Episode 244

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GLENN’S NOTEBOOK
Mozilla Delivers New Version of Firefox – First Web Browser to Support Do Not Track on Multiple Platforms


The latest version of Firefox includes more than 1,000 improvements and performance enhancements that make it easier to discover and use all of the innovative features in Firefox. This release adds support for more modern Web technologies that make it easier for developers to build amazing Firefox Add-ons, Web applications and websites.

Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux now supports the CSS Animations standard to enable developers to build more amazing Web applications and websites.

Do Not Track privacy feature has been made easier to access

background tabs hog resources less; plus generally improved stability and security features.

Telstra signs definitive $11bn NBN deal
TELSTRA has signed off on an $11 billion deal to transfer its fixed-line monopoly to the National Broadband Network as its copper network is gradually shutdown.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the deal would allow the NBN to be rolled out faster, with higher revenues and less overhead cabling

Final approval of the deal will rest with Telstra’s 1.4 million shareholders, who will vote for or against the agreement at its annual meeting on October 18.

“This value will not be in the form of an up-front payment, but is the present value of payments to be received over many years,” the telco said.

Telstra will earn revenues through disconnection payments as the rollout of the NBN occurs and its customers transfer to the new fibre optic network. It will also gain revenues through leasing payments for the use of Telstra’s infrastructure over a period of between 35 to 40 years.

The telco will also benefit to the tune of an extra $2bn in savings delivered as the government relieves the telco from its universal service obligation.

http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/commitments/uso/ read more …..

The universal service obligation is designed to ensure that all people in Australia, no matter where they live or conduct business, have reasonable access, on an equitable basis, to standard telephone services and payphones.
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has determined that Telstra is the primary universal service provider and is responsible for fulfilling the universal service obligation throughout the whole of Australia.


Rivals square off in internet TV battle
The Foxtel T-Box service will be rolled out next Monday to T-Box customers on cable broadband through a software update. It will also be activated for ADSL2 customers later this year.

The basic starter Foxtel T-Box package contains 11 channels and will cost $19.50 a month. Sport, entertainment, movie and Showtime movies are each $10-$15 a month extra. No contracts are required. Fetch TV plans to add YouTube’s new Leanback video stream as an integrated service alongside its free-to-air, subscription-TV and movie services, and to gradually expand its ethnic TV coverage.

Telstra says its T-Box rollout has been overwhelmingly successful, with 120,000 T-Boxes in homes as of January this year.

The Foxtel T-Box service will be rolled out next Monday to T-Box customers on cable broadband through a software update. It will also be activated for ADSL2 customers later this year.




Media streams spark piracy row over copyright
A debate is under way about the legality of devices called virtual private networks (VPNs) that facilitate access to US-only content on media aggregators such as Netflix, Hulu and Boxee in the US.

These aggregators prohibit their content being streamed to Australian homes because their copyright agreements with major producers such as 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios and Paramount allow distribution only in the US, and sometimes in Canada.

University of NSW copyright expert Kathy Bowrey believes promoting devices that help Australian users access movies and TV shows available only to US subscribers might be unlawful.

“The person who offers the VPN is possibly liable. It’s also a breach of copyright to encourage people to infringe, and provide a means by which they can infringe,” she said.

“The reason why the content is geographically restricted to these nations is due to agreements between companies like Hulu and Netflix and the media industry. There is no binding government law,” VPNSecure.me spokesman

“The reason why the content is geographically restricted to these nations is due to agreements between companies like Hulu and Netflix and the media industry. There is no binding government law,” VPNSecure.me spokesman


Japanese gadget charges mobile phone over campfire
The Hatsuden-Nabe thermo-electric cookpot turns heat from boiling water into electricity that feeds via a USB port into digital devices such as smartphones, music players and global positioning systems.

TES NewEnergy, based in the western city of Osaka, started selling the gadget in Japan this month for ¥24,150 ($284.55), and plans to market it later in developing countries with patchy power grids.



ICANN backs new domain suffixes
THE world’s peak internet regulator today opened a new chapter on the internet’s history when it voted to allow organisations to run their own generic domain suffixes alongside the likes of .net, .org and .com.

