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My week Monday 25 November to Sunday 1 December 2013 was ages ago — so to catch up on all the missing Weekly Wrap posts, I’ll just list the basics and skip giving them photos.

Once I’ve posted all four, I’ll do some sort of more detailed post explaining the state of the world — or at least my little bit of it.

Articles

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I went to the Internet Industry Association (IIA) Nautical Policy event, which is of course code for a couple hours of eating and drinking on Sydney Harbour aboard Matilda III sponsored by Enex Testlab. Afterwards we continued on for more drinks, and I know that at least one bottle of wine was paid for by iiNet.

The week of Monday 26 November to Sunday 2 December 2012 was strange. It started with stormy weather, and the misty conditions continued until Wednesday. But by Thursday I was sunburnt and dehydrated in sweltering heat.

I should not have walked through the heat from Potts Point to the Sydney CBD, even though I could take a photograph of the city along the way.

It was also a stressful week. To the usual month-end cashflow blockage was added a series of strange problems with a client’s marketing email template.

The client had chosen to use an old template, and the line spacing fell apart in modern versions of Microsoft Outlook. Then some of the links to PDF files on their website didn’t work, with the links being somehow scrambled so they delivered a “404 File not found” error instead of the PDF file. Sometimes.

Eventually we discovered that the links broke — sometimes — when URLs containing white-space characters (such as “%20″ for a space) were passed from Outlook to an out-of-date version of Adobe Reader.

Thankfully the week ended with some semblance of normality, and the weekend was restful.

Podcasts

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Sunday morning I was asked, at the last minute, to be the bespoke Twitterer for ABC Radio National’s Sunday Extra. That just means that I had to listen to the program — which I was doing anyway — and tweet about it.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I attended the Retail Tech Forum at Wildfire Restaurant, Circular Quay, which was organised by Bass PR for various clients: Dassault Systèmes, who do many things but in this case provide 3D modelling and visualisation tools for retail environments; retail software systems vendor Island Pacific Australia; 3Q Holdings, who also do retail tech; Meridian Systems, who make “technology solutions” for the project management of “capital buildings” and the maintenance thereof; and analysts Frost & Sullivan. I daresay an article will come out of this at some point. Meanwhile, here’s the lunch menu and pictures of the beef short rib starter and the corn-fed chicken main course.
  • On Thursday I had lunch at Establishment with the people behind Uber Sydney, a smartphone-based service that provides on-demand ordering of a black town car. An article will come out of this eventually.
  • On Thursday afternoon I went on a two-hour cruise of Sydney Harbour aboard Matilda III, which was the Internet Industry Association’s Harbour Policy Party. The photographs start here.
  • On Thursday evening I dropped into The Indies’ Christmas party at the Burdekin Hotel on Oxford Street, The Indies being the four PR firms Bass PR, Shuna Boyd PR (which doesn’t seem to have a website?), Einsteinz Communications and Espresso Communications. I had just one glass of wine, my only alcohol for the entire day, before exhaustion set in.

The Week Ahead

Starting this week I’ll be based in Hurstville, a southern suburb of Sydney, thanks to a housesitting arrangement with someone who shall remain anonymous. I’ll be there until the end of the first week of January. Unless plans change.

This week is another busy week. I daresay I won’t get around to producing the Patch Monday podcast until Monday morning. I’ve got some writing to do too. Then on Tuesday, Optus is showcasing their 4G smartphones at a lunch in Surry Hills. On Wednesday I’m attending VMware’s Cloud Panel, a lunchtime event at The Star casino.

I’ll try to record next week’s Patch Monday podcast on Thursday, because on Thursday night I’m going to Fuel Communications‘ Christmas party and then on Friday I’m covering a one-day conference Privacy in the 21st Century (PDF), organised by the Communications Law Centre at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Since I’m covering that conference for both Crikey and ZDNet, it’ll be sensible to get that podcast out of the way.

[Photo: The Nepean was crossed. It has been my habit to take a photograph each time I cross the Nepean River en route from Wentworth Falls to Sydney or vice versa, which I then tweet with the caption Crossing the Nepean. Yesterday I missed, and the outbound train was already at Emu Plains before I could take a snapshot.]

Benno Rice is the winner of the recent caption competition featuring Sex Party and Eros Association representative Fiona Patten, Fairfax technology journalist and editor Ben Grubb and me.

His entry was:

That’s not her arse you’re grabbing.

Now I never got around to organising a prize, and I’m not sure we really need one. However Fiona Patten has said she’s “happy to go thru the toy box and find a prize if the winner is interested”.

Benno, Ms Patten is executive officer of the Eros Association. Would you like her to rummage in her box for you?

What is wrong with this picture? Here’s me, Sex Party and Eros Association representative Fiona Patten, and Fairfax technology journalist and editor Ben Grubb at the Internet Industry Association’s Harbour Nautical Policy Party last Thursday afternoon.

I reckon we should have a competition for the best caption. Entries in the comments below, please, and they closes 5pm this Friday 9 December 2011 Sydney time. We’ll choose the winner between us. Somehow. Stop asking me questions.

I suppose I should think of a prize.

If you need more details to inspire you, zoom in or look at the original uncropped image.

Maybe Ben can be the prize.

No, I think that’s illegal.

