Episode 295 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



Digital transition — as paywalls emerge, what does the evidence tell us?

Fairfax will introduce a paywall for its Metro websites — The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age— next year.
It will use the metered approach made famous by The New York Times

What if I don’t want to subscribe — can I still read NYTimes.com for free?Visitors get 10 free articles (including blog posts, slide shows, video and other multimedia features) each calendar month on NYTimes.com, as well as access to browse the home page, section fronts, blog fronts and classifieds. Subscribers enjoy unrestricted access to all of the content on NYTimes.com, and 100 Archive articles every four weeks. Also note that NYTimes apps are free to download and install, and they include the Top News section for free. Subscribers get unlimited access to all sections within the app.

TPG slapped with $2 million fine over broadband ads

The court found that advertising for the ISP’s $29.99 Unlimited ADSL2+ plan was misleading because the offer had to be bundled with phone line rental from TPG.

In a 15 June judgement the court ruled that TPG had breached section 52, section 53(e) and section 53(g) of the Trade Practices Act 1974.


Online music streaming wars heat up with MOG


Telstra has entered the online music streaming arena with the launch of its MOG service.
The online music directory features 16 million music tracks at 320kbps quality and is available on PC, digital music players, Apple and Android smartphones, tablets and wireless HiFi systems.

Telstra is currently offering a two-week free trial of the music service and has thrown in an added incentive for Telstra customers – streaming data charges will also be free during the trial.

Following the free trial period, Telstra will charge $6.99 a month for using MOG via computers and $11.99 for additional streaming via mobile devices.

no free service: can’t search without signing in.

A data centre built with LEGO

5772 bricks, 28 LEGO figures, one LEGO light brick and a metre of fibre optic cable. Yes, it’s a data centre.

According to YouTube user eduardotanaka, who uploaded a video of the model earlier this month, the data centre took eight hours to build. Future plans include adding automatic locks using LEGO’s Mindstorms NXT programmable robotics system, as well as “facilities and security management with temperature, sound, IR and door sensors”.
The model has been posted to LEGO’s online gallery.


Kogan launches Android-based TV dongle

Kogan has launched an Android-based dongle that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port to offer internet access.
The snappily named Kogan Agora Smart TV HDMI Dongle has in-built Wi-Fi for connecting to a home network and runs the latest version of Google’s Android platform: 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich.

The dongle includes 4GB of on-board storage and supports the connection of USB thumb drives. It also has a microSD card slot for expanding storage. It runs an ARM-based 1GHz Cortex A9 processor, along with 4GB of RAM.

The dongle includes a remote control and retails for $99

also launched a wireless all-in-one keyboard and touchpad that is compatible with the dongle, as well as with PCs and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games consoles. The Android Deluxe Wireless Keyboard & Trackpad retails for $39.

Microsoft launches Surface tablet

Microsoft this week took the wraps off its all new Windows 8 tablet, called Microsoft Surface. No Pricing as yet,

Here are the specs:

  • 9.3 mm thin
  • Full-sized USB port
  • Magnesium case
  • Weighs 1.5 lbs
  • 10.6-inch display
  • Built-in kickstand
  • Magnetic cover, similar to Apple’s Smart Cover for iPad
  • Cover has a flip-out multi-touch keyboard with trackpad
  • The keyboard-cover accessory is just 3 mm thin
  • Two versions: The RT version will only run Windows 8 apps. The Pro version will run all Windows apps.
  • The pro version is a bit thicker and heavier. 14mm thick. Weighs slightly less than 2 lbs.
  • Pro version has perimeter venting to keep the device cool.
  • Pen (stylus) input.
  • The pro version is essentially a full desktop PC crammed into a tablet.
  • No price or release date yet.




Microsoft to buy Yammer for over $1bn: report

Microsoft is reportedly negotiating to buy Yammer, the operator of social media networks for businesses, for more than $1 billion.

Yammer was founded in 2008 and has more than 200,000 companies as customers, including Ford, Nationwide and 7-Eleven, with more than 4 million users.. The privately held company has raised $US142 million in venture capital.


Current users to miss out on Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade

The new software, Windows Phone 8, will be available on new phones in around spring in Australia.

The software will bring Windows phones closer to PCs and tablets running the company’s upcoming Windows 8, which is also scheduled to launch later this year.
Changing its phone software at such a basic level however means that it will be difficult to install on existing Windows phones.
Nokia, which recently went to market with its Lumia range of Windows Phone 7 smartphones, said it expected the older Windows Phone 7 to live on despite the release of what will be an incompatible upgrade.

