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Analysis and Comment (119)

Google’s Project Zero targets the shadowy world of cybercrime. Google’s Project Zero targets the shadowy world of cybercrime. Flickr/Robert Scoble

Google is playing catch-up on cybercrime with Project Zero

Google’s new Project Zero team adds some welcome muscle in the fight against cybercrime and could also lead to better privacy for all, making it harder for intelligence agencies to spy. The team will be…
Words on a screen: all that was possible with early connection to the internet. Words on a screen: all that was possible with early connection to the internet. University of Melbourne

How Australia connected to the internet 25 years ago

It is a quarter-century since Australia first connected to the internet, but this technological breakthrough had a long gestation. What is now a global phenomenon was once the property of an exclusive…
New bugs in the code for OpenSSL. New bugs in the code for OpenSSL. Flickr/Guilherme Tavares

Six more bugs found in popular OpenSSL security tool

Computer system administrators around the world are groaning again as six new security problems have been found in the OpenSSL security library. OpenSSL is a security tool that provides facilities to other…
Moss original and Moss copied. Moss original and Moss copied. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

The internet is not going to sap originality from art

In the last few months I’ve noticed a groundswell of murmurs about the internet’s relationship with culture. Again. But this time it relates to visual art. The discussion in terms of publishing is well…
BT could be tripped up by focusing on sports tv. BT could be tripped up by focusing on sports tv. EPA

Is mutual obsession placing BT and Sky’s future at risk?

These days you can easily get your landline and mobile, your internet access, and your TV package from a single provider. Whereas consumers previously had four separate contracts, one will now suffice…
Anti-piracy laws are thin on the ground in Australia at the moment, but do we really need more? Anti-piracy laws are thin on the ground in Australia at the moment, but do we really need more? Scurzuzu/Flickr

Stop the pirates? Behind Brandis' copyright crusade

Copyright has been firmly back on the agenda in recent months. We’ve seen the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) release its report on copyright which recommended that Australia adopt a “fair use…
If the deal is sealed, ISPs will no longer be able to dictate which of their customers get faster service – well, in Europe anyway. If the deal is sealed, ISPs will no longer be able to dictate which of their customers get faster service – well, in Europe anyway. redCreative~/Flickr

Europe votes for a ‘neutral net’ … but what does that mean?

Yesterday the European Parliament had an historic vote on the issue of “net neutrality”, and became the largest bloc in the world to affirm this open internet principle. This was part of a law on communications…
Civil unrest: anonymous comments are being banned from some popular websites - but does it chase away the trolls? Civil unrest: anonymous comments are being banned from some popular websites - but does it chase away the trolls? Shutterstock

Using real names is just one way of cleaning up online comments

Every day, millions of internet users leave comments on web sites and on social networks covering any topic imaginable. At its very best, commenting fosters a social community of people sharing an interest…
If the web needs new rules,who makes them? If the web needs new rules,who makes them? Flickr / ocean.flynn

If the web wants rules, who will make them?

Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee wants an online “Magna Carta” to protect and ensure the independence of the internet. He’s also created a Web We Want campaign, calling on people to generate a digital bill…
Who’s watching you? Who’s watching you? Louish Pixel/Flickr

Snowden and Berners-Lee’s campaign for an open internet

You might have seen this week that there’s a campaign regarding the future of the internet. Its chief proponents? NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, inventor of the web Tim Berners-Lee, journalist Glenn…
Mark your territory now. It’s about to kick off online. Mark your territory now. It’s about to kick off online. the justified sinner

Domain name expansion signals political shift of the internet

More than 1,000 new generic top-level domain names – the part of an internet address that comes after the “dot” – are being rolled out by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It’s…
Slow motion version. Slow motion version. Sevitz

#neknomination: the internet has changed drinking games

Neknomination seems to have begun as a UK university phenomenon in 2012, but more recently burst into wider public consciousness in Australia, then South Africa and Canada. It has also been tragically…
How do three little punctuation marks convey emotion? How do three little punctuation marks convey emotion? Veronica Belmont

Smiley like you mean it: how emoticons get in your head

We may not spend a lot of time thinking about the emoticons we insert into our emails and text messages, but it turns out that they reveal something interesting about the way we perceive facial expressions…
‘Success Kid’ – with its various slogans – has been an enduring meme of recent years. ‘Success Kid’ – with its various slogans – has been an enduring meme of recent years. Know Your Meme

Explainer: what are memes?

Nothing defines our use of the internet as clearly as the concept of the meme (pronounced “meem”). Every day, millions of people laugh at LOLcats, dog shaming, and music videos without music, while others…
So meme, such Doge. This guy ruled the internet in 2013. So meme, such Doge. This guy ruled the internet in 2013.

