
National broadband provider iiNet has published a blog post reminding politicians of the fact undisputed by the global technology sector that the nature of the Internet makes it technically impossible to 'block' websites as currently being proposed by the Federal Government.
What place do e-readers – and in particular ebooks – hold in the reading behaviour of Australia’s 10 million public library borrowers? There are some 181 million items loaned every year by the nation’s 1,500 public libraries, branches, mobile libraries and other service points but, according to the latest survey-based report from the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), for the majority of these libraries, ebook loans represent less than 1% of the total.
The Daily Telegraph reported this morning that the Coalition would shortly introduce a raft of new surveillance laws based on almost all of the recommendations handed down last year in a report by the the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security on potential reforms to Australia's National Security Legislation.
It's no secret that a large percentage of the technology sector thinks that the current proposal by Federal Attorney-General George Brandis (pictured) to crack down on Internet piracy will have little impact, given that most such attempts in the fast have broadly failed, and the commonly held belief that commercial avenues represent the best way to handle the situation. However, some commentators feel things will go still further. Veteran telecommunications analyst Paul Budde wrote this morning on his blog that he expects the anti-piracy measures to actually increase piracy.
The revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have altered the way we think about accountability, transparency and the rule of law with regard to both the activities of security agencies and the value of privacy, according to a detailed report released this week. But this change in thinking has not led to practical reform, according to the report.
If you thought you had a solid grip on just how extensive Government surveillance of our electronic communications systems was, think again. The revelations just keep coming. Late last week mobile telco Vodafone revealed an extensive bucket list of surveillance measures which are used by governments in dozens of countries it operates in — including Australia — to retrieve information about its customers.
National broadband provider iiNet has published a sharp blog post accusing the Federal Government of going down the "wrong path" with respect to its efforts to tackle Internet piracy, with the ISP exhorting its customers to become politically active in speaking to politicians from all parties about the issue.
A research paper produced internally by the Reserve Bank of Australia 12 months ago has shown the nation's central bank was at that stage not concerned about the potential impact of the Bitcoin crypto-currency on Australia's financial system, due to what it saw as the "limited" impact of a "niche product".
The Australian Federal Police this morning revealed it had arrested two Australian men who it alleged were members of the loose-knit confederation of Internet activists who self-organise under the banner "Anonymous", claiming that the pair were involved in "a campaign targeting Australian and international websites".
In a surprising move, a US District Court has charged five members of the Chinese military with hacking six US companies to obtain commercial secrets over the last eight years. The move has been denounced by the Chinese government and the US Ambassador has been called to Beijing as a result.
Into the e-surveillance miasma comes David Leyonhjelm, the new Senator-Elect for the Liberal Democrats, who will take his chair in just six short weeks. In a piece for the Financial Review newspaper late last week, Leyonhjelm makes it very clear where his party will stand on this issue: In opposition to data retention and similar initiatives which erode Australians’ privacy.
Picked up a copy of the 'Blackshades' remote administration tool recently? You may be on the FBI's target list. The Wall Street Journal reports in the US over the weekend that US authorities have worked with law enforcement authorities in a range of countries to raid the homes of those who have been using the software.
Visions of a cashless society started being portrayed from the 1950’s along with other aspects of a future waiting to be transformed by technology. That future has not yet arrived but it is now possible to exist without using cash on a daily basis. In fact, in a survey released this week, 25% of Australians claim not to use cash in a given month. In the US, 50% of Americans carry less than $20 in cash at any time.
Most Australians understand that the only solution to the nation's record Internet piracy rates is for the film and TV industry to follow the music, book and gaming sectors and make their content available online in a timely, affordable and convenient manner. But that's a truth rights holders and their lobbyists seem unwilling to accept.
The Pirate Party Australia has launched a high-profile online petition inviting Australians to protest against two proposals reportedly set to be introduced by Attorney-General George Brandis to Federal Cabinet which could see Australians who pirate content online receive warnings and Internet service providers forced to block file-sharing sites such as the Pirate Bay.
