5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Dollarmites. (Source: Commonwealth Bank)

There are a lot of important tech stories to kick off the week:

1. A new Australian streaming entertainment service is launching on Australia Day. Ozflix, which specialises in Australian films like Mad Max and Muriel’s Wedding, will be entering a crowded market dominated by US giants Netflix and Amazon, as well as local players Stan and Foxtel. Read more here.

2. Avaya is fine in Australia, it insists. The unified communications company has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US, but the local arm says it’s “business as usual”. Read more on how the Australian division has churned through four managing directors in two years.

3. Remember the Dollarmites bank account you had as a kid? The AFR reports fintech startup Pennybox aims to modernise the way children develop financial literacy with its new app, which it claims is more effective than the popular Commonwealth Bank kids’ account.

4. Scammers have been posing as staff from the government’s cybercrime reporting program ACORN to trick people into giving them money. iTnews reports that fraudsters have cold called pretending to be an ACORN staffer, in order to convince people that they have recovered stolen funds that will be returned after a $99 handling fee.

5. Chinese smartphone app Meitu, which converts your selfies into anime-like images, is taking off in Australia and other western countries — but Lifehacker warns that it requires some very intrusive permissions on your handset. A security researcher, after analysis, has said it’s “a throw-together of multiple analytics and marketing/ad tracking packages, with something cute to get people to use it”.

BONUS ITEM: Redheads might get a go in emojis. The Unicode Consortium, the industry body that decides on such things, will meet in California this week to consider bringing in redhead faces to the set of those tiny icons we now use on our phones in lieu of text. Check out the possible new emojis here.

Have a great day! Please email me your story tips or find me on Twitter.

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