Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Good morning. We’re halfway through the week. Let’s get into the tech news.

1. Optus triple-zero failure worse than originally reported

During the Optus outage that plagued users for almost an entire day on November 9, 2023, 2,969 customers were unable to make calls to triple-zero – up from the 228 calls that former Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin told a Senate inquiry last year. The outage disrupted almost every service operating with reliance on an Optus phone or internet plan – including MVNOs operating on Optus’ telephone networks – and led to outages across businesses, public transport, and of course for personal and home plans. “Optus will update the Senate record and has also provided relevant information to the ACMA, which is investigating Optus’ compliance with its obligations under the Emergency Service Call Determination,” an Optus spokeswoman said.

2. Hacker sanctioned over Medibank hack

AP is reporting that a Russian national has been sanctioned by the U.S., the UK, and the Australian governments, for his part in the 2022 Medibank hack. 10 million customers had their personal information breached in the hack, with client data leaked in October 2022 by an extortionist. “We continue to work with our friends and partners around the world to ensure cyber criminals are held to account for their actions and we will relentlessly pursue activities which disrupt their capability to target Australians in the cyberspace,” Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said.

3. Calls for Aussie tech for Mars mission

InnovationAus is reporting that the Australian Space Agency is calling on local innovators to develop “niche Australian technology capabilities” to assist with the U.S.-led Moon to Mars initiative. Industry members and academics have been asked to put forward their skills in robotics, quantum sensing, and edge computing, with Australia set to play a supportive role in future lunar missions with tech such as the delightfully named ‘Roo-ver’.

4. The Apple car is still apparently a thing

Though Apple is still testing autonomous vehicle tech, word on the ‘Apple car’ has been quiet for a while – until now. Engadget reports (via Bloomberg) That the Apple car could debut in 2028, with a reduced focus on autonomy, downgraded to Level 4 rather than Level 5 (down from ‘full autonomy’ to ‘full autonomy in some circumstances’). The company appears to be retooling the project to offer a more typical electric car, rather than a completely self-driving car. Rumours of an Apple car have swelled since the 2010s, but with the Vision Pro so close to release, it’s possible that Apple could be about to put its attention elsewhere.

5. Netflix posts subscriber gains

Wrapping things up with Reuters, which reported Netflix blew past subscriber estimates in 2023’s fourth quarter, chalked up to the success of The Crown’s final season, and The Killer. Revenue rose to $8.8 billion, past the forecast $8.7 billion in the quarter. The streamer said it expects revenue growth to continue throughout 2024, with a focus on its advertising business (brought on by the new ads tier) and adding members to the site. Ads weren’t identified as a main driver of revenue growth in the quarter, but the streamer wants ads to be on by the end of 2024.

BONUS ITEM: Modders of the ‘Pokémon with guns’ game Palworld are skirting close to the sun.

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