Tech Check Digest - November 25, 2021

This Tech Check Digest is heavy with government announcements, speeches and declarations around technology:


Morrison's critical tech announcement barely holds any substance (via ZDnet). Prime Minister Scott Morrisson unveiled a new Blueprint for Critical Technologies during an event with a similar namesake run by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The blueprint describes developments on future focused technologies including artificial intelligence applications for defence, quantum computing and a new Australia-India centre for excellence. But the announcement has been criticised as substanceless and adding to Morrison's collection of pamphleteering, including the recent documents around Australia's net-zero emissions plans. 

Assistant Shadow Minister for Communications and Cyber Security Tim Watts pushes for democratic vision of the internet (via Tim Watts). Speaking at the Asia Cyber Conference 2021, Watts delivers a speech titled 'A Challenge for Democracy: A new approach to technology policy'. The speech advocates for a free and open internet, citing Joe Biden's remarks on a "battle" between democratic nations and autocracy in technology policy.

Digital Economy Minister Jane Hume declares cryptocurrency "not a fad" (via InnovationAus). Senator Hume backed the growth potential of decentralised finance, just days after the Reserve Bank of Australia had questioned its validity and warned against “fads”. Senator Hume slammed the notion that cryptocurrencies are a “fad”, and said Australia should “forge our own trail” in the sector.

Australian tycoon Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest to help Australian small publishers negotiate with Google and Facebook (via Reuters). The Minderoo Foundation applied to the ACCC for collective bargaining on behalf of 18 small publishers to negotiate with Google and Facebook. This comes after Facebook refused to negotiate with SBS and The Conversation as part of the News Media Bargaining Code.


Recordings from The Sydney Dialogue event (via ASPI), including a panel with Nobel laureate and journalist Maria Ressa, who called for a "radical rethink" approach to Big Tech.


New podcast STEAM from journalist Rae Johnston (via NITV). STEAM looks at science and technology from an Indigenous perspective including a chat with the CEO of Indigilab, who advocates for Indigenous Science.


Faceprint: uses and misuses of facial recognition technology (via UTS). The UTS Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion hosts a panel to discuss the implications of biometric and facial recognition technology, including human rights lawyers, NSW Police and civil society representatives.