LinkedIn hit with lawsuit over massive data breach

On June 6, users learned that hackers had gained access to LinkedIn’s databases when 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords were posted to an underground forum.
The lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of a single subscriber to LinkedIn’s premium services, Illinois resident Katie Szpyrka. It’s seeking certification as a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all LinkedIn users.

The suit claims LinkedIn failed to use “long standing industry standard encryption protocols,” exposing its users’ personally identifiable information. LinkedIn engaged in deceptive practices, the suit says, by claiming to use industry standard protocols to safeguard users’ information.
LinkedIn called the suit “without merit” and said it would defend itself “vigorously.”
“No member account has been breached as a result of the incident, and we have no reason to believe that any LinkedIn member has been injured. Therefore, it appears that these threats are driven by lawyers looking to take advantage of the situation,” LinkedIn spokeswoman Erin O’Harra said in an email.

LinkedIn stored passwords in “hashed,” or encrypted format, but did not “salt” them as many websites do, meaning it did not add additional random characters to make the encryption more difficult to break. After being posted in their hashed format, some of the passwords were decrypted. LinkedIn has since begun salting passwords.
According to the lawsuit, LinkedIn also relied on an outmoded hashing format to store passwords and did not adhere to “basic security checklists” supplied by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology to prevent the type of attack, called a SQL injection attack, that allowed hackers to gain access.

Optus first with second Galaxy Tab

Available in Optus stores and online from Tue 19 June.

runs Google’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android (4.0) out of the box, has the same sized screen (10.1in) with the same resolution (1280×800) and is powered by similar specifications — a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 also has a rear-facing 3-megapixel camera and a basic VGA front-camera.

New features of the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 include a microSD card slot for external storage,

and an infrared port that works with a pre-loaded remote control app. Using this app will turn the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 into a universal remote that will control any device in the home that uses an infrared remote.

Optus will sell the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 on a range of its data plans starting from $39.95 per month for 2GB of data (comprising a $19.95 plan cost with $20.00 monthly device repayments). Both 12 month and 24 month plans are available


Agora 10″ 16GB Tablet – Powered by Android ICS!


  • $199.00

back on sale/order from kogan


St. George releases pay-to-mobile app

St. George has launched a pay-to-mobile app which will allow users to send payments on their smartphones.

To make a payment, users need to put in the recipient’s mobile number and hit ‘transfer’. The app then notifies the recipient money has been transferred and they are directed to a secure website where they put in their BSB and account details.

The St. George app will is on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows 7 smartphones and will be integrated into the bank’s existing mobile banking app.
The rollout of the St George pay-to-mobile app began 18 June with BankSA and Bank of Melbourne, with St George customers able to access the app from 25 June.

R18+ classification becomes a reality

The R18+ classification for computer games will come into effect next year now that legislation has been passed in the Senate without amendment.

Each state and territory in Australia will also pass its own R18+ games classification legislation by the end of 2012 to ensure regulation of the legislation.

Legislation for the R18+ classification will go into effect 1 January, 2013.

Angry resellers owed thousands by United Warranties

Australian hardware resellers are lashing out at warranty provider United Warranties as concerns over the company’s future mount.

The warranty provider has in recent weeks lost several large accounts including department stores Myer and Big W due in part to confusion surrounding the company’s financial situation.

United Warranties’ ABN is still listed as active, and has a ‘registered’ status with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

do your own due dilligence with any warranty provider

Apple patents swappable lenses for iPhone

Engadget has uncovered a patent application that would make the iPhone’s rear panel removeable and replaceable, essentially allowing the user to add new filters and lenses.

One way, as outlined in the filing, would be to feature two lenses on opposite corners of a single backplate: you’d take it off, flip it round and replace it to switch to the other lens.

Apple investigates computer shop over stolen sex pictures

Apple spokeswoman Fiona Martin said the company was looking at the matter after The Sunday Telegraph revealed last week that the inner-city store — an accredited and official Apple reseller — copied private pictures of the household-name star and his wife in numerous sexual acts.
He had taken the computer to the shop to be repaired.

The Olympian is among a number of celebrities — as well as members of the general public — caught out. Shop staff scan machines for intimate material under the encouragement of the store’s owner and upload sensitive photos and videos to a shared drive.

