Fine posts for 2013, such that they are

As in previous years, the list of most popular posts for 2013 was disappointing, so I’ve hand-curated this list of seven stories for you to consider instead.

As usual, this does not include the material I wrote elsewhere, for ZDNet Australia, Technology Spectator, CSO Online, Crikey, ABC The Drum and the rest. That’s all listed on my Media Output page, although I’ll probably highlight a few articles of enduring interest some time in the next few days.

  1. See this, folks? It’s a picture of democracy, being my defence of the Daily Telegraph’s right to conduct whatever party-political campaigning they like. Even if you don’t like it, the newspaper does still have freedom of political speech.
  2. Microsoft has banned me from covering TechEd, which I still consider to have been an ill-thought move on their part.
  3. My guest lecture in March to first-year journalism and media studies students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on Algorithms and the Filter Bubble, plus the updated versions from August, Take 2A and Take 2B. All three are available as audio files, plus the accompanying slides.
  4. Why people who say “train station” sound stupid, being my first foray into computational linguistics.
  5. My fish are dead: the black dog ate them (an explanation?), being an announcement and discussion about my encounter with severe depression this year — something which still has a significant impact on my life.
  6. Six Pigeons for Jeffrey, being my personal photographic tribute to this fascinating Australian artist.
  7. Hillary’s mangoes, no NSA involved, which is more about the daft reactions to Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s surveillance operations.

If you’d like to compare this with previous years, try these:

Talking Google and privacy on The Project

Screenshot from The Project, 13 December 2013On Friday 13 December I recorded some grabs for the Channel TEN program The Project, which were used that night in a story about Google’s idea of putting microphones in your house so that their “digital assistant” software could figure out how it could help you next.

I was amazed that Google would even suggest this idea so soon after they were linked to Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US National Security Agency (NSA). But then again, Google is a many-headed hydra of an organisation. It can walk and chew gum at the same time. Badly.

The Project only ended up using two of the grabs, but over the fold you’ll find the video of the entire four-minute segment — including some guy called Mark Pesce in the studio, talking to the panel.

Continue reading “Talking Google and privacy on The Project”

Talking security and more on ABC Download This Show

ABC logoBack on 13 December I was a guest for the recording of the penultimate episode of Marc Fennell’s Download This Show for 2013.

Data privacy. What a year it’s been: 2013 will be remembered as the year we came to understand just how much our data was not our own. Edward Snowden might not have won Time magazine’s Person of the Year, pipped to the post by Pope Francis, but the former NSA computer specialist has forever changed the way we think about our information security as a result of his world-changing revelations. But has he changed our behaviour?

My fellow panellist was Karalee Evans, head of social for advertising agency DDB Australia, and we had a great time. Here’s the full audio.

Play

The audio is ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website.

Weekly Wrap 183: Predictions, food and wine

Here’s the key stuff that happened in my week of Monday 2 to Sunday 8 December 2013.

As I mentioned last time, I’ll do some sort of more detailed post explaining the state of the world — or at least my little bit of it — once I’ve caught up on these posts.

Articles

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday I went to Verizon’s lunchtime briefing on their predicted trends for 2014 at Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney. There was food and wine.
  • On Wednesday I went to Symantec’s end-of-year media lunch at Gowings Bar and Grill at Sydney’s QT Hotel. There was food and wine.
  • On Wednesday afternoon I continued on to McAfee in the Park, held in the Rose Garden at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. There was food and wine. Are you detecting a pattern here? There was also a lion.
  • On Thursday I went to Websense’s lunchtime briefing on their security predictions for 2014 at Wolfies, Circular Quay. There was food and wine.

Fifth “Corrupted Nerds” podcast posted

Cover art for Corrupted Nerds: Conversations episode 5: click for podcast web pageAfter a gap that was altogether far too long, a new episode of the Corrupted Nerds podcast has just been posted.

“Networks are living and breathing things. They don’t sit still. Your vulnerabilities will change on a daily basis, for sure, and you need to be on top of that,” says Dick Bussiere, principal architect for Tenable Network Security in the Asia Pacific region.

That’s why Tenable is advocating what they see as a revolution in maintaining a data network’s security posture.

“We’re kind of advocating that people perform vulnerability assessment, and remediation of vulnerabilities, as a constant and continuous process, rather than something that you do on a periodic basis,” Bussiere says.

So that worldview, plus a few comments about advanced persistent threats (APTs), the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) and the revelations of Edward Snowden, are all part of Corrupted Nerds: Conversations episode 5. Enjoy.

Talking NSA and spying on The Project

Screenshot from The Project, 8 July 2013The revelation that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was engaged in such comprehensive spying of American citizens and their allies, some of it possibly unconstitutional, continues to make headlines.

The focus has not narrowed to the manhunt for Edward Snowden as I’d feared. Instead, there’s a steady stream of mainstream news stories as new details emerge — including my third appearance on Channel TEN’s The Project on Monday night.

On the previous two occasions, when I was talking about cyberwar and crimefighting smartphones respectively, I was chatting with the presenters. Since they’re in Melbourne, that involved sitting in front of a green screen and looking down the barrel of a camera as if it’s your best friend.

But this time my comments were to be included in a stand-alone “package”, as they’re called, along with comments from Fairfax journalist Philip Dorling and others. So a videographer came to my hotel room on Friday afternoon to shoot me at my desk, while the Melbourne-based journalist asked me questions via speakerphone — and I looked toward a yellow piece of paper that indicated where the journalist might have been standing had he actually been there.

Ah, the magic of television!

The video of the three-and-a-half minute segment, including comments fore and aft by the presenters, is over the fold.

Continue reading “Talking NSA and spying on The Project”