The year of the Doge: 2013’s top meme owes it all to LOLCats

In the world of internet memes, 2013 was without doubt the Year of the Doge. Participants on Twitter, Tumblr and reddit created and circulated their own narrations of this Shiba’s fragmented internal monologue…
What are the implications for democracy if our greatest communication tool - the internet - is turned on the citizenry and used for surveillance? What are the implications for democracy if our greatest communication tool - the internet - is turned on the citizenry and used for surveillance? EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

The internet after Snowden: what now?

Since June, thanks to the information disclosed by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, a troubling truth has come to light. The internet, and with it the entire gamut of new communication…
The doctor will see you now. The doctor will see you now. Jared Schmidt

Web research could give you a bad dose of cyberchondria

Is it ok to use sunbeds? Do mobile phones cause brain cancer? Should I cut out carbs? Is it safe to eat genetically modified food? Is this a “normal” symptom? Chances are that you’ll turn to the web for…
Many remote communities have been cut off from the internet, missing out on services and skills others take for granted. Many remote communities have been cut off from the internet, missing out on services and skills others take for granted. yaruman5/flickr

Getting remote Indigenous communities online

Most remote Australian Indigenous communities have little or no access to digital technology. Last year, three internet-enabled terminals were installed as a trial in the remote communities of Burraluba…
Stringing optical fibre on power lines isn’t a new idea, but there are better ones. Stringing optical fibre on power lines isn’t a new idea, but there are better ones. Sarah Caulfield

Sooner, cheaper, faster: can power lines speed up the NBN rollout?

Recent reports in The Australian call for the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout to be sped up by using optical fibre strung overhead with power lines, rather than replacing Telstra’s copper network…
Free Wi-Fi not only benefits the public, but the local council and associated companies too. Free Wi-Fi not only benefits the public, but the local council and associated companies too. Ed Yourdon

Free public Wi-Fi in Melbourne: what’s in it for the providers?

Last week, Melbourne City Council announced an action plan in the Council Plan 2013-17 to develop a strategy for free public Wi-Fi within the Melbourne CBD. Why is the council thinking of investing in…
Still together but the spark is gone. Still together but the spark is gone. CoreForce

More of us are online, but we feel pretty meh about it

The number of people in Britain who are using the internet has risen substantially, reaching 78% of the population aged 14 years and over as compared with 59% in 2003. But according to the latest survey…
Better than anything you can get in the shops. And it’s free. Better than anything you can get in the shops. And it’s free. mikecogh

Informal economies offer new insight into prosperity

Oxfam released a highly critical report last week warning that austerity measures in the UK are having a damaging effect on welfare. Despite the recent hurrah for Chancellor George Osborne over signs of…
Details have emerged of the US National Security Agency’s anti-cryptography effort, via whistleblower Edward Snowden. Details have emerged of the US National Security Agency’s anti-cryptography effort, via whistleblower Edward Snowden. Ole Spata/EPA

NSA breaches a new level of social contract with Sigint

In the wake of the latest New York Times/Guardian UK/ProPublica triple team effort breaking news of America’s National Security Agency’s (NSA) anti-cryptography effort Sigint, a new level of social contract…
A ‘badly worded sentence or two’ put shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull on the back foot yesterday. A ‘badly worded sentence or two’ put shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull on the back foot yesterday. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Opt-out, opt-in: the internet filter hokey pokey

As of last night both major Australian political parties can claim to have at one time backed and then rejected internet filters. Is this an epic win for netizens? Yes, for the battle against censorship…
There are two visions for the National Broadband Network, but what are the long-term costs? There are two visions for the National Broadband Network, but what are the long-term costs? Lukas Coch/AAP

Can Australia afford the Coalition’s NBN?

Consumers know well that buying a cheaper product often costs more in the long term when the cheaper product has to be replaced. This is true of the Coalition’s vision for the National Broadband Network…
Google says it can change the world with its Loon balloons. Google says it can change the world with its Loon balloons. iLighter

Spreading the net takes more than balloons and bombast

A flurry of initiatives aimed at connecting the billions – mainly in Africa – who still do not have access to the internet are underway. A few weeks ago, Google’s possibly aptly named Project Loon was…
Intelligence-gathering programs run by the US National Security Agency have reignited debate about email security. Intelligence-gathering programs run by the US National Security Agency have reignited debate about email security. Stéfan

After Lavabit: a brief history of securing email, and failing at it

Last week, two secure email providers - Lavabit and Silent Circle - announced the closure of their services, citing pressures on them to reveal user information as the key reason for the decision. The…
An old sign, or the future of the internet? An old sign, or the future of the internet? mikecogh

War on web porn obscures wider sexualisation of teens

Can we really separate a “nice” internet from a “bad” internet? That appears to be the thinking behind David Cameron’s statements foreshadowing the introduction of “porn filters” and search engine roadblocks…
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak shut down the country’s internet in 2011 in an effort to stop the uprising. But does Syria’s recent online blackout have a darker motive? Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak shut down the country’s internet in 2011 in an effort to stop the uprising. But does Syria’s recent online blackout have a darker motive? Mataparda

Syria is back online – so who has the internet kill switch?

