The 9pm Dream Cheese of Digital Tyranny with Justin Warren

Justin Warren
Justin Warren’s face is captured to prove that he’s allowed to access social media in South Australia. (Photo: Kyle Taylor/ABC News)

In recent weeks the Australian government has opened multiple fronts in its war against the social media giants. So who better to speak with than Justin Warren, “consultant, freedom of information tragic, hexagon enthusiast, and creator of the CyberRating™ labelling scheme”?

In this episode we discuss the MediSecure data breach, Australia’s new Digital ID laws, the pilot of online age assurance technology, plans to ban young people from using social media, how socialisation puts a little police officer in your head, the concept of Reward Cheese, the problem of apostrophes, eSafety Commissioner vs X Corp in the Federal Court, censorship more generally, and why farmers are complaining about space weather.

This conversation was recorded on 21 May 2024, so listen all the way to the end for some updates.

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Justin has been on the pod five times before

Episode Links

Proposed logo for myID, the Australian government’s new digital ID system (Image: IP Australia)
  • 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 May 2024] A Federal Court judge has denied the eSafety Commissioner’s application to extend an injunction on footage posted on X of the Wakeley stabbing last month.
  • On 15 April 2024, at approximately 7:15 pm local time, a knife attack took place at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. During a live-streamed sermon, the attacker walked up to the pulpit, first stabbing bishop Mari Emmanuel, resulting in permanent vision loss in Emmanuel's right eye, before stabbing a priest and injuring another churchgoer.[2] While no one was killed, this attack was the second stabbing incident to have taken place in Sydney in three days, following the deadly mass stabbing at Bondi Junction.
  • Learn how films, computer games and publications are classified and what the ratings mean. Look up films to find ratings, consumer advice and other film details. Check for upcoming releases.
  • The Falling Man is a photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew of a man falling from the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks in New York City. The unidentified man in the image was trapped on the upper floors of the North Tower, and it is unclear whether he fell while searching for safety or he jumped to escape the fire and smoke.
  • The People vs. Larry Flynt is a 1996 American biographical drama film directed by Miloš Forman, chronicling the rise of pornographer Larry Flynt and his subsequent clash with religious institutions and the law. It stars Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love as his wife Althea, and Edward Norton as his attorney Alan Isaacman. The screenplay, written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, spans about 35 years of Flynt's life, from his impoverished upbringing in Kentucky to his court battle with Reverend Jerry Falwell, and is based in part on the U.S. Supreme Court case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell.
  • [14 May 2024] FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, eSafety Commissioner v X Corp [2024] FCA 499, File number: NSD 474 of 2024.
  • In law, comity is "a principle or practice among political entities such as countries, states, or courts of different jurisdictions, whereby legislative, executive, and judicial acts are mutually recognized." It is an informal and non-mandatory courtesy to which a court of one jurisdiction affords to the court of another jurisdiction when determining questions where the law or interests of another country are involved. Comity is founded on the concept of sovereign equality among states and is expected to be reciprocal.
  • [Obviously you can look for this on your podcast app of choice.]
  • The Grass Mud Horse or C?oním? (???) is a Chinese Internet meme created as a mocking protest against Internet censorship and the Great Firewall. It is a word play on the Mandarin words cào n? m? (???), literally, "fuck your mother", and is one of the 10 mythical creatures created in a hoax article on Baidu Baike in early 2009 whose names form obscene puns.
  • [16 May 2024] Australia versus The Socials! eSafety vs X Corp in the federal Court, vice versa in the AAT, Meta vs All The News, and yet another inquiry into social media. That and more in the final week before the Budget.
  • The Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Act 2021 is a mandatory code of conduct which governs commercial relationships between Australian news businesses and ‘designated’ digital platforms who benefit from a significant bargaining power imbalance.
  • [3 July 2023] VPN awareness is above average in Australia. The survey revealed that most Australians know what a VPN is, making it one of the top 10 countries in the study for VPN awareness. Just over six out of 10 (62.7%) people in Australia are aware of VPNs, with over a quarter (27.1%) using them.
  • [31 July 2008] Now that it's getting in the way of the Olympics coverage, everyone in the world is getting indignant over the Great Firewall of China. Stilgherrian gives a guided tour.
  • Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror is a 2021 American five-part docuseries created for Netflix and directed by Brian Knappenberger. It was produced by Luminant Media. The series documents the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 in New York City's Lower Manhattan, as well as the events that took place both in Afghanistan and the United States, which led to the attacks. It was released on September 1, 2021.
  • Roquefort (French pronunciation: [??kf??]) is a sheep milk blue cheese from southern France. Though similar cheeses are produced elsewhere, EU law dictates that only those cheeses aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon may bear the name Roquefort, as it is a recognised geographical indication, and has a protected designation of origin.
