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The 9pm Edict's Public House Forum panel: click for podcast web pageABC logoIf you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve used crowdfunding, as we must call it these days, to help finance my personal media projects. This has once more come to the attention of ABC Radio National’s Media Report — probably because I emailed them.

Here’s how the website introduces the item Crowdfunding journalism, an interview with me which was first broadcast on Thursday evening.

Stilgherrian, a freelance journalist and commentator on internet issues, has crowdfunded his own podcast.

The 9pm Edict is made with the help of donations from what amounts to his fan base.

Richard Aedy asked him about the sustainability of fan-funded journalism.


The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s being served here directly from the ABC website.

I’m amused to see The 9pm Edict referred to as “journalism”, but perhaps Aedy is also thinking back to my first crowdfunding project, when I used the Pozible campaign Stilgherrian > Breakpoint+Ruxcon to fund journalism. That was two years ago, and that scored a Media Report story too.

But since then two Pozible campaigns, The 9 O’Clock Resurrection of April 2014 and The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh just two months ago, have been about The 9pm Edict. The first raised just over $1000 to kick off the return of the Edict, and as I wrote recently, that’s now settled down to generating a base revenue of around $700 per month. The second raised more than $7200 to replace a dying computer and upgrade my audio recording equipment.

I always enjoy being interviewed by Aedy, because he has such a broad view of the media landscape in Australia, indeed worldwide, and he’s such a gentleman. They’re always thoughtful questions, and I find myself revisiting some of my own thoughts about what I do.

This post cannot end without reminding you that I have a fourth Pozible campaign running right now, Send Stilgherrian to Ruxcon 2015. You have until 2230 AEDT on 15 October to make a contribution.

[Photo: Recording The 9pm Edict’s Public House Forum using equipment financed through crowdfunding. Photo by James Turner.]

I’m re-launching Corrupted Nerds, my podcast about “information, power, security and all the cybers in a global internet revolution that’s changing… everything.”

And to kick things off, today I launched a crowdfunding campaign to take the podcast to Ruxcon 2015, one of Australia’s key information security conferences, which is being held in Melbourne on 24–25 October 2015.

This chart shows the progress so far.

There’s plenty of information on the Pozible campaign page. I should mention, though, that the initial $2000 target just gets me to Melbourne and puts a roof over my head. We need to go beyond that to fund some production.

If there’s something you think should be explained better, or if you have a suggestion, please let me know.

Bonus link: Today, ABC Radio National’s Media Report broadcast an interview with me about my crowdfunding work, Crowdfunding journalism.

Stilgherrian speaks during the ACCAN conference debate“Will the latest wave of digital disruptors liberate consumers from monopolies or shackle them to new ones?” asked the Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) in the program notes for the somewhat amusing debate which ended their annual conference back on 2 September.

I was on one of the debate teams. Guess which side.

Well, the affirmative team was Daniel Duggan, head of mobile for Yatango; Brad Kitsche, Uber’s director of public policy for the Oceania region; and Brendan Coady from Maddocks Lawyers.

So yeah, I was the final speaker on the negative team, following David Vaile, executive director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of NSW; and Katina Michael, associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong.

And we won.

The video over the fold has the entire thing, except for the first few words by our moderator, Delia Rickard, dDeputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

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Later this morning I’m being interviewed by Richard Aedy for next week’s episode of ABC Radio National’s Media Report about the success of my recent crowdfunding campaign, The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. So I thought I’d put together some notes to clarify my thoughts.

The interview will be a follow-up to the one Aedy did in October 2013, Crowd funding an Australian freelancer – a case study, following the success of my first Pozible campaign.

First, let me say thank-you to the dozens and dozens of people who’ve been funding The 9pm Edict podcast since it was resurrected with an earlier Pozible crowdfunding campaign about 18 months ago. As this chart shows, continuing subscriptions are now running at around $700 per month.

Chart: The 9pm Edict Monthly Production Pool

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UTS logoThis morning I delivered version six of my now-regular guest lecture to media students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. Here are the references and further reading.

The links over the fold start off with some background material that sets out my worldview, and then things are in roughly the same order as presented in the lecture — with the order becoming less coherent further down the page. There’s more material linked here than I mentioned in the lecture itself. Enjoy.