Syrian residents found themselves without the internet for some 19 hours on May 7 and 8, in what many see as a long-term government campaign to use the internet as method of state control. According to…
Having trouble remembering all your passwords? Don’t expect respite any time soon. Having trouble remembering all your passwords? Don’t expect respite any time soon. Jonno Witts

Passwords: how to choose one and why we need them

I just did a count of the systems I use that require a password and gave up at 40. I know I’m not alone; for many of us, it often seems we have too many passwords to manage. They are, however, required…
Google might soon seal a deal with the European Commission regarding alleged abuses. Google might soon seal a deal with the European Commission regarding alleged abuses. Jessica M. Cross

Google proposes to the European Commission, but hold the confetti

It’s taken nearly three years, but the European Commission and Google last week reached some form of agreement regarding alleged abuses of the search engine’s dominant position in the European Union. Google’s…
Speed limits were made to be broken - in internet terms, anyway. Speed limits were made to be broken - in internet terms, anyway. JRFreemanJr

Faster-than-superfast internet, and why we can’t have it (yet)

You may have read about Sony’s plan to install a fibre-based internet service in Japan which could reach download speeds of 2 gigabits a second (Gbps). That’s 20 times faster than speeds offered by Labor’s…
Location-restricted services are becoming ever easier to access, wherever you live. Location-restricted services are becoming ever easier to access, wherever you live. Daniel Dionne

Explainer: what is geoblocking?

So you sit down in front of your computer to catch the latest episode of Doctor Who directly from BBC’s iPlayer, and you are greeted by an error message informing you that the program will play only in…
“Quick and dirty” or “slow but consistent”? The policies are now on the table. “Quick and dirty” or “slow but consistent”? The policies are now on the table. Dan Peled/AAP Image

A tale of two NBNs: the Coalition’s broadband policy explained

Today in Australia, the Coalition released its policy on the National Broadband Network (NBN). So what is the proposal? Amid rhetoric claiming Labor government inefficiency, cost blowouts and failure to…
Facebook “slut shaming” pages reflect deeper problems with society’s discriminatory attitude towards women. Facebook “slut shaming” pages reflect deeper problems with society’s discriminatory attitude towards women. Flickr/Franco Bouly

Facebook misogyny: ‘slut shaming’ or just woman hating?

“Slut shaming” may be the latest cause célèbre to sweep to our shores, but it just looks a lot like old-fashioned misogyny. From the US-based Salon and The Guardian in the UK, to the Canberra Times in…
Is it time to declare the NBN a “national disaster”? Is it time to declare the NBN a “national disaster”? MATEUS_27:24&25

The army should rescue the NBN

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is in dire trouble and has reached the point where Julia Gillard should declare a national disaster. By doing so the government would be able to utilise constitutional…
Victims of abuse and assault are using social media to name and shame. Victims of abuse and assault are using social media to name and shame. Dean Lewins/AAP

For victims of abuse, revenge is often best served online

A woman hacks her ex-boyfriend’s Facebook account to post a picture of herself in hospital after he attacked her with a baseball bat. A teenager protests against the lenient sentence given to her rapists…
With the US and UK refusing to sign a revised treaty, it’s unclear what will come out of the WCIT meeting in Dubai. With the US and UK refusing to sign a revised treaty, it’s unclear what will come out of the WCIT meeting in Dubai. ITU Pictures

Future-of-the-internet talks crash: let’s update the system

After 11 days of discussion and debate about the future of the internet, the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai appears to have collapsed. On the meeting’s penultimate…
Nations from around the world are currently meeting in Dubai to discuss the future of the internet. Nations from around the world are currently meeting in Dubai to discuss the future of the internet. Ali Haider/EPA

Who controls the internet? The debate is live and clicking

And so the battle for the future of the internet rages on. The focus this time is not on WikiLeaks, cybercrime treaties, or privacy controls, but the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The ITU…
The imperative to remember information has been replaced with the imperative to remember where information is located. The imperative to remember information has been replaced with the imperative to remember where information is located. parkieblues

Outsourcing memory: the internet has changed how we remember

When Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” hit newsstands in the July/August 2008 edition of The Atlantic, the reaction was predictably vociferous. The essay itself – a 4,175 word editorial…
A Pandora’s box may have been opened, without a clear idea of how best to proceed. A Pandora’s box may have been opened, without a clear idea of how best to proceed. smithi1

Unlimited government and police control of the internet? There’s no filter for that

Good news. A decision made earlier this month by Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy may have inadvertently opened the door for unlimited government…
Many of us feel that our internet use verges on problematic but this is different to addiction. Many of us feel that our internet use verges on problematic but this is different to addiction. justingaynor

Internet use and the DSM-5’s revival of addiction

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. The term “addiction” is conspicuously…
Are you motivated or do you need a social setting and role models to keep you driven? Are you motivated or do you need a social setting and role models to keep you driven? Exercise bike image from www.shutterstock.com

