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5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Sergio Dionisio / Getty Images

Welcome to a new week, this is what you need to know in tech today.

1. Telstra survived its free data Sunday. After Australia’s largest mobile network went down on Tuesday, it promised free data for all customers on Sunday as an apology. But it was then feared the network would cripple with so many customers looking to take advantage of the situation. Luckily there were no widespread issues, with just a few customers reporting significantly lower speeds due to congestion.

“There has been no major impact to customers from increased traffic on the network as a result of today’s free data access,” Telstra wireless network engineering director Channa Seneviratne said. “We’ve had twice as much traffic as we would normally see on a Sunday.”

2. Optus is renewing its Fetch TV contract. The telco is on a quest to become as much an entertainment company as it is a telco, and to go along with its EPL rights next season, Fetch TV is back on board too as a platform to help deliver that content. Fetch is a pay-TV rival to Foxtel that is cheaper but runs through the internet and has less channels. It’s sold through Optus and a few other rival ISPs such as iiNet. Fetch and EPL bundles are going to be crucial for Optus as it looks to grow its customer base.

3. The ACCC is investigating the iPhone Error 53 bug. The error, which occurs when the Touch ID fingerprint sensor gets damaged and turns the phone into a useless paperweight, is currently being investigated to see whether it contravenes consumer protection laws. “We are currently considering whether the reports are likely to raise concerns under the Competition and Consumer Act,” a statement provided by the commission reads.

“In particular the ACCC is examining whether this practice contravenes the consumer guarantee and false and misleading representations provisions of the ACL [Australian Consumer Law]. The ACCC would also be concerned about any practices which restrict competition, including through access to parts or data.”

4. Australian researchers’ scabies breakthrough is big news for indigenous communities. Australian researchers have used cutting-edge genome technologies to reveal the genetic makeup of a widespread skin parasite which causes serious health problems in Aboriginal communities. The research team identified the genetic ‘map’ of the human parasitic scabies mite, accelerating research that could lead to new ways of preventing and treating scabies infestations and prevent lifelong complications for people in remote Aboriginal communities.

Scabies is a contagious and extremely itchy skin infestation caused by scabies mites. It’s rife in many remote Aboriginal communities in Australia, affecting one in two children and one in four adults each year. Gizmodo has more.

5. Malcolm Turnbull’s son was one of only 3 secured creditors on failed startup. Shareholders of the failed sports technology startup PlayUp are angry that Malcolm Turnbull’s son Alex has emerged as one of only 3 people who are secured shareholders in the company he also invested in. Nearly $100 million was raised from investors, including both Turnbulls, cricketer Steve Waugh, BRW rich list member Allan Myers and more. The younger Turnbull, alongside his father, is believed to have extracted more money than any other investor out of the failed startup.

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