Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - eBay Helps Aussie Gov't Catch Welfare Cheats (

beaverdownunder writes: From the Australian Broadcasting Commission: 'Data from online trading site eBay has helped Centrelink (the Australian social assistance agency) catch out dozens of welfare recipients who are not declaring big profits from internet sales.

Centrelink compared its payment records with the activity of 15,000 people who are running profitable eBay businesses.

It identified 25 people who must repay more than $800,000 in payments they were not entitled to.

Centrelink general manager Hank Jongen said some matters had been referred to the director of public prosecutions.'


Submission + - Australian PM Targets Imported IT Workers (

beaverdownunder writes: Debate 'down under' has started to rage surrounding the importation of 'temporary' IT workers on so-called '457' visas, with the Prime Minister promising to bring in tough new restrictions on foreign workers in a pre-election pledge despite evidence that there are insufficient numbers of Australians to fill the skills 'gap'. Some quarters argue the foreign workers are necessary to drive growth in Australia's IT industry, while others have cited examples where large Australian companies have imported workers needlessly, displacing qualified Aussie personnel.

What do you think? Is Big Technology only trying to improve its bottom line? Or are qualified Australian / American / Canadian etc. IT workers an endangered species?


Submission + - Australian Telco Telstra To Clamp Down On Peer-To-Peer (

beaverdownunder writes: Telstra is planning to begin throttling P2P traffic during 'peak periods' as soon as later this week in an effort to improve the performance of its network for casual web-browsers.

Telstra executive director Michael Lawrey has previously stated (in 2011) that he wished the small number of users who used the vast majority of Telstra's available bandwidth were somebody else's customers, and that Telstra would consider taking action against those deemed to be violating Telstra's 'fair-use' policies (although presumably still operating within their contract's data transfer limits.)


Submission + - Australian Attempt At "Cyber Monday" Fails To Scale (

beaverdownunder writes: "Click Frenzy", a website designed to provide "one day only" bargains to Australians in an effort to promote Australian retailers and discourage overseas web-shopping, failed instantly under load once it launched at 7pm Tuesday night, and only returned after the website owners migrated the entire site to Amazon several hours later, embarrassing the Australian IT industry and leading to rampant cynicism on social media.

Submission + - Former Australian Copper Wants Jail For Trolls (

beaverdownunder writes: A former police officer in the Australian state of Victoria has called on law enforcement to prosecute creators of hate pages on social media following Facebook's decision to close down a page mocking Jill Meagher, the 29-year-old Melbourne woman abducted and killed last month.

Susan McLean, who spent 27 years with Victoria Police before launching her cyber safety consultancy three years ago, said police have the ability to prosecute the creators of pages that are in breach of Australian laws but appear to be unwilling to use it.

"There have been many cases in the UK where these people have been hunted down and charged and jailed. We need to do that in Australia."

Ms McLean claimed police already have powers to pursue posters of such content. Under section 474.17 of the Commonwealth Crimes Act, it is an offence to use "a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence", punishable by three years in jail.


Submission + - Aussies Cooling To Facebook (

beaverdownunder writes: Fairfax is reporting that a recent Ipsos-MacKay survey of Australian residents is showing a cooling attitude to Facebook.

''A key complaint amongst some was the culture of narcissism and self-absorption that appeared to be rife on Facebook,'' the survey said.

Facebook users also complained that the constant flow of status updates is becoming ''time-consuming and tiring'', with some saying they wanted to close their Facebook accounts but felt they had no choice but to remain a user if they wanted to stay in touch with friends.

''Participants also felt that much of what others posted on Facebook was either trivial or obsessively repetitive and that the boundaries between what is public and what is private have blurred."


Submission + - Man Banned From Facebook Over Sex Ratings Page (

beaverdownunder writes: An Australian court has banned a man from using Facebook for two years after he created a page 'rating' the sexual 'performance' of women in the central regional area of the state of Victoria.

Joshua Turner, 22, of Kangaroo Flat (yes, that's a real place) invited people to rate their past sexual partners and published hundreds of comments online. He pleaded guilty to using an online service to publish objectionable material and using a carriage service to offend.


Submission + - Hackers Steal Aussie ISP Customer Data To Protest Web-History Law (

beaverdownunder writes: Australian ISP AAPT has confirmed that hackers stole customer data to protest proposed laws which would mandate the storage of Internet users' web histories for two years.