The board voted 18 to 3 to pass a resolution to accept applications for generic top-level-domains (gTLDs) for three months from January 12, 2012.

Sydney and Melbourne have expressed interest in applying for the names .melbourne and .sydney.

Barack Obama to get more personal with tweeters
Mr Obama has more than 8.69 million followers on Twitter, making him the third-most-followed account, says twittercounter.com. Entertainers Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have more followers.

BARACK Obama will start using Twitter regularly, signing his personal tweets “-BO”, his campaign staff say.

Twenty years of Sonic the Hedgehog
Spinning into life in 1991, Sega’s spiky blue mascot took the gaming world by storm. But as he celebrates his 20th birthday

Aussie Online Stores Made A Lot Of Cash Last Year
According to the ABS, Aussie online stores sold $143 billion worth of goods in the 09/10 financial year

Erik’s Notebook

Apple Planning Faster IPhone for September

Apple Inc. (AAPL) plans to introduce a new iPhone in September that boasts a stronger chip for processing data and a more advanced camera, according to two people familiar with the product.
The device will include the A5 processor, the more powerful chip that Apple added to the iPad 2 earlier this year, along with an 8-megapixel camera, up from the 5-megapixel model in the iPhone 4, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. Apple is also testing a new version of the iPad that has a higher resolution screen, similar to the one now used in the iPhone 4, one of the people said.
The iPhone is Apple’s top seller, accounting for half of revenue last quarter. A faster chip will enable speedier loading of programs and help the device vie with handsets being introduced by rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co. that are powered by Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software. The iPhone’s gains versus the BlackBerry partly explain why Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) last week forecast its first-ever quarterly sales decline.
The new phone will run the iOS 5 operating system Apple previewed at a developer’s conference this month. Codenamed “Telluride,” it will feature already-announced features such as improved messaging and photo-sharing, one person said. It’s also designed to run on all of Apple’s mobile devices, this person said. Until late last year, iPads, iPhones and iPod touches used slightly different versions of iOS.
Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California- based Apple, declined to comment.

Google’s Gains

Apple pushed back the release of the next iPhone — its fifth — to coincide with the release of the new iOS 5, the people said.
Apple has not kept pace with Google in the smartphone market, projected by researcher IDC to reach almost 1 billion units by the end of 2015. This year, Apple is projected to account for 18.2 percent of the global market, compared with 38.9 percent for devices running Android, according to IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts.
The release of a new iPhone may help Apple cut in to Android’s market share, Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. in New York, said in a report this week. He said Android customers are waiting for the next-generation iPhone, especially those on the Verizon Wireless network, which added Apple’s handset this year.

Cheaper iPhone

Apple is also working to finish a cheaper version of the iPhone aimed at attracting customers in developing countries, the people said. This device would use chips and displays of similar quality to today’s iPhone 4, the people said. Apple’s work on a smaller, lower-priced version of the device was discussed by people familiar with the matter in February.
The screen resolution on Apple’s new iPad would be about one-third higher than that of the iPad 2 and will boast a more responsive touchscreen, one of the people said.
The new iPhone will closely resemble the iPhone 4, the people said.
As Apple upgrades its mobile operating system it may eventually stop guaranteeing that all iOS apps run on older models, such as the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, one person said.
Apple, the second-largest company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index behind Exxon Mobil Corp., fell 93 cents to $324.37 at 12:02 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. It has gained less than 1 percent this year before today.
To contact the reporters on this story: Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net; Peter Burrows in San Francisco at pburrows@bloomberg.net; Adam Satariano in San Francisco at asatariano1@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net; Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-22/apple-said-to-prepare-faster-iphone-for-september.html


