Your 90-second guide to the day in tech

- January 20, 2021 3 MIN READ
Myriota founder and CEO Dr Alex Grant. Photo: Rosina Possingham.

Welcome to Wednesday and Startup Daily’s new morning column offering a quick run down on the things you need to know both locally and globally about what’s happening in tech.

Every day we’ll cover the breaking news of the day and the big talking points from overnight to get the day off to a cracking start.

Here’s what’s happening.


1.  Parler pops up

Parler, the social network used by alt-right conservatives and the Trump-backed insurrectionists who stormed and vandalised the US Capitol building on Jan 6, may make a return – and get this – thanks to a Russian-owned tech co.

Amazon Web Services took Parler offline in the wake of the riots, in which five people died, saying it violated the company’s terms of service, while Google and Apple removed the app from its stores after it was revealed to be the organising platform for extremists.

Parler CEO John Matze simply wrote “Hello world, is this thing on?” and in the 48 hours since, the likes of Dan Bongino, conservative commentator, YouTuber and Parler investor, have jumped on in support.

Reuters reports IP address Parler has is from Russian-owned DDos-Guard.


2. South Australia’s space play

Internet of Things (IoT) satellite startup Myriota has teamed up with the South Australian government on a $6.5 million project using low-Earth orbit satellite to improve data collection and monitoring for state emergency, environment, water monitoring and bushfire mitigation services.

The SASAT1 Space Services Mission will support data collection from ground based sensors plus Earth observation imaging.

Myriota CEO and co-founder Dr Alex Grant, said that the mission provides a great opportunity for understanding the state’s environment, while simultaneously creating opportunities for collaboration.

“Myriota is proud to be involved in the SASAT1 project, and to partner with space industry leaders Inovor Technology and, the SmartCat CRC, as well as and the South Australian government,” he said.

3. Big bucks for battery bits

In good news for Australian miners, IDTechEx has predicted the electric vehicle battery materials market will be worth US$52 billion by 2031. Lithium-ion batteries contain nickel, cobalt, lithium, copper, insulation, thermal interface materials, and much more at a cell- and pack-level, with a rapid rise in demand for those minerals and materials already underway.

IDTechEx’s new report  “Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs 2021-2031”, identifies and analyzes trends in 20 key materials used for the assembly and production of battery cells and battery packs in the EV market.


4. Github’s Nazi gaffe

Github “separated with an employee” – the best euphemism for firing a worker since Gwyneth Paltrow “consciously uncoupled” from that Coldplay guy – who wrote on the company’s Slack channel “stay safe homies, Nazis are about” on the day rioters broke into the US Capitol building.

The employee is Jewish and many of his coworkers were reportedly furious about his dismissal, according to Business Insider.

Now the Microsoft-owned software development venture has subsequently lost its head of HR, who resigned over the sacking, has apologised to the worker and offered him his job back following a review that concluded there were “significant errors of judgment and procedure” in his sacking.

5. Kogan cops another fine

A month after being hit with a $350,000 fine for false or misleading conduct in its advertising, online retailer Kogan.com is writing another six-figure check for breaking corporate law, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) fining the company $310,800, this time for breaches of Australian spam laws.

The ACMA found the ASX-listed company sent more than 42 million marketing emails to consumers that made it difficult for recipients to unsubscribe, in breach of the law.