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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.

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.

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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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.

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