Telstra’s birthday present for the PM

The tortured $11 billion deal for Telstra to transfer its fixed-line monopoly to the National Broadband Network (NBN) was finally stitched up this morning on the eve of Julia Gillard’s one-year anniversary as prime minister.
It was a deal the Gillard government had to pull off or face massive criticism after so much fanfare declaring the NBN to be part of a grand plan to build a new high-speed nation.
Telstra’s share price went backwards, easing 1.3 per cent on a day when the rest of the market was off 0.5 per cent, a result more about selling on the fact and buying on speculation.
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The details of this deal have been well flagged and will have no material impact on the group’s financial results for 2012.
The deal signed today also included an $800 million payment to Optus for the transfer of customers on its Hybrid Fibre Coaxial Cable (HFC) to the NBN.
With Telstra and Optus firmly on board, the only remaining hurdles are the ACCC and shareholder approval, both of which are virtually guaranteed.
These near-certainties means the government will go like billyo to rollout this network so that if there is a change in government at the next elections – and the way the polls are going it seems an almost certainty – the NBN will be difficult to wind back.
The Coalition rejects Labor’s $36 billion-plus fibre-to-the-home model, preferring the dramatically cheaper fibre-to-the-kerb model, which it believes would cost the nation less than $6 billion and be a lot less disruptive.
Today’s deal reveals that Telstra can receive as much as $500 million in compensation if there is a permanent cessation of roll-out or very slow roll-out occurs. Compensation is not payable if the event occurs before the roll-out has reached 20 per cent of households.
This sum is a big whack of money and there could be more if Telstra believes its commercial interests need to be protected.
These interests would be through the cashflows Telstra expects to receive from the ongoing operation of its copper Customer Access Network and HFC cable broadband networks in those areas where the NBN rollout has not occurred.
Then there is the compensation that would need to be paid to the construction companies that have entered contracts with NBN to roll out the network across the country.
For Telstra the deal is good because it means they gets generous compensation to decommission its copper network and allow NBN Co to lease the telco’s infrastructure to roll out its fibre-optic cable around the nation. For Optus, it too gets generous compensation for its customers.
It also forces it to have a better strategy and focus on its online business, including its 50 per cent stake in Foxtel, and its Sensis business, and its mobile 4G.
But the success of the NBN or otherwise will rest on the price once it is hooked up. Therein lies the sting. The project is estimated to cost $36 billion, but this tally could well blow out.
Australia is set for a national broadband network. The Telstra monopoly is busted up to be replaced by an expensive government monopoly. The ACCC will need to regulate this one tightly.
aferguson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/telstras-birthday-present-for-the-pm-20110623-1ggip.html#ixzz1Q52fB1fA

Winklevoss twins end Facebook lawsuit

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have opted not to go to the US Supreme Court with their bid to get out of a deal they made in a lawsuit charging that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook.
Lawyers filed legal paperwork saying that the twin brothers will not ask the top court in the nation to overturn a decision the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made siding with Facebook.
A spokesman for the attorneys declined comment on the decision to abandon the suit and said the Winklevoss brothers had no statement.
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The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in May rejected a bid by the identical twin brothers to have a full panel of 11 judges second guess a ruling made a month earlier by a three-justice panel.
The three-judge panel said that litigation in the case “must come to an end” and threw out the bid by the Winkevosses to review the settlement.
The twins had argued that Facebook held back information about the estimated value of the California-based social networking firm while reaching a $65 million dollar settlement with the brothers.
The twins inked a settlement two years ago that got them $US20 million in cash and $US45 million worth of stock valued at $US36 per share.
The value of that yet-to-be-issued stock has skyrocketed along with Facebook’s estimated market value.
The brothers challenged the settlement, which was supposed to be confidential, on the grounds that Zuckerberg suckered them during settlement talks by not revealing Facebook internally valued the stock at $US9.
The lower figure would have resulted in the Winklevoss twins getting many more shares.
AFP

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/winklevoss-twins-end-facebook-lawsuit-20110623-1gg91.html#ixzz1Q52vVyK0

Optus strikes $800m NBN deal

June 23, 2011 – 9:47AM
Optus has reached an $800 million agreement with the federal government to migrate its customers to the national broadband network (NBN).
Australia’s second biggest telco said it will progressively migrate its hybrid fibre coaxial cable (HFC) customers to the NBN from 2014, and continue as the NBN is rolled out.
This will only affect customers using Optus’ fixed line services, and not mobile infrastructure.
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The value of the agreement is approximately $800 million on a post tax net present value basis, and payments will be received progressively as customers move over to the NBN.
Chief executive Paul O’Sullivan said it was a fair deal for Optus, and a good thing for consumers.
“This deal supports the NBN to create a level playing field for all telcos,” he said in a statement.
“Australian consumers will be the winners.”
The agreement remains conditional approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian taxation Office.
Telstra has also agreed to move its customers to the NBN as it is rolled out, plus allow access to its fixed-line infrastructure, in a deal valued at $11 billion.
Optus is the Australian business of Singapore Telecommunications.
AAP

