The controversy around the Optus data breach has entered its third week, with Information and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk confirming it is Australia’s largest since the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme was introduced in 2018.
It has focused the federal government’s attention on several longstanding cyber security, data sharing, and digital identify projects. Minister for Finance Katy Gallagher will Chair the national Digital and Data Ministers Meeting (DDMM) when it next meets in November with a focus on progressing the stalled digital identity system. The ministerial group has not met since March.
In addition to the breach at Optus, Telstra has also confirmed up to 30,000 current and former staff have had their names and email addresses uploaded to the dark web.
Australia’s ranking on the biennial United Nations E-Government Development Index (EGDI). has taken a tumble, falling to 7th place, after previously being awarded second place in 2014, 2016 and 2018, and 5th in 2020.
The government has released a new national Electric Vehicle (EV) strategy consultation paper and is seeking feedback by 31 October.
The Albanese Government has also introduced two notable draft bills to the parliament:
- to create a new National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which will give the new entity powers to investigate inappropriate procurement; and
- to establish Jobs and Skills Australia, which will attempt to harmonise future labour market shortages and training opportunities
STATE BY STATE
NSW: Bathurst added to Digital Twin
Bathurst has become the first major regional town to be included as a 3D model on the Live NSW Spatial Digital Twin. We can confirm that users can check fuel prices, air quality, and still see historic mouse plague alerts.
Queensland: new energy plan has firm data sharing ambitions
The Palaszczuk Government has identified two new pumped hydro mega-projects in regional Queensland as part of a 10-year-energy plan, with a $150m transition fund to help coal workers to move into renewable energy jobs. The Premier declared that the Pioneer-Burdekin mega project, west of Mackay “could be the largest pumped hydro project in the world.” The other project is proposed for the Borumba Dam near Gympie. State-owned Queensland Hydro will manage the projects. The energy plan also includes a commitment to smart meters (“100% penetration”) and data sharing arrangements with Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMO) and other jurisdictions.
EU: standardises plugs
The European parliament has decided that the USB-C will be the standard for handheld electronic devices by 2024 and for laptops by 2026, which will force Apple to abandon its ‘Lightning’ plug end. The USB-C is the symmetrical flat sided oval (like a skinny athletics track), which was introduced in 2014 and is standard on Macbooks (we note that all the other USBs are not symmetrical).
Sweden: Nobel Prize for Quantum pioneers
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in physics to three researchers for their pioneering experiments in quantum over more than 50 years. The citation for John Clauser (USA), Alain Aspect (France), and Anton Zeilinger (Austria) states that the prize was awarded “for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science.” The three apparently proved that ‘Einstein was wrong’ and journalists have apparently peppered them with questions about the (theoretical) feasibility of teleportation.
India: Modi launches 5G
On 1 October Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G spectrum services, marking the beginning of an overhaul of the country’s digital infrastructure. We noted back in August that India’s 5G spectrum auction surpassed more than AU$25 billion. In Australia, Telstra, Vodafone and Optus have all made significant progress on rolling out their 5G networks across the country since 2019.
Kardashians, Crypto and the RBA
In a first for Intermedium, we are delighted to bring you some fascinating news about Kim Kardashian: she has been fined US$1.26 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for failing to disclose that she was paid $250,000 to promote crypto tokens on Instagram. What’s this got to do with Australia? Nothing really, we just thought it was a tenuous segue to note that the RBA is currently exploring use cases for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in Australia (an idea that Governor Philip Lowe first proposed back in 2017), and Liberal Senator and chair of the Senate Economics Committee Andrew Bragg continues to urge the parliament to take crypto regulation seriously. The same senate committee conducted its first inquiry into Digital Currency back in 2014.