Remember how Federal Attorney-General George Brandis a while back publicly floated several ideas about how the Federal Government could tackle the thorny issue of Internet piracy? Remember how most people kind of assumed there would be some kind of consultation process where industry and hell, you know, ordinary Australians, could put forward views on the issue? Ah, those were the days. News arrived from the Sydney Morning Herald this morning that Brandis has already developed several proposals and is taking them to the Abbott Cabinet.
Those who have been wondering when the Australian Taxation Office would follow the US Internal Revenue Service and make a formal ruling on how cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin should be taxed now have an answer. According to the Financial Review (we recommend you click here for the full article), the ATO has just opened a review into the issue.
In the last fortnight, senior executives from cinema operators in Australia, including Village Roadshow and Palace Cinemas, have come out defending their decision to raise movie ticket prices. But do their arguments hold water?
The lack of hard, unbiased research driving this debate on piracy, as well as the privileged access to the Attorney General that entertainment industry lobbyists seem to have, does not bode well for robust, evidence-based policy being adopted in the near future.
Australian movie and TV streaming company Quickflix yesterday announced the beginning of what it believes to be "a new-era in affordable home entertainment" with the launch of its new subscription options to its IPTV service, including streaming of TV shows and movies for only $9.99 per month.
Film and entertainment giant Village Roadshow is decidedly unhappy with Google Australia for taking what the search giant believes is a realistic approach to dealing with Internet piracy. Go figure.
The moment we tie short-term political, economic or social goals to science is the moment we ensure we’ll slow down finding those momentous future breakthroughs that science has brought us. It is a paradox, but one that the government needs to understand before cutting big budgets out of long-term fundamental research programs at the CSIRO.
If you've attended an Australian cinema recently, you'll be aware that $20 ticket prices are now a thing. If you just hit up a film every couple of weeks and avoid the cinema's high-priced junk food aisle (your writer habitually goes to Woolworths for some snacks beforehand), then this mark may not seem like such a huge deal. But if you throw a family into the mix, a night out at the movies can now seem a little too exorbitant for many. According to several cinema executives, one of the central reasons for the ongoing price increases is Internet piracy.
A key lobbyist for the anti-piracy group originally known as the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft enjoys a congenial email relationship with the secretary of the Attorney-General's Department and other senior officials, a Freedom of Information request has revealed, with the lobbyist regularly using the channel to pass on anti-piracy propaganda.
Virtual currency Bitcoin is not a subject that ever draws neutral reactions. Against those who see the radical possibilities of a frictionless payment system designed for the internet, there is a growing resistance to the currencies that threaten existing business models and the perceived traceability of our current currency systems.
Last week the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled that data retention regulations, as they currently stand, are not in accordance with EU law and the European Parliament voted in favour of introducing net neutrality into EU telecoms regulation the week before. As Australia is currently in the midst of a data retention inquiry – the second in three years – what effects will this ruling have on the debate?
The argument by pay television giant Foxtel that the launch of its new Play IPTV streaming video service will cause Australians' objections about the lack of legitimate access to popular shows such as Game of Thrones to "vanish" is nothing short of ridiculous and strongly indicates that the company still has no idea why the nation is so frustrated with it.
It probably won't come as a surprise to those who have followed Game of Thrones piracy news over the past several years (an important genre in technology journalism in its own right), but Australia appears to have set a new record in terms of copyright infringement of the flagship HBO series.
So you've seen the reports about Federal Attorney-General George Brandis resuscitating the failed talks between ISPs and content owners about the pesky problem of Internet piracy? Have you ever wondered what measures the rights-holders feel should be taken to address such issues? Fear not, industry publication Mumbrella has published an extensive article detailing their demands. And it appears they want rather a lot.
Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam looks set to be re-elected to the Senate for another six years in Western Australia's Senate by-election, with projections late on Saturday night showing the technology-focused politician had easily won a full Senate quota.
One of Australia's largest telcos, iiNet, has sent the Australian Senate committee examining reform of national telecommunications interception legislation an extremely strongly worded statement warning of the dangers of extending or even maintaining current data retention and website blocking practices.
Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam has labelled the revelation this week of relatively unqualified support for data retention and mass surveillance by Tanya Plibersek as "shameful", accusing the Deputy Labor Leader of being naive or manipulative in public statements made on the issue.
