Data Retention Laws Passed
(link) Friday, 27-March-2015 03:19:12 (GMT +10) - by Agg
The data retention laws have been passed by Parliament. The laws will force telecommunications providers to keep records of phone and internet use for two years and allow security agencies to access the records. Companies already retain the data but for varying durations and in an unregulated environment. The Coalition and Labor have argued the laws were necessary to help authorities in counter-terrorism and serious crime investigations.
The official media release from the Attorney-General is here. By passing this Bill, the Parliament has ensured that our security and law enforcement agencies will continue to have access to the information they need to do their jobs. No responsible government can sit by while those who protect us lose access to vital information, particularly in the current high threat environment. At the same time, the Bill contains safeguards to protect our cherished rights and liberties, including through the establishment of additional oversight mechanisms covering the security and law enforcement agencies. Metadata is the basic building block in nearly every counter-terrorism, counter-espionage and organised crime investigation. It is also essential for child abuse and child pornography offences that are frequently carried out online.
Bizarrely, Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications, is openly telling people how to get around it. If you have a device, you know, a phone or a smartphone, and if I call you through the mobile phone network there will be a record. Say my phone’s with Telstra, there’ll be a record with Telstra that I’ve called your number. If on the other hand I communicate with you via Skype for a voice call or Viber, send you a message on WhatsApp or Wickr or Threema or Signal or Telegrammer — there’s a gazillion of them — or indeed if you make a FaceTime call, then all that the telco can see is that my device has had a connection with the Skype server or the WhatsApp server…but it doesn’t see anything happening with you.
Crikey have a guide summing up the issue. Crikey has been covering data retention for several years, and we’ve written tens of thousands of words in that time explaining what it is, why it’s important and the threat it poses to Australians. We know that a lot of people, especially in the media, have only started to focus on the issue in recent days, so we’ve further expanded this Q&A we prepared last year to take into account recent developments and give you a one-stop document for what will be Australia’s biggest ever mass surveillance regime.
The internet is abuzz with news that the BBC have dropped Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear, after investigating an "unprovoked physical and verbal attack" on a BBC producer. Responding to the news, Prime Minister David Cameron said he believed that "if you do something wrong at work there can be consequences" and that "aggressive and abusive behaviour is not acceptable in the workplace". Discussion of Top Gear UK continues in this thread.
Internode co-founder and now NBN Co board member Simon Hackett has indicated FTTP is still his preference over FTTN. "Ideally, the NBN would have been built with 100 percent fibre," said Hackett at the Communications Alliance's Fast Forward/Rewind event in Sydney on Wednesday. "[But] it's not my money."
SMH have a guide to the new video services recently released in Australia. Netflix, Quickflix, Presto and Stan are all fighting for your attention, but how easy are they to use and how hard will they hammer your internet connection?
Meanwhile the website blocking legislation has been introduced to Parliament today. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull today introduced proposed laws to allow content owners to apply for websites faciliating online piracy to be blocked, taking over responsibility for the bill from Attorney-General George Brandis.
Wired report on an interesting upcoming NASA mission, which is a test run for a Mars mission. Except it’s not a movie: That’s the real-life idea for the Asteroid Redirect Mission, which NASA announced today. Other than simply being an awesome space version of the claw arcade game (you know you really wanted that stuffed Pikachu), the mission will let NASA test technology and practice techniques needed for going to Mars.
I don't normally link Kickstarter stuff, but there's a drive to get a new Descent: Underground game up and running. Descent was, from memory, the first proper game I ever played all the way through on the PC. I used to have Descent dreams.. Descent is back! Pilot your ship & battle foes through twisting, turning tunnels with unrestricted 3D movement & FPS action in Zero-G!
Scott Ludlam still seems to be the primary voice of opposition to the data retention scheme in Parliament. Ludlam began by expressing his frustrations with the blanket-nature in which the bills are going to pass, and the lack of broad democratic process that's been involved in the bill's debate. But far from simply targeting the Government about the legislation, Ludlam sharpest barbs were saved for the Labor party and their perceived cave-in and lack of opposition in debating and challenging the bill on some of its finer points.
