5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Photo: Qantas.

Good morning, here’s what you need to know in Australian tech today.

1. Australia’s peak startup body has a new big boss. StartupAus has appointed former diplomat Alex McCauley as its new chief executive, with his new focus now on developing tax incentives and connecting universities with the private sector.

McCauley was previously the head of strategy and advocacy at StartupAus and replaces interim chief executive, Fishburners founder Peter Bradd who has left to start a new venture with Jack Delosa called The Beanstalk Factory.

2. Australia is under cyber attack from China and Russia. Chinese and Russian spy agencies, as well as hired hackers are allegedly increasing their number of attacks on the Australian government’s secure communications network in Canberra.

The spike in serious cyber attacks is now in the hundreds of attempts a month and has forced the 97 agencies that use the Intra Government Communications Network to encrypt more data then ever.

A report from The Finance Department shows that in November, 17 of those 97 agencies weren’t encrypting their data over the ICON system, making the agencies vulnerable to outside attacks.

3. The power of crowdfunding has seen $82,000 raised to send child abuse survivors to Rome so they can face Cardinal George Pell. Over $82,000 has been raised in just one day to help send clerical abuse survivors to confront Cardinal George Pell in person.

A Go Fund Me page was set up Monday afternoon by Meshel Laurie and Gorgi Coghlan who both work on Network Ten’s The Project to cover the costs of flights and accommodation.

By midday yesterday, the fund had raised more than $12,700, by 5:30pm it was at $27,655 and has since smashed its final goal of $55,000, allowing the group to send 15 representatives from Ballarat to be in Rome when the Cardinal gives his evidence into the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Abuse.

4. We got an old email from Ruslan Kogan showing how fanatical he was about mobile plans even before he got rich. Emails we obtained from 2006 show Kogan analysing mobile phone plans down to fractions of a cent for him and his mates to make sure they had the best mobile plan possible. The subject line was: “Mobile phone plans… which one is LESS full of shit!!”

Kogan explains he made the table because, “all the telcos have created a pricing illusion through all their caps and ‘pay $40 and get $40000 worth of calls’ crap”.

He also takes a dig at Telstra, which Kogan ended up using as his network when launching Kogan Mobile in 2012.

“I haven’t taken Telstra into account during all this or checked their call rates as I’m sure they’ll be twice as expensive as others,” he wrote.

5. Qantas is doing a TEDx talk on a plane today with a heap of Australian startup founders on board. Australia’s national airline is claiming that it’s the world’s first tech talk in the sky and will see the likes of Jo Burston, found of Rare Birds and Marita Cheng talking on board as they fly to San Fransisco. There will be representatives from 10 Australian startups who will be participating in San Francisco tours and meetings.

Have a great day! Come chat on Twitter.

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