Those of you who've been hanging around the tracks for a while may remember a famous piece of newspaper graffiti which was published a while back regarding Prime Minister John Howard and his musical abilities. Well, it's taken us a while, but we've now been able to find a Federal Politician who can actually DJ quite well. Or so it appears from these glamour pics of Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam, who spent some time DJ'ing at a rave held to fundraise for his WA Senate campaign this month.
Google Australia has published a new 47 page book. Dubbed 'Australia's Innovation Generation' and part of the search giant's Start with Code campaign, the book chronicles the stories of ten innovative Australian entrepreneurs, including high-fliers such as Atlassian's Mike Cannon-Brookes and entrepreneur-turned-investor Niki Scevak.
Those of you with a long memory will recall that Australia’s video game classification systems hasn’t precisely always been without controversy. Well, in what looks like a good move on the surface, Australia appears set to join a new international system for video game classification.
A long-term industry has been shackled to three-year political terms for far too long. The only way to unshackle NBN from politics is to get government out of the marketplace where it exists. Of course, the legacy of sunk costs will make this difficult. But by the time we stop bickering about the latest lot of reports, it will be time to deal with the next communications technology problem.
Wondering how the MP widely considered likely to become the eventual next leader of the Australian Labor Party views the controversial data retention and surveillance issue? Wonder no more. Deputy Leader of the Opposition and former Health, Human Services and Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek is all for it.
Seasoned Delimiter readers will know that your writer is fond of gently teasing Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull over his aristocratic bearing, by use of several honorifics. At times we have dubbed the Liberal MP 'the Duke of Double Bay', 'the Viscount of Vaucluse' and so on. But by far the most common title we have awarded to Turnbull has been one that made it onto the floors of Parliament this week.
Greens senator Scott Ludlam is reportedly trying to have Edward Snowden and Julian Assange called before a parliamentary committee to give evidence into what they might know about mass surveillance of Australian citizens.
Digital rights political party the Pirate Party Australia this week claimed that a parliamentary submission made by the Attorney-General's Department (AGD) arguing for substantially increased government electronic surveillance powers indicated that the Department was little more than a "puppet" and "lobbyist for law enforcement and intelligence agencies".
A brief review of the history of Australian safe harbour legislation and recent ISP-related case laws in the US shows the best way to provide legal certainty for online intermediaries would be to introduce “fair use” exceptions alone. More safe harbour rules aren’t needed at this stage.
Remember how the new Coalition Federal Government issued a detailed discussion paper in mid-January canvassing various options through which it can deal with the issue of children’s safety on the Internet, including the potential establishment of a children’s e-safety commissioner? Of course you do. Well, now Malcolm Turnbull’s Parliamentary Secretary Paul Fletcher, who is spearheading the policy, is facing opposition from a new front: Coalition MPs.
A move by the Greens to set up a Senate inquiry into the potential reform of Australia's surveillance laws appears to have opened a giant Pandora's Box of debate about the issue, with Australian law enforcement agencies using the process to demand massively increased electronic surveillance rights, including data retention of users' communications.
The Queensland Government has unveiled plans to deploy new technology that will allow Brisbane police officers to view live CCTV footage from cameras in public areas on their iPads or smartphones while working their beat, in a move being billed as helping to keep those of the city's residents 'who are doing the right thing' safe.
If you needed any further indication that we now live in the science fiction future long ago mapped out for us by visionary authors, then look no further. News arrived this week that an Australian digital currency company and Bitcoin mining concern, digitalBTC, has listed on the Australian Stock Exchange through a backdoor listing.
Just when you think you've seen it all in Australia's mediasphere -- all the crazy and technically illiterate pronouncements from radio shock jocks, all the denouncements of Labor's NBN policy from right-wing bloggers and so on -- something new appears to prove that still more can be dredged from the depths.
We can't help but suspect that the telco considers itself to have gotten off relatively scot-free from the debacle, paying an infringement notice of only $10,200 in relation to its contravention of an earlier direction on the issue by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Yesterday digital rights-focused political party the Pirate Party Australia met its campaign funding target of $10,000 entirely through crowdfunding on local platform Pozible, in preparation for the WA Senate election on 5 April.