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/optus-strikes-800m-nbn-deal-20110623-1gg70.html#ixzz1Q57NMf3k

Telstra’s NBN deal – what it means

Telstra’s NBN deal – what it means

June 23, 2011 – 9:26AM

The federal government’s $36 billion plan to wire up the nation to high-speed broadband cleared one of its last major hurdles today when Telstra agreed to an $11 billion deal to rent its infrastructure to the operator of the state-owned network.

What is the NBN and why is it being built?

The National Broadband Network is a high speed internet network, which is expected to deliver speeds of about 100 megabits a second to more than 90 per cent of Australian homes.
The majority of the network will be constructed of fibre-optic cables, using the cable ducts of Telstra, with more remote areas being connected with wireless and in some cases satellite services.
The network is run by a state-owned company, NBN Co. It cannot sell retail phone services and will provide services on the same basis to all retail companies, such as Telstra and its main competitor, Optus, a unit of Singapore Telecommunications, as well as smaller rivals such as iiNet.
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The network has been a key policy of Labor since it won the 2007 election, as a way to overcome Australia’s patchy and expensive internet services.
Private investment in infrastructure has been largely limited to the cities due to the country’s vast distances and rugged terrain, combined with a low population density.
The network will require total capital expenditure of $35.9 billion and will need $40.9 billion in debt and equity funding. The government plans to put up $27.5 billion in funding, while NBN Co will borrow $13.4 billion from markets.

Why did the government and Telstra do a deal?

Telstra, the former telecoms monopoly, owns the most comprehensive phone network in the country.
NBN Co wanted access to that nationwide system of cables, ducts, phone exchanges and other infrastructure to form the basis of its network as it would make the build faster, cheaper and avoid duplicating assets.
Telstra wanted to avoid being left with a largely “stranded asset”, a network that would be superseded by a better, faster state-owned one, and achieve some return for shareholders.
The deal between Telstra and NBN Co still needs to be approved by the phone company’s shareholders, but it is not expected to face major investor opposition.
What are the political risks of the deal?
The network was a centrepiece of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s election campaign last year which resulted in a dead-heat vote and eventual minority government.
Since then Ms Gillard has struggled to implement her agenda and has suffered in opinion polls, which put support for her leadership at record lows and indicate that her Labor party would be wiped out if she were to call an election now.
But progress on the network could give her government a badly needed policy achievement and enable her to move onto her next major reform – a carbon-reduction plan.
The opposition has opposed the network as a giant waste of taxpayer money, and has promised to review the project if and when it comes to power. Depending on the outcome of such a review, parts of the rollout could be abandoned.
What impact will the NBN have on Telstra and its rivals?
Telstra has been spending heavily to arrest a decline in its market share and sacrificing short-term earnings to transform itself from a network-driven company to retail-driven one.
Many analysts believe Telstra will retain its position of market dominance, even after handing over its fixed-line network to NBN Co, and that the cash from that deal will enable it to expand into new areas such as Internet-based businesses and in new markets such as Asia, where it already has investments.
Telstra’s opponents say the broadband network would encourage a level playing field, leaving phone companies to compete on pricing and product quality. Telstra’s smaller rivals believe the company will in the short term be distracted by the task of separating the network out of the company.
What happens now?
The deal still requires the approval of Telstra shareholders, expected on October 18, while laws clarifying the structure of the network have yet to be passed by the Senate.
NBN Co has in any case forged ahead with its plans, rolling out fibre-optic cable in of Tasmania and, in May, starting to do the same on the mainland.
The process will be a long and is fraught with execution risk as millions of homes and businesses are migrated to the new network. How successfully the transition is handled, and how much market share Telstra retains, will be among the closely watched factors as the network is developed.