Does someone have a prize?

My first op-ed for CSO, “The Resource for Data Security Executives”, has just been posted. It’s voluntary ISP-level internet filtering, but a different angle from my Crikey piece earlier today.

After nearly four chaotic years, Australia’s internet filtering scheme is finally coming together in a way that makes sense technically and politically, if not necessarily for effective child protection.

The chaos wasn’t all communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy’s fault. The “clean feed” was announced as Labor policy back in March 2006 by then-leader Kim Beazley. ISPs would filter out the nasties hosted overseas, where they couldn’t be hit with a takedown notice from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

But Conroy’s name was on Labor’s Plan for Cyber-safety published just five days out from the federal election in late 2007, and once in government it was Conroy’s job to explain that plan and sell it to voters. Everyone presumably imagined it’d be a protect-the-kiddies no-brainer.

Problem was, neither the plan not Conroy’s explanations were clear…

As I say, it’s my first outing for CSO, but if all goes according to plan there’ll be more. And in case you’re wondering, CSO is a job title. Chief Security Officer.

Over at Crikey I’ve written a summary of what’s happening with Australia’s internet filter.

Australia’s mandatory internet filtering by internet service providers (ISPs) won’t happen for at least two years. But we’re getting filtering anyway. Voluntarily. By ISPs. Next month…

Telstra and Optus are expected to have their filters ready within weeks, although the situation with Primus is unclear…

The Internet Industry Association (IIA) is also about to release a voluntary industry code that would see an estimated 80% to 90% of Australian internet connections filtered by the Interpol blacklist over the next year. Attempts to access domains on the list would be redirected to an Interpol block page.

Overall, I reckon the process that’s now unfolding could well result in the gvernment’s planned mandatory ISP-level filtering disappearing off the table entirely.

As a bonus link, here’s Interpol’s explanation of their “worst-of” blacklist of child exploitation material.

Australia’s mandatory internet filter is at least two years away, but Telstra and Optus are only weeks from implementing their “voluntary” equivalents. Where are we up to with this controversial issue?

That’s what I covered in yesterday’s Patch Monday podcast for ZDNet Australia. And as I explained on the weekend, I’m returning to my habit of doing a blog post here for each episode.

For this internet filtering update, I spoke with Peter Black, who teaches internet and media law at the Queensland University of Technology; network engineer Mark Newton; and Lyle Shelton, chief of staff for the Australian Christian Lobby.

You can listen below. But it’s probably better for my stats if you listen at ZDNet Australia or subscribe to the RSS feed or subscribe in iTunes.

Since this podcast was recorded, we’ve discovered that Primus isn’t so sure about voluntary filtering any more. They were the third ISP to commit to the plan last year. However the Internet Industry Association (IIA) has said most Australian ISPs will filter via the Interpol list this year.

Previous podcast on this issue covered the meaning of the Refused Classification content category, Senator Conroy’s announcement of the strategy in July 2010, and the apparent fact that parents don’t act on their cybersafety fears.

Please let me know what you think. Comments below. We accept audio comments too. Either Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

Crikey logo

It’s almost old news now, but last Thursday the Federal Court ruled that internet service providers (ISPs) are not responsible for the copyright infringements done by their customers.

The full decision by Justice Dennis Cowdroy is almost 200 pages long, yet I found it relatively easy to read and learned a lot.

I’ve written three stories for Crikey so far:

  1. iiTrial: ISPs not responsible for users’ copyright infringement, which was published just a few hours after the decision was handed down. It’s the basic facts of the decision.
  2. iiNet decision a slapdown for AFACT, movie industry, which focuses on Justice Cowdroy’s comprehensive criticism of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) — not just the way they conducted themselves in court but their whole approach to dealing with copyright infringement.
  3. Conroy tells movie industry, ISPs to kiss and make up, published yesterday. AFACT looked like they expected the government to intervene, but communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy is instead asking the movie and ISP industries to negotiate a code of practice themselves, presumably via the Internet Industry Association.

I daresay I’ll be writing more soon. Meanwhile, if you have any questions…

ZDNet Australia logo: click for the Zombie Generation article

“If you had to identify the biggest single issue confronting the security and safety and the confidence of the internet these days, particularly in the commercial space, you could only point to zombie botnets as the major concern,” says Peter Coroneos, chief executive of the Internet Industry Association (IIA).

On Wednesday, ZDNet.com.au published my feature story Zombie Generation: The spreading infection, which kicks off with a backgrounder on zombie botnets and then some worrying trends.

  • The malware used to create botnets is getting more sophisticated. Traditional stay-safe-online messages are no longer adequate — if they ever were.
  • Young people’s eagerness to share cool new things amongst their peers is natural human behaviour, but it runs counter to the “don’t share” messages.
  • It’s easy for kids to break out of the security restrictions of the laptops supplied under the Australian Government’s Digital Education Revolution program — something we also spoke about on Patch Monday.

Australian ISPs are now developing a more formal code of practice to detect and deal with their customers’ zombie computers.

I also posted a lengthy rebuttal to some fool trying to over-simplify this as “a Microsoft problem”.

Stilgherrian’s links for 22 September 2009 through 26 September 2009, gathered intermittently and posted with a lack of attention to detail:

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