MOOCs and exercise bikes – more in common than you’d think

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: The rise of online and blended learning and the development of free online courses is set to transform the higher education sector. We’ve asked our authors how to remake the…
Academics freedom and university reputations are being tested online. Academics freedom and university reputations are being tested online. Academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Academics behaving badly? Universities and online reputations

Trying to control your reputation online is a bit like trying to clean up wee in a toddler pool. You are much more likely to get your hands dirty than achieve any kind of meaningful damage control. Many…
Saying “trolling is bad” does little to solve the problem. Saying “trolling is bad” does little to solve the problem. femenart.nl

Trollwatch: the internet needs ethical standards

Writing for Edge in 2007, Professor Martin Rees – then President of the Royal Society and ongoing Astronomer Royal – quipped: “The global village will have its village idiots.” Rees, of course, was referring…
Australians love shopping online: so retailers must get to grips with the concept. Australians love shopping online: so retailers must get to grips with the concept. AAP

The great online shopping debate — how the locals can win

Australians are among the most enthusiastic online shoppers in the world. Our most recent survey, published in the CCi Digital Futures report, The Internet in Australia 2012, has found a quarter of Australian…
The internet of the future could consume 10% of the world’s electricity supply. The internet of the future could consume 10% of the world’s electricity supply. rachel_titiriga

The internet is sapping the world’s energy, so let’s improve it

Despite its new economy sheen, the internet represents a surprisingly large old economy drain on energy resources. Industry and academia must work together to ensure the internet is a positive contributor…
Australia’s place in the online world is changing, with significant consequences. Australia’s place in the online world is changing, with significant consequences. lintmachine

Cybercrime bill makes it through – but what does that mean for you?

Yesterday afternoon the Australian Senate passed the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 following amendments suggested by the Labor Party. It’s been more than a year since the bill was first introduced…
Is it breaking the law to bypass criminally poor broadcasting? Is it breaking the law to bypass criminally poor broadcasting? sp3ccylad

So what’s wrong with watching the Olympic Games over the internet?

Reports of people the world over watching coverage of the Olympics via BBC’s online streaming portal abound. The reasons for this behaviour vary in the detail, but the common feature is: local coverage…
People need to take responsibility for what is visible on their screens in public. People need to take responsibility for what is visible on their screens in public. flickr/agarth

You’re watching that? Here? The politics of porn in public

My first ever time on an aeroplane, the mid 1980s, and the in-flight film was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Equally suitable fare for my younger brother seated to my left and my grandma to my right. Flash…
Does Western media jump on Chinese “censorship” stories with a little too much zeal? Does Western media jump on Chinese “censorship” stories with a little too much zeal? Thomas Hawk

Chinese internet censorship? Seeking the ‘truth’ on Weibo

Last week, Chinese internet users noticed the two Mandarin characters for “truth” could not be searched on Sina Weibo, the most popular microblogging platform in China. On July 12,Tom Philips, Shanghai…
Memes will play an important role – and provide some fun – during the London Olympics. Memes will play an important role – and provide some fun – during the London Olympics. Facebook.com/TheOlympicMemes

Meme team: Olympic fandom meets the internet

London 2012 is already seeing fierce competition for meme supremacy. Memes, especially in the form of captioned images - or image macros - are an increasingly mainstream form by which people comment on…
Much like the development of the railway in the 19th century, the National Broadband Network (NBN) will transform our society. Much like the development of the railway in the 19th century, the National Broadband Network (NBN) will transform our society. Wikimedia Commons

How the NBN will change education: Australia’s “Last Spike” moment

When I grew up in Canada there was a famous painting on the wall of nearly every primary school classroom. It was called “The Last Spike” and it depicted the final railway track connection being hammered…
Thinking you know every trick in the book doesn’t mean you really do. Thinking you know every trick in the book doesn’t mean you really do. Don Hawkins

SCAMwatch – a helping hand against online scammers

Crimes of confidence, known as scams, are on the rise. You probably know the basics. The way the most common type of scam works involves you being presented with an offer, product or service for which…
Within hours of launching, the New York Times Sina Weibo account was suspended. Within hours of launching, the New York Times Sina Weibo account was suspended. cn.nytimes.com

No-no on Weibo: China challenges the New York Times

The New York Times' (NYT) entry into the Chinese media market is off to a seemingly rocky start. Two days ago, the company launched its Chinese website – cn.nytimes.com – and a corresponding Sina Weibo…
Information gleaned from data mining is a prized delicacy in certain circles. Information gleaned from data mining is a prized delicacy in certain circles. Philippe Put

Why is Telstra Next G serving your data to Netsweeper in America?

