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The latest news

iOS 12 is out today

Tags: tech

iOS 12 is designed to make your iPhone and iPad experience even faster, more responsive, and more delightful. Here are the latest features and improvements in the world’s most advanced mobile operating system.

Being off the beta train this year round I can’t really comment on what’s hot and what’s not in iOS 12.

Gleaming over Apple’s page on the OS update it looks to be mainly focused around performance improvements, it’s new “Screen Time” digital wellbeing stuff and Notifications getting a very, very overdue cleanup.

If you’re in the mood to update today, without waiting for it to prompt you. You can do that via your iOS device’s “Software Update” option hidden away in the Settings app.

Source: iOS 12 – Apple

US$600 of gear will let you steal a Tesla in seconds

Tags: tech

Weak encryption in Tesla Model S key fobs allowed all-too-easy theft, but you can set a PIN code on your Tesla to protect it.

Any key-fob (and their connected car) made prior to June are vulnerable to the weak encryption attack.  There’s nothing particularly fancy about the attacks, watch the Nicholas Cage classic “Gone in 60 seconds” and you essentially see them do the same thing on a garage remote (from memory).

Telsa introduced a new PIN feature in an update a couple of weeks ago. That plugs the hole for now but Tesla haven’t really told their customers about the dangers in not setting a PIN in detail.

Another solution for car owners is to buy a new key-fob. That’s a cost though and considering Tesla knew of the hack a year ago (and paid a US$10k bug bounty for it) you’d hope they start a program to swap out old for new – at a reduced cost at least!

Source: Hackers Can Steal a Tesla Model S in Seconds by Cloning Its Key Fob | WIRED

Aussie government plays ‘tip of the spear’ in bid for ‘Five Eyes’ encryption backdoor

Tags: australia, tech

Released on behalf of the US, UK, Canada & NZ the Australian government has decided it will carry the torch for thinly veiled threats to tech companies whom they want to:

…create customized solutions, tailored to their individual system architectures that are capable of meeting lawful access requirements.

Now they’ve also begun warning that there could be repercussions for failing to provide the access their after essentially saying they’ll just make up laws to enforce it:

…we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions,”

It’s interesting that Australia’s essentially falling on the sword here on behalf of everyone else, or more precisely the US & UK. Perhaps pumping out press-releases “down under” come under less global scrutiny, perhaps its a pat on the back for standing up and telling the world we have no respect for the laws of mathematics. Either way they refuse to call it a back door, ignore the gross misuse and abuse by government employees of existing systems, let alone this new one and play down the huge privacy implications every citizen is affected by.

Source: ‘Five Eyes’ governments call on tech giants to build encryption backdoors — or else | TechCrunch

The TPG and Vodafone merger is all systems go

Tags: australia, tech

TPG and Vodafone Hutchison Australia have announced that they will proceed with their merger to form a telecommunications giant that they say will have an enterprise value of approximately AU$15 billion.

Sing it..

Two strong hearts,
We stick together like the honey & the bee,
But we’ll be called TPG!

Poised to become Australia’s 2nd largest telco in the next five years. Optus potentially getting the ass by a compatriot of it’s Singaporean parent.

Source: TPG and Vodafone Australia to merge into AU$15b telco named TPG | ZDNet

YOU are the next big thing in porn

Tags: tech
Image: The Verge

This week, [Naughty America] launched a service that lets customers pay to customize adult clips to their liking using AI. They’ll be able to insert themselves into scenes alongside their favorite actor or actress or edit the background of an existing clip.

The process is called “deepfakes” and it came about last year when a bunch of devs figured out a way of using AI to face-swap celebs into porn videos.

Naturally, porn companies being on the forefront of any technology likely to see mass-adoption, saw an opportunity for the tech and are now offering “personalised” services to custom a clip for you own personal consumption with the faces you want to insert.

The fear is that the tech is used for nefarious purposes such as revenge porn or celebs fakes but Naughty America (NA) seem unfazed with NA CEO, Andreas Hronopoulos, saying: “It’s just editing, that’s all it is. People have been editing people’s faces on pictures since the internet started.”

The services requires you send a series of specific photos and videos that are likely to be difficult to source if you’re not the applicant but still, NA have said nothing about verifying they belong to the submitter and only that their legal team will seek consent.

Official pricing for the service is yet to be released but NA have said it will start in the hundreds and end in the thousands depending on the length of the video being requested from their catalogue.

