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Screenshot of Stilgherrian from Download This Show: click for podcast websiteABC logoWould you believe it’s been more than a year since the last time Marc Fennell invited me onto Download This Show? Well, it is.

Ironically, it seems like this week’s episode was designed specifically to troll me. We discussed TV (which I don’t watch) in the context of the new Apple TV, cars (which I don’t drive) in the context of hacking them, and weddings (which I’m not interested in). Still, Janet Carr and I had fun.

Here’s how the ABC website describes the episode:

Has Apple really reinvented the ole TV box? Also is your digital DAB radio the key to hackers accessing your car? More inside…

There’s a video of the Apple TV segment over the fold. If it doesn’t work for you here, watch it on YouTube.

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ABC logoThis evening I did one of my now (ir)regular spots on ABC 774 Melbourne, and since I’d been at Ruxcon over the weekend, that conference was an obvious topic.

Presenter Lindy Burns and I started off talking about the origins of the word “hacker”, and that led into a brief history of cybercrime, before we got into the so-called “dark web” and Silk Road… and even the risks of smart TVs.

Here’s the entire 23-minute conversation exactly as it aired — and as Ms Burns herself freely admits, it strayed well away from our planned topics.


The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoOne of the more amusing information security stories last week was the news that CIA director John Brennan’s personal email account at AOL had been taken over by a couple of young hackers.

I ended up providing a few comments on ABC Radio’s PM on Thursday.

It’s a situation that would be deeply embarrassing for any CEO but for the director of the CIA to have his private email account accessed by hackers is beyond humiliating. Leaked emails appear to discuss the use of torture and to contain extensive details of the CIA chief’s private life. The CIA has condemned the hack as a crime, saying the hacked email was a family account. PM has obtained an interview with two people who claim to be the hackers. Sarah Dingle reports.

Here’s the entire 4-minute radio story.


The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is being served directly from the program website, where there’s also a transcript.

Laura McKenzie, Mark Pesce and Stilgherrian in the recording studioWe recorded it on Monday afternoon, and it was posted today. It’s the latest episode of Mark Pesce’s podcast TWISTA: This Week In Startups Australia.

Here’s how he introduces it on the web:

A huge pivot toward startups and innovation by Malcolm Turnbull, huge policy outcomes from Wyatt Roy’s Policy Hack event, a huge IPO from Australia’s most-beloved tech startup, Atlassian, a huge new $200M fund from Blackbird ventures, and huge issues with diversity still plague tech. TWISTA’s huge news special pairs SCALE Investors managing director Laura McKenzie and Austrlia’s snarkiest tech journo, Stilgherrian, with the biggest news issues in our biggest news special yet!

There’s rather a lot about Turnbull, actually, including a couiple of disturbing mental images.

For more details, check out the podcast Tumblr.

[Photo: Laura McKenzie, Mark Pesce and Stilgherrian in the recording studio, photographed by Felix Warmuth, who was our sound engineer.]

ABC logoApparently South Australia had an #optuswrongtime incident today, when some customers’ devices showed the wrong time, causing chaos for them.

The same sort of thing happened in Queensland in January — that’s when the hashtag was invented — and just like then, the official explanation was less than forthcoming.

An overnight maintenance upgrade of our 4G Plus mobile network caused some Optus customers’ devices in South Australia and the Northern Territory to switch to a different time zone earlier this morning. The Optus 3G network was unaffected.

Optus technicians resolved the issue with a fix that set clocks to the correct time zone.

Customers were also able to resolve the issue in a number of ways, including:

  • Turning flight mode on and off
  • Turning automatic clock settings off and on
  • Turning their device off and on.

We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience.

I spoke about the incident this afternoon on ABC 891 Adelaide with Sonya Feldhoff.


The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Pozible crowdfunding campaign “Send Stilgherrian to Ruxcon 2015” has been successfully funded. See you in Melbourne next weekend.

16 October 2015 by Stilgherrian | No comments

ABC logoAs the working week came to a close on Friday, news was spreading that Australia’s new PM Malcolm Turnbull has been using a “private” email address for some of his official communications — a situation, it was said, was similar to that of Hillary Clinton when she was US Secretary of State.

It’s not quite the same. Clinton’s people had rolled their own email service, whereas Turnbull had used a commercially-available service — it looks like it was Microsoft’s as resold by NetRegistry. But the concerns were the same. Was it secure? And was it being properly archived as required by law?

Don’t assume government email is more secure than private email, Turnbull said. But the archive question never seemed to get as much traction.

I spoke about some of these issues on ABC 720 Perth with Jamie Burnett.


This audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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.

[Update 16 October 2015: The campaign closed last night, and was successfully funded. Thank you.]

Screenshot of completed Pozible campaign: click for campaign web page

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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