Telstra representatives have this week admitted to collecting data for a new internet filtering product and sending this data to the USA office of Netsweeper Inc. Netsweeper Inc, based near Toronto, Canada…
Access to the internet is becoming less of a problem - but does society have the structures to support free exchange of information? Access to the internet is becoming less of a problem - but does society have the structures to support free exchange of information? Howard Stateman

Challenge 6: Switching on to the politics of the digital era

In part six of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Jake Wallis argues that the infrastructure of global communication networks is inherently political and calls for a switched-on populace…
China’s citizens are catching up to the government-monitored web. China’s citizens are catching up to the government-monitored web. Mike Licht

Challenge 4: Authoritarian rule and the internet

In part four of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, John Keane takes a look at the Chinese regime’s troubled relationship with the cyber world. Global challenge 4: How can genuine democracy…
How can consumers get what they want on an NBN-enabled Australia without getting wires crossed? How can consumers get what they want on an NBN-enabled Australia without getting wires crossed? NBNCO

The NBN, service providers and you … what could go wrong?

Unless you’ve been boycotting all forms of media in the past five years, you’ll be aware that the National Broadband Network (NBN) is well and truly on its way. For some of us the NBN is already here…
Semantic search is about recognising the meaning of words, not just the words themselves. Semantic search is about recognising the meaning of words, not just the words themselves. Chris P Jobling

Google’s Knowledge Graph – has search just changed forever?

Late last week, Google representatives unveiled a significant enhancement to the company’s ubiquitous search engine. They’re calling it the “Knowledge Graph” and claiming it will support “more intelligent…
Your movements online are of great value and interest to many people – you just don’t know what they plan to do with it. Your movements online are of great value and interest to many people – you just don’t know what they plan to do with it. Norma Desmond

Living in Orwell’s world: how to disappear completely online

Your friend Kate answers the phone. You remind her you’re meeting at 10am tomorrow for breakfast. You tell her your fractured wrist is healing but the doctor said there’s still some way to go. Your mum’s…
Treats are great to share, provided you have the owner’s permission. Treats are great to share, provided you have the owner’s permission. Kalexanderson

An invincible file-sharing platform? You can’t be serious

A new version of the peer-to-peer sharing application Tribler has created a buzz online following claims by the software’s lead developer that the app is impervious to attack. In a recent interview with…
Stopping the internet isn’t impossible, but it’s unlikely any time soon. Stopping the internet isn’t impossible, but it’s unlikely any time soon. iNKMan

Could Anonymous really shut down the internet?

In a statement posted online last month, hacker collective Anonymous announced plans to shut down the internet. Yes, you read that right. Operation Global Blackout, planned for March 31, is apparently…
Broadcast rights have turned two giant telcos into sporting rivals. Broadcast rights have turned two giant telcos into sporting rivals. Judy **

Optus and Telstra do the techno-legal time warp

Telecommunications giant Optus managed to convince the Federal Court in Sydney this week that there’s a legal blindspot in relation to its download pay-per-view service. Telstra – given its business relationship…
US authorities have seized the file-sharing website. US authorities have seized the file-sharing website. johntrainor

Megaupload in mega trouble (so back-up your online content)

The big copyright news overnight was not the continuing protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), but the shutdown and seizure of Megaupload.com, a popular “cyberlocker…
Wikipedia, reddit and Google are among those protesting against proposed changes. Wikipedia, reddit and Google are among those protesting against proposed changes. Clara Zamith

Major turn-off: leading lights stage an internet blackout to fight SOPA

The fight against potential internet censorship will reach a milestone this evening (AEST) when some of the most popular destinations on the web – including the English language version of Wikipedia…
Who really knows what you want – the search engine or you? Who really knows what you want – the search engine or you? Ste fan

Google search just got way more personal … and that’s a problem

In what has been labelled a “bad day for the internet”, Google last week changed its search engine to include personalised results from Google+. The introduction of Google Search plus Your World has led…
Is a custom domain name worthy of your attention and love? Is a custom domain name worthy of your attention and love? nanic_

Beyond .com … an online world where anything.goes?

At 11 o'clock this morning (Melbourne time), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) started accepting applications for custom top-level domain (TLD) names. Simply put, this means…
Telstra left the door open to its customers' information. Telstra left the door open to its customers' information. topcat_angel

Telstra BigPond failure exposes more than just customer details

At approximately 1pm on Friday, a customer of Telstra BigPond – Australia’s largest internet service provider – posted on a forum that: “If you do a Google search for that number [the number for Telstra’s…
It can be difficult to find accurate health information on the web if you don’t know where to look. It can be difficult to find accurate health information on the web if you don’t know where to look. Chilcy

Don’t rely on Dr Google for health information on the wild, wild web

If you typed “pins and needles” into Google, what kind of results would you expect to find? According to a recent study from Bupa Health, the search engine could diagnose you with anything from a completely…
What if there were an algorithm that could guarantee marketing success? What if there were an algorithm that could guarantee marketing success? Hanga Girl

How to make a YouTube viral video smash – the ingredients

Creating a 30 second YouTube movie that goes viral is the holy grail of marketing. So how is it done? Ensuring the success of a viral-produced movie is still largely hit-and-miss. Some of the more well-known…
The “scorched-earth” tactics espoused by SOPA are raising serious concerns. The “scorched-earth” tactics espoused by SOPA are raising serious concerns. Abode of Chaos

