Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Good morning. Let’s just jump right into the tech news.

1. Telco ombudsman complaints spiked after the Optus outage

Complaints to the telecommunications ombudsman spiked after the 14-hour Optus outage in November 2023, the ombudsman has revealed. Complaints increased by 13.4 per cent in the previous quarter, though there was a 17.9 per cent decrease in complaints compared to the same time the year prior. “For some people, the offer of free data to compensate for a full-day outage is fair and reasonable. But businesses who lost profit, people who couldn’t call triple zero, or who experienced other significant losses told us that free data is not enough,” Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert said.

2. Main Sequence readies for more funding

Main Sequence, the investment fund founded by the CSIRO, has surpassed $1 billion in managed funds, after raising $450 million for its third fund for local tech startups and innovations. The third fund is its largest yet, and it’s looking to focus on decarbonisation and critical technologies such as cybersecurity, quantum computing, and semiconductor technology. “Our focus remains on big, global challenges that need scientific backing, patient capital and long-term vision to solve,” Partner at Main Sequence Mike Zimmerman said.

3. An Apple AI tool, you say?

Notoriously behind on AI technology Apple has released a new model for image generation. As reported by The Verge, The tech giant built the model with the University of California, and it’s capable of cropping, resizing, flipping, and recolouring, with text prompts. It may be a part of Apple’s plan to catch up on AI this year.

4. The EU wants to criminalise AI-generated abuse imagery

The European Parliament and European Commission have agreed on a proposal to criminalise several types of cyber crimes, particularly those against women. The directive, originally published in March 2022, criminalises the non-consensual sharing of images, including deepfakes, cyber-stalking, cyber-harassment, misogynous hate speech, and ‘cyber-flashing’. “Non-consensual sharing of intimate images, including AI-generated ones, may lead to mental health issues and even to suicides in extreme cases; cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment wipes out women from public space. This Directive would ensure that the authors of such cowardly behaviour don’t go unpunished,” Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová said.

5. FTC not happy about Microsoft’s gaming layoffs

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission isn’t too happy about Microsoft’s decision to lay off 1,900 employees in its gaming division, Bloomberg reports. The Commission said that the company’s decision on redundancies was in direct contradiction of its plan to let Activision Blizzard operate independently. “The reported elimination of thousands of jobs undermines the FTC’s ability to order effective relief,” the Commission said in a letter to the U.S. 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The Commission argues that the layoffs show “areas of overlap” between Microsoft and the company it acquired, and it is appealing the decision to let the acquisition to close in 2023.

BONUS ITEM: I’m going to need a FIA-officiated racing series yesterday.

Have a lovely day.

Image: iStock

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