Reuters

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/telstras-nbn-deal–what-it-means-20110623-1gg5a.html#ixzz1Q57YvC6D

 

WILL’S NOTEBOOK

CSIRO Newcastle solar tower opens: pics – Hardware – News – ZDNet Australia
CSIRO opened Australia’s largest solar thermal research hub over the weekend, providing the Hunter region with another source of renewable energy and industry with a new hub for research.

(Credit: John Marmaras)
The CSIRO’s 30-metre-high solar tower is surrounded by 450 custom designed heliostats that concentrate the sun’s rays to a central tower receiver. In contrast to solar photovoltaic panels, which convert the sun’s rays into electricity, the process generates temperatures of up to 1500 degrees Celsius, which can be used to drive a turbine for producing electricity.


Apple patent will stop you filming concerts, sports events on iPhone | Information, Gadgets, Mobile
APPLE wants to stop you from filming rock concerts and sporting events on your smartphone.
The company is working on technology that will automatically disable a person’s iPhone camera when it is used to film a live event.
Apple filed a patent application for the software 18 months ago, according to information obtained by The Times (behind paywall).
The software could stop ticket-holders to the Big Day Out, State of Origin and the NRL and AFL grand finals filming the occasion on their iPhone.
Anybody trying to film an event with their iPhone would attract the attention of infra-red sensors installed at the venue.
The sensors would instruct the iPhone to disable its camera. However, the phone’s ability to make a call or send text messages would not be affected.
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The Times reports that the technology is being seen as an attempt to protect the rights of event organisers and TV broadcasters who have exclusive rights to film an event and are upset when phone videos appear on YouTube, allowing people to watch the event free.
The software may allow Apple to negotiate better terms with record labels for selling content though iTunes.
Hans Eriksson, chairman of Swedish tech firm Bambuser, which has built an app allowing people to stream their live recordings on the internet, told The Times: “Apple is smart. I assume Apple is not doing this just to protect against people sharing copyrighted material.
“Hopefully, they see there’s an opportunity to make money here.”
Apple refused to comment on the report.


Telstra, Optus to start censoring the web next month | Latest Broadband and Wireless News |
MOST Australian internet users will have their web access censored next month after the country’s two largest internet providers agreed to voluntarily block more than 500 websites from view.
Telstra and Optus confirmed they would block access to a list of child abuse websites provided by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and more compiled by unnamed international organisations from mid-year.
But internet experts have warned that the scheme is merely a “feel-good policy” that will not stop criminals from accessing obscene material online and could block websites unfairly.
The voluntary scheme was originally proposed by the Federal Government last year as part of a wider, $9.8 million scheme to encourage internet service providers to block all Refused Classification material from users as an optional service.
The Government dropped its funding for the scheme last month due to “limited interest” from the industry, but a spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said a basic voluntary filter was still on track to be introduced by Telstra, Optus and two small ISPs.
“The ACMA will compile and manage a list of URLs of child abuse content that will include the appropriate subsection of the ACMA blacklist as well as child abuse URLs that are provided by reputable international organisations (to be blocked),” the spokesman said.
System Administrators Guild of Australia board member Donna Ashelford said blocking these website addresses should not affect internet speed, but was only a “cosmetic fix” that was easily circumvented by criminals.
“The effectiveness will be trivial because you’re just blocking a single website address (and) a person can get around it by changing that address with one character,” she said.
“Child abuse material is more likely to be exchanged on peer-to-peer networks and private networks anyway and is a matter for law enforcement.”
Electronic Frontiers Association board member Colin Jacobs also expressed concern at the scheme, saying the Government and internet providers needed to be more upfront about websites being blocked and offer an appeals process for website owners who felt URLs had been blocked unfairly.
“There is a question about where the links are coming from and I’d like to know the answer to that,” Mr Jacobs said.
“We’ve been waiting to hear details on this from the Government. It they turn out to be zealous with the type of material that is on the list then we’d want to have a discussion about ways to introduce more transparency.”