SOPA bill could wreck the internet

A pair of bills currently making their way through US legislature has set off alarm bells among internet technologists and users worldwide. The aim of PROTECT-IP, in the Senate, and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy…
We need to make sure quality is more important than quantity in our online engagement. We need to make sure quality is more important than quantity in our online engagement. Flickr/joshfassbind.com

Democracy drowned out by social media noise: bigger isn’t better online

Social media provokes some of the most voluminous and heated responses in two key areas of contemporary society – democracy and privacy. Promoting the first and threatening the second, social media is…
A fully regulated internet may have come another step closer. A fully regulated internet may have come another step closer. Horia Varlan

UK court ruling on ISP filtering: copyright victory or download defeat?

Last week, the English High Court ordered British Telecom (BT) to block access to a members-only website that offers links to pirated films. NewzBin2, the site in question, offers links to pirated films…
4,000 scientists and dodgy internet – what can possibly be done? 4,000 scientists and dodgy internet – what can possibly be done? Todor Lolovski/Australian Antarctic Division

Connecting Antarctica – a broadband revolution for the Great White Continent

The information revolution is hurtling towards Antarctica in the shape of a 20 centimetre cube weighing less than 10 kilograms. It can’t come soon enough. Not because Antarctic scientists (numbering more…
Creators of a new “red light” suffix hope to put porn in its proper place. Creators of a new “red light” suffix hope to put porn in its proper place. Julian Smith/AAP

.xxx domain – a new way to look at pornography

This month’s launch of the .xxx internet domain, a new section of the internet dedicated to pornography and erotica, is getting people hot and bothered. The global body coordinating internet addresses…
We’ve come to view operating securely online as a given, but it’s not. We’ve come to view operating securely online as a given, but it’s not. shellygrrl

Comodo Hacker, TurkGuvenligi … out for lulz or breaking the internet?

Two recent hacking incidents have highlighted the increasing fragility of the internet’s core infrastructure. They serve as a stark reminder that online security is somewhat illusory. The weaknesses have…
Is the internet free – or a bird on the wire? Is the internet free – or a bird on the wire? David Fraiz

Explainer: net neutrality

Net neutrality was succinctly described in a recent study as “the belief that ISPs [internet service providers] must treat all internet content equally”. Without net neutrality we see situations such as…
Graphene may have humble beginnings, but it’s becoming a major draw. Graphene may have humble beginnings, but it’s becoming a major draw. qwertyuiop

From pencil to high-speed internet: graphene is a modern wonder

It inspired the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. It’s the best thermal conductor we know of. It’s a crystal stiffer than diamond, but able to stretch by 20% of its length, and can carry a current density one…
There is currently around US$63.6 million of Bitcoin in circulation. There is currently around US$63.6 million of Bitcoin in circulation. Craig A Rodway

Bitcoin: a pirate’s booty or the new global currency?

On July 19, Doctor Nefario, founder of the Global Bitcoin Stock Exchange, arrived at Seattle airport and was asked if he had enough money to cover his stay in the US. He replied that he did, but that it…
Apple chief steve Jobs exits, but his grip on the company is likely to remain. Apple chief steve Jobs exits, but his grip on the company is likely to remain.

Will Steve Jobs' resignation shake Apple to its core?

“God dammit, Gil,” shouted Bill Gates. “Why are you spending $400 million on this junk? Steve knows nothing about technology. He’s just a kind of super salesman. Virtually everything he thinks and says…
Google CEO Eric Schmidt will discuss collaboration at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Google CEO Eric Schmidt will discuss collaboration at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Peter Parks/AFP

Will Google get good TV reception? All eyes on Edinburgh

Google chairman Eric Schmidt will make history tomorrow as the first IT/internet executive to deliver the MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. In doing so, he will face…
AES-256 is used widely in personal banking and other online services. AES-256 is used widely in personal banking and other online services. panguy100

World’s toughest encryption scheme is ‘vulnerable’ … so what about you?

It was announced overnight that cryptography researchers have found a “vulnerability” in the encryption scheme used in the vast majority of secure online transactions – a scheme known as AES-256. Every…
Website designers want to woo you, and will use every trick in the book. Website designers want to woo you, and will use every trick in the book. EF Photography

Trust me, web users … I’m beautiful

Beautiful women make great con people, as do handsome men. Why? Because, for better or worse, we are predisposed to trust beautiful people more than normal-looking folks. But what if we take it one step…
Internet comment culture signals the rise of an active public voice. Internet comment culture signals the rise of an active public voice.