The store owner denied targeting sexual images but said: “If people choose to put photos and personal information on their computers that’s their decision.”
The shop staff are not committing a criminal act. The Sunday Telegraph has learned the Government has been aware of the legal loophole for years.
But Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s office said: “Any investigations are a matter for the relevant police force, in this case NSW Police.”


Big W introduces in-app transactions and lay-by

Big W has revamped its iPhone app, making it possible to shop from Big W within the app — and, in a first for Australia, make lay-bys.

the app’s catalogue is limited to what’s in the most recent three Big W paper catalogues, sent weekly

Each double-page spread of the catalogue delivered to your mailbox has a QR code on the left-hand page; scanning that code with your phone will bring up all of the items on the two pages, so that you don’t have to browse the entire catalogue to find the item you’re looking for.

ios only

Centenary of the birth of WWII code breaker Alan Turing

This week sees the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, a man regarded as one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th Century.
He is best known for his work cracking the Germans’ secret codes during the Second World War.
He is also regarded as one of the pioneers of computer technology.
An exhibition devoted to his life and achievements opens at the Science Museum in London on 21 June.





Microsoft unveils Surface tablet



From touch to type, office to living room, from your screen to the big screen, you can see more, share more, and do more with Surface.
Create, collaborate, and get stuff done with Office.
Explore your world with fast, fluid Windows 8 apps.
Discover new music, movies, and games in the Windows Store.1

The Applefication of Microsoft                 

A last-minute invitation giving journalists and analysts just four days’ warning; a US West Coast unveiling of “a major product” touted as “something you won’t want to miss”; a presentation of an own-brand device by the company’s chief executive, touting its design aesthetic and magnesium-sintered parts in exploded view. You could easily have mistaken Monday night’s unveiling of Microsoft’s Surface tablet range for an Apple event – though you would never mistake

Microsoft’s bombastic Steve Ballmer for a charismatic Apple executive.
Yes, Microsoft is getting into the iPad space; after sitting on the sidelines for years, it has now started running after the fastest-growing sector of the computing market with its Surface.

The fascinating thing about the announcement, though, was how dramatically it shows the Apple-ification of Microsoft.

The company that brought the world Windows, and got rich on it, has for years had serious Apple envy.

When Bill Gates was still working full-time at the company, he would fume during visits to London at Apple’s Regent Street store, opened in late 2004. “We need to have those!” he would complain, to the despair of his minions, who would forbear from pointing out that Microsoft didn’t really make things like Apple did; it made software.

Apart from the Xbox, a Microsoft store at that time would have been a showcase of lots of boxes of software, and a few mice and keyboards. The laptops and desktops on which Windows ran were all made by other companies, such as Dell or HP.

And that was a good arrangement for Microsoft: software is wonderfully profitable, because once you’ve made one copy, the next billion or so cost nothing to copy. It made Microsoft the most valuable company in the world by the end of 1999.

Yet now Microsoft is not just snubbing those companies that made it rich by making PCs that ran Windows; it’s positively apeing Apple, making something the same size as an iPad, putting its own name to it, deciding the price, and selling it through its own stores, both physical and online. (Gates will be happy.)

But is this just some bizarre financial bromance? Or something deeper?

“Why would Microsoft hedge against what it has, the most brilliant business model of the 20th century?” muses Horace Dediu, a former Nokia executive who now runs the Asymco consultancy. “Because,” he answers, “it doesn’t work any more.”

