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  1. Brendan Murphy 'pretty confident' most Australians will get at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by October Key points: Prime Minister says it has been a "herculean effort" to get vaccines to Australia He has announced an additional $1.1b for the nation's COVID-19 response The government has set up a website in the hope of stopping misinformation about the vaccine Nearly 160,000 people have now had a COVID-19 vaccination, including the Prime Minister who received his second Pfizer dose on Sunday. However, the figure is well below
  2. Facebook to reverse Australia news ban after lawmakers alter bill Australian Facebook users' News Feeds can once again have actual news in them. Enlarge / Facebook's Menlo Park, California, headquarters as seen in 2017. Jason Doiy | Getty Images Facebook has apparently emerged victorious from its standoff with the entire nation of Australia, as lawmakers in that country have agreed to amend a proposed law that would have required Facebook to pay publishers for news content linked on its platform. The
  3. Facebook news ban is “arrogant,” Australia will not be “intimidated,” PM says Deploying a blunt instrument on a whole nation is going just as well as you'd guess. Enlarge / News is still very much happening both around the world and in Australia... but you wouldn't know it if you're one of the tens of millions of Australian Facebook users. Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images A long-simmering battle between tech firms and the government of Australia became explosive yesterday when Facebook announced that it would block al
  4. Big Tech opens wallet for publishers as Australian news code looms Google and Facebook strike deals in effort to stymie rules on paying for content. Enlarge / Close-up photography John Lamb | Getty Images Google and Facebook are rushing to agree to deals with Australian publishers, offering them the most generous licensing terms in the world in an attempt to persuade Canberra not to apply rules forcing tech groups to pay for news. MPs began debating legislation on Wednesday to enact the news media ba
  5. Optus throws down 5G gauntlet, claims fastest speeds in Australia Optus outguns Telstra in 5G download speed, study suggests (Image credit: DenPhotos/Shutterstock) Telstra definitively laid claim to having the widest-ranging 5G network last month, but now Optus has thrown down a gauntlet of its own by claiming to have the fastest 5G speeds in Australia. A report by telecommunications company Systemics-PAB found that Optus’ average 5G download speed was 22% faster than Telstra’s during ind
  6. Google starts paying Australian publishers under its News Showcase program Google suspended in October of last year the launch of its News Showcase program in Australia amid regulatory hurdles in the country. News Showcase was introduced last year in an effort to pay publishers whose articles are curated for story panels across Google's services. However, Australia was removed from its list after the country's antitrust regulators demanded that the search giant pay royalties to all publishers for their content. Today, Google announced that
  7. Privacy Act review to examine privacy tort, direct action rights, and GDPR compliance The Attorney-General's Department will look at carve-outs, harmonisation with states and other nations, and a right to erase for Australians. Australia's Attorney-General Christian Porter announced on Friday the terms of reference and issues paper that his department will use as a basis for its review of the Privacy Act. The wide-ranging review will consider the definition of personal information; whether existing exemptions for small businesses, political parties, and the storing
  8. Says changes would allow, as one example, the department to impose conditions relating to the use of entities in the supply chain. Under Australia's Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms (TSSR), all carriers and nominated carriage service providers (C/NCSPs) are required to notify the Communications Access Coordinator (CAC) of proposed changes to their telecommunications systems or services if they become aware of any proposed changes that are likely to have a "material adverse effect" on their capacity to comply with security obligations. As of 30 Jun
  9. Australia’s intelligence agencies have been caught “incidentally” collecting data from the country’s COVIDSafe contact-tracing app during the first six months of its launch, a government watchdog has found. The report, published Monday by the Australian government’s inspector general for the intelligence community, which oversees the government’s spy and eavesdropping agencies, said the app data was scooped up “in the course of the lawful collection of other data.” But the watchdog said that there was “no evidence” that any agency “decrypted, accessed or us
  10. Can a balance be struck between the privacy of citizens and allowing health officials to access any piece of information for helping to track down a cluster of coronavirus cases? This piece comes to you from the mostly coronavirus-free shores of Australia. But the virus is still not eliminated; various places can have an extended run of virus-free days, which can then turn into weeks and months, before the virus suddenly comes back. There is no better example of this than the reemergence of COVID-19 in New Zealand back in August, after the nation went 100 d
  11. It is worried about the potential overstepping that could occur if the government is able to provide assistance to entities in response to significant cyber attacks on Australian systems. The federal government recently closed consultation on a package of reforms focused on protecting critical infrastructure and systems of national significance. With that part of the process wrapped up, the government is now looking to introduce an enhanced regulatory framework, which would build on existing requirements under the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 201
  12. After New Zealand's Supreme Court handed down a "mixed bag" decision this week which allows Kim Dotcom more time in the country to fight extradition, former colleague Mat­hias Ortmann is now under the spotlight. Police in Australia are reportedly preparing to seize the assets of the Megaupload co-founder in response to a forfeiture order issued by the United States. Earlier this week attention turned to New Zealand’s Supreme Court as a panel of judges prepared to publish their decision in the extradition case of Kim Dotcom and several of his former Megaupload
  13. In the summer a group of major Hollywood studios, Netflix, and other movie companies filed a new pirate site blocking application in Australia. The list contained plenty of obviously infringing sites but also the domains of Iran's 'YouTube' and an Israeli newspaper. The Federal Court has now awarded the injunction but following our initial report, both contentious domains have been removed. For the past several years, entertainment industry companies have been utilizing legislation in Australia that allows for the blocking of ‘pirate’ sites.
