The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a discussion paper inviting comment on draft documents relating to Telstra's establishment of an Independent Telecommunications Adjudicator (ITA).

"The confidence of Telstra's wholesale customers in the ITA will be important to ensure the success of Telstra's interim equivalence and transparency commitments and its obligations under the migration plan," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

The Victorian Government has hit out at the recently announced 3-year rollout plan of the National Broadband Network (NBN), saying that the state has been duded.

The Federal Government has announced the Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP) as the second organisation endorsed to deliver services under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.

 

“The Scheme will provide Australian households and small businesses with access to free collection and recycling services for televisions, computers, printers and computer products – boosting the recycling rates for those products and providing a long-term solution to television and computer waste,” Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability Senator Don Farrell said.

 

“As the administrator of an approved co-regulatory arrangement ANZRP is able to sign up television and computer manufacturers and importers, and collect and recycle products on their behalf.
 
“ANZRP’s approval follows that of DHL Supply Chain, which was announced on 6 March.”

 

Further announcements of successful applicants are expected shortly. Collections under the new scheme are on track to commence in mid 2012, with access to services expanding across Australia by the end of 2013.

 

 

ANZRP will be required to achieve annual targets for recycling computers and televisions, starting with a 30 per cent recycling rate in the 2012-13 years, rising to 80 per cent by 2020-21.

 

 

The Federal Government has announced a National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout plan that will see the service delivered, or in the process of delivery, in the next three years.

Computerised vision technology, designed to enhance ADF vehicle situation awareness has been demonstrated at the Puckapunyal Army training facility in Victoria.

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has welcomed the final stage of the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) that is expected to generate up to 800 jobs.

Canadian HR software giant Halogen has opened its first office in Sydney to meet growing demand for its services in the Asia Pacific market.

The Federal Government has banned Chinese technology giant Huawei for fear that it could compromise national security.

The Federal Government has passed the universal service reform legislation through the Senate, which the Government hopes will ensure the ongoing delivery of key telecommunication consumer safeguards during and after the rollout of the NBN.

Telstra has announced that its infrastructure-as-a-service cloud has met all requirements to receive accreditation from Cisco as part of their World Wide Cloud Partner Program.

Telstra has announced Australia’s first 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi service after it showcased the battery-powered Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G and the Bigpond Mobile Wi-Fi 4G.

Vodafone has announced the appointment of Bill Morrow as the group’s new Chief Executive Officer of the Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA) joint venture.

The Australia Japan Cable company has announced it has selected Ciena to conduct its 40G upgrade that will add a further 560 Gbps of capacity to its 12,700km network between Australia, Guam and Japan.

ICT services and consulting company, CSG, has secured a five-year, $9 million contract to provide IT operations and technical support to the Northern Territory government owned insurance and financial services group, TIO.

Data centre operator NEXTDC has announced it will construct what will become the country’s largest private-owned rooftop photovoltaic solar system at its Port Melbourne data centre, known as “M1”

A high-definition videoconferencing pilot will trial public access to services such as Medicare and Centrelink via the National Broadband Network (NBN).

 

The pilot will provide access to specialist services that may not be readily available at a local level such as family, health, education, employment and financial services offered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) through Centrelink, Child Support and Medicare programs.

 

Minister for Human Services Senator Kim Carr said a series of pilot phases will commence in 2012, with a focus on improving the Department’s service to the Australian people.

 

“This pilot will be particularly beneficial for people in regional locations or families and customers facing social disadvantage who may find it otherwise difficult to get to a DHS Service Centre,” Senator Carr said.

 

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said the pilot will demonstrate the practical benefits of the NBN for Australians.

 

“The NBN will enable us to put the needs of Australians at the very heart of Government service delivery, while lowering the costs of actually delivering those services,” Senator Conroy said.

 

Senator Carr said the pilot will be designed, and sites identified, through engaging and collaborating with customers, third parties, staff and key stakeholders.

 

Further information on the pilot can be found at www.humanservices.gov.au/nbnpilot and the National Digital Economy Strategy at www.nbn.gov.au

Global consultancy firm Analysis Mason has released the findings of its report into the National Broadband Network, praising the $36 billion project for anticipating an expected massive spike in data demand in the coming decades.

ASX listed business software company, ComOps, has appointed Daniel Sheahan as Chief Executive Officer.

Australians have a high level of internet use but are wary of websites that collect too much information about their visitors, a large-scale University of Queensland survey has revealed.*

Conducted by Dr Mark Andrejevic from UQ's Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, the nationwide telephone survey of more than 1100 people researched Australians' attitudes toward the collection and use of their personal information for commercial purposes.

More than 90 per cent of the survey's respondents supported regulations that would allow them to control the capture and use of their personal information online.

They would like companies to be legally required to notify people at the time when they are collecting personal information; to provide users with the ability to “opt out” of having their information collected; and to allow users to request their personal information be deleted.

Australians also overwhelmingly support the creation of a legal right to privacy – a measure recommended by a 2008 Law Reform Commission Report that has received recent attention in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandals.

“In the online world, users are increasingly being asked to consent to the collection of detailed, personal information in exchange for access to online services,” said Dr Andrejevic, who is the chief investigator of the Personal Information Project.

“But most of us have very little idea about what information is being collected and how it's being used so we cannot provide informed consent.”

Major credit card companies have recently announced plans to use customers' purchasing data to target online advertisements.

Dr Andrejevic said companies like Facebook and Google had recently prompted privacy concerns about the ways in which they collect and use personal information.

Google has announced it will combine user information collected from across the many different services it operates, including its search engine, email service, and popular video site, YouTube.

This information is used to target advertising and content to users, but the majority of Australians (56 per cent) do not approve of having advertising targeted to them based on personal information.

A larger majority — 64 per cent — do not want news stories tailored to them based on their personal information.

To avoid the collection of their information, 69 per cent of the surveyed respondents reported they had refused to use an application or Web site because it collected too much personal information, with 79 per cent simply refusing to provide personal information.

“Companies know more and more about us, but we know very little about what they're doing with that information," Dr Andrejevic said.

"The more they collect, the less we know. There's a real imbalance in the way the digital economy works. As the level of information collection increase in the digital era, democracy and personal autonomy need to be protected.”

The survey results also showed that more than 60 per cent of respondents rarely or never read Web site privacy policies.

“Online privacy policies tend to be vague about how information is being used and are often subject to change without warning," he said. "They also rarely give you any options – you either have to accept the policies or you can't gain access.

“The results are interesting and timely given recent discussions about changes to Google's privacy policy; whether they violate Australian Privacy Law; and proposals for improving consumer privacy protection in the European Union, the United States and Australia.

Dr Andrejevic  said that 97 per cent of respondents believed Australians should be able to take legal action in the case of serious breaches of their privacy.

These results illustrated a high level of public concern for personal information in the digital era and highlighted the importance of revisiting Australian privacy law in light of technological innovations and new information collection practices.

“The issue of personal information is likely to increase in importance as more people spend more of their time using devices and applications which capture ever more detailed information about their lives, their activities, and their communications,” Dr Andrejevic said.

One of the study's most significant findings is that more than 75 per cent of the respondents said they needed to know more about the ways in which companies collected and used information about them.

The Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has announced the establishment of an Australian branch of the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST) that will set standards for cyber security testing.

The Victorian Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips Government has launched the government’s new $11 million Digital Futures Fund.

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