Debate: Is digital disruption in the best interest of consumers?

Stilgherrian speaks during the ACCAN conference debate“Will the latest wave of digital disruptors liberate consumers from monopolies or shackle them to new ones?” asked the Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) in the program notes for the somewhat amusing debate which ended their annual conference back on 2 September.

I was on one of the debate teams. Guess which side.

Well, the affirmative team was Daniel Duggan, head of mobile for Yatango; Brad Kitsche, Uber’s director of public policy for the Oceania region; and Brendan Coady from Maddocks Lawyers.

So yeah, I was the final speaker on the negative team, following David Vaile, executive director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of NSW; and Katina Michael, associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong.

And we won.

The video over the fold has the entire thing, except for the first few words by our moderator, Delia Rickard, dDeputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

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Talking Heartbleed and the hacker on SBS2’s The Feed

Screenshot of Stilgherrian on SBS The FeedSBS The Feed logo 75pxThe Heartbleed saga continued throughout last week. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested a 19-year-old who’d allegedly used the vulnerability to exfiltrate date from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) — and that prompted my first appearance on SBS2’s The Feed.

I ended up meeting the SBS cameraman in the pedestrian laneway behind the ABC in Ultimo — that’s the building in the background — talking to presenter Andy Park via a smartphone held in the cameraman’s hand. This is how such things are done. It’s the magic of television.

Here’s the full three-minute story. There’s no supers, so I need to tell you that the other speaker is David Vaile from the University of New South Wales’ Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre.

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Weekly Wrap 128: Cloud, Coffs and Conroy

Monday 12 to Sunday 18 November 2012 was another week dominated by travel — this time returning from Singapore on Monday, spending almost two days in Sydney, then heading to Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast of NSW through until Saturday.

This is also another week where you just get the facts of the media objects I produced. Heck, if you really want to know what’s happening in my world then follow my Twitter stream.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 163, “The law and technology behind Australia’s internet filtering”. Conversations with David Vaile, director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of New South Wales, and high-profile network engineer Mark Newton.

Articles

Two more articles were written as well, but they won’t appear until the coming week.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday I flew back from Singapore, ending my trip there that was covered by Verizon Enterprise Solutions. This was all detailed last week. Related stories have yet to appear.
  • On Tuesday I attended the launch of VMware’s Cloud Index, which was a lunch at Sydney’s new QT Hotel. This is what happened to the old State Theatre and Gowings buildings. They paid, obviously. Again, related stories have yet to appear.
  • Wednesday through Friday I attended Flexibility 2012, the local government IT conference in Coffs Harbour that was organised by the Coffs Harbour City Council. Technically this isn’t largesse, because I spoke at the conference and wasn’t paid an appearance fee. I’ll post the audio of that presentation and an annotated transcript some time in the next few days. Nevertheless I’ll record the fact that they covered flights to and from Sydney, two nights accommodation at the conference venue, Opal Cove Resort, plus food and drink. [Update 20 November 2012: They also gave me some local produce as a gift, a jar of Valley of the Mist macadamia nut chutney.]

The Week Ahead

The week ahead is annoyingly unplanned. I had intended to go to Melbourne on Wednesday for the 5th birthday party of Business Spectator, parent of Technology Spectator, a masthead for which I write. But it’s looking like my cashflows won’t be good for that.

So, I’m going to map out the week in detail tomorrow, Monday. I’ll do a supplementary blog post then.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour from the air, taken from Qantas flight QF2117 yesterday. The image isn’t the sharpest, and neither does it have the best colour grading, because it was shot through both the plane window and the arc of the spinning propeller. But at least it gives a small flavour of the magnificent view.]

Patch Monday: Is Facebook the Antichrist of privacy?

ZDNet Australia logo: click for Patch Monday episode 41

Has Facebook gone too far? Is it out of control? Another change to its privacy settings and a new 5800-word privacy policy have triggered concerns by US authorities and European privacy organisations. In Sydney the death of 18-year-old Nona Belomesoff has been dubbed another “Facebook murder”. Is regulation needed?

In this week’s Patch Monday podcast, I cover Facebook privacy from two angles.

First, security and the risk to you and your employer. Paul Ducklin is Sophos’ head of technology for Asia Pacific. His research shows that half the time people will befriend anyone who asks — exposing all their personal details to strangers. Criminals wanting to steal your identity or probe your business have it easy.

Second, the policy implications. David Vaile, who heads up the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of New South Wales thinks Facebook’s privacy model is “dangerous”. He foresees a time when personal information is considered as valuable and vulnerable as financial information — and any IT systems that hold that information will need network security as strong as the banks.

You can listen below. But it’s probably better for my stats if you listen at ZDNet Australia or subscribe to the RSS feed or subscribe in iTunes.

Please let me know what you think. Comments below. We accept audio comments too. Either Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.