5 things you should know about tech today

- September 30, 2019 3 MIN READ


Hello, welcome to Monday and peak school holidays season.

Here’s what’s happening in techland.


1. The number of “suspicious matter reports” received by AUSTRAC in FY19 was up 95% on 2018.
The AFR reports that the national financial intelligence agency is telling fintechs, money remittance ventures and organisations involved in gambling, including pubs and clubs, that the need to step up their tech systems to stop infiltration by organised crime using them for money laundering and if they don’t, then the regulator will intervene.

AUSTRAC last week asked PayPal to get an external auditor to check its international transaction reporting, after the US digital payments venture self-reported on the issue.You can read more from The Fin here. 

2. Australia’s biggest publisher, News Corp, once again has Google in its sights.

The Murdoch company’s Australasia executive chairman, Michael Miller, took a swing in an op-ed in The Australian today, saying “no one has damaged journalism and Australians’ ability to receive trusted, reliable information more than the big tech platforms”.

Miller says platforms like Google should be banned from using content produced by publishers and the data generated from it until they negotiate a fair price for their use with publishers.

Outlining News Corp’s response to the ACCC’s recommendations on the digital media era, saying “We are already seeing intense lobbying from the likes of Google to present themselves as friends of journalism, an industry where they’ve sucked the life out of so many publishers while profiting from their content”.

Miller continues: “Google simply wants to continue exploiting and profiting from publishers’ content for free and has little interest in compensating publishers fairly… Google’s advertising dominance not only crushes would-be competitors, it forces anyone wanting to build a business in Australia to play by its rules just like inmates locked in a prison.”

You can read his full views here – provided you subscribe to the Oz.


3. WeWork is having a massive exec clear out.

Last week CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann announced his departure as the fallout from the company’s disastrous IPO attempt continues.  Several top executives – the WSJ reports up to 20 of his close associates – are also heading for the door as the new co-CEOs, WeWork’s CFO Artie Minson and vice chairman Sebastian Gunningham look to right the ship, halting further lease signings, and selling off businesses and the company’s US$60 million private jet. Vice Chairman Michael GrossGranit Gjonbalaj, the chief real-estate-development officer, Chris Hill, the chief product officer and CEO of Japan, Zvika Shachar, head of global security, and Roni Bahar, director of development, are among those departing, along with Neumann’s wife Rebekah.


4. Australia fell one place to 14th in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness ranking.

We’re now behind Taiwan and the UAE. New Zealand rose one spot to 18th. The US remains at top spot in the 3rd annual rankings table, with the top 5 unchanged: USA Singapore, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. The Netherlands, Hong Kong SAR and Republic of Korea moved up (to 6th, 8th and 10th, respectively), while Norway dropped to 9th and Canada fell from 8th to 11th.

The IMD World Competitiveness Center, measures the capacity and readiness of 63 economies to adopt and explore digital technologies as a key driver for economic transformation in business, government and wider society.


5.  Bugherd is back.

Alan Downie’s “sticky notes on a website” startup, which helps pinpoint bugs for web developers, is ramping up again after three-years of semi-hibernation. BugHerd was part of Startmate’s original 2011 cohort, grew rapidly, had plenty of backing and then in 2016, essentially went into maintenance mode with nearly all of the 15 staff losing their jobs.

Fast forward to now and the AFR reports Downie’s putting the band back together, having bought out his other investors, with 8 of the sacked 15 staff rejoining the business, which now has 2000 customers in more than 100 countries, including eBay, and Amazon. The venture now has more than $1 million in revenue and is looking to raise $1 million. More details here.




BONUS ITEM: Spot, the new robot dog from Boston Dynamics, is here.


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