AAPT CEO David Yuile told Fairfax Media that the ISP is investigating the breach and will contact affected customers.

The proposal to store Web histories is being considered by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, but Internet freedom advocates argue it could expose Australians to numerous privacy risks.


Submission + - Australians Receive SMS Death Threat (

beaverdownunder writes: Many Aussies across New South Wales and South Australia had a bit of a shock this morning when they received an SMS threatening them with assassination.

Although somewhat varied, the messages have typically read, "Someone paid me to kill you. If you want me to spare you, I'll give you two days to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, you will die, I am monitoring you", and signed with the e-mail address

Police and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have warned that the messages are almost certainly fake, and that no dialogue should be entered into with scammers.


Submission + - Australia's Secret Spy Chief Warns Of Cyber-Warfare (

beaverdownunder writes: Cyber warfare is potentially one of the most serious threats to Australian national security over the coming decade, the head of one of Australia's most secretive spy agencies has said.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that Nick Warner, Director-General of ASIS, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, says there have been dramatic changes in the security environment in the recent past, and the situation is likely to become more volatile and dangerous in the years ahead.

Mr Warner says "considerable resources" are now being directed at the growing challenge of internet warfare.

"The field of cyber operations is one of the most rapidly evolving and potentially serious threats to our national security in the coming decade," he said.

"Government departments and agencies, together with corporate Australia, have been subject to concerted efforts by external actors seeking to infiltrate sensitive computer networks.

"Developments in cyber are a two-edged sword for an agency like ASIS.

"They offer new ways of collecting information, but the digital fingerprints and footprints which we all now leave behind complicate the task of operating covertly."


Submission + - Fake On-Line Job Ad Riles Aussie CEO (

beaverdownunder writes: A fake advertisement for the chief executive's position with a Melbourne, Australia-based charity was posted on over the weekend, saying the well-known organisation was in "desperate need" of a new CEO. It went on to list the attributes not wanted in a new CEO, implying that the current CEO was, among other things, sulky, self-centred, dishonourable and disrespectful of staff.

Revenge is a dish best served on-line?


Submission + - Australian Gov't Asks eBay To Name Sellers (

beaverdownunder writes: In an effort to combat fraudulent claims lodged within its Centrelink welfare-payment agency, the Australian Government has asked auction-site eBay to name all Aussies who sold more than $20,000 worth of goods in the last year.

Should someone be found to have been doing such a high-volume of business on eBay while claiming Centrelink benefits but not declaring that income, they could potentially face prosecution.

However, the president of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, Terry O'Gorman, says this action is a gross invasion of privacy.

"What we say should happen is that if police have probable cause for investigating someone, they go to a magistrate, they get a warrant and they access that person's eBay records that way," he said.


Submission + - Aussie Police Consider Using Automated Spy Drones (

beaverdownunder writes: Police in the Australian state of Victoria have confirmed that they are investigating employing unmanned drones in the war against crime, following the lead of law enforcement agencies in the United States, set to begin using drones as of tomorrow.

This revelations has alarmed Australian civil libertarians, who fear that in a country with no constitutionally-protected civil rights, people could be surveilled for political reasons.


Submission + - Optus loses second battle in Aussie TV-timeshifting battle (

beaverdownunder writes: After winning an initial legal battle to continue its mobile TV Now terrestrial-television re-broadcasting service, Optus has lost a second battle in Australian Federal court. The Optus system 'time-shifted' broadcast signals by two minutes, and then streamed them to customers' mobile phones.

In the previous ruling, the judge sided with Optus' argument that since the customer requested the service, they were the ones recording the signal, and thus was fair-use under Australian copyright law. However, the new ruling had declared Optus to be the true entity recording and re-distributing the broadcasts, and thus is in violation of the law.

There has been no word yet on whether Optus will appeal the decision, but as they could be retroactively liable for a great deal of damages, it is almost certain that they will.


Submission + - Australia's largest police force accused of widespread piracy (

beaverdownunder writes: UK software giant Micro Focus is demanding at least $10 million dollars in damages from the New South Wales police for widespread use of unlicensed copies of its ViewNow software it is alleged were used by members to access the COPS criminal intelligence database.

Although other government organisations also alleged to have mis-used the software have settled with Micro Focus, the NSW police refuse to do so, instead seeking to fight out a battle in Federal court.

"Of course power tools and alcohol don't mix. Everyone knows power tools aren't soluble in alcohol..." -- Crazy Nigel