Obama? Norway killings? London riots? You can has a meme for that …

Alongside serious reportage of bad news, you’ve probably come across at least one crisis meme that treats that bad news with a dose of ghoulish humour. Just hours after the Daily Mail printed the image…
Broadband-enabled technologies can ensure a more comfortable ageing process. Broadband-enabled technologies can ensure a more comfortable ageing process. sparktography

If I had a blank cheque I’d … reform Australia’s aged care system

Welcome to If I had a blank cheque … a series in which leading researchers reveal what they could (and would) do in their discipline if money were no object. Today we hear from Dr Kate Cornick, Executive…
Hacktivists remove choice from consumers – and in their own way lay down the law. Hacktivists remove choice from consumers – and in their own way lay down the law. anonmunich

LulzSec, Anonymous … freedom fighters or the new face of evil?

As you’ll know by now, hacktivist group Anonymous has vandalised the home page of the Syrian Ministry of Defense, posting a message which started: “To the Syrian people: the world stands with you against…
What would Hunter S. Thompson have made of DefCon 2011? What would Hunter S. Thompson have made of DefCon 2011? Profound Whatever

Fear and loathing in Las Vegas: tipping a black hat to the DefCon hackers

Las Vegas has a long association with people on the fringe of society but even Hunter S. Thompson’s characters Raoul Duke and his drug-soaked Samoan lawyer would have found visitors to the DefCon hacker…
A successful attack on PayPal could cause havoc. A successful attack on PayPal could cause havoc. [!!!] Sweet Peas Photography [!!!]

Are Anonymous and LulzSec about to hack PayPal for WikiLeaks?

In a joint statement published earlier this week, hacking groups Anonymous and LulzSec urged readers to boycott e-commerce giant PayPal, claiming: “PayPal continues to withhold funds from WikiLeaks, a…
Increased intelligence data adds more noise, but not always more useful information. Increased intelligence data adds more noise, but not always more useful information. ssoosay

Norway killings open a can of worms – who’s watching who, and why?

Commentary from some sections of the IT community on the recent killings in Norway reminds us national security is still haunted by two visions: 1) With enough data it will be possible to comprehensively…
Great headlines … shame about the reality. Great headlines … shame about the reality. Australian Federal Police/AAP

Evil descends on the NBN? Erm, not quite

Another day, another hacking exploit makes headlines. This time it’s a “self-taught, lone hacker”, David Cecil, apparently known online as “Evil”, who allegedly broke into Platform Networks' site, one…
Search engines can flag up “dubious” searches on request. Search engines can flag up “dubious” searches on request. ssoosay

Why didn’t Google catch the Norway killer?

We know the self-confessed perpetrator of the Norway killings Anders Breivik purchased six tonnes of fertiliser, a key ingredient of explosives, in recent months. We know he was under surveillance by the…
Some users have been automatically suspended from all Google services. Some users have been automatically suspended from all Google services. halilgokdal

Google+ requires real name, or else …

A fresh storm has blown into Google’s new Google+ service. The company has been suspending accounts because they contravene Google’s Community Standards – ostensibly to stop fake or spam accounts being…
Who are middle-men in the global spam network? Who are middle-men in the global spam network? freezelight

Money makes the spam go round … and banks worldwide know it

Spam is everywhere. Its persistence is attributable to gullible internet users, to well-known software giants and, ultimately, to money. Unfortunately, spam is not going to be vanquished through use of…
Cyber crime is a growth industry, if you have the head for it. Cyber crime is a growth industry, if you have the head for it. Truthout.org

Pentagon, LulzSec, News of The World … we live in interesting times for hacking

The hacking stories just keep on coming. Of course, The News of the World is the big one at the moment, matched, for the moment at least, by the hacking of The Sun’s website by celebrity – and proficient…
Google+ faces an uphill struggle to win hearts and minds. Google+ faces an uphill struggle to win hearts and minds. Google

10 reasons why Google+ will never be Facebook

Google is hoping that the saying “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again” will work out for them with Google+. Launched as a private beta version on Tuesday, Google+ is the search giant’s latest…
Imagine a world where spam didn’t exist. It isn’t hard to do. Imagine a world where spam didn’t exist. It isn’t hard to do. AJC1

You’ve got mail – how to stop spam and reduce cyber crime

We’ve all received them: emails offering special prices on Viagra, offering fortunes we didn’t know we had, offering links to fantastic websites we simply must visit right away. Annoying as! But the technology…
In the fight against cyber crime, a winning move is proving hard to find. In the fight against cyber crime, a winning move is proving hard to find. dlkinney

Cyber security and the online arms race: the battle has just begun

Cyber security has been in the news a lot lately. Corporate giants have had their data stolen, intelligence agencies have had their websites taken down and hacker groups have become household names. Closer…
Tearing your hair out? You might be suffering from cognitive overload. Tearing your hair out? You might be suffering from cognitive overload. BrittneyBush

I um therefore I ah: workplace stress and how to manage it

Workers in high-pressure, safety-critical jobs – such as air traffic controllers or traffic incident operators – need high levels of concentration and focus to do their jobs effectively. When concentration…
When it comes to top-level domains, anything goes. When it comes to top-level domains, anything goes. pntphoto

