The 9pm Poorly Governed Semantic Argument with Justin Warren

Justin Warren
Justin Warren seems unaware of the garden furniture sneaking up behind him. (Photo: Kyle Taylor/ABC News)

Is a cow a thing? Is the ocean a thing? We ponder these and other important questions with Justin Warren, “consultant, freedom of information tragic, hexagon enthusiast, and creator of the CyberRating™ labelling scheme”. He’s also chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia, but I’m sure they’ll disown him.

In this episode we talk about robodebt and ministerial responsibility, cyber weapons, the little-known capital punishment round in the Eurovision Song Contest, Australia’s online safety regime, how privacy is the opposite of transparency, and even a bit about Mastodon.

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Justin Warren has been on the Edict thrice before.

If you’re planning to come to the Public House Forum recording on Saturday 1 April 2023, please let me know so we can plan for numbers.

Careful listeners may notice that the previous episode with Dr Trent Yarwood was labelled 00195 in some places and 00196 in others. For various reasons I’ve made that one 00196 and this one 00195. Yes, that’s out of order, but it required fewer changes.

Episode Links

  • CyberRating™ pioneer, OopsRisk™ evangelist, hexagon and FOI enthusiast, cheese noticer, digital rights advocate. Probably not a vampire. He/him.
  • My name is Justin Warren, and I live in Melbourne, Australia. Eigenmagic is my personal blog. Mostly it’s about technology and management, with a smattering of other topics thrown in for good measure. I write about whatever I think people might be interested in. I tend towards long form prose because I often don’t have time to make things shorter.
  • This is where you buy your “Danger: Hexagons” warning signs and the like.
  • We specialise in marketing strategy, positioning, and messaging for technology companies, particularly startups. As a boutique firm, we offer custom consulting tailored to individual client needs, as well as a range of standard packages.
  • [13 February 2023] The eSafety Commissioner has told associations for online industries to rewrite safety codes they submitted in November, saying the drafts do not provide users adequate protection from harmful content.
  • [March 2023] The revised draft codes outline steps that online industry participants must take to enhance online protections by reducing access and exposure to certain types of harmful online material, known as Class 1A and 1B material with reference to Australia’s classification scheme. This includes material promoting child sexual abuse, terrorism, extreme crime and violence, crime and violence, and drug-related content.
  • [30 May 2019] New laws in Australia are framed as a contribution to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. Yet the laws are controversial domestically.
  • [31 March 2021] The key issues around Australia’s encryption laws are oversight and the scope of the laws. Opposition parties and the INSLM want more oversight and a narrower scope. Intelligence agencies are happy with what they have, but they wouldn’t object to having less oversight.
  • [19 January 2021] The government agrees: Australia needs a whole new electronic surveillance Act to sort out the mess. But a bunch of ad hoc laws are already making their way through parliament.
  • The Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security (RCIS), also known as the First Hope Commission, was a Royal Commission established on 21 August 1974 by Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam to reach findings and make recommendations as to the Australian Intelligence Community.
  • [20 Feb 2023] Government response to the PJCIS review of the mandatory data retention regime prescribed by Part 5-1A of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979.
  • The evil bit is a fictional IPv4 packet header field proposed in RFC 3514, a humorous April Fools' Day RFC from 2003 authored by Steve Bellovin. The RFC recommended that the last remaining unused bit, the "Reserved Bit" in the IPv4 packet header, be used to indicate whether a packet had been sent with malicious intent, thus making computer security engineering an easy problem – simply ignore any messages with the evil bit set and trust the rest.
  • [19 May 2020] In a landmark decision, the German Constitutional Court has ruled that mass surveillance of telecommunications outside of Germany conducted on foreign nationals is unconstitutional. Thanks to the chief legal counsel, Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF), this a major victory for global civil liberties, but especially those that live and work in Europe. Many will now be protected after lackluster 2016 surveillance reforms continued to authorize the surveillance on EU states and institutions for the purpose of “foreign policy and security,” and permitted the BND to collaborate with the NSA.
  • [21 October 2013] The U.S. intelligence community claims it's not spying on citizens until someone actually looks at the data it collects. That argument is deeply flawed.
  • [17 February 2017] This is from a 1979 presentation. We are v slow learners, it seems. ["A COMPUTER CAN NEVER BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. THEREFORE A COMPUTER MUST NEVER MAKE A MANAGEMENT DECISION.
  • [8 December 2017] A Sydney man has become the first person to be sentenced under an Australian state's "one-punch" laws. Those convicted of fatal one-punch assaults while under the influence of drugs or alcohol face minimum eight-year sentences in New South Wales.
  • [1 March 2023]
  • The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, on Saturday, March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and girls and 23 men – who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Italian or Jewish immigrant women and girls aged 14 to 23; of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was 43-year-old Providenza Panno, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and Rosaria "Sara" Maltese.
  • The Therac-25 was a computer-controlled radiation therapy machine produced by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in 1982 after the Therac-6 and Therac-20 units (the earlier units had been produced in partnership with Compagnie Générale de Radiologie (CGR) of France). It was involved in at least six accidents between 1985 and 1987, in which patients were given massive overdoses of radiation.
  • The safety of the design of the Pinto's fuel system led to critical incidents and subsequently resulted in a recall, lawsuits, criminal prosecution, and public controversy. The events surrounding the controversy have been described as a "landmark narrative". The Ford Pinto has been cited and debated in numerous business ethics[55][56] as well as tort reform case studies.
  • [19 February 2023] Fatal drownings on unpatrolled beaches in NSW have risen more than 60 per cent this summer to 26, compared to the 10-year average of 16 deaths.
  • [11 March 2023] The royal commission ended on Friday, having heard shocking testimony from officials and politicians, and heart-rending accounts of the impact of the botched scheme
  • [11 March 2023] In its last week of hearings, the robo-debt royal commission has found the moment when the scheme became an expression of unchecked political desire.
  • [28 February 2023] Rhys Cauzzo was one of hundreds of thousands of Australians who received unlawful and false debt notices under robo-debt. The 28-year-old died by suicide in January of 2017, as debt collectors pursued him for $17,000 dollars. After his death, his mother Jenny began to unravel just how many debt notices Rhys had received, and she decided to go public – speaking to The Saturday Paper about what happened to her son.
  • [3 March 2023] The former government services minister attributed ‘false’ statements to ‘cabinet solidarity’ but another version of events will be considered by the royal commission
  • In cryptography and computer science, a hash tree or Merkle tree is a tree in which every "leaf" (node) is labelled with the cryptographic hash of a data block, and every node that is not a leaf (called a branch, inner node, or inode) is labelled with the cryptographic hash of the labels of its child nodes. A hash tree allows efficient and secure verification of the contents of a large data structure. A hash tree is a generalization of a hash list and a hash chain.
  • [27 July 2011] IBM is encouraging businesses to extend the use of its Tivoli integrated service management software into the entirety of a business' infrastructure, where even individual cattle can be a business asset.
  • The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest is selected by a positional voting system. The most recent system is set to be implemented in the 2023 contest, and sees each participating country award two sets of 12, 10, 8–1 points to their ten favourite songs: one set from their professional jury and the other from televoting, with only televoting used in the semi-finals, and both jury and televoting in the final.

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This episode it’s thanks to Sylmobile for a refreshing beer.

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