  • [18 November 2021] Eating a pungent blue or mature camembert before bed is reputed to lead to outlandish dreams, or even nightmares. But can a dairy-laden snack really influence what happens in our sleep?
  • [15 May 2024] Brexit border IT outages have delayed the import of perishable items to UK by up to 20 hours. Lorries carrying meat, cheese and cut flowers held up by new checks, with retailers rejecting some orders as a result of the hold-up.
  • In finance, a bond is a type of security under which the issuer (debtor) owes the holder (creditor) a debt, and is obliged – depending on the terms – to provide cash flow to the creditor (e.g. repay the principal (i.e. amount borrowed) of the bond at the maturity date as well as interest (called the coupon) over a specified amount of time).
  • Alan Bond (22 April 1938 – 5 June 2015) was an Australian businessman noted for his high-profile and often corrupt business dealings. These included his central role in the WA Inc scandals of the 1980s; the biggest corporate collapse in Australian history; and also his criminal conviction that saw him serve four years in prison. He is also remembered for bankrolling the successful challenge for the 1983 America's Cup, the first time the New York Yacht Club had lost it in its 132-year history. He is also the founder of Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia.
  • In 1987, Packer made a fortune at the expense of disgraced tycoon Alan Bond. He reportedly sold Bond the Nine Network at the record price of A$1.05 billion in 1987, and then bought it back three years later for a mere A$250 million.
  • [19 May 2024] Sky News host Rowan Dean has slammed the passing of the ‘Digital ID bill’ as the “shame of the Australian government”. “An economy-wide Digital ID system, which allows financial organisations and providers to apply and join the government’s Digital ID platform,” Mr Dean said. “A Digital ID is absolutely the gateway to a technocracy and digital tyranny – intentional or otherwise.”
  • [17 May 2024] As expected, the extension of the Australian Government Digital ID System (AGDIS) to the whole economy will go ahead in the coming months.
  • [9 February 2024] The draft Australian federal Digital ID Bill no longer uses the phrase “digital identity”. The same shift in language has been made by the National Australia Bank (NAB) in its year-long multi-sector design collaboration. Both the NAB and the Australian government now refer to Digital ID. 
  • [7 May 2024] Apostrophes will be omitted from street signs produced by North Yorkshire Council, to the dismay of residents and grammarians alike.
  • Verifiable credentials (VCs) are digital credentials which follow the relevant World Wide Web Consortium open standards. They can represent information found in physical credentials, such as a passport or license, as well as new things that have no physical equivalent, such as ownership of a bank account. They have numerous advantages over physical credentials, most notably that they're digitally signed, which makes them tamper-resistant and instantaneously verifiable.
  • [22 February 2024] The Federal Government's answer to an increase in cyber attacks is for every Australian to have just one digital ID, but is it safe?
  • [20 May 2024] The government is spending $6.5 million testing out age verification technology in the name of protecting children. However, millions of Australian adults could soon be asked to hand over their personal data in order to legally access porn or even social media as a result.
  • [3 May 2024] What exactly is the government proposing? Is there a risk in porn websites holding users’ ID? Has this worked elsewhere?
  • The ADE 651 is a fake bomb detector produced by the British company Advanced Tactical Security & Communications Ltd (ATSC). Its manufacturer claimed it could detect bombs, guns, ammunition, and more from kilometres away... The device has been sold to 20 countries in the Middle East and Asia, including Iraq and Afghanistan, for as much as US$60,000 each. The Iraqi government is said to have spent £52 million on the devices... Investigations by the BBC and other organisations found that the device is little more than a "glorified dowsing rod" with no detecting ability.
  • No matter how much you try, you can’t stop people from sticking beans up their nose.
  • [13 May 2024]Children under 14 could be banned from having social media accounts in South Australia, with a review now underway. SA Premier Peter Malinauskas has appointed a former High Court chief justice to examine how the state could implement a ban on platforms including Instagram and TikTok.
  • [17 May 2024] The personal details of potentially thousands of Australians are at risk this morning after digital prescription company MediSecure was hit by a huge ransomware attack.
  • [16 May 2024] Cyber Security Minister Clare O'Neil says she was briefed on the breach, and the government had convened a national coordination mechanism.
  • [20 February 2017] Austrade and the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network have joined forces to promote quality Australian-made cybers to the world -- along with their new mascot, the Cyber Roo.
  • [8 December 2016] A 'cyber game' held in Canberra suggests that commercial and diplomatic solutions would be more effective long-term than chasing the hackers.
  • [13 May 2024] This is where John Deere’s satellite-guided tractors, the aurora borealis, and peak planting season all overlap.
  • The Australian Government has committed $225m to provide 10 cm (or better) accurate positioning to anyone, anytime, anywhere in Australia in the near future. This is a significant improvement from the 5-10 m accuracy you can currently achieve using GPS enabled devices. 
  • [21 May 2024] PM endorses campaign calling for minimum age to be raised from 13, saying impact of platforms can be ‘devastating’
  • [24 May 2024] A week after the e-prescription service revealed it was hacked, more than six terabytes of patient data, consisting of over 50 million rows, is allegedly up for sale.
  • [24 May 2024] Electronic prescription provider MediSecure has sought a bailout from the federal government in the wake of a recent cyber attack.

