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Hitachi Data Systems privacy law graphic: click for whitepaperAustralia’s new privacy laws come into force on 12 March. On 12 February, four weeks before the new laws come into force, I hosted a panel discussion on dealing with these new law for Hitachi Data Systems.

The panelists were lawyer Alec Christie, a partner in the intellectual property and technology practice of global law firm DLA Piper; Jodie Sangster, chief executive officer of ADMA, the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (which used to be called the Australian Direct Marketing Association); and Adrian De Luca, chief technology officer for Hitachi Data Systems in the Asia-Pacific region.

Over the fold is the full 58-minute video. This was done as a Google Hangout, and since there were some internet glitches the video is a bit glitchy too, but the content itself is great.

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I’m claiming that January presented clear signs that I’m reversing the decline of revenue that I’d been suffering, thanks to depression and arsehattery — something that I’ve become very aware of in recent months.

If you don’t like these personal reflections that I write from time to time, then stop reading now. Read this instead.

I started this planning process at the end of 2012, because I’d noticed that until then I hadn’t actually been planning my media work, let alone taking the next step of having some kind of strategy.

I’d just plodded along doing much the same thing every week. If an income stream died, I did no real work to replace it. When new work was offered, I generally took it on unless the idea was clearly daft.

You can see what happened in my newly-updated “media objects” chart, which counts how many things I did for each masthead, regardless of complexity or income.

Chart of media objects produced by Stilgherrian since 2011

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ABC logoOn Tuesday, news reached us that two men connected with the digital currency Bitcoin had been arrested in the US — one a prominent advocate, the other the operator of a currency exchange.

ABC Radio’s lunchtime current affairs program The World Today did a story about it the same day, in which I made a few brief comments. The reporter was Tom Nightingale. Here’s the audio.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, served here directly from their website — where you can also read a full transcript.

FIVEaa logoI continue to be pleased that digital privacy issues are getting more and more coverage in the mainstream media — such as the interview I did last Monday 20 January with radio 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide.

Presenter Will Goodings had spotted the story of Turnstyle Solutions in Toronto, who can track people around town via their smartphones and use that location data for marketing.

Rather stupidly, I talk about Australia’s Privacy Act being “under review” when in fact that review is well over and the new Privacy Act comes into force on 12 March.

We also spoke about the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) forcing Apple to refund $35 million to customers who’d had their kids make what they felt were unauthorised in-app purchases on their iDevices.

It’s something the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been concerned about too, and they have a page to explain how you can block in-app purchases or complain to Apple or Google.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia, but here it is ’cos it hasn’t been posted on the radio station’s website. Besides, this is a reasonable plug.

ABC logoThe concept of Net Neutrality was in the news earlier this month: a US federal court struck down the Net Neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had introduced in 2010.

On 16 January I spoke about the issue on ABC Radio National Breakfast with Jonathan Green, and here’s the audio.

A US Court of Appeals ruling in Washington DC is being seen as a major blow to proponents of an open internet.

In ruling described as “even more emphatic and disastrous than anyone expected”, the court found internet service providers had every right to play favourites with their clients.

That could mean slowing speeds for services in competition with their own services and potentially charging higher fees to allow access to premium speeds.

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I must admit, I feel like I rambled a bit. As we started the conversation, my mobile phone link went dodgy, and the producer had to phone me back. We started the interview after a break — that’s been edited out of this version — but it threw me a bit. I’m not sure that I recovered.

Still, I think we got through the key points, and later in the morning I wrote something more coherent for Crikey, Net neutrality and why the internet might have just changed forever.

The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is served here directly from their website.

ABC logoThe topic of Net Neutrality was in the news again this week, because major US telco Verizon was challenging the US Federal Communications Commission’s 2010 ruling on various grounds, including that it was unconstitutional.

It’s a complex and subtle topic, but the Wikipedia entry linked to in the first paragraph, this InfoWorld article and Verizon’s legal claim [PDF] should bring you up to speed — as, perhaps, might my chat with Jonathan Green on ABC Radio National’s Drive program from Thursday night.

Here’s the full audio, running for nearly eight minutes.

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The audio is ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website.

ABC logoAfter a six-month gap caused by the failure of our schedules to cooperate, I was finally a guest once more on Marc Fennell’s Download This Show this week, which we recorded this morning.

Online crowd funding: Whether it’s a brand new gadget or a bouncing baby, you can crowd fund anything these days? But which online service is the most likely to get your project to its funding target? Plus, want to know what the internet feels like in an oppressive regime? Google has helped build a site that will show you what it feels like and it’ll help internet users in those countries as well. And is it a phone or is it Lego? The modular phone you can rebuild and reshape as you see fit.

My fellow panellist was Janet Carr. And here’s the full audio. I talk about breast enhancement, amongst other things.

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The audio is ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website.

ABC logoLast Tuesday 10 September, there was a story in the Sydney Morning Herald — though not the website, as far as we could see — that talked about the kind of helpdesk automation robots that are replacing first-level support staff for the simple things.

This caught the attention of the folks at ABC 702 Sydney, and I ended up having this 7-minute conversation with Linda Mottram. Enjoy.

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The audio is of course ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, archived here because it’s not archived anywhere else.

Screenshot from The ProjectI am continually intrigued by the choices of stories that I end up talking about on Channel TEN’s The Project — like bouncing off the release of a parliamentary report on IT pricing to discuss how to avoid geoblocking.

It’s nearly two weeks since we recorded some sound bites at the foot of Sydney Harbour Bridge. The story was originally scheduled to air the following night. But on the day there was a far better yarn to tell — the anniversary of MMS, which could lead to some fun sexting jokes — and then the prime minister called the election. I was starting to assume that the story had been spiked.

But no, it went to air on Monday night, and it turned out to be quite a good explanation of the issue and how to get around the geoblocks — as well as the risks.

The video of the three-minute segment, including comments fore and aft by the presenters, is over the fold.

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Telstra screenshot: click to embiggenWith all their constant worrying about whether people would recommend them or not, like this example from Telstra, I’m starting to think that most big corporations are paranoid psychotics — and not in a good way.

The other day I conducted a perfectly routine transaction at a Telstra Shop. I cancelled a mobile broadband service and replaced it with a different one. As with many businesses, my visit was followed up with a brief survey, “Please tell us how you feel.”

There were four questions, but none of them actually asked me how I felt:

Is your new Telstra service working? If you answer ‘no’ to this question, we will present you with options to get in contact with Telstra to resolve your issue on the next page.

OK, that’s fair enough. You need to know that the customer has a working broadband service. But the other three?

When you consider all aspects of buying and connecting your service — how likely are you to recommend Telstra to a friend or colleague?

Thinking about your in-store experience, how likely would you be to recommend the store to a friend or colleague?

What are the most important reasons why you gave us this score?

Guys, this goes way beyond “Does my bum look fat in this?” This is self-obsession. “What are you going to tell people about us? Why, what did I do?”

These constant questions about likelihood of being recommended are a sign of paranoia. I don’t care how you feel, I gave you money. Recommending you or not just isn’t a KPI for me.

How about you ask questions that reflect the customer’s needs and aspirations? Or even just concrete questions about how long I had to wait, whether staff were polite, or whether the service meets my needs?

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