From the Fifth Estate: Editor's blog (February 2018)
With Charles Sturt University offering Australia’s first university Masters-level course on the Dark Web* which has proved very popular, I think it’s appropriate to have a look at what media outlets are saying about this underground internet.
* [Disclaimer: IT Masters/CSU is an ITPA sponsor]
If you want to get a picture of just what crazy things you can buy online through nefarious channels, make sure you double check when that candidate for a cyber security job says he has a degree from Harvard.
It doesn’t end there. OK, so this is from a Fleet Street tabloid so it didn’t make it to page three but The Sun’s “Exclusive” exposed that you can buy the nerve agent, Polonium, used in 21st century “spy hits”, on the dark web.
Meanwhile even, YouTube is feeling lashes from dark web gimps as trolls launch anonymous attacks that push out extreme right wing political videos from behind the digital curtain.
Of course, no subject under discussion by the media today is devoid of being just one displacement from Donald J. Trump. It would appear as though his rhetoric and action against opioid abuse has a direct correlation to the rise of drug sales via the underbelly of the internet.
Irrespective of the efforts of law enforcement and national security agencies, it would seem that the forces of the dark side are always more than one step ahead.
Just as there are evil villains and super heroes in comic books, so too will you find in the shadowy digital realm. Not everyone on the dark web is evil. There are some good guys too.
For those who fear their identity data may have been compromised, one Cincinnati tech firm is building a business model based on giving people tools to identify whether their personal information is being sold on the dark web.
Our good friends at NBN Co. recently released a report on the future demand for fixed line broadband in Australia which many commentators said was seriously flawed.
Apart from the fact it is so sad that the Minister in charge of NBN still thinks that the only value in it is to watch Netflix and have skype conversations, demand is unfortunately dictated by supply and there is no urgency by NBN to offer even basic service level agreements.
Another concerning factor about the NBN is how a digital divide is developing along existing socio-economic disparity. When it comes to opportunities for all Australians in the future, it is not just money that some will have, and some will have not, the quality of telecommunications services will also be disparate.
There’s an old saying that says there are three types of mistruths; Lies, damn lies and statistics. NBN Co. likes to play ducks and drakes with stats and terminology and recently refused to disclose its cheapest connection costs using a technicality to avoid the issue.
At the end of the day, it is all about pushing up the average revenue per user just like any other commercial entity instead of being about critical public infrastructure but of course, there is no problems getting the very best possible NBN if you are the PM and/or very rich.
As NBN strategy and leadership slowly staggers from debacle to incompetence there’s every chance that it faces irrelevance in some areas as local communities and civic authorities take matters into their own hands and look at building faster, cheaper alternatives. Telstra’s 5G service is going to be an interesting competitor as well and that’s probably getting first services and products in 2019.
With NBN claiming that it has now sorted its HFC troubles with all the required fixes tried and tested, it is not helping to convince punters that this is an organisation they want to do business with as take-up rate slips below 39 per cent.
So, all good in the NBN world.
Aside from innovators and billionaires, the closest beings we have to rock stars in the IT industry are CIOs. They’ve got big jobs, lots of responsibility for business outcomes and I’d imagine truckloads of stress.
This expectation to drive a business into the future comes with KPIs, metrics, internal politics, business continuity risk and bean-counted bottom lines. There is, however, also reward for those who excel at their job. There were some big CIO changes over the last 12 months that reflected the dynamic nature of the game at the top of this profession.
Maybe it is up to our billionaires to save us from the fossil fuel and deforestation bandits.