Online security
There are a number of refund scam emails currently circulating. These emails claim to come from the ATO and offer a tax refund. Generally, they link to a bogus ATO website asking for personal and credit card details. These emails can differ in their appearance and level of sophistication but will generally state that you are eligible for a refund and instruct you to click on a link to submit a form to receive it. The ATO will never email you asking for personal or credit card details and you should never provide this information.
One version of this scam contains an attachment infected with a virus. This email purports to be from the ATO and asks for the recipient to complete the attached form to receive a tax refund. There is zip file attached to the message that contains a malicious program. If you receive an email like this, do not open the attachment.
Under no circumstances should you give personal information including credit card or banking details. Anyone who has received a suspicious phone call or email should contact us immediately.
Key indicators of this scam include:

  • the email asks you to provide personal details. You should always be suspicious of this
  • it is poorly worded with spelling and grammatical mistakes (though this is not always the case)
  • includes an attachment (form) or link to a webpage to lodge a form
  • comes from an email address which is not a valid ATO email address
  • asks for credit card and PIN numbers.

Below are some examples of refund scam emails and the forms that they link to:


















Example of a refund scam email content:
After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $210.75 AUD. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.
A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.
To access the form for your tax refund, please click here
Regards,
Australian Taxation Office

Sections within Examples of tax related scams



Airlines can’t justify ROI for mobile apps – Communications – News – ZDNet Australia
Travellers are increasingly using their mobile devices to book, plan and pay for trips, but airlines worldwide are having trouble justifying mobile initiatives to their finance department, according to a report released by travel technology provider Amadeus.
The way that travellers use their mobile devices, and how it will evolve in the future.
(Credit: Amadeus)

The report, “The always-connected traveller: how mobile will transform the future of air travel” (PDF), written by Travel Tech Consulting president Norm Rose, and commissioned by Amadeus, assessed current airline and mobile technology, as well as upcoming mobile devices and possible uses in the next two to five years.
“Over 73 per cent of the world’s population — which equates to 5 billion people — carry a mobile device of some form. And so, essentially, airlines need to work out how to effectively monetise the mobile channel … crucially, they must also keep pace with ever-changing passenger expectations,” said Rose.
With 50 per cent of smartphone users making some sort of purchase from their device, according to research firm eDigitalResearch, it would be an area that airlines would not want to miss out on. However, according to Amadeus’ report, not many airlines have been able to justify a mobile investment to “traditional ‘bean counters'”.
The revenue that airlines could be making, but aren’t, lies in the area of ancillary sales such as hotels, car rentals and activities, according to the report. Having mobile purchase avenues would encourage impulse purchases, it said.
“Mobile commerce is all about allowing the consumer to buy what they want, when they want it, on any device,” said the report. “Triggering impulse buying should be a part of all airlines’ mobile strategy.”
However, some airlines have justified their investments by pointing out that mobile applications would reduce staff with self-service options such as mobile check-in, which would also lead to removing kiosks and saving on hardware, and make better use of staff’s time by focusing on passengers who are not able to check-in via their mobile device, according to the report.
Airlines currently use mobile check-in, 2D barcode boarding passes and itinerary management. Some airlines have also added mobile booking capability, and use SMS to inform passengers of changes in their flight plans.


Sky News: Veiled women may be fingerprinted in NSW
Muslim women who file complaints with police while wearing full-face veils may be fingerprinted in future to confirm their identity, NSW Police Minister Mike Gallagher says.
The suggestion arose after Sydney woman Carnita Matthews, 47, who had been sentenced in 2010 to six months’ jail for falsely accusing a police officer of trying forcibly to remove her burqa, won an appeal against her conviction.
The mother of seven had made a criminal complaint to police three days after she was pulled over in her car in Woodbine, southwest Sydney, for a random breath test on June 7, 2010.
Judge Clive Jeffreys on Monday overturned Ms Matthews’ conviction at an appeal hearing in the NSW District Court.
He said there was no evidence to confirm that it was Ms Matthews who had filed the complaint because the person who made it was wearing a face veil.
Mr Gallagher on Tuesday said that in future criminal cases, complainants and witnesses who failed to remove their face veils may be required to have their fingerprints taken to confirm their identity.
‘The suggestion that I have made to the attorney-general, that may well be considered … is that there be a provision on the statutory declaration or the statement for a fingerprint to be obtained from the person being interviewed,’ he told reporters in Sydney.
He said the fingerprint data could be destroyed at a later date, at the request of the complainant.
On the issue of police officers compelling women to remove face veils at the actual scenes of alleged crimes, Mr Gallagher conceded police powers were currently not clear.
He said he would speak to Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione to find ways to clarify the situation.
Officers currently have the power to compel the removal of face veils while investigating more serious or indictable offences, Mr Gallagher said.
But they do not have such power under the Motor Transport Act when stopping a driver.
‘I want to look at the Motor Transport Act … to ensure where there is uncertainty at the scene, police have the ability to take the person back, which they currently do, to the police station and check their identity,’ Mr Gallagher said.
Mr Gallagher said it was his understanding there was nothing in Islamic law which currently forbade women from removing face veils to assist police and the courts.
Any change to the law regarding crime scene identification would be done in a measured way, reflecting individual freedom while balancing police powers, he added.


