Talking surveillance and privacy on ABC 774 Melbourne

ABC logoEarlier this month I was in Melbourne to speak at Pause Fest, as well as talk to the media about some of the issues surrounding digital surveillance and privacy.

Here’s the 19-minute conversation I had with Lindy Burns on ABC 774 Melbourne on Wednesday 10 February. As usual, we rambled all over the landscape of the topic, but I think you’ll find it interesting.

Play

This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Note: Yes, I’m catching up on my blog posts, I should have them all caught up within the next 24 hours.]

Weekly Wrap 278: Reducing the pain, increasing the pace

Waratah in bloom at Bunjaree Cottages: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 28 September to Sunday 4 October 2015 was another pain-ridden ocean of chaos, but nevertheless there were a few solid achievements.

I launched Send Stilgherrian to Ruxcon 2015, a Pozible crowdfunding campaign with an obvious aim. As I write this, it’s already reached 29% of its initial target, which is promising.

On the health front, the broken tooth was repaired again. As for my shoulder, the X-rays and ultrasound imagery taken last week showed no permanent damage or signs of specific problems. It’s “just” strained muscles and tendons, and all that’s needed is rest. It does seem to be getting better, albeit very slowly.

Articles

Podcasts

I got most of an episode of The 9pm Edict recorded, but was too tired to complete it on Sunday night. Stand by.

Media Appearances

  • On Wednesday, I spoke about Facebook hoaxes on ABC 105.7 Darwin, but I didn’t record it.
  • Also on Wednesday, I spoke about Bitcoin and tractor square dancing on ABC 774 Melbourne and stations around Victoria, but I didn’t record that either.
  • On Thursday, I spoke about my crowdfunding efforts on ABC Radio National’s Media Report.

5at5

There were no editions of 5at5 at all, and that’s terrible. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Geekery

Having migrated the final batch of a long-standing client’s websites to new virtualised infrastructure, I finally shut down my remaining hard-iron Linux server, a leased machine somewhere in a rack in San Francisco. Typing halt for the last time also ended my business relationship with ServePath, which later became GoGrid, and which was recently acquired by and absorbed into Datapipe. I’ll miss the excellent support their engineers have provided over the years.

Meanwhile, I’ve picked up a quick little job: building what is in essence a paywall for the website of the literary magazine Meanjin, so they can start selling digital subscriptions.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

Once more, most of this week is over. It’s already the end of Thursday! But there’s still plenty of things to do…

On Friday, it’s the long train commute to Sydney for a lunchtime briefing on smart cities and the Internet of Things with Alcatel-Lucent’s expert on such things, Marc Jadoul. I’ll knock off some errands while I’m down there, and certain SEKRIT planning on the train.

On the weekend — note that I’m not predicting a specific day for each item — I’ll finish that episode of The 9pm Edict, finish the video of my UTS lecture, do some audio equipment tests, and do the preparatory work for Meanjin.

Further Ahead

The week beginning Monday 12 October will be a hectic one. Monday is the calm before the storm, when I’ll collect my thoughts and prepare myself.

On Tuesday, I fly to Melbourne, sneaking in a quick work session at Meanjin in the afternoon, before a reception kicks off the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) National Conference. I’m covering that for ZDNet, as well as recording material for my own Corrupted Nerds podcast. My thanks got to security vendor Tanium for covering my costs.

On Friday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet before flying back to Sydney. Some time on the weekend, I’ll produce another episode of The 9pm Edict.

The week starting… no, I’ll tell you about that next time.

[Photo: Waratah in bloom at Bunjaree Cottages, photographed on 8 October 2015. This waratah flower is slightly past its peak, but the intensity of its colour still manages to dominate the camera’s sensors.]

Weekly Wrap 269: Winning, mostly, with three kinds of fire

The Final Redoubt: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 27 July to Sunday 2 August 2015 represented a remarkable turnaround — perhaps the turnaround that I’d been detecting in the winds since June. And then there’s the bushfire. It’s all so complicated!

Why? It was a full week with a properly-working computer — a week spent in a house with a properly-working kitchen, heating, and inspiring view — and that brought back some of the clarity of thought which I’ve been sorely lacking. I got plenty done, the most important in many ways being the launch — finally! — of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh.

I was very pleased when people started contributing to this crowdfunding campaign just as soon as it was launched. I’m even more pleased to report that as I write this, roughly half-way through the campaign period, we’ve reached 54% of the initial target. That means we’re likely to succeed.

The stress of not having a working computer is subsiding, but I’m not counting my chickens before they’re hatched.

People who write or perform for a living will also understand the importance of the kind of reassurance that comes with people supporting the plan which, until then, had existed solely in your own head.