If you're also opposed to the data retention scheme, you can protest by going dark today. This scheme is rushed, costly, ineffective, and against the public interest. Also, absurdly, the flawed legislation leaves open numerous loopholes, which can be used to evade the scheme. This means the data retention dragnet will capture the data of innocent Australians and cost millions of dollars, while allowing those who don't want to be caught to remain hidden.
Live video streaming service Twitch is the latest to report report a security issue and requires users to change their passwords. "For your protection, we have expired passwords and stream keys and have disconnected accounts from Twitter and YouTube," reads the statement. "As a result, you will be prompted to create a new password the next time you attempt to log into your Twitch account. We also recommend that you change your password at any website where you use the same or a similar password."
(link) Tuesday, 24-March-2015 07:29:47 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Here's some interesting things from people in the forums:
Telstra have apparently run out of IPv4 addresses - which some people believe will affect data retention, thanks Tony and mpot. During a panel session at Cisco Live last week, Burgess said Telstra's use of CGNAT would make no difference to its ability to adhere to the requirements of the Government's proposed data retention scheme. The scheme requires telcos and internet service providers to retain the so-called metadata of their customers for two years to assist law enforcement.
NASA & Planetary Resources have released a new app which will let the public hunt for dangerous asteroids. Protecting the Earth from the threat of asteroid impacts means first knowing where they are. NASA & Planetary Resources are harnessing the incredible potential of innovators, makers and citizen scientists by opening up the search. In an increasingly connected world, NASA recognizes the value of the public as a partner in addressing some of the country’s most pressing challenges. We need your help in identifying asteroids – and to help further this effort, we’ve built an application that enables everyone, everywhere, to help solve this global challenge.
NVIDIA's CEO and Elon Musk gave a joint keynote at GTC 2015, covering Titan X, deep learning and autonomous cars. One of the highlights of today’s opening keynote at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference in San Jose (GTC) was NVIDIA CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang’s invited special guest, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk and the “fireside chat” the two were scheduled to hold. Frankly, it was a bit shorter than expected, but when two visionaries take the stage, time does tend to fly, figuratively and literally. There’s no question, Jen-Hsun Huang is a visionary when it comes to visual computing, but Musk, Musk thinks way outside the box on a lot of things – from Electric Vehicles, to Hyperloop supersonic transport, to autonomous cars that are so reliable, they're safer on the road than humans.
A few people pointed out this flaw in the NSW iVote system. Since we’ve both done extensive research on the design and analysis of Internet voting systems, we decided to perform an independent security review of iVote. We’ll prepare a more extensive technical report after the election, but we’re writing today to share news about critical vulnerabilities we found that have put tens of thousands of votes at risk. We discovered a major security hole allowing a man-in-the middle attacker to read and manipulate votes. We also believe there are ways to circumvent the verification mechanism.
Also, it seems that your BIOS might be at risk. The attack could be used to render a computer unusable, but it could also be used to steal passwords and intercept encrypted data. The problem affects motherboards from companies including Gigabyte, Acer, MSI, HP and Asus. It is exacerbated by manufactures reusing codes across multiple UEFI BIOSes and places home users, businesses and governments at risk.
After 10 years in business and 7 years sponsoring OCAU, MojoDirect are shutting down. It's a shame, but in the meantime, you can grab some bargains from their closing down sale thread. All the best, guys!
AMD have revealed their FreeSync technology. HotHardware sum it up well: Soon after NVIDIA unveiled its G-SYNC technology, AMD announced that it would pursue an open standard, dubbed FreeSync, leveraging technologies already available in the DisplayPort specification to offer adaptive refresh rates to users of some discrete Radeon GPUs and AMD APUs. AMD’s goal with FreeSync was to introduce a technology that offered similar end-user benefits to NVIDIA’s G-SYNC, that didn’t require monitor manufacturers to employ any proprietary add-ons (like NVIDIA’s G-Sync module), and that could be adopted by any GPU maker.