He says that’s because of the rise of mobility – the fact that increasingly we use smartphones and tablets to work anywhere and any time, where just 10 years ago we would have had to sit in front of a desktop, or unfold a laptop. Now iPads are used to create art or hold flight manuals for pilots; meanwhile, nearly a million Google Android smartphones are being activated every day.
Mobility is big. Smartphones have been outselling PCs since autumn 2010; and though the tablet business is only two years old, a total of 108m are expected to ship this year (against about 400m PCs); the research company IDC upped its forecast ahead of Microsoft’s announcement. IDC has consistently lowered its forecast for future PC sales while it keeps pushing it up for tablets.
“The rate of growth in these platforms is almost vertical,” says Dediu. “Microsoft’s for Windows is pretty much flat.”
Google is following the same path: it has bought Motorola Mobility, the US smartphone and tablet maker, and later this month is expected to announce an own-brand 7in tablet. (Larry Page et al won’t be pleased at Microsoft stealing their thunder; Ballmer, who hates Google, will be delighted; it might also explain the last-minute nature of the announcement.)
The Appleification of Microsoft is happening because the company has got no choice.
The smartphone and tablet pose what Benedict Evans, an analyst at Enders Analysis, on Tuesday called “an existential threat” to Microsoft: if it can’t get a credible foothold there, then its growth just stops. So far it hasn’t managed it in smartphones.
Tablets suddenly look like a necessary product.
Of course, this adventure could go horribly wrong.
Think of the Zune – a Ballmer-ordered product (he literally snapped his fingers in a top-level meeting and said: “We need one of those!”) that came far too late in 2006 to compete with the iPod, which had already passed its glory days; Apple already had its eyes then on the iPhone, which has supplanted and far exceeded it for profitability. Zune never went anywhere (literally; it was never sold outside North America) and was quietly killed last year.
Then again, the Xbox 360 games console has done well, cementing the company’s position in millions of living rooms around the world.
Except when you look at the numbers: total sales are put at 67.2m since 2005. Next year is expected to see a new generation – the Xbox 720 – for which a leaked internal document forecasts 100m sales in 10 years.
Dediu laughs: “A hundred million? That’s equivalent to a hundred days’ of Android activations. And that’s their ambition for 10 years?”
Nobody’s expecting that Microsoft is going to stop Dell or HP selling Windows computers – or that they’re going to stop doing so immediately. But the signs of strain are there already.
Last summer, HP said it would quit the PC business because the margins are razor-thin (it dumped its chief executive and recanted); Dell keeps trying to push into services, and makes nothing on consumer PC sales.
But in making the first big move into the Windows tablet market, Microsoft has shown that it realises the need for reinvention.
The old Microsoft would have let a thousand PC makers build tablets – big, small, great, awful, pricey, cheap. The new one will control the apps that run on the Surface, via an online store, will decide the price and the models.
It’s a long time since 2004, when an ebullient Ballmer came to London and told an audience of journalists (then prodding him about the iPod): “With great respect to Apple, there’s no way anything gets to critical mass with Apple, because Apple just doesn’t have the volumes.”
Even then, the iPod was outselling Microsoft’s then mobile offering, Windows Mobile. If you can’t beat them, join them – and ideally, steal their clothes too.

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/business-it/the-applefication-of-microsoft-20120620-20nap.html#ixzz1yJ2VjTpv

Biting back: Microsoft debuts Windows Phone 8

MICROSOFT has unveiled the latest version of its Windows Phone software, just days after it revealed its own tablet device to challenge the iPad.

The new phone software is from the same Windows 8 software that will run Windows PCs and the new Surface tablets, promising tight integration with the vast installed base of Windows devices.
“The future of Windows Phone is about a shared Windows core,” corporate vice-president of Windows Phone Joe Belfiore said at the launch event on Wednesday.

The operating system will be featured on phones made by Microsoft partners such as Huawei, Samsung, HTC and the struggling former mobile phone leader Nokia, which is betting its entire smartphone future on the Windows platform.

Microsoft urgently needs a hit in the smartphone market as it seeks to come from far behind to challenge Apple and Google in the mobile device sector.

The new operating system will improve on the main differentiating feature of Microsoft Windows Phone 7 software – a start page made of tiles that group related activities together. The so-called Metro interface is also a strong component of the other Windows 8 platforms.

Microsoft also said that the new operating system would include a digital wallet with near-field communications, and would ditch Microsoft’s Bing mapping software in favour of an alternative mapping system developed by Nokia.

Read more:http://www.news.com.au/technology/smartphones/microsoft-debuts-windows-phone-8/story-fn6vihic-1226403692932#ixzz1yNatPFP5

Google’s, Apple’s eyes in the sky draw scrutiny

Google and Apple are attracting renewed scrutiny of their practices due to privacy concerns – this time for flying “military-grade spy planes” over major US cities as they race to shore up their rival 3D mapping services.

Staffers for Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, met with Google officials on Monday to discuss privacy issues related to the camera-equipped planes. They plan to meet with Apple on Friday.

The senator’s office also plans to reach out to Microsoft and other companies that may be developing similar technologies.

