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ACCC wants to curb digital platform power – but enforcement is tricky

We need new laws to monitor and curb the power wielded by Google, Facebook and other powerful digital platforms, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The Preliminary Report on the Digital Platforms Inquiry found major changes to privacy and consumer protection laws are needed, along with alterations to merger law, and a regulator to investigate the operation of the companies’ algorithms.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Digital platforms. Why the ACCC's proposals for Google and Facebook matter big time

The Competition and Consumer Commission is worried about the ability of the platforms we use to determine the news we read. Shutterstock

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released the preliminary report of its The Conversation.

Australia is still listening to Voyager 2 as NASA confirms the probe is now in interstellar space

Both Voyagers are now in interstellar space. NASA

NASA has confirmed that Voyager 2 has joined its twin to become only the second spacecraft to enter interste


Originally published in The Conversation.

How researchers assess whether medications work

Ear infections are no fun. The OSTRICH clinical trial looked at whether oral steroid medications might help.


Originally published in The Conversation.

The government's encryption laws finally passed despite concerns over security

Law enforcement agencies can force access to your encrypted systems. Flickr/Kārlis Dambrāns, CC BY

After being caught up in the broader drama of the last day of Parliament fo


Originally published in The Conversation.

The problems with small satellites – and what Australia's Space Agency can do to help

Australia is part of the global explosion in space industries – including the design and engineering of satellites smaller than a loaf of bread.

But we’re at a point now where we need to take the next step.

The growing number of small satellites orbiting Earth presents some unique challenges, such as interference with communication networks, the buildup of space junk, and the legal questions that arise if something goes wrong.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Sexual subcultures are collateral damage in Tumblr’s ban on adult content

The social networking and microblogging site Tumblr announced on Monday that from December 17 it will no longer host adult content on its platform. The Washington Post reported that the policy “removes one of the last major refuges for pornography on social media”.

But the move will affect more than just porn.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Protecting our digital heritage in the age of cyber threats

There is no clear cybersecurity governance framework geared towards detecting and preventing attacks against digital identity assets.

One of the key functions of the government is to collect and archive national records.


Originally published in The Conversation.

What younger people can learn from older people about using technology

Two thirds of Australians over 65 use social media. Shutterstock

Older people are often portrayed in the media as being technically challenged.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Why autonomous vehicles won't reduce our dependence on cars in cities

Australians have a phobia of sitting in traffic and not finding a car park. Shutterstock

The technology of autonomous vehicles (AVs) is progressing rapidly, but have we really thought through how they’ll work in reality?


Originally published in The Conversation.