Thursday, 6 September 2007

NetAlert making the internet safe for Australian families.. sort of.

It took $84 million for the Australian government to create a free internet filter for families across the country and it apparently took Tom Woods, a 16 yearold less than 30mins to hack it.

Trying to protect children from the evil side of the internet is an uphill battle, I for one would not like to be handed that task. That said spending a total of $189 million on "NetAlert – Protecting Australian Families Online" I get the impression that the money could have been better spent. There are 2 main reasons why this was always going to fail:-

1. For anyone that has children or has been a child themselves at some stage (thats pretty much all of us by my calculations) telling a kid they CAN'T do something, just makes them work harder to prove the grownups wrong.

2. Parents by and large are less computer savvy than their children. This being the case it makes perfect sense that the first thing a kid is going to do when they find out their parents have installed NetAlert is Google "how to bypass NetAlert".

By my reckoning, if the Australian government had have launched a competition at DefCon offering an $84mil prize for the best software filter they would have received thousands of entries all of which would have been far more secure than the current offering. They may have even forced the 16 yearold to spend 5 maybe 6 hours finding the work around.

Monday, 3 September 2007 set to increase CD sales..

The record industry have been complaining for years about decreased record sales due to internet piracy all the while doing nothing (other than DRM which didn't work out quite how they had hoped) to try and find a way that both consumers and labels can gain from. Well thanks to an Aussie start up there may be away to alleviate the problem that keeps both parties smiling.
LiveBand essentially goes along to concerts (with the approval of the record company of course), records the show, does some mastering then uploads the tracks to their site for people to purchase online and burn to their own CD. So the consumers gets a copy of that "special" show they went to, the record company gets another income stream and the musician hopefully gets a few bucks from the process too. The biggest positive I can see to this though is from the marketing perspective. I am constantly bailed up by friends telling me about the "awesome show" they went to last week and, like looking though someones holiday snaps, its never quite as exciting for me as it is for them. With a service like this I can actually hear the recording, get a feel for the band and possibly become a convert.

Its a very simple concept and one that I can certainly see taking off once their list of acts starts to build up but I am honestly surprised that the record companies failed to come up with this themselves rather choosing to whine about lost sales every chance they get.