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Stories in the Pipe

These are stories waiting to be published to the main page. Remember, anyone can submit a new story!

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Australia to introduce face recognition to speed up airport processing
by Anonymous Coward on 2017-01-22 07:36
1 comment
Australian introduced SmartGates a decade ago to scan passports automatically reducing the time required to process passengers through international airport security. Now the Australian Government is planning to spend 94M for a five year project to process 90% of travellers processed automatically. Passengers would not need to show their passports, instead being processed by biometric recognition of their faces, irises and/or fingerprints.
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Fun with candy and hot water
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-12-23 07:32
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Recent experiments have demonstrated the lovely patterns that can be formed from skittles and hot water. Now, the BOS shows how to mix hot water and m&m candy to create colorful patterns. Next up: hot water and jelly beans.
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Australian Welfare Debt Automation Cockup So Bad Centrelink Boss Gives Out Personal Email Address
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-12-20 13:42
10 comments
As of six months ago the Department of Human Services started spewing out 20,000 letters per week to people claiming that they owe Centrelink a debt. This is the same number of letters Centrelink, a part of DHS, used to send out per year. This is due to a new system implemented by the DHS for which pulls back five years of data from the Australian Tax Office then compares the amount of benefits paid to each person resulting in a calculation for if the person was potentially overpaid welfare. Due to the period of time many people have moved on and were not contactable by the DHS, so Centrelink sent the letters of demand to debt collectors when people could not be contacted to resolve the question of whether a debt was owed. Now, with Christmas approaching, thousands of people are being hunted down by debt collectors for debts they know nothing about and for in several cases debts that are not real. Understandably, many people are not happy about this. In response to the overwhelming negative response by the public to this situation Centrelink boss Hank Jongen has asked people to email him directly to discuss their issues. This is just the latest in a series of publicly humiliating incidents the DHS has faced in 2016 with special focus on its baneful MyGov and My Health Record systems and the outsourcing of the Bowel Cancer Screening Register. On the bright side, there are only 10 days left in 2016. What else can possibly go wrong this year.
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Australia considers US style copyright reform
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-12-20 02:28
1 comment
In a move widely regarded as being a step in the right direction, Australia is considering adopting fair use provisions in cooyright law. However, restrictive Free Trade agreements prevent decreasing the length of copyright terms. This will bring Australian in line with America for fair use of copyrighted content, reduce the cost of dealing with infringements and may address other costly issues currently caused by existing laws.
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Groupon Moves Operations to Ireland for Tax Breaks
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-12-19 22:55
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Yet another company has followed in the footsteps of internet giants which currently claim to operate out of Ireland for tax purposes. From January 2017 online voucher powerhouse Groupon Australia will move its data and possibly some staff to Lower Ground Floor‚ Connaught House‚ 1 Burlington Road‚ Dublin 4‚ 216410 Ireland. Whether or not this will trigger recent ATO tax haven measures or result in a Australian Privacy Principle violation is yet to be determined.
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Indian outsourcing fail as ATO brought to its knees
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-12-13 07:58
9 comments
The outsourcing of Australian IT jobs to indian nationals failed badly today with key systems offline directly attributed to ATO's failed agile implementation and the outsourcing of many positions to Indian nationals. While ATO management have attempted to shift blame to "those who did not get onboard" the evidence of this failure is clear: outsourcing key functionality of the ATO is a failure. The attempted shift to agile is partly to blame with the implementation of agile using the SAFe methodology being proven to be an abject faikule. Most of the problems are centered with the employees sourced from India hired into key positions.
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Libre-VideoGame Chaos-Esque Anthology reaches release 100.
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-12-11 12:34
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After years of constant, grinding, development the libre-videogame and fork of Xonotic known as Chaos-Esque Anthology has reached version 100.

The project has expanded Xonotic's original cast of 18 weapons to over 130 weapons, has added new textures, and maps, aswell as a list of other features including: city generation subsystem (with interiors), building subsystem (build buildings, furnishings, doors, blocks, the buildings have interiors and function similar to RTS buildables), marshaling subsytem, foliage subsystem, aswell as mounted weapons and more vehicles. Additionally hand-to-hand fighting was added for those wishing for a Mortal-Kombat feel in a libre 3d video-game.