Torrent sites are the target of new legislation to be submitted next week. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill is a part of the government’s ongoing crackdown on copyright breaches in Australia and comes in the wake of a proposed three strikes scheme that could see illegal downloaders face harsh financial penalties. The bill will force ISPs to block overseas sites that allow people to share copyrighted material, at the request of a judge.
There's also continuing concerns about what the metadata scheme will mean for journalists. The MEAA argues the legislation, which mandates a two-year retention period for phone and internet records, is an attack on press freedom. "None of the amendments being proposed to the legislation recognise or protect the vital role of journalists and whistleblowers in a healthy democracy," Mr Murphy said.
Meanwhile the Victorian Government is set to sell thousands of seized bitcoins. The Victorian government will sell millions of dollars worth of bitcoins on the open market in coming months after taking possession of assets confiscated from a Warrandyte drug dealer. The bitcoins were seized in late 2013, but the state's Asset Confiscation Operations (ACO) had to wait until the man's case had been heard in the court system. A spokesman confirmed it has recently taken possession of 24,500 coins and would try to make the most of it.
Windows 10 will be free for everyone - even pirates, thanks mpot. Speaking to Reuters from the WinHEC conference in China, Microsoft's operating system chief Terry Myerson said, "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10." This means that everyone running Windows 7 or 8.1, irrespective of whether you pirated the operating system or not, will be allowed to upgrade to a legitimate version of Windows 10.
But Windows 10 won't have Internet Explorer, as Microsoft are going to Project Spartan (hopefully with a more catchy name soon) instead, thanks Matt. "We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10," the company's marketing chief Chris Capossela told a conference.
Google have opened a Google Shop in London. The store, to be called The Google shop, will sell the company’s range of Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops, and Chromecast TV services. The shop will hold tutorials showing consumers how to use the devices and hold demonstrations showing off key Google apps. It is the first time that Google has opened a shop under its own name and highlights how online companies are increasingly exploring ways to open physical stores. Amazon is thought to be considering opening a shop in a standalone location in New York.
A few people let me know there's a new flying car set to go on sale in a couple of years. Ever wanted to buy a flying car? You only have a couple more years to wait, says a company that has built prototypes that can both drive and fly. The flying roadster, a sporty two seater that transforms into a light sports aircraft, aims to go on sale in just two years from Slovakia-based Aeromobil.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X
(link) Wednesday, 18-March-2015 14:51:00 (GMT +10) - by Agg
NVIDIA have unveiled their GeForce TITAN X, a 12GB, 3072-core, 1075MHz monster of a card. It pretty much blows everything else out of the water, but for more details, here's some reviews:
A court in The Netherlands has struck down their data retention law. The District court of The Hague said the law, which requires telecom providers to collect and store data for as long as 12 months, violates citizens’ right to privacy and the right to protection of personal data. “The judge finds that this violation is not limited to what is strictly necessary,” it said.
Hitachi have a 10TB HDD on the way, but it's not for everyone - yet. Hitachi Global Storage Technologies—aka HGST, aka a subsidiary of Western Digital—was recently showing off its gigantic new 10TB hard drive at the Linux Foundation Vault tradeshow in Boston. But unfortunately you won't be packing 10,000 gigabytes into your laptop anytime soon because the drive is designed for use in servers, and mostly because it requires special software to work.
BlueRaven spotted some internet nostalgia on Gizmodo. Six animated gifs courtesy of The Open University (and the Wayback Machine) show the HP, Apple, Boeing, Intel, Xerox and Open University websites as rendered by Netscape in 1996-1997, along with some interesting facts about the state of the net in those years.
Tweaktown have compared a few video cards in 4K surround. Let's clarify that: 6480x3840. This means we're rendering 1,492,992,000 pixels per second. 1.4 billion pixels, every second. Compare this to 1920x1080 (Full HD, or 1080p) which is rendering 124,416,000, or 124 million pixels per second - the 4K Surround system is rendering over 10x that of the 1080p resolution.
I've linked a couple of these cockpit panoramas before, but this one is particularly noteworthy because (a) it's a Supermarine Spitfire and (b) all the dials and knobs and things are labelled and explained by the viewer. Move the mouse corsor over an instrument or siwtch for information, use mouse or cursor keys for navigation.