Schumer said in a statement on Tuesday that he wanted Apple and Google to clarify their plans and ensure “they understand the significance of our concerns over the potential publication of images captured in people’s backyards and other private settings”.
Fear of flyovers
On Monday, Schumer wrote to the two rival Silicon Valley corporations, accusing them of “an unprecedented invasion of privacy” by using filming technology capable of imaging objects as small as four inches.
In his letter, Schumer raised concerns over Apple’s and Google’s reported “digital mapping plans that use military-grade spy planes with enough precision to see through windows, catch detailed images of private backyard activities, and record images as small as four inches”.
3D mapping race
Google and Apple each unveiled new 3D mapping services this month at separate events. The maps let users navigate around an aerial view of a city that appears much more realistic than flat, top-down satellite-based images currently available in mapping products.
The two companies are racing to develop newfangled digital maps, a key feature as they compete to attract users to their rival smartphone offerings.
Google said in a statement it does not currently blur aerial imagery taken by the camera-equipped planes because the resolution of the images isn’t sharp enough “for it to be a concern”, noting that it takes privacy “very seriously”.
Apple said it does not display personally identifiable details such as faces or license plates, and that “we create optimised pictures taken from multiple shots and remove moving objects such as cars and people from the final image”.
By the end of the year, Google said it expects to have 3D map coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.
At an event demonstrating the new maps this month, Google said it was using a fleet of aeroplanes owned and operated by contractors but flying exclusively for Google.
Equipped with custom-designed cameras, the planes fly in “a very tightly controlled pattern” over metropolitan areas, taking pictures from 45-degree angles, Google executives explained. The photographs are then used to build 3D computer-generated models of the buildings and cityscapes.
Google has used planes to collect aerial photos in the past, such as following the 2010 San Bruno, California, gas-line explosion. But the latest effort marks the company’s most significant use of the planes in a systematic manner to build a standard feature in one of its products.
Google has faced scrutiny over mapping services in the past, such as with the camera-equipped “Street View” cars that criss-cross the globe taking panoramic pictures of streets for its popular mapping service.
In 2010, Google acknowledged that the so-called Street View cars had inadvertently collected emails, passwords and other personal data from home wireless networks. Collecting the wi-fi data was unrelated to the Google Maps project; it was done so that Google could collect data on wi-fi hot spots that can be used to provide separate location-based services.

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/googles-apples-eyes-in-the-sky-draw-scrutiny-20120620-20mth.html#ixzz1yJ4zbBFL

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison buys Hawaiian island of Lana’i

(CNN) — Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has bought 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lana’i, according to a statement from the governor of Hawaii.
Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie said, “It is my understanding that Mr. Ellison has had a long-standing interest in Lana’i. His passion for nature, particularly the ocean, is well-known specifically in the realm of America’s Cup sailing.”
Ellison bought the island from Castle & Cooke, whose owner, David Murdock, is also the majority stock holder in the Dole Food Company.
Lana’i once grew 75% of the world’s pineapples, according to the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper.
According to Castle & Cooke’s website, the company employs nearly half of the island’s 3,200 residents and was in the process of constructing a solar farm with the goal of making the entire island operate on renewable energy.
Ellison, who was No. 6 on Forbes’ World billionaires list with a net worth of $36 billion, isn’t the only billionaire to buy his own island. Richard Branson owns a private island in the British Virgin Islands.
Branson has substantial reason to be envious, however. Ellison’s island is more than 1,100 times larger.

‘A lot of people say Siri. I say poo-poo’: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak criticises virtual assistant

Steve Wozniak used to tell all his friends about Siri. Now he’s disappointed that Siri seems to have dumbed down.
Wozniak, one of Apple’s cofounders, laid out his criticisms of Siri on Wednesday during an interview, and he did not hold back.
The Woz said he first used Siri when it was a standalone third-party app on iOS and said he thought Siri was the future.
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“I said ‘What are the five largest lakes in California?’ and it came up one, two, three four five – shocked me,” Wozniak said, according to the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union. “And then I said, ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ and it came up starting with 91. That’s pretty incredible.”
But Apple purchased Siri in 2010 and re-released it as its own feature in late 2011. Since the day Apple bought Siri, it’s only gone straight down, Wozniak says, adding a thumbs-down for emphasis in the video.
“I’d say, ‘What are the five largest lakes in California?’ and it would have all these lakefront properties selling,” Wozniak said. “And I’d say ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ and [Siri would answer], like, ‘prime rib.'”
“A lot of people say Siri. I say poo-poo,” Wozniak said, according to the Times Union report.
Asked how the drop in quality happened, Wozniak said he’d like to know and added that he was very disappointed.
“It still had a lot of those problems, but it should be smart enough to look at the words you say and know what you’re asking,” he said.
But Wozniak hasn’t lost hope.
“I’m really disappointed, but it is still a mark to where the future is,” he said. “I think that voice recognition on all the platforms is going to get better, better, better at putting together complete sentences and phrases, and you know, what did a human really mean.”