It seems that no matter where you look, someone is trying to fix the Australian Internet television market. Attorney-General George Brandis, as his Labor predecessor Mark Dreyfus did before him, is trying to block Internet piracy. Quickflix and FetchTV are still trying to create viable competitors to Foxtel's pay TV operation. And Foxtel itself is obviously trying to make as much hay as possible while its sun still shines. Into this fraught situation comes Richard Branson's Virgin Group.
Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam has described the Coalition's new front bench as "technically illiterate", in a wide-ranging speech in the Senate last week kicking off his campaign to be re-elected in the upcoming Senate by-election in Western Australia and attacking Prime Minister Tony Abbott over various tech-related issues, from Internet piracy to the National Broadband Network.
The nation's biggest telco Telstra has published an extremely brief four page "Transparency Report" detailing a small amount of information about its interactions with law enforcement agencies, including the fact that it responded to over 40,000 requests for information over the six months to the end of 2013 alone.
The Australian Labor Party's silence on the Australian Law Reform Commission's propsed reforms to the Copyright Act has been broken by Tim Watts, a first-time MP who told Parliament late last month that he supported the US-style "fair use" doctrine supported by the commission, which the Coalition has not yet indicated it will support.
I'd just like to be able to pop down to the shops quickly now and then for a packet of chips without some police system automatically scanning my face for matches with some massive crime database. Is that too much to ask?
Hosting and domain name specialist Melbourne IT announced today that it had entered into an agreement to acquire its biggest rival, Netregistry for $50.4 million, in a move that will ensure the fortunes of the company's founder Larry Bloch but also potentially create a giant with close to monopoly powers over the Australian domain name space.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) admitted in a Senate Estimates session in Canberra this week that it is literally tracking every conversion between Bitcoins and Australian dollars. Wow. Talk about privacy-invasive.
National pay TV operator Foxtel has revealed it will launch its upcoming Presto movies on demand service on 13 March, as well as temporarily cutting prices on the fees which subscribers using its IPTV service Play will be able to watch the latest season of the popular HBO TV series Game of Thrones.
Attorney-General George Brandis has threatened to introduce legislation to deal with the issue of Internet piracy in Australia unless the ISP and content industries can agree on a voluntary industry code to deal with the issue.
Everyone knows there’s a problem with copyright. Artists get paid very little for their work, and legitimate consumers aren’t getting a very fair deal either. Unfortunately, nobody agrees about how we should fix it.
A new poll conducted by Essential Media has shown that 80 percent of Australians disapprove of the Government being able to access Australians' phone and Internet records without a warrant, in research which is already being hailed as "vindication" for campaigns against government intrusion into private residents' telecommunications.
The parliamentary future of Greens Senator and Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam is once again in doubt, following a decision by the High Court today that will likely mean a fresh election should be held for the Western Australian Senate, following mistakes made during last year's Federal Election.
If you follow the crypto-currency scene (think Bitcoin and its many imitators), you might have noticed that the co-founder of one of the more outlandish currencies, Dogecoin, is an Australian. Jackson Palmer is a product marketing manager at Adobe, is based in Sydney, and is one of the key figures in the development of the good Doge. And, if you read this excellent online interview with Palmer produced by new Australian tech media outlet Techly, you'll find that he's also a man of many interesting opinions.
I'm sure you've been wondering (as many people have) just how Australia's premiere electronic surveillance agency Australian Signals Directorate was able to gain access to the telephone data of high-ranking Indonesian officials in that country's government. Well, wonder no more. According to The Guardian, the agency has a massive level of access to Indonesia's telco networks.
Attorney-General George Brandis today appeared to back a scheme proposed by a coalition of most of Australia's major ISPs which would see the issue of online copyright infringement handled through Australians being issued with warning notices after content holders provided evidence that they had breached their copyright online — and the door opened for ISPs to hand over user details to the content industry if the behaviour continued.
A cluster of Australia's most high-profile digital rights organisations, including Electronic Frontiers Australia, CHOICE and the Pirate Party have backed the Australian Law Reform Commission's strong call for so-called "Fair Use" provisions to be introduced into the Copyright Act.
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has strongly recommended a new "fair use" provision for re-use of copyrighted works be introduced into the Copyright Act, as one of the key recommendations contained in an extremely wide-ranging review of the nation's copyright laws which was tabled this week in Federal parliament.