  14. It's going live Sunday in Australia. Netflix alternative Tubi has announced its expansion to Australia. The US-based video streaming service will launch in Australia on Sunday and will be free and ad-supported. There's going to be 7,000 movies and TV series at launch, Tubi said Thursday. Headquartered in San Francisco, Tubi joins the streaming services already available in Australia including Netflix, Stan and Foxtel Now. Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus are set to launch down under later this year, too. At launch, Tubi will have movies and series like The Blair
  15. (NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens) A Massive Raft of Volcanic Rock Is Floating Towards Australia, And That's Good News A gigantic floating raft of volcanic rock that emerged from an underwater volcano eruption in the Pacific Ocean is slowly drifting towards the Australian
  16. Scientists Found a Hidden 'Jurassic World' Buried Underneath Australia The subterranean remains of 100 volcanoes formed some 180 million years ago were detected under a major petroleum hotspot. Tengger Caldera in Indonesia. Image: Jean-Marie Hullot A trove of 100 Jurassic-era volcanoes has been discovered deep underneath a petroleum-rich region of central Australia, according to a new study. The ancient volcanoes formed between 180 and 160 mi
  17. This meteorite came from the core of another planet. Inside it, a new mineral Scientists have discovered a new mineral, one never before seen in nature, lodged inside a meteorite found near Wedderburn in central Victoria. They believe the mineral was likely forged in the molten core of an ancient planet long since destroyed. Dr St
  18. Hot, dry weather sending reptiles to seek cool and moist places QUEENSLAND • In Australia, snakes sometimes slither into suburban backyards and homes. When the weather gets warm, they lounge in the sun. When it gets hot, they seek cool places: a wall crevice, under a refrigerator, under a barbecue grille, behind an air-conditioning unit. When it gets too hot and dry, they seek places with moisture, as some Australians are quickly learning. Mr Luke Huntley, a snake catcher in Queensland, East Australia, has had to remove snakes from people's bathr
  19. Australia isn't buying local cyber and the rest of the world might soon follow Early Stage technology investor and partner at Amadeus Capital, Alex van Someren, has warned the encryption-busting legislation hasn't made Australia an attractive place to buy cyber from. Organisations wanting to get off the ground in Australia have long battled with the tyranny of distance when selling on the global stage, but they have closed the gap over recent years, thanks to that little thing called the internet and the abili
  20. It appeared to be a sweet, easy way to import large loads of cocaine from southern California to the highly-profitable and unquenchable market of Australia. Owen Hanson, the good-looking former University of Southern California athlete turned cocaine kingpin and leader of violent criminal enterprise ODOG, teamed up with Los Angeles-based fine chocolate importer/exporters Nathan and Andrew Dulley. Hanson and his California-based henchmen would drop off large batches of cocaine - usually in quantities of tens of kilograms or more - and the Dulley brothe
  21. Two class action lawsuits filed in Australia's High Court claim people seeking asylum in Australia who arrive by boat without proper documentation are subject to torture and crimes against humanity. The suits say the Australian government is also guilty of intentional infliction of harm in the use of an offshore processing system, according to The Guardian. A refugee transit center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, in a photo taken last year. Two class action lawsuits are seeking injunctions to transfer refugees held there to Australia and award damages to them.
  22. On Monday, wildlife managers announced that they had brought Tasmanian devils back into the (relative) wilds of the Australian mainland, the first time these creatures will be living there in 3,000 years. It’s an attempt at a two-for-one bank shot to save the ferocious marsupials as well as creatures under assault from feral cats. He scream. The cause of Tasmanian devil’s disappearance from continental Australia is murky, with some evidence tying it overhunting by Indigenous Australians. Other signs point to the introduction of the dingo. Whatever the case, Monday
  23. A Dutchman completed an epic 95,000 kilometre (59,000 mile) journey by electric car in Sydney Sunday in a bid to prove the viability of such vehicles in tackling climate change. Wiebe Wakker took just over three years crossing 33 countries in his 95,000 km journey by electric car Wiebe Wakker drove his retrofitted station wagon nicknamed "The Blue Bandit" across 33 countries in what he said was the world's longest-ever journey by electric car. The trip from the Netherlands to Australia took just over three years and was funded by public don
  24. Facebook may block news from being shared on its platforms in Australia Proposed rules to force tech platforms to share ad revenues with news publishers are not workable, the company says Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge Facebook plans to block the sharing of local and international news stories on its platforms if legislation requiring tech platforms to pay publishers for content becomes law, the company said in a blog post Monday. “Australia is drafting a new regulation that
  25. Can Australia Force Google and Facebook to Pay for News? A proposed law would require the tech giants to negotiate with publishers. Similar attempts in Europe have largely failed. Illustration: Sam Whitney Australians visiting Google.com last week found, hovering below the search bar, an exclamation point encased in a yellow triangle. A warning: “The way Aussies search every day on Google is at risk from new government regulation.”
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