A recording of the lecture will be made available in roughly one week on Wednesday 23 September on Friday 25 September, as the change in Prime Minister has triggered the demand for some of my commentary. This page may be updated with further links at that time.

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ABC logo“How relevant is handwriting in 2015, when people are increasingly communicating via text messages, via email, via tweets, Facebook updates, those sort things?”, asked ABC 891 Adelaide presenter Michael Smyth on Monday afternoon.

There are schools in Finland and the US reportedly phasing out the teaching of handwriting.

Here’s what I think is an interesting 12-minute discussion that includes a vox pop of people in Adelaide, talkback calls, and Pam Kent, president of the South Australian Primary Principals Association, as well as myself.


The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Bonus link: By a happy coincidence, this week’s episode of ABC Radio’s Future Tense asks Does handwriting have a future?

ABC logoThe Ashley Madison hack returned to the news this week, because the 30-day deadline given by Impact Team, the hacker(s) who claimed responsibility, expired, and the site’s data started being dumped onto the internet.

While I’d spoken about this before on ABC 936 Hobart, this week I spoke about the then-latest developments on Friday with ABC Gold Coast. Here’s the full conversation with morning presenter Nicole Dyer.

The site I mentioned at the end, where you can check whether your email address appears in the Ashley Madison data dump, or in many of the larger data breaches of recent years, is, run by Australian security researcher Troy Hunt. Use it.


The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Screenshot of Stilgherrian on Lateline: click for video and transcriptIt was my very great pleasure to talk about hacking and the impending security disaster that is the Internet of Things (IoT) on ABC TV’s Lateline last night — and don’t I look concerned.

Also joining the program was security researcher Runa Sandvik, who got plenty of media recently for hacking a smart sniper rifle.

I won’t go into too many details here, because you can see the video and transcript at the Lateline website. For the next month or so, you can also watch it in HD on iView.

However, this exchange surprised me:

STILGHERRIAN: … Scarier though is what’s happening with smart TVs. There are millions of those around the world. They’re networked, so you can watch clips from YouTube or whatever on them or Netflix or any of the streaming services, and yet I’ve seen a young hacker from South Korea not only hack a smart TV, hack it in 10 different ways and set it up so that the camera and microphone in the TV are streaming live video and sound out to the internet while the television looks like it’s turned off. These are televisions that are being installed over the last few years and more in the future in hotel bedrooms, classrooms, corporate boardrooms. So they’re kind of like an always-on surveillance device.

JOHN BARRON: I guess, Runa, the question then occurs: well, who would want to do this? Who would want to hack into somebody’s TV set in suburban Australia or the United States? The answer would probably be: well, nobody. But why would somebody want to do this?

RUNA SANDVIK: There’s a mix. There’s definitely people that are doing this for sort of evil purposes, if you will, or to make money, and there are people that do it just because they can, because it’s there, it’s a possibility, it’s not as secure as it should be and they do it just to show that they can.

Personally, I’d have thought that the security risks of peering into people’s homes would have been obvious, but the questions moved on before I could point out the attraction to both pilferers and perverts.

Anyway, you can also read my thoughts on this in my December 2014 column, All aboard the internet of things infosec hype train, and its January 2014 predecessor, Our hackers, who art in open source, deliver us from refrigerators.

FIVEaa logoThe (relatively) new Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) released its first-ever unclassified threat report yesterday, but as I wrote at ZDNet, I was disappointed.

The report (PDF) has dropped, and indeed it contains few surprises. It tells the now-familiar story of serious and organised criminals, foreign state-sponsored actors, and other “cyber adversaries”, all of whom are getting better at what they do.

“The cyber threat to Australian organisations is undeniable, unrelenting and continues to grow. If an organisation is connected to the internet, it is vulnerable. The incidents in the public eye are just the tip of the iceberg,” begins the report’s foreword.

“Cyber adversaries are aggressive and persistent in their efforts to compromise Australian networks and information. They are constantly improving their tradecraft in an attempt to defeat our network defences and exploit new technologies,” it says later.

“Australia is an innovative country with a globally important resources sector. We are a regional leader with global interests and important partnerships. This makes Australia a target-rich environment for cyber adversaries.”

All of which is true, of course, but all of which has been said so many times before.

I spoke about the report today with Will Goodings on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide — with somewhat less disappointment in my voice.


The audio is ©2015 Nova Entertainment.

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