Greens Senator and Communications Spokesman Scott Ludlam has has accused Attorney-General George Brandis of delivering an "embarassing and borderline hysterical" and "infantile" display in Federal Parliament, due to the Liberal Senator's continued refusal to answer basic questions about the surveillance powers used by Australian intelligence agencies.
The Australian division of digital rights group the Pirate Party has taken fourth place in the Griffith by-election held in Brisbane over the weekend, in a result that placed the party ahead of other minor parties such as the Katter Australian Party and Family First.
BitTorrent-based TV content distribution group EZTV stated overnight that it stood "ready" to help out cash-strapped Australians with unauthorised downloading of episodes of the popular TV series Game of Thrones, in the wake of the news that the next season of the show will be available in Australia only through subscriptions to pay TV provider Foxtel.
A technique for more rapidly cleaning up Telstra's clogged pits and pipes infrastructure reportedly could offer the National Broadband Network Company a significantly faster deployment mechanism with respect to the fibre components of its network rollout.
Want to watch HBO's Game of Thrones show in Australia without signing up to a pricey Foxtel subscription? Bad luck: As of this week you're out of legal options. Foxtel has reportedly signed a deal with HBO which will block the show from airing through any other medium -- at all -- apart from DVD release, in a move which appears set to drive more Australians to downloading the show via file-sharing protocols such as BitTorrent.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull appears to have completely changed his view on the revelations by Edward Snowden about US spying activities, telling the ABC yesterday that the NSA whistleblower had caused "enormous damage", despite having only six months ago described some of Snowden's revelations as having "very significant" implications.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has heavily criticised NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden during a visit to the United States.
The Australian divisions of the world's largest social networking companies have criticised the new Coalition administration's approach to dealing with the issue of children's safety on the Internet as "counterproductive", in a move which signals the start of opposition to ongoing attempts by successive Australian Governments to regulate the Internet.
The Federal Government has issued a detailed discussion paper canvassing various options through which it can deal with the issue of children's safety on the Internet, including the potential establishment of a children's e-safety commissioner, developing an effective complaints system to deal with offensive material on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and even the potential establishment of a new cyber-bullying offence.
In late September last year, national pay TV giant Foxtel announced a new online service dubbed ‘Presto’, which was to see consumers charged $24.99 per month to access “a regularly updating collection of great films”, all streamed through the Internet, as opposed to its existing pay TV platform. However, according to the Financial Review, the launch of the service has already been delayed.
The Pirate Party Australia has signalled it will contest the Griffith by-election for the seat of formr Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in another sign that the party which has achieved electoral success in Europe on digital rights and civil liberties issues is increasingly serious about gaining a higher slice of the popular vote in Australia.
The Attorney-General's Department has stated that it believes the Government has an obligation to publish by the end of February the full report which the Australian Law Reform Commission has painstakingly generated over the past several years into whether the Copyright Act is adequate to handle the new digital environment.
Following several unsuccessful attempts, the Greens have successfully moved a motion in the Senate to establish a formal inquiry into Internet surveillance, through a review that will take place into the controversial Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act.
Australia's Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has stated they have no plans to initiate a specific inquiry to examine allegations the Australian Signals Directorate had offered to share data about Australian citizens with foreign intelligence agencies, stating they believe current oversight of the ASD to be "sufficient".
The nation's largest telco Telstra has flatly rejected allegations that it is routinely logging all of its customers' web browsing data and email history on behalf of national security and intelligence agencies, stating that it does not "routinely" collect or store its customers' telecommunications data unless required to do so.
Both Labor and the Coalition have voted down a motion put by the Greens in the Senate which would have called on the Parliament to re-establish the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security, a key oversight mechanism of Australia's intelligence agencies which has lain dormant since the election.
Are you one of those Australians who lined up at midnight to buy some of the first next-generation video game consoles to go on sale? Have you spent some time exploring your new PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? Then you would be aware that when it comes to Australian support for their new consoles, both Sony and Microsoft appear to have screwed Australians pretty badly.
