Life & Technology - 2GB 2nd August, 2014

It's hard to believe it's already August, this year's just been flying by!

 

This week, I had the privilege of sitting down with Internode co-founder, Simon Hackett, one of the most respected luminaries in Australian telecommunications. Following Internode's sale to iiNet, Simon was offered a position on NBN's board. We talked about both the past and future of Australian broadband. As an internet evangelist, Simon is a huge proponent of NBN. As such, he believes the destination is worth the journey, no matter how hard it might be. For more on my interview with Simon, check out our piece over at CyberShack.

 

In other network related news, Vodafone announced plans to repurpose part of their existing 3G network by converting it into a 4G network. I sat down with Vodafone's Chief Technology Officer, Benoit Hannsen, to learn a bit more about the telco's plans. By the end of the year, Vodafone plans to have converted it's low-band 850Mhz spectrum to provide 4G connectivity, rather than 3G. The main benefit of reusing an existing frequency is that the majority of our existing devices will be able to make use of Vodafone's "new" network. Vodafone customers in Newcastle are already able these changes; the rest of metro Australia will come online by the end of 2014.

 

Privacy-conscious Sydney-siders will be pleased to know that Transport NSW has started selling unregistered Opal cards. Previously, all Opal cards were linked to the owner's identity, which resulted in a bit of controversy, as the organisation said they would hand over customer's information to the police without a warrant.

 

There's been quite a lot of noise about a leaked government proposal for tackling copyright infringement this week. If implemented, Australia would have some of the toughest anti-piracy measures in the Western world. I'm no legal expert, but fortunately Sam Macedone, the Today Show's legal expert, is. According to Sam, if these proposals are made law, ISPs will be responsible for their user's actions, and as such, any copyright infringement. While it is unlikely we'll see average people hit with huge fines just for downloading an MP3, it's possible it will come to that if downloaders choose to ignore warnings sent to them.

 

And now for a different risk of risky behaviour: half of teens and tweens have shared something risky online, and 48% have chatted with someone they don't know - a 19% jump from 2013. These stats come from a survey undertaken by McAfee, which also revealed that many kids have multiple identities across a single social media platform, one "parent friendly" and another that parents don’t know about. To read more about the survey's findings, click through here.

 

Lastly, Fitbit have finally released their companion app on Windows Phone. This makes Fitbit's trackers the first fitness devices to be officially compatible with Windows Phone. It's about time!