Archive for the ‘Tech stuff and apps’ Category

Here’a s package I made for SBS News this week on changes to Google’s privacy rules, including the response from the Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim. A slight rushjob – had a Skype interview set for 16:30, two hours before deadline – but was more or less ditched for the ABC. That threw me a little; but I made deadline, yo.

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I’ve handed in my notice with SBS News, and although I’d be keen on returning in the mid-term future, all plans are currently focused on Tunisia.

At the end of March I’m switching to freelance journalism, while leaving my young family for a bit and flying to Tunis, where I’m enrolled in an Arabic course. I’ve tried to keep my Arabic study going since returning from Syria last year but it is hard in the middle of Sydney; would Mandarin have been more appropriate?*

I’ll also be working on two current affairs films as a video journalist, which will roughly be on the state of the economy and life for minorities post revolution. I’m taking offers on where to screen them :)

On top of that, I’m hoping to get some articles out around town, so to speak.

I’m currently balancing journalistic planning with travel/accom arrangements and technical requirements (macbook pro purchased, Sony NX5 on order). Five weeks to go.

*Nope, too hard, tried that for a bit. Potentially less useful in Tunisia, also.

This is a blog I originally wrote for SBS News

Modern sport means big business.

Long gone are the days when a few cents got you in the stadium to cheer on your team of part-time amateurs, who did it for love, in their spare time. Well, I’m not sure when it only cost a few cents. But just take a look at England’s bloated Premier League to see where money gets you.

Here in Australia, our sports are not as affected by the big bucks. For starters, noone else is really that interested in our multiple codes of football; even we can’t seem to agree on one.

But selling the rights to NRL and AFL football matches is certainly big money in local terms. And for the last few decades, it’s been all about TV rights.

With the latest landmark case, however, mobile streaming technologies are the new battleground.

Telstra’s deal with the AFL is worth $153 million. Well, strictly speaking it cost them $153m; what it’s worth is another matter entirely.

Nonetheless, the fact that Optus customers are able to watch the big matches just a few minutes behind their screening on terrestrial TV is obviously a  concern for Telstra, and thus came the court case.

And it was Optus that won this landmark proceeding against the AFL, NRL and Telstra in relation to its TV Now service. The app enables Optus user to  watch TV shows just a few minutes after they’ve gone to air (whether it should be called ‘TV just after’ is up for debate), and obviously,  there’s value in this for sports fans.

But value is what drives sports broadcasting rights. Why pay big money for mobile rights to a game if it’s not exclusive?

The judge in the case said it was not Optus making the ‘recording’, it was the individual who was ‘shifting’ their viewing, so 2006 amendments  to the 1968 copyright act held.

“Even though Optus provided all the significant technology for making, keeping and playing the recording, I considered that in substance this was no different to a person using equipment or technology in his or her own home or elsewhere to copy or record a broadcast”, he said.

So, even though the recording was done in the cloud, it’s the same as using your VCR to tape your favourite show; no copyright breaching here.

Naturally, there are big implications for sports. How can sports bodies establish a value for internet rights with rulings like this?

The football codes say they are likely to appeal, but, of course, victory is not guaranteed.

“If it ultimately is held, what will the major sporting codes do in response given sales of mobile rights is becoming an important revenue stream?” asked Ian Robertson, a Managing Partner at Holding Redlich lawyers.

“Running these sports is an expensive operation.”

And he’s right. You only have to look at the AFL’s recruitment of former NRL star Israel Folau. $4.3m was coughed up for a three-year deal. The average AFL player is set to earn over $300,000 a year by 2016,according to The Herald Sun.

Sport is becoming more, and more of a business. They’ll always be looking for new revenue streams.

It’s a vicious circle. A more entertaining match requires more money to fund it. But ultimately, that money comes from sports fans, with higher ground fees and ever bigger broadcasting deals, via whatever medium. Tack on to that more charges to watch and more Burger King advertising in your life (‘the Whopper has also celebrated being the Official Burger of the AFL ‘). Fantastic. Give me the leagues of 50 years ago.

In the strange universe of English football, television revenue has gone hand in hand with the fortunes of Russian oligarchs and Gulf Sheikhs to transform the league beyond recognition, catapulting average teams to the top of the league. Manchester City? Are you joking? A generation of  millionaires created while working fans cough up small fortunes to watch games in the stadium or at home.

Money has brought the world’s stars together to create beautiful football – but how much more beautiful, and bloated – can it get?

While we’re not there yet in Australia, for Ian Robertson, should the AFL and NRL not be victorious against Telstra in protecting their new cashflow portal – your mobile handset – there’s likely to be a knock at the government’s door.

“Sponsorship and sales is a very important part of their revenue stream…the question is what are they going to do about it? I’d say they’re likely to lobby the government”, he told SBS.

In the unlikely event that this new revenue stream is not protected for the money machine that is professional sport, revenue will be hit.

But you know what? I’m pretty sure those players aren’t going to go hungry any time soon.

They’re up to their necks in official burgers, for starters.

Amusing as they might be, attacks on the websites of supporters of tougher copyright legislation could tarnish the legitimate protests of Wikipedia and others.

“TANGO DOWN #Megaupload  Fight for Internet Freedom!” went the tweet from the LulzSecITALY account, and it was like the heady days of last year when the hacking group had every newsroom around the world wondering which organisation’s website was to go down next.

Read the rest of this post @SBS.

Reports from the UK today tell of a High Court judge setting a precedent in the mandatory blocking of websites by Internet Service Providers.

Does that ring any bells?

Latest blog on file-sharing and legislation for SBS News here….

Hacking – or indeed cracking – had been making a lot of headlines, namely due to the commendable PR efforts of LulzSec. But what does it mean for legislation in Australia – where does the law stand, and how will it change as regards hacks? Is the onus on companies to let the public know when data that has been kept has been breached?

I researched, shot and cut this piece for SBS News, speaking to the information commissioner as well as the Pirate Party. Lesson learned, however; it was seemingly too dull and duty editor on the weekend put all sorts of snappy (random?) shots of shuttles and pentagons in. Ah well, nice to get asked to do things nonetheless.

Android vs iPhone? Ok, a bit simple. Android is challenging Apple’s iPhone in the smartphone sector in Australia, but as flexible and affordable as they are, a few peeps would like to keep a close eye on Google.