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Thank you, Media Freedom Citizenry

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For this episode it’s thanks again to everyone who supported The 9pm Autumn Series 2024 crowdfunding campaign.

CONVERSATION TOPICS: Barry Anderson, Joanna Forbes, Paul McElwee, and Peter Viertel.

THREE TRIGGER WORDS: Bernard Walsh, Joanna Forbes, Joanna Forbes again, and two people who choose to remain anonymous.

ONE TRIGGER WORD: Andrew Kennedy, Benno Rice, Bruce Hardie, Chris Rauchle, Dave Gaukroger, Frank Filippone, James Moore, Katrina Szetey, Mark Newton, Michael, Michael again, Michael Cowley, Miriam Faye, Nicole Coombe, Oliver Townshend, Oliver Townshend again, Paul Williams, Peter Blakeley, Peter Blakeley again, Rami Mandow, Rhydwyn, Ric Hayman, Tom Carding, and five people who choose to remain anonymous.


PERSONALISED AUDIO MESSAGE: Matt McLeod and Kimberley Heitman.

FOOT SOLDIERS FOR MEDIA FREEDOM who gave a SLIGHTLY LESS BASIC TIP: Brenton Realph, Garth Kidd, James Connor, James Henstridge, Karletta Abianac, Lindsay Jenkinson, Matthew Crawford, Peter McCrudden, and one person who chooses to remain anonymous.

MEDIA FREEDOM CITIZENS who contributed a BASIC TIP: None this time, which is curious.

And another 17 people chose to have no reward, even though some of them were the most generous of all. Thank you all so much.

Series Credits