Search Results: information technology

  • MEDIA

    The ills and thrills of talking about science

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 06 April 2016
    7 Comments

    When Alan Alda was 11, he threw a simple inquiry to his teacher. What's a flame? The response he received was less than satisfying. 'All I heard from the teacher was "it's oxidation". That didn't explain anything to me.' It's a neat illustration of a modern problem. Merely presenting over-simplified factoids is no longer sufficient in a world filled with phenomena like climate denial and the anti-vaccination lobby. For science to be communicated effectively, it needs to spark passion and excitement.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Funding our own surveillance

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 12 January 2016

    Back in March Malcolm Turnbull told ABC radio: 'The only thing the data retention law is requiring is that types of metadata which are currently retained will be retained ... for at least two years.' In fact the laws, which come into effect next week, include an obligation on service providers to 'create' data that falls within the data set to be retained, if they don't already collect it. This isn't nitpicking. The more data that is created, the more the scheme will cost, and the greater the risk of privacy breach.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Government haste lays waste to consultation

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 24 November 2015
    7 Comments

    In October last year, in my former role as regulatory manager of iiNet, I responded to a confidential industry consultation paper on the proposed data retention scheme. The Attorney-General's Department provided no response to that 22 page paper beyond an acknowledgment of receipt. It's frustrating to feel like a government is simply going through the motions of 'consultation'. This isn't an isolated case. There's too often a lack of meaningful consultation before bills are introduced into Parliament.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Heroes of Victoria's juvenile justice reform

    • Tom Keating
    • 17 November 2015
    2 Comments

    The case studies given during the Royal Commission's dealings with Victoria's state run institutions were heartrending for anyone like myself who worked within that system in the 1960s and '70s. It must have been harder still for those who were trying desperately to reform the system at that time. By the mid-'80s Victoria came to have the most progressive and effective juvenile justice system in the country and was a leader internationally. Much has been lost in the intervening years.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Known unknowns of the facial recognition capability

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 02 November 2015
    9 Comments

    In May, the Federal Justice Minister announced a plan to work toward a National Facial Biometric Matching Capability, due to start operating in mid-2016. The lead agency is the Attorney-General's Department, the same department frustrating telcos with its implementation of data retention. The lack of transparency around the project is concerning, as it has privacy implications for nearly all Australians. If you have a passport or driver's licence, your facial image is relevant.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Zones of sacrifice in the Western Downs gasfield

    • Mark Copland
    • 02 November 2015
    10 Comments

    When Chinchilla farmer George Bender took his own life, it ended a ten year struggle with the coal seam gas industry that has wreaked havoc on his property and that of his neighbours. Despite mountains of paper regulations, despite a well-resourced Gasfield Commission and Gasfield Compliance Unit, people in the region feel abandoned. It seems that government bodies are enablers and facilitators of the industry rather than regulators and protectors of the people, the soil and the water.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Data regime will see us funding our own surveillance

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 09 October 2015
    5 Comments

    Back in March Malcolm Turnbull told ABC radio: 'The only thing the data retention law is requiring is that types of metadata which are currently retained will be retained ... for at least two years.' In fact the laws, which come into effect next week, include an obligation on service providers to 'create' data that falls within the data set to be retained, if they don't already collect it. This isn't nitpicking. The more data that is created, the more the scheme will cost, and the greater the risk of privacy breach.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Stepping on to mandatory data retention's slippery slope

    • Fatima Measham
    • 25 March 2015
    6 Comments

    Mandatory data retention was a bad idea when it was originally floated during a Gillard Government inquiry. It is a worse idea now, and is set to become law for political reasons, not because it has been properly scrutinised. There are important questions that we should be asking, and we should not let ourselves be put off from doing this if we don’t know the difference between data and metadata (there is none).

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  • ECONOMICS

    Oil and gas redraw world strategic alliance map

    • David James
    • 16 February 2015
    3 Comments

    Sanctions against Russia have pushed Russia and China much closer together. Russia is set to provide two fifths of China’s gas needs after the completion of two massive pipelines. This will easily replace what they have lost in supplying Europe and deliver what the Chinese most crave: security of supply. Meanwhile, Russia has cut off 60 per cent of its supplies of gas into Europe, re-routing it to Turkey, and saying that Europe will have to build its own infrastructure to transport it to the Continent.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ricky's job search

    • Margaret McDonald
    • 19 August 2014
    5 Comments

    Ricky was intimidating at first sight. He was tall and very broad shouldered, his blonde hair wispy, and dishevelled. He begins a round that involves several agencies, none of which can help. A group that helps disabled people has given him a computer.  In the weeks we have been searching for a solution we have come to care for this young man who is so determined to learn.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Letting Australian industry die promotes workplace slavery elsewhere

    • Michael Mullins
    • 26 May 2014
    9 Comments

    The Australian Government needs to be less cavalier and reticent to subsidise local manufacturers, who are obliged to be transparent about their work practices and bear the costs of this. When our politicians praise workplace efficiency in other countries, they are promoting manufacturing processes that often exploit workers.

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  • MEDIA

    Turnbull's bone for the News Corp behemoth

    • Ray Cassin
    • 24 March 2014
    17 Comments

    Malcolm Turnbull is unusual among Australian politicians in having a keen regard for the role of journalism in a democracy. That makes his blithe disregard of the prospect of handing Rupert Murdoch even greater influence over Australian politics all the more puzzling. It is unsurprising that some observers see the foreshadowed change to media ownership laws as a pay-off for News Corp's support of the Coalition in the 2013 election.

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