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.

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

Talking Facebook’s decline, maybe, on ABC 774 Melbourne

ABC logoIs Facebook on the decline? For some reason or other, I ended up talking about that on the radio on Monday afternoon.

The reason was actually this story in The Australian about “Facebook fatigue”. While I’m not sure that Facebook fatigue is a thing, I had a pleasant chat with journalist and presenter Raf Epstein — and here’s the audio.

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The audio is of course ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, archived here because it isn’t being archived anywhere else.

Talking Instagram on ABC 666 Canberra

ABC logoBy the time I got to doing my third radio spot about the Instagram saga, the issues were clear in my mind and I had a few well-rehearsed sound bites. So my final spot on ABC 666 Canberra was smooth.

I don’t think I need to provide any more background. My conversation with Louise Maher stands for itself, I think. We didn’t speak for as long as we’d originally intended, but they also had to update their listeners on the progress of some bushfires and that does have priority.

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This audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is an unedited copy of what went to air, though the ABC has not posted it online as far as I know.

At some point in the next few days I’ll post further thoughts about this Instagram incident. Stay tuned.

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.

Talking Instagram on ABC Radio National Breakfast

ABC logoWednesday was a strange day for me this week, unexpectedly dominated as it was by the public outcry over photo sharing service Instagram changing its terms of use to make it explicit that people’s photographs could be used for promotional purposes.

This is the first of a series of posts that document the media that I was involved with that day — eventually three radio spots and a story for Crikey, plus discussions with a journalist at ABC TV’s 7.30 for a story that ended up not happening — as well as the evolution of my own thoughts on the topic.

I’d gotten up early that morning to work on a Crikey story about the risks of big data, so I was already in media mode when I saw the tweets starting to flood out.

Instagram was claiming the right to sell your photos, they claimed — which I found most unlikely because they can’t sell what they don’t own, and social networks have long since given up trying to claim ownership over their users’ content. At least the ones that intend lasting more than a week online.

Sure enough, I looked at Instagram’s proposed new terms of use, and they actually made it quite explicit that they were not doing that. As I expected, they were seeking the right to use photographs in connection with promotions of unspecified nature — though they’d stated the fact that you wouldn’t be paid for this rather baldly.

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

Moreover, it looked to me like Instagram’s existing terms of use already gave them this right, though the wording was vague.

… you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.

In retrospect, I think both are worded rather vaguely, with a phrase like “in connection with” being able to cover a multitude of sins. But “without any compensation to you” is clear enough, and that obviously triggered the fears.

But Instagram’s actions weren’t unusual, they weren’t claiming ownership of your photos, and there was no need to panic — and that’s what I tried to stress in this first media spot, a chat with John Doyle on ABC Radio National Breakfast at around 0840 AEDT.

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This audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is an unedited copy of the original audio posted on their website.

Weekly Wrap 126: Wattle, sniffle and SCADAgeddon

Monday 29 October to Sunday 4 November 2012 was a busy week, made slightly less busy by the need to recover from the throat infection identified last week and then, because I was run down, fatigue that was probably a mix of a cold and hay fever.

Hence the photograph of the wattle I’ve posted here. It is to blame.

Dear Plant Kingdom, if I spread my genetic material all over you the way you do over me, I’d be arrested! Please behave yourself.

[Update 1545 AEDT: I am reliably informed that the hay fever is unlikely to be caused by wattle pollen.]

Podcasts

Articles

Media Appearances

Also, the Sydney Opera House has posted the video of my Festival of Dangerous Ideas panel, I Share Therefore I Am. I’ll write more about that in due course.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday evening I had a few beers with Michael McKinnon from AVG Australia and New Zealand, which they paid for.
  • On Tuesday morning I attended the breakfast launch of Windows Phone 8 at the Blue Bar,level 36 of the Shangri-La Hotel, overlooking Sydney Harbour. Microsoft paid for that, obviously.

The Week Ahead

Next week is pretty much all about Singapore. On Monday I’ll head down to Sydney and get some writing out of the way. Then on Tuesday it’s Singapore Airlines flight SQ212 departing Sydney at 0905 AEDT and arriving in Singapore mid-afternoon local time.

Wednesday is Verizon Business’ APAC Media Day, a five-hour meeting followed by cocktails. On Thursday I’m visiting the hospitality tent at the Barclays Singapore Open golf tournament as Verizon’s guest. Friday through Sunday has yet to be finalised, but there’ll be at least two articles to write and a podcast to produce.

Oh, and a social life.

My flight back to Sydney SQ231 leaves Singapore at 45 minutes past midnight Sunday night — so technically that’s Monday morning.

[Photo: Wattle near Railway Parade, near Wentworth Falls, one of the causes of my hay fever this week.]