Media streams spark piracy row over copyright | The Australian
PROMOTING access to the forbidden fruits of the internet, such as movies and TV shows available only to US audiences, might breach Australian copyright law, a leading expert says.
A debate is under way about the legality of devices called virtual private networks (VPNs) that facilitate access to US-only content on media aggregators such as Netflix, Hulu and Boxee in the US.
These aggregators prohibit their content being streamed to Australian homes because their copyright agreements with major producers such as 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios and Paramount allow distribution only in the US, and sometimes in Canada.
University of NSW copyright expert Kathy Bowrey believes promoting devices that help Australian users access movies and TV shows available only to US subscribers might be unlawful.
“The person who offers the VPN is possibly liable. It’s also a breach of copyright to encourage people to infringe, and provide a means by which they can infringe,” she said.
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However, in an area of law that is often complex and unclear, the federal government says it might be lawful.
“In relation to the use of VPNs by Australians to access services such as Hulu and Netflix, on the limited information provided there does not appear to be an infringement of copyright law in Australia,” a spokesman for Attorney-General Robert McClelland said. “Whether the Australian users have committed an offence by deceiving these providers about their identity, or eligibility to receive their services, would depend on state or territory criminal law.”
To overcome the US streaming ban, technically savvy Australians have been using a form of internet tunnelling that lets them access media in the US and Britain, as if they were local users there.
The tunnelling, made possible using a VPN, tricks the Netflix, Hulu, Boxee and other servers into treating Australian users as local subscribers and the media streams unrestricted to their homes.
Concern about VPN tunnelling, however, has heightened with almost out-of-the-box offerings of VPN access with devices such as the McTiVia wireless streaming service now available in Australian retail stores.
A representative of one of the major Hollywood studios in Australia said he was “disappointed as it undermined the deals and rights we are granting domestically”.
“Anyone who masks their true IP address is accessing content beyond what these rights allow,” he said.
Netflix said that accessing its content outside the US amounted to piracy and was a breach of its terms of service.
“Netflix shows in the US and Canada because of our content agreements. We do not condone any piracy or illegitimate use of the internet,” said Steve Swasey, Netflix’s vice-president of corporate affairs
But it is understood content aggregators do not see policing the internet as part of their role.
Professor Bowrey said it was a copyright infringement to download the material, and both the distributor of McTiVia and the VPN service being offered might also be in breach of copyright.
She said Netflix, too, had to be careful that they were providing a legitimate service, but legally “they are relatively safe”.
She said downloading even free movie content from these US sources might breach copyright. “If it’s material that is out of copyright, it’s no problem. Creative commons and free access licences, again no problem.
“But just because you don’t have to pay for it doesn’t mean it’s not covered by copyright. It doesn’t also mean the rights holder is not being paid.”
McTiVia’s distributor Inspire Technology said the company was acting within the law.
“All McTiVia is doing is introducing the VPN service to the customer,” managing director Robert Bonanno said.
“VPN has been around for a long time and I believe there’s nothing illegal about it.”
VPNSecure.me, which offers the VPN service in partnership with McTiVia, says its offering was “100 per cent legitimate”.
“The reason why the content is geographically restricted to these nations is due to agreements between companies like Hulu and Netflix and the media industry. There is no binding government law,” VPNSecure.me spokesman Shayne McCulloch said.
“Being able to provide access to further entertainment content to individuals in Australia will help battle the unfavourable methods that Australians are using to watch this content as we speak.”
The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft did not comment.
In February, AFACT, which represents major Australian distributors, was unsuccessful in Federal Court action against internet service provider iiNet. The court found iiNet was not liable for the copyright infringements by its customers on its network.
New Zealand recently strengthened its copyright laws by enacting a “three-strikes” provision that means repeat infringers will be fined NZ$15,000 ($11,460) or disconnected from the internet for up to six months.


