Talking Wi-Fi Hello Barbie on ABC Radio’s PM

ABC logoThe news that a Wi-Fi enabled Hello Barbie doll had been released got plenty of media interest at the end of the working week, especially since the security and privacy risks weren’t just theoretical.

Hello Barbie was soon hacked.

I was interviewed by journalist Penny Timms about these security risks by ABC Radio’s national current affairs program PM.

The makers of one of the world’s most famous dolls are due to roll out their latest edition. Forget Malibu Barbie, because wifi Barbie could be on shelves by Christmas. The technology means the doll can hold conversations with her owner. But security experts warn there are serious flaws, with suggestions the technology has already been hacked.

Somehow I managed to include some paranoid ideas for using Hello Barbie for psychological warfare.

ABC News also posted a written story, which uses some different quotes. But here’s the radio story.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s being served from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.

Talking John Brennan’s email breach on ABC’s PM

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.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is being served directly from the program website, where there’s also a transcript.

Talking ATO e-tax for Mac on ABC Radio’s “PM”

ABC logoAfter 15 years, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) finally launched a Mac OS X version of its e-tax software for filing personal income tax returns — and it doesn’t work. Hah!

ATO bungles e-tax for Mac launch, wrote Ben Grubb at Fairfax. E-tax for Mac launch stumbles on developer certificate, wrote Josh Taylor at ZDNet. And so on.

I gave my feelpinion on ABC Radio’s PM program this evening. I was not complimentary. I mentioned steam trains. And sledgehammers.

The journalist was Johanna Jarvis. The presenter, Peter Lloyd. Here’s the audio.

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The audio is of course ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and over at the ABC website you can find their audio and a transcript.

Talking Instagram on ABC Radio’s “PM”

ABC logoWith ABC Radio National Breakfast out of the way, I settled down to write my Crikey story about the Instagram saga.

By that stage my understanding of the story had evolved.

I was becoming increasingly cranky with so many people, including many who should know better, pushing the “Instagram wants to sell your photos” line. Failing to distinguish between selling a license to use a photo in various ways and selling the ownership of the photo itself was a massive failure. The difference is as clear at that between selling a house and renting it out to a tenant.

There was also a clarification from Instagram, making it clear that they weren’t seeking such ownership, admitting that they really hadn’t figured out precisely what it was they wanted to do with users’ photos, and agreeing that the language was open to misinterpretation.

I incorporated this into my Crikey piece, which was given the headline: Users snap over Instagram, but should have seen it coming.

In hindsight, and had I know this was to be the headline, I wouldn’t have been so blunt in my final paragraph.

The core lesson here is that services like Instagram aren’t free. You pay for them by licensing the operator to use your content and other data in various ways. If you don’t like that, well, pay for your goddam internet hosting yourself.

All I meant by this was that internet hosting is pretty cheap these days, and there’s plenty of low-cost providers to choose from. It’s not as if Instagram is a public service that owes you anything.

In any event, I filed the Crikey story before midday as usual. It seemed to me that Instagram was responding appropriately, and I’d always thought they were at the responsible end of social networking. My thoughts were now moving to the future. Would Instagram be able to prove they were worth their billion-dollar price tag? How would they behave if they didn’t start generating revenue?

But on the way to a lunch in the Sydney CBD, I ended up discussing the issue with a journalist for ABC TV’s 7.30 and a producer with ABC 666 Canberra. It was becoming clear to me that for most people in the media this was a brand new issue. Further media spots were being organised.

The next to be recorded, though not the next to go to air, was with ABC Radio’s national current affairs program PM. What pleases me about this piece, I think, is that the “tape ID” — the bit at the front of a recording where you identify who you are so there’s no confusion later — was included as part of the story. Because I used the word “arsehattery”.

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This audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is an unedited copy of the original audio posted on their website. There’s a transcript over there too, where they spell arsehattery “ass-hattery”. The journalist was Will Ockenden.

The 9pm Edict #17A

Residents of the depressingly tight-sphinctered Melbourne suburb of Prahran torture their dogs. True. And it’s ugly.

Also this week, Australia gets a new masthead for quality journalism, and everyone goes all wet and judgemental. Something something football on the internet. And I finish all the things that I meant to do on New Year’s Eve but didn’t.

Despite being recorded more than five weeks after the previous episode, this is really just a continuation. More or less. Shut up I’m telling this story don’t question me.

Look, I’m going to be writing some more words for a bit, so feel free to scroll down or click through or whatever and just play the podcast, OK?

Continue reading “The 9pm Edict #17A”

Weekly Wrap 60: Media whoredom continues

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. It was another massive week of writing this week, including a trip to Melbourne.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 98, “Games, crime, porn and Facebook (laws)” A long chat with Peter Black, lecturer in media and internet law at Queensland University of Technology about R10+ computer games, a legislated right to privacy, the spread of “voluntary” internet filtering against the Interpol blacklist, laws relating to cybercrime, and calls to bring Facebook under control. It was recorded at the Hotel Gearin in Katoomba.

Articles

These next few articles are all from the IBM Pulse 11 event in Melbourne. As the disclosure below points out, I travelled to this event as IBM’s guest.

Media Appearances

Geekery

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday I attended a briefing for media and analysts at Bilson’s Restaurant in Sydney where NetApp paid for the food and drink.
  • On Wednesday and Thursday I attended IBM’s Pulse 2011 event in Melbourne as IBM’s guest. They paid for airfares, taxis, accommodation and various meals.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Skyscrapers ay Circular Quay, Sydney, photographed from the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 29 July 2011.]