More information can be found on the project's Linux Game Database page including changelog and download link of the ISO: https://lgdb.org/game/chaosesque-anthology

(Note: Chaos-Esque Anthology name was decided upon after input from the lead developer of Xonotic, many moons ago)
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Australian NBN company runs out of money requiring a AUD20bn from Government to complete mixed techn
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-11-20 03:53
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After downgrading the promised Australian fiber network to a 'mixed technology' which was promised to be delivered faster and cheaper the NBN Co. has run out of money. NBN Co. had loaned 20bn from the Australian Government to complete the NBN rollout. Even with this cash injection NBN Co. will still be unable to deliver the fiber network promised to the Australian people when the project first began.
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ACT elections results website mirrors ABS PR incident
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-10-15 12:53
1 comment
Following on from the terrible ABS performance during the Australian 2016 Census the ACT Elections Result page consistently threw a HTTP Error 404. The requested resource is not found. message. Given the current negative feedback of online government services with a range of failures from MyGOV through to the 2016 Census it is clear that Australian government departments need to up their game.
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Overview of the failure of evoting
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-10-01 02:47
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BoingBoing has a good article on the failure of evoting machines. After years of embarrassing failures, complete stuffups and very little success for the millions poured into making the dream of ditching manual paper vote counting redundant evoting is back in 2016. While Australian politicians demand an end to paper votes and countries around the world piss away money for systems they can't audit or for which are just shameful the evoting industry is gearing its loins for another stab at the billion dollar pie. Will past mistakes be repeated? Why is Australia considering evoting when the companies currently providing systems refuse to be audited? Will Canada throw millions more at another useless system or build its own. By now we should have this down pat, well bedded in with complete trust in the systems for which underpin democracy. Going by this article, we have a long way to go.
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Australian Health Dept Releases Confidential Medicare Data
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-09-29 04:18
1 comment
The Australian privacy watchdog has been called on to investigate a breach of Australian Medicare data. This breach gives more weight to the privacy concerns surrounding the recent Australian 2016 census where the ABS has announced it will keep data permanently as a "linked key", store data for longer, and match data across government agencies. The Department of Health is the last in a list of Australian agencies to allow confidential data to be accessible.
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Australian Government Outsources Cancer Registers to a Phone Company
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-09-05 14:17
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In a move that has puzzled many including notable security analysts the Australian Government has awarded a $220 million contract to Telstra for the Bowel Cancer Screening Register. Telstra has admitted that it does not have the experience to manage this type of system so it has purchased four companies that do for which includes Emerging Systems, Dr Foster, Argus and HealthConnex. The cost of this contact for which covers five years is approximately to maintain the existing registers for at least 30 years. Some groups have stated that they believe Telstra is only in it for the money, while others have expressed security concerns concerning previous Telstra data breaches along with the widely accepted view that Telstra is a strong proponent of big data. Overall this decision is highly concerning considering that the Department of Human Services has for decades securely maintained registers of Australian health data including Medicare, PBS and the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register at a cost effective price for Australian tax payers.
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Australian Census Fail 2016 Breakdown
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-08-24 22:34
2 comments
Researcher Roger Clarke has documented a breakdown of the lack of trust in the ABS during the 2016 Census. There are several points in this paper for which are very concerning in the current age of data mining. While there is still 20 days left for Australians to submit their census, less than half have done so. While the reasons for this lack of submission are not concretely identified, researchers are pointing to a lack of trust in the ABS, lack of information and the lies the ABS has been caught stating as some of the reasons.
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Swift android keyboard leals personal data
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-08-02 09:58
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In response to some users showing suggestions from random Swyfykey users the Swyftkey cloud has been shut down. Fortunately for Swyftkey users the cloud storage option is not currently essential to the Swyftkey program. Microsoft insists there is no problem with the application's security.
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Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn
by wilson@pipedot.org on 2016-06-13 13:28
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Microsoft and LinkedIn announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash. LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Reid Hoffman, chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn, and Weiner both fully support this transaction. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.
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How secure is your password
by Anonymous Coward on 2016-05-22 09:26
1 comment
With the recent theft of millions of users passwords and increased reliance on secondary authentication the need for educating users about insecure passwords has never been more important. With this in mind the people behind Dashlane Free Password Manager have released a web page that shows how long it takes to crack a password. The idea here is simple; users can see effective their password combination is and see in real time how long it would take today's computer systems to crack that password. What is being sought here is for users to choose longer passwords. This should be something which should be taught to kids in school.
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