Japanese gadget charges mobile phone over campfire | The Australian
A Japanese company has come up with a new way to charge your mobile phone after a natural disaster or in the great outdoors – by heating a pot of water over a campfire.
The Hatsuden-Nabe thermo-electric cookpot turns heat from boiling water into electricity that feeds via a USB port into digital devices such as smartphones, music players and global positioning systems.
TES NewEnergy, based in the western city of Osaka, started selling the gadget in Japan this month for ¥24,150 ($284.55), and plans to market it later in developing countries with patchy power grids.
Chief executive Kazuhiro Fujita said the invention was inspired by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left 23,000 people dead or missing, devastated the northeast region and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
“When I saw the TV footage of the quake victims making a fire to keep themselves warm, I came up with the idea of helping them to charge their mobile phones at the same time,” Fujita said.
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The pot features strips of ceramic thermoelectric material that generate electricity through temperature differentials between the 550C at the bottom of the pot and the water boiling inside at 100C.
The company says the device takes three to five hours to charge an iPhone and can heat up your lunch at the same time.
“Unlike a solar power generator, our pot can be used regardless of time of day and weather while its small size allows people to easily carry it in a bag in case of evacuation,” said director and co-developer Ryoji Funahashi.
The company says the pot will be used mainly in emergency situations and for outdoor activities, but also has uses in developing countries.
“There are many places around the world that lack the electric power supply for charging mobile phones,” Fujita said.
“In some African countries, for example, it’s a bother for people to walk to places where they can charge mobile phones. We would like to offer our invention to those people.”


ICANN backs new domain suffixes | The Australian
THE world’s peak internet regulator today opened a new chapter on the internet’s history when it voted to allow organisations to run their own generic domain suffixes alongside the likes of .net, .org and .com.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board today ratified the protocols for the application process for the domain suffixes at its 41st international convention in Singapore just after midday local time.

The board voted 18 to 3 to pass a resolution to accept applications for generic top-level-domains (gTLDs) for three months from January 12, 2012.

The announcement ends an era of fractious and protracted negotiations among internet stakeholders on how to get the protocols and processes for applying for the domains correct.

Former ICANN vice-president Paul Levins said the resolution marked the biggest change in the internet addressing system since its inception.
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“This is an enormous change. We don’t know all the innovations this will produce but what we know is that it will produce a lot of it.  It’s not been some overnight decision. It’s been part of ICANN’s remit since its establishment in 1999 – to introduce competition and increase the number of gTLDs,” Mr Levins said.

“You can’t stifle or second guess the process of innovation – this decision fits with the origins of the Internet in that regard.”

The new system is expected to radically change the landscape of the internet naming system as it will vastly expand the range of domain names used on the web beyond the 21 common domain suffixes and 30 or so well-known country code names with which consumers are familiar.

It would also allow cities, states and provinces to create web name suffixes based on their titles. For instance, New York, Paris and Berlin are among cities expected to apply for the top-level-domains .nyc, .paris and .berlin.

In Australia the cities of Sydney and Melbourne have expressed interest in applying for the names .melbourne and .sydney.

ICANN is expected to begin a market education program before opening the application process.

Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Australian-headquartered domain registry provider Melbourne IT, said that the new name scheme presented a two-edged sword for companies seeking to protect their brands and trademarks.

He said that companies would be able to apply better protections to brand names within the generic top-level-domain spaces they owned.

“Because of the inconsistent policies of country codes and global domain names people register misspellings, cyber-squatting is rampant – it’s really difficult to protect your brand because of this,” Mr Hnarakis said.

However, he said the increased number of top-level-domains meant companies faced a tougher job protecting their trademark in name spaces they could not control.

With an estimated 200 new top-level-domains expected to be opened, the potential for trademark infringements and cyber-squatting problems would increase dramatically.

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