That has helped. Thank you. If you haven’t done so already, please check out The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh

Thanks also to the many people who asked whether I was in any danger from this weekend’s bushfire at Wentworth Falls. No, I’m not.

The fire is only 3km from Bunjaree Cottages, but between it and me there’s some significantly challenging terrain, and the wind has been taking the fire in a different direction. More than 100 volunteers from the NSW Rural Fire Service have been keeping us safe.

I’m certainly paying attention to what’s happening, though, and I see that there’s a wind change forecast for Monday. Depending on how the RFS people go with their plans for the rest of today and overnight, well, my risk assessment may change.

Just as I write this, the alert for the fire area has been raised from WATCH AND ACT to EMERGENCY WARNING — the latter being described thusly:

You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.

I must stress again, though, that I am not in the alert area, and I currently face no risk.

Articles

Podcasts

  • On Friday, I posted “The 9pm I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Planet”, being The 9pm Edict episode 46. I turned out better than its convoluted production process led me to imagine. I may tell you about that during the week.

Media Appearances

5at5

The hiatus has ended. There were two editions, on Thursday and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

None. But there’s quite a bit scheduled for the coming week.

The Week Ahead

This is going to be a better-structured one, folks.

Monday will be a media production day — but I’ll decide the exact details on the day, depending on the bushfire threat level.

On Tuesday, I’ll be catching the 0706 train to Sydney, because on Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be covering the ADMA Global Forum, presented by the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising. Also, at 2030 AEST on Tuesday night, I’ll be a guest on ABC Local Radio around NSW. And on Wednesday night, I’ll be going to Text100’s (in)famous Christmas in August event, a preview of their clients’ consumer technology for Christmas.

On Thursday, I’ll be going to a lunchtime briefing by NetSuite, and writing something for ZDNet, before taking the train back to the Blue Mountains. Thursday is also the last day of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, with the campaign ending at 2100 AEST that evening.

On Friday, I’ll be confirming what’ll happen with the funds so raised.

[Photo: The Final Redoubt, photographed on 2 August 2015. Should I ever need a final hiding place from a severe bushfire — and everything has happened so quickly that we skipped straight past three levels of warning, the fire jumped the road and railway, and all escape routes were blocked — then this cutting on Railway Parade near Wentworth Falls is where I’d wrap myself in wet woollen items and hope for the best.]

Talking the ACSC cyber threat report on 1395 FIVEaa

FIVEaa logoThe (relatively) new Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) released its first-ever unclassified threat report yesterday, but as I wrote at ZDNet, I was disappointed.

The report (PDF) has dropped, and indeed it contains few surprises. It tells the now-familiar story of serious and organised criminals, foreign state-sponsored actors, and other “cyber adversaries”, all of whom are getting better at what they do.

“The cyber threat to Australian organisations is undeniable, unrelenting and continues to grow. If an organisation is connected to the internet, it is vulnerable. The incidents in the public eye are just the tip of the iceberg,” begins the report’s foreword.

“Cyber adversaries are aggressive and persistent in their efforts to compromise Australian networks and information. They are constantly improving their tradecraft in an attempt to defeat our network defences and exploit new technologies,” it says later.

“Australia is an innovative country with a globally important resources sector. We are a regional leader with global interests and important partnerships. This makes Australia a target-rich environment for cyber adversaries.”

All of which is true, of course, but all of which has been said so many times before.

I spoke about the report today with Will Goodings on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide — with somewhat less disappointment in my voice.

Play

The audio is ©2015 Nova Entertainment.

Weekly Wrap 179: A very Kaspersky Canberra, with stress

Canberra sunrise: click to embiggenMy week Monday 4 to Sunday 10 November 2013 was another busy one, but I survived.

Once more the Weekly Wrap has been hideously delayed, so it’ll just be the facts.

A key part of the week was my trip to Canberra, mainly to cover the speech by Eugene Kaspersky to the National Press Club, but also to squeeze in some meetings with other people while I was there. Kaspersky seems to have dominated my media output for the week.

Podcasts

  • Corrupted Nerds: Conversations 8, being a chat about electronic voting with Dr Vanessa Teague from the University of Melbourne. If you think e-voting is the cure for electoral fraud and mistakes, you’d better listen.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday I went to the National Press Cub in Canberra to hear Eugene Kaspersky’s address. I was a guest at the Kaspersky Lab table, and they paid for my flights from Sydney. I paid for my own accommodation because the Kaspersky thing itself could have been a day trip.

[Photo: Canberra sunrise, photographed from Rydges Lakeside Canberra hotel on 7 November 2013.]