The Attorney-General's Department has rejected an appeal for a Freedom of Information request which would have seen the incoming ministerial briefing (known as the ‘Blue Book’) provided to new Attorney-General George Brandis, censoring the release of the entire document.
The Greens and Labor teamed up in the Senate yesterday to successfully move a motion which would force the Coalition Government to table the text of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement before Australia signs the treaty.
Global privacy organisation Privacy International has filed a formal complaint with Australia's Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security over a report that the Australian Signals Directorate had offered to hand over data on Australian citizens to foreign intelligence agencies.
The Australian Labor Party has given the first tentative sign that it may be open to working with the Greens on the terms of a wide-reaching parliamentary inquiry into electronic surveillance practices in Australia.
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has reacted to the revelation of what a Queen's Counsel lawyer has stated are borderline illegal surveillance tactics by the Australian Signals Directorate by supporting the agency and accusing NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden of being an "American traitor".
Australia's peak electronic intelligence agency offered to share detailed information collected about ordinary Australian citizens with its major intelligence partners, the Guardian reported this morning, in moves that at least one high-profile lawyer says may have breached Australian law.
The Federal Attorney-General's Department has stated that neither it nor Attorney-General George Brandis has recently sent Australian telcos letters inviting them to reboot long-running talks between the telecommunications and content industries over Internet piracy, contradicting a report in The Australian newspaper.
In Australian intellectual property circles, there are few names which are more respected than that of Kimberlee Weatherall. That’s why we were personally thrilled to learn that Weatherall has recently published a mammoth blow by blow analysis of the enforcement provisions contained in the recently leaked draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership IP chapter.
Despite a successful launch in other major first-world nations such as the UK, as well as throughout Latin America, US IPTV giant Netflix has constantly signalled over the past few years its lack of interest in launching its service in Australia. However, all that may be about to change.
When Greens Communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam said in January 2012 that he suspected law enforcement agencies of bugging his mobile phone, we criticised the Senator for making the claim without providing evidence of the claimed nefarious activity. But according to the ABC, the Australian Federal Police admitted in a Senate Estimates session this week that it had monitored various MPs’ communications.
If the foreign music and movie industries are worried about piracy, they can decide to invest in improving their product’s security – like any other business does. It is neither fair nor right they should ask any other industry to pay what should rightly be their own expense.
Regular readers of Delimiter will be aware that we’ve long had a beef with the ABC over the public broadcaster’s lack of an iView app for the popular (some would say dominant) Android platform. Well, the ABC looks set to finally rectify that issue, making several announcements relating to Android and the iView more platform generally.
Representatives of the Federal Attorney-General's Department yesterday claimed the department had removed PDFs previously published on its website as part of its Freedom of Information disclosure log because they did not meet web "accessibility" guidelines and were hurting the website's overall accessibility rating.
Australian consumers are embracing digital commerce, but Australian retailers are failing to build long-term relationships with their customers online, according to new research.
Australia wants to foster innovation in a digital economy, but our copyright laws discourage businesses from investing in new technologies and make it harder for individuals to access the knowledge upon which innovation is based. Yesterday’s US decision in the Google Books case shows why US copyright law is much more supportive of innovation than ours.
Western Australians are likely to be forced to vote again for their Senate representatives in Federal Parliament, in a move which will once again place the seat of Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam in doubt, as the Australian Electoral Commission last week confirmed it would seek a by election in the state.
Australian political parties and digital rights lobby groups today erupted in outrage after a Wikileaks leak of the intellectual property rights chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement revealed Australians could be slugged with new draconian measures if caught infringing copyright online.
Online retailer Amazon this morning revealed it had formally launched an Australian version of its popular online bookstore, putting a formal face on a service which millions of Australians have already been accessing for years and further supporting Australian authors to sell their books online locally.
In another episode of the ongoing rollercoaster of a story that is Bitcoin, about 4,100 of them have been stolen from an online bitcoin wallet site inputs.io. What makes this particular story more interesting is the fact that the person behind the site inputs.io is allegedly an 18 year old Australian going by the alias “TradeFortress” living in Hornsby, NSW.
On Reckoner, Anthony Agius catalogues how insurer QBE has recently launched a product in Australia that directly tracks everything you do with you car, and the rather obvious privacy challenges that are already evident.
