Privacy

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FIVEaa logo“Two of America’s biggest retail banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Wells Fargo & Co — are quietly recording the biometric details of some callers’ voices to weed out fraud,” reported Associated Press this week. The news caught the eye of Will Goodings at 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide. I told him that the Americans are way behind Australia on this one.

All of the Big Four banks here are already using voiceprints. In the case of NAB and Westpac, since about 2009.

In fact, Australia is a world leader in voiceprint technology. In a Patch Monday podcast from March 2012, I spoke with Dr Clive Summerfield, chief executive of Auraya, who told me that Australia’s social services agency Centrelink has been using voiceprints to identify callers since 2005, and more than 95% of callers are identified this way. Voiceprints are also used by the Australian Taxation Office.

Here’s a recording of the conversation we had on air on Friday afternoon, complete with a talkback caller who followed me.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

"Politics of Social" panellists: see text for people's namesLast month I took part in the discussion panel Politics of Social at Social Media Week Sydney — and here’s a video, finally.

Yes, I’m dealing with my backlog of posts.

What was this discussion all about?

Trust, authority and credibility are arguably more crucial in politics than anywhere else. Social media is now an essential part of the political process for MPs, citizens, and lobbyists, but how does that change public perception, the end results, and their impact on society? Our political experts will dissect past and present political activity to determine what the evolution of social media has achieved in political realm, and how political communications is likely to continue evolving.

Joining moderator Kate Carruthers, co-founder of Social Innovation Sydney, on 24 September 2014 were (left to right): Alex Greenwich, independent Member for Sydney in the Parliament of NSW; political sociologist Ariadne Vromen, associate professor at the University of Sydney; myself; and Steph Harmon, managing editor of Junkee at The Sound Alliance.

It was a lively discussion, and the video is over the fold, immediately below. Enjoy.

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FIVEaa logoThe third and final of today’s radio spots about the alleged hack of Apple’s iCloud service was at lunchtime, so I’d had time to wake up and gather my thoughts — as well as see how the infosec community was reacting.

The afternoon presenter on 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide, Will Goodings, gave it plenty of time too, some 14 minutes, so we covered quite a few issues — including the privacy implications of cloud technology generally.

I sound a bit tired or something, though. Possibly because I was tired.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Today’s previous two radio spots were for Nova 100 Melbourne and ABC Radio’s AM.

ABC logoA few minutes after doing the live spot on Nova 100, I recorded an interview on the alleged Apple iCloud hack for ABC Radio’s national current affairs program AM.

Reporter Emily Bourke would have gone away with a disjointed mess of soundbites, but the disjointedness isn’t so important when it’ll be edited into a multi-voice report.

I think this one quote best summarises my view of the compromise we enter into when using cloud services:

The big problem with creating massive online cloud storage systems — which is now the way we do things on the internet, whether it’s Apple or Microsoft or Google or Amazon or whoever — is that you create a vast honey pot of a target for the attackers.

Once you find one way to get in, you can potentially get access to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people’s data.

The plus side is such concentrated services means they can hire some of the best security people they can find, putting brains onto the problem is obviously important. So at one level the cloud providers can, if they do it right, protect things far better than you or I could on computer systems under our own control.

The failures are therefore going to be far less frequent. It’s just that when the failures do happen they can be catastrophic.

Here’s the full story, served directly from the ABC website, where you can also read the transcript.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

A few sentences of my comments were also used in a later report on The World Today at lunchtime, which featured security researcher Troy Hunt.

Nova logoIt’s starting to look like an alleged hack of Apple’s iCloud service was the source of a series of nude photos of female celebrities that has appeared online. That news led to a series of radio appearances for me today. Starting with this one.

The story itself has already been widely reported, and I won’t go into any detail about the victims of this invasion of privacy. One good place to start is this summary at The Guardian, and there’s more technical details at TUAW. These blog posts will simply present the media spots that I did.

First up was Nova 100 in Melbourne. This was done live with breakfast presenters Meshel and Tommy at 0720, and my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. That’s why I screwed up my first, embarrassingly-wrong go at the explanation — at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

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It seems Meshel was quite taken with my name. That’s so sweet.

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

FIVEaa logo“Facebook Messenger app has permission to spy on your phone,” screeched a headline on 9 News today. “The new Facebook Messenger app has permission to take pictures and videos without your confirmation and to call numbers without intervention, causing unexpected charges.”

This story caught the attention of 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide afternoon presenter Will Goodings. As you’ll hear, I talked him out of some of the scarier ideas, but did mention the issues of granularity in smartphone app permissions that I’ve written about before.

Here’s the full interview, plus a little end note about what we might do with Adelaide’s Festival Plaza. I present a modest proposal, as does a listener.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

FIVEaa logoInteresting news today that Facebook will start using Google’s browsing history data to better target their advertising. It triggered an equally interesting conversation just now on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide.

According to the USA Today report run on Fairfax mastheads, Facebook is looking to ramp up revenue as it competes with Google for advertising dollars.

“Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV,” the company said.

Afternoon presenter Will Goodings wanted to chat about the privacy implications. But then I showed him the recent Bloomberg report which described how researchers could use smart meters — the electricity kind — to figure out what TV programs you were watching by analysing the TV’s power consumption patterns.

Here’s the full interview, plus the subsequent conversation with lawyer Paul Gordon from Finlayson’s Lawyers, who called in while we were chatting.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

ABC logoFollowing a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), Google has instituted a system to enable “the right to be forgotten” — and they’ve been flooded with requests.

More than 12,000 requests for certain pages to be removed from Google’s search results were received in the first 24 hours — that’s an average of seven per second — and it’s still unclear how they’ll all be dealt with.

In any event, it won’t work.

I discussed some of the issues with Genevieve Jacobs on ABC 666 Canberra this morning, including the case of Michael Trkulja, the Melbourne man who successfully sued both Google and Yahoo! for a total of around $500,000 — but who has yet to pay his lawyer — and the wonders of the Streisand Effect.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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