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5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

It’s the end of the week. This is what you need to know in tech.

1. George Brandis thinks Apple should unlock phones for the FBI. Attorney-General George Brandis has joined the likes of Donald Trump in calling for Apple to help the FBI and provide backdoor access to an iPhone used by one of the shooters in December’s San Bernadino massacre.

Brandis said to the ABC that, “We would expect, as in Australia, that all orders of courts should be obeyed by any party which is the subject of a lawful order by a court.”

He added that while this case is not an Australian matter, he believed it represented an issue that will face law enforcement agencies and tech companies in the future, saying, “when encryption of data is becoming almost ubiquitous and vast quantities of data which would previously have been accessible by warrant to law enforcement agencies inaccessible”.

Read more here.

2. Foxtel has joined Village Roadshow in the fight against pirates. It was revealed yesterday that Village Roadshow would be looking to block the website SolarMovie in Australia, and now Foxtel is joining in, seeking to have four sites blocked itself, including the infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay.

New Australian legislation allows rights-holders to apply to a Federal Court judge to have overseas websites that are deemed to primarily facilitate copyright infringement blocked.

3. Optus is trialling a 4.5G mobile network. Australia’s second largest telco announced that alongside Huawei, it has successfully trialled 4.5G technologies, also known as LTE-Advanced Pro in Newcastle, north of Sydney.

The tests resulted in download speeds of 1.41Gbps and theoretical maximum speeds reaching 1.43Gbps. There’s no word yet on when customers will see this speed, but considering Optus wants to roll out 5G from 2020 it shouldn’t be too far away.

Let’s just hope their “4G” home wireless broadband plans include that speed, and aren’t throttled to 12Mbps like they are now.

4. The federal government is setting up a “landing pad” for Australian startups in the San Fransisco. Federal Assistant Minister for Innovaiton Wyatt Roy is set to announce the new landing pad in San Fransisco’s RocketSpace today during his trip to the area. Roy told The Australian that will prove a great place for Australian startups to meet with potential US venture capital investors and have their idea seen.

This will be the first of five “landing pads” the federal government will be launching across the world, with the next expected to be in Tel Aviv in Israel.

5. Uber drivers in Queensland are not happy. The ride-sharing services’ drivers are threatening to strike in the sunshine state this weekend after Uber announced it would be slashing fares in the hope it will boost passenger numbers. As part of a month long trial, Queenslanders will pay 20% less to ride with Uber from today. Drivers were informed yesterday of the change via email and many have since agreed to turn off their apps in protest.

Uber’s city lead Sam Bool told the Courier Mail that the same fare cut in Perth saw fares per hour jump by 37 per cent.

“While riders are paying a cheaper fare, they are riding a lot more,” he said. “It’s that demand that can actually increase earnings for drivers.”

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend. Come chat on Twitter.

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