The Attorney-General's Department has declined to release under Freedom of Information laws the incoming ministerial briefing (known as the 'Blue Book') provided to new Attorney-General George Brandis, censoring the release of the entire document in a decision which appears to run directly contrary to a similar decision by the Department of Communications.
Former Queensland Labor Premier Peter Beattie has published a strongly worded article stating that he is "ashamed" of Australia's record on Internet piracy, in the latest sign that the two major sides of politics may be in agreement about the need to tackle the issue through new legislation.
The Greens have called for the Federal Parliament to hold a wide-ranging inquiry into Australia's electronic surveillance efforts, as pressure grows on the nation's intelligence agencies to come clean on their covert activities in a manner similar to which is being seen internationally, and revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden continue to create aftershocks in Australia.
Four members of the board of Electronic Frontiers Australia have resigned in protest against what they described in a letter published this morning as "inaccuracies and irregularities" in the governance and financial affairs of the digital rights lobby group.
An extensive survey conducted by respected analysis house Essential Research has found that a huge proportion of Australians would continue to pirate content such as TV shows and movies online, even if such content was made available everywhere globally at the same time for a low price.
The loss of the West Australian ballots is a serious breach of electoral integrity, and one that must be thoroughly investigated to identify what went wrong. But amidst all the party-driven hysteria, it’s important to remember that no system is entirely fail-safe, and the risks posed by electronic or internet voting are potentially far more serious than this isolated incident.
Revelations about Australia’s alleged spy network in Asia and listening posts in our embassies across the Pacific might be diplomatically awkward. But it doesn’t mean intelligence agencies have “gone rogue”.
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has flatly refused to comment on a report that the new Coalition Government has signalled plans to restart long-running talks between the telecommunications and content industries to deal with the issue of Internet piracy, with the Liberal Senator declining to answer any question on the issue.
Greens Communications Spokesman Scott Ludlam has held his Senate seat in Western Australia following a controversial recount of the state's Senate vote in September's Federal Election, but the result is likely to be formally challenged by the rival Palmer United Party and may head to a by election because of the loss of 1,375 crucial votes.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has revealed it lost 1,375 votes during the recent Federal Election and will need to investigate the situation further before it can advise whether Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam will keep his Senate seat or be replaced by the Palmer United Party.
Only in Australia could the phrase “public briefing” mean that the meeting will be held behind closed doors, where journalists are not welcome.
According to massive Italian newspaper Corrierre della Sera, through the Daily Telegraph in Australia (we recommend you click here for the Daily Telegraph’s version, as it’s not in Italian), at the recent G20 Summit in Russia, the country gave G20 leaders, including then-Foreign Minister Bob Carr, USB keys which included bugging functionality
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has taken the extraordinary step of rescinding confirmations of attendance for journalists who had registered to attend a public briefing on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement in Sydney today, stating that the meeting is “off-the-record”, and that journalists are not welcome.”
Attorney-General George Brandis and Huawei have issued statements stating that no decision has been made by the new Coalition Government with relation to the Chinese vendor’s ability to tender for National Broadband Network contracts, contradicting a report by the Financial Review newspaper on the issue.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the previous Labor Federal Government’s attempt to extend fibre broadband to most Australian homes and businesses as “wacko”, despite the fact that Labor’s Fibre to the Premises model is seen as the long-term future of most fixed telecommunications networks globally.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has revealed the ongoing recount of the Senate vote for the Federal Election in Western Australia has found “hundreds” of misplaced votes, in a move which the tech-savvy Senator said validated his request for a recount that could see him hold onto his seat in the state.
The new Coalition Federal Government has reportedly signalled plans to restart long-running talks between the telecommunications and content industries to deal with the issue of Internet piracy, despite the fact that a previous round of talks between the two sides under the previous Labor administration proved pointless.
Are you a journalist or a politician? Do you use your telephone to have private conversations about sensitive information? You do? That seems logical, given the position that you're in. Well, you may want to have a re-think about just how private that avenue of communication is, given that the Australian Federal Police recently revealed it occasionally examines the call logs of MPs and journalists (without their knowledge) in an attempt to track down whistleblowers or leakers within the Government.