Bored by .org and .com? The world is your.oyster

We’re all familiar with web address suffixes such as .com and .org but from January next year, we could see the emergence of a whole host of different address endings. In a meeting in Singapore yesterday…
Tom MacMaster was revealed as the author of the Gay Girl in Damascus blog. Tom MacMaster was revealed as the author of the Gay Girl in Damascus blog. AAP

Gay girl in Damascus or straight bloke in Scotland? It’s the internet, stupid

Unlike politics, unlike sport, literature doesn’t appear an obvious candidate for scandal. Most literary controversies can’t be easily packaged along the Camillagate, Zippergate, Weinergate lines; can’t…
Are traditional telephony services looking down the barrel of a gun? Are traditional telephony services looking down the barrel of a gun? Grace

You use VoIP, try and understand it: make a noise and make it clear

If you use services such as Skype, you’ll already know about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This is what makes your video calls with loved ones possible, and – not least with the advent of the NBN…
Steve Jobs is banking on cloud computing having a silver lining. Steve Jobs is banking on cloud computing having a silver lining. EPA/Monica M. Davey

Apple iCloud storms the market: a review

Apple CEO Steve Jobs emerged briefly from medical leave to introduce iCloud at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco yesterday (2am Australian EST). So how was it? In previous…
There’s every chance your computer has been compromised. There’s every chance your computer has been compromised. TTC Press Images

Zombie computers, cyber security, phishing … what you need to know

Today, Australia’s Labor Government announced it had started working on a national cyber security strategy, to be released as a white paper in the first half of next year. This comes amid growing concern…
NBN Co chief Mike Quigley and Stephen Conroy still face many tough tasks. NBN Co chief Mike Quigley and Stephen Conroy still face many tough tasks. AAP

It’s no secret, the NBN’s been left to tender mercies

The news that NBN Co has found a way to move forward from the crucial cost-of-construction issue must have surely lifted the Gillard Government’s spirits. NBN Co, the government-owned corporation in charge…
Is the NBN a “perfect answer” to Australia’s broadband needs? Is the NBN a “perfect answer” to Australia’s broadband needs? Mozzer502/Flickr

Getting Alan Jones up to speed on the NBN

A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Radio 2GB commentator Alan Jones demonstrated this adage last week when commentating on a recent technology breakthrough by a group of international…
Is LinkIn’s successful float a harbinger of a looming tech bubble? Is LinkIn’s successful float a harbinger of a looming tech bubble? AAP

LinkedIn is floating on air… or is that a bubble?

LinkedIn’s highly successful share market debut on Wall Street overnight will have no doubt delighted the social networking site’s founders and investors, with the stock’s price more than doubling during…
Cloud computing could completely change the game. Cloud computing could completely change the game. sharmili r/Flickr

Chromebook: why Google has its head in the cloud

Google’s so-called Chromebook will be launched next month in the US and much of Europe, and, not unusually, “some time later” in Australia … The move was announced at the company’s flasghip I/O conference…
When it comes to illegal downloading, are we all expendable? When it comes to illegal downloading, are we all expendable? Claudio Onorati/EPA

The BitTorrent lawsuit: why Sly Stallone is out to get you

Ever downloaded a Hollywood flick from the internet? If the answer is “yes” then you could be next on Rambo’s hit list. As reported recently, an American federal judge has agreed to allow the U.S. Copyright…
Is it time to get tougher on hackers, whatever their motivations? Is it time to get tougher on hackers, whatever their motivations? Philippe Huguen/AFP

Hacking, cracking and the wild, wild web

PRIVACY – Who are hackers and what do they want from you? Pop culture would have us believe they live in dank basements, wear black leather from head to toe and have pseudonyms such as Warlock or Neo…
Routers have helped to slow the worldwide exhaustion of IPv4 addresses. Routers have helped to slow the worldwide exhaustion of IPv4 addresses. AAP

The end of the internet? IPv4 versus IPv6

If you’re the sort of person who relies on the internet every day, you’ll maybe have twitched slightly on hearing rumours that the world is running out of internet addresses. Is this true? Well, yes and…
The NBN could give all Australians access to online services. The NBN could give all Australians access to online services. iStockphoto

Explainer: the National Broadband Network (NBN)

The big picture Australia’s plan for a National Broadband Network (NBN) represents one of the largest infrastructure projects in the world at present. The estimated $43 billion price tag has stirred up…
Chrome is heralded as the fastest browser, but are the others catching up? Chrome is heralded as the fastest browser, but are the others catching up?

Battle of the browsers: how the web was won

Until a few years ago, there was only one name in the world of web browsing: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. But now, in 2011, users have more choice than ever when it comes to searching online. Before…

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Research Briefs (17)

6% of adults online use Reddit

New studies from the Pew Research Centre show 6% of online adults in America use Reddit, with 15% of male internet users…

The internet is an hourglass

A new map detailing the structure of the internet could provide valuable lessons about how best to structure future iterations…