ACMA vs Optus: 5 Tech Things to Know in Australia Today

ACMA vs Optus: 5 Tech Things to Know in Australia Today

Good morning. We’ve done it, we’re at the end of the week. Let’s get into the tech news.

1. ACMA tells all on Optus

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has revealed the flaw in Optus systems that lead to the 2022 cyber breach should have been known to the company four years before it had happened.

As reported by The ABC, the ACMA’s allegation has been filed in the Federal Court, with the media regulator seeking civil penalties from the telco. The parties are set to go back to court in September.

“Optus’ failure was due to a coding error which it did not detect during (and for four years prior to) the [September 17 to 20, 2022],” the authority claimed in its filing.

“As a result the personally identifiable information of more than nine and a half million former and current customers of Singtel Optus Pty Limited and its subsidiaries were accessed by a cyber attacker.”

2. ARENA trialling ‘batteries on wheels’

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is allocating $3.2 million to fund a new smart charging project, that will see electric cars feeding energy back into the power grid.

The trial is being conducted by Amber Electric, with 100 smart charges and 50 vehicle-to-grid chargers set to be installed in participating Australian homes.

“With accelerating uptake of electric vehicles in Australia, this project will develop and demonstrate new ways for consumers to unlock value from their consumer energy resources and facilitate greater use of renewable energy,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said.

“This technology represents a transformative leap for energy storage in Australia, and the energy system as a whole. By integrating electric vehicles with the grid and the wholesale energy market, we can reduce costs for consumers whilst accelerating the transition to renewable energy,” Amber Electric co-CEO Dan Adams added.

3. Social media impact inquiry kicks off

The first public hearing before The Joint Select Committee on Social Media and Australian Society is set to kick off today, assessing how platforms like Facebook, Twitter (X), and Instagram are impacting people’s lives in the country. The committee will also explore abandoned deals made under the News Media Bargaining Code, with representatives from the eSafety Office, the ACMA, the ACCC, and various Australian publishers to front up.

“Australians are concerned about the impact social media is having across many areas of our community. The committee will be hearing about how social media companies operate in Australia, the impact that has, and considering what changes we need to see,” Committee Chair and Federal Minister Kate Thwaites wrote. An interim report is due on or before November 18.

4. Kaspersky antivirus to be banned in the US

Per Reuters, Kaspersky antivirus software is set to be banned in the U.S. due to its ties to the Russian state. “Russia has shown it has the capacity and… the intent to exploit Russian companies like Kaspersky to collect and weaponize the personal information of Americans and that is why we are compelled to take the action that we are taking today,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.

5. New buzzword just dropped

Oh heck, why not, how about an AI story? OpenAI’s co-founder and former chief scientist Ilya Sutskever has debuted a new AI company: SSI Inc. What’s different about this one? Well, building Safe Superintelligence, a word that means something, of course. “We approach safety and capabilities in tandem, as technical problems to be solved through revolutionary engineering and scientific breakthroughs. We plan to advance capabilities as fast as possible while making sure our safety always remains ahead,” Sutskever wrote.

BONUS ITEM: When AI hype dies down, I hope that, at the very least, AI-dedicated features, buttons, and hardware can be repurposed for things people actually will use them for.

Have a wonderful weekend.

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