My week of Monday 21 Sunday 27 December 2015 started badly. At 0823 I received an SMS message from my bank, asking about a suspect transaction. Within minutes, the card number was cancelled, and a new card organised — but not before hundreds of dollars had been siphoned out in a series of transactions to PlayStation Network GBR.Continue reading “Weekly Wrap 290: A cash-based Christmas”
“Two of America’s biggest retail banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Wells Fargo & Co — are quietly recording the biometric details of some callers’ voices to weed out fraud,” reported Associated Press this week. The news caught the eye of Will Goodings at 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide. I told him that the Americans are way behind Australia on this one.
All of the Big Four banks here are already using voiceprints. In the case of NAB and Westpac, since about 2009.
In fact, Australia is a world leader in voiceprint technology. In a Patch Monday podcast from March 2012, I spoke with Dr Clive Summerfield, chief executive of Auraya, who told me that Australia’s social services agency Centrelink has been using voiceprints to identify callers since 2005, and more than 95% of callers are identified this way. Voiceprints are also used by the Australian Taxation Office.
Here’s a recording of the conversation we had on air on Friday afternoon, complete with a talkback caller who followed me.
The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.
“They say, it’s all in content. I say, it’s all in the pitch,” said the PR operative — who shall remain nameless — who sent me the email you may see in the screenshot.
“Hi mate, There will be drinks. Cheers,” was all they needed to add to the generic invitation to grab my attention — though in my defence, the invitation was to an event that was well within my realms of interest, and I probably would’ve gone anyway.
I’m more than happy to attend relevant events even when there aren’t drinks. I also go to events that I’m not necessarily personally interested in, but which I know I’ll be able to turn into saleable media objects.
But it was that little personal touch that caused me to spend that extra moment to read the whole thing and agree, yes, this was something I wanted to go to.
That personal touch wasn’t really about a shared like of alcohol, though the unnamed PR operative and I agree that when we meet for drinks we’re just two people sharing a drink and confidences stay confidential.
It’s more that they knew my work, and knew that I’d get value out of this event — and because they do this sparingly, it stands out from the dozens and dozens of of PR emails I receive every day.
So here’s my week Monday 9 to Sunday 15 September 2013. I may or may not explain why this post is so late tomorrow.
- A rude privacy shock on the horizon, Technology Spectator, 10 September 2013.
- Could privacy fears burst the dot-com bubble?, ZDNet Australia, 10 September 2013.
- Say no to e-voting: defending the pencils of democracy, Crikey, 12 September 2013.
- Westpac’s $2 billion invisible bank, Technology Spectator, 13 September 2013.
- On Tuesday I spoke about helpdesk robots on ABC 702 Sydney.
The Week Ahead
We’re already well into it, obviously. But to catch up quickly, the Tokyo trip was scratched and instead I’m now in Sydney Wednesday through Friday. On Wednesday I’ve got errands, a lunchtime briefing by IBM and then a meeting over at Randwick, and the rest is still being mapped out.
I’ll pick up the Twitter feed tomorrow.
Setting up the Nokia Lumia 925 was straightforward, and I’m impressed with the smartphone itself. But while there’s plenty to like about Windows Phone 8, I was also struck by the lack of key applications and a few rough edges.
Westpac forgets that banks are meant to be about trust, and just bullshits us during a major outage. Sony too. Snake-oil salesfolk tell us gamification will solve all our needs. Bugger the morals. And idiots imagine that Twitter is like CNN, somehow.
Yes The 9pm Edict podcast has returned after an hiatus of nine months. Just like pregnancy. But let’s not go there. Where I do go is gamification, and I refer to the video Gamifying Education and my op-ed at Technology Spectator.
If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.
[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]
Here’s some moving images on the Internet for your enjoyment.
- You know how Westpac bank ATMs have that woman who gestures at you through the transaction? Does she annoy you? I especially hate how she asks whether you want a receipt, and then says you can’t have a receipt. Ignorant bitch. What about this version?
- Check out the most in-demand video editing crew in the entire Sunnyvale trailer park.
- A currently-running TV advert with a nice beaver. I encourage you to join the conversation there about the use of the word. Has the advertiser got it right for the Australian audience?
Now this is nothing more than links to things I found interesting. Should this be a full post like this, with a headline? A “Note” which, on the website home page at least, is shown without a headline but with a red line in the margin? Or should I just Twitter them as I find them?