Source: A porn company promises to insert customers into scenes using deepfakes – The Verge

Twitter “rethinking the core” of how it works

Tags: tech

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey said he is rethinking core parts of the social media platform so it doesn’t enable the spread of hate speech, harassment and false news, including conspiracy theories shared by prominent users like Alex Jones and Infowars.

This is Twitter continuing to play both sides of the fence without any real action in my opinion.

Don’t hurt yourself thinking too hard Jack.

Source: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says in an interview he’s rethinking the core of how Twitter works – The Washington Post

Google Drive is now cheaper & part of a new product called ‘Google One’

Tags: tech

With Google One, we’ve upgraded our paid storage plans so you’ll have all the space you need for your Google Drive, Gmail, and original quality photos and videos in Google Photos. With lots of options, ranging from 100GB to 30TB, you can choose the plan that’s right for you.

The TL;DR, the rebranded Google Drive isn’t available in Australia (or anywhere outside the US yet) so cool them jets. It’s not far off though, they’re just doing a staggered rollout.

In addition to storage you’ll also receive dedicated Google customer support or access to “experts” as they like to call them. For shits & giggles they list a bunch of value-adds like hotel deals, Google Play credits and “more benefits over time”.

Google Drive is getting cheaper (in some places), which is what we all really care about but have only announced US pricing so take the perceived Aussie conversion with a grain of salt.

Plans for the new Google One version start at US$1.99/m for 100GB, with a new 200GB plan introduced for US$2.99/m. The biggest change comes at the 2TB tier, now US$10 cheaper at US$9.99/m.

Source: One simple way to get more out of Google

Turnbull government’s new encryption legislation doesn’t break the laws of physics but they do send you to jail 

Tags: australia, tech

Under the legislation, tech companies would have to: remove protections on devices; give law enforcement agencies the design specs of their devices; install software on a device when asked; provide access to devices; and help agencies build their own systems.

The draft legislation was introduced by cyber security minister Angus Taylor and is open for submissions until September 10th. The sitting government is aiming to have it introduced by years end but will struggle to do so given its sensitive nature in affectively removing an individuals right to privacy and thus likely being submitted to a committee for review.

Under the legislation companies who do the right thing will be compensated for their time, however for those that don’t, expect a fine of up to a lazy A$10m.

For individuals, failing to unlock your device or decrypt any information requested by the powers that be, you’ll face a A$500k fine or a lazy 5 years in jail for “simple offences” or 10 years for crimes deemed “serious”.

Source: You Could Go To Jail For 10 Years For Refusing To Unlock Your Phone

Grab a slice of Android 9 Pie

Tags: tech

Google has announced that the final, shipping version of the newest Android update is available for all Pixel phones today. And, as usual, it has announced a name to go along with the over-the-air update: “Android 9 Pie.”

Pixel owners rejoice, Android P is on its way in an over-the-air update to you today. With the release of the new OS also comes an end to speculation over which name will be chosen to follow Android Oreo. Wave goodbye to Popsicle, Pop-Tart or Peppermint – tonight you’re getting Pie for dessert.

Android 9 Pie ships with a variety of previously announced features baked in, such as access to Google’s Digital Wellbeing beta. Digital wellness is the latest buzz phrase in tech with other big names like Apple and Facebook recently announcing similar features. The idea is to help users limit the time spent mindlessly scrolling the same app, vacant expression on their face and string of drool clinging to their lip. It’s unbecoming and skewing the value of screen time stats.

Source: Android 9 Pie is available for Google Pixel phones today – The Verge

Cricket Australia sinks to new lows firing worker over abortion rights tweets

Tags: australia, tech

Cricket Australia has sacked a female employee after she campaigned for abortion reform on social media, telling the woman that concerns she had insulted the Tasmanian government were central to her dismissal.

Due to the closure of the last publicly run abortion clinic in Tasmania Angela Williamson, whom was working as the manager of public policy & government relations for Cricket Australia, was forced to travel to Melbourne for a termination.

The mother of three had criticised the Tasmanian government in a series of tweets beginning in January of 2018 and was told they’d “damaged [her] relationship with the government”.

Cricket Australia has confirmed that the matter is now in the hands of each party’s legal teams and has made a statement saying that whilst they “respect an individual’s right to their opinion” they expect “employees will refrain from making offensive comments that contravene the organisation’s policies.”

Personally, my takeaway from the statement is that Cricket Australia doesn’t believe women should have publicly available local options for pregnancy terminations in the state of Tasmania.

Source: Cricket Australia sacks worker over series of tweets about abortion