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/a-lot-of-people-say-siri-i-say-poopoo-apple-cofounder-steve-wozniak-criticises-virtual-assistant-20120618-20iw3.html#ixzz1yJ5LWcpT

Facebook Scoops Up Face.com For $55-60M To Bolster Its Facial Recognition Tech (Updated)

After about a month of speculation, Facebook has finally announced its acquisition of Israeli facial recognition technology Face.com.
We’ve heard from multiple sources that the acquisition price was around $100m, with others reporting that the price was between $80m-$100m. (Update: We’re now hearing from a source familiar with the matter that the price was between $55 and $60 million, and that it was a mix of cash and stock. The exact value of the deal will be changing depending on the price of Facebook’s stock.) This is absolutely not an acqui-hire, as Facebook will be taking full advantage of the company’s technology and the advancements it’s made on mobile — perhaps to finally include mobile tagging options for photos.
As Face.com’s speciality is mobile facial recogition, it could potentially allow you to upload a photo to Facebook while on the go, instantly receive suggestions of whom to tag, and  confirm the tags with one click.
This is important to Facebook because right now there’s probably a ton of untagged mobile photos getting posted. Those are lost opportunities for engagement because when you get notified that you’ve been tagged in a photo, you probably visit Facebook immediately to check it. These tags also help Facebook understand who a photo is relevant to, so it can feature it in the news feeds of your closest friends.
Face.com’s blog post about the acquisition included a big shout out to third-party developers. “We love you guys, and the plan is to continue to support our developer community.” Facebook could create some sort of API or otherwise allow app developers to build in Face.com’s facial recognition…as long as they integrated with Facebook and let users share content back to it.
The $1 billion Instagram purchase made it obvious that Facebook sees mobile photos and the communities that share them as critical to its future. Once that acquisition closes, Facebook could even port Face.com’s facial recognition to Instagram.
With Instagram and Facebook Camera on the front end and Face.com on the back, Mark Zuckerberg has the arsenal he needs to win the war for mobile photos.


TPG hit with $2m fine for false and misleading advertising


THE Federal Court has slapped TPG Telecom with a $2 million fine for using false and misleading advertising in a national ad campaign for broadband services. The fine follows a Federal Court case in which it found advertisements for TPG’s $29.99 unlimited broadband plan were false and misleading, because they did not properly disclose that it was only available with the purchase of a $30 home phone plan.


The Federal Court also found that TPG’s advertising did not adequately disclose the requirement that consumers pay an upfront set-up fee of $129.95 and a $20 home phone deposit.


In his judgment Justice Murphy noted that “the conduct was seriously misleading and affected a diverse class of users and potential users of broadband services”.


Justice Murphy considered that a sizeable penalty was “necessary to make it clear to TPG and to the market that the cost of risking a contravention cannot be regarded as merely an acceptable cost of business”.


TPG was also ordered to publish corrective notices, to maintain a trade practices compliance program for 3 years and to pay the ACCC’s costs.


The Court also imposed injunctions restraining TPG from engaging in similar conduct in future.


The case was brought to the Federal Court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which has taken a hard line against telecoms companies that fail to provide transparent pricing on broadband products.


“This decision should send a strong warning to telecommunications and internet providers that they cannot continue to take risks in their advertising or they could end up in court and be exposed to substantial penalties,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.


Infringement notices are relatively new for the ACCC, a result of reforms to the Trade Practices Act (now called the Competition and Consumer Act), but this year a number of hefty fines have already been issued.


In March TPG was also subject to a $13,200 fine for a series of misleading ads for its “free 500 VoIP minutes” offer. In that same month Foxtel was ordered to pay $42,600 in relation to its advertising of its “Christmas Sale”.


Optus also has found itself on the wrong side of the ACCC and was last year fined $178,200 in relation to its “Max Cap” plan advertising.


In March this year the Full Federal Court also imposed a penalty of $3.61m on appeal against Optus, finding that the telco engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the speed of broadband plans.








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