5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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

1. It’s over. Dallas Buyers Club vs iiNet is finally over. Justice Nye Perram ruled in December last year that DBC LLC had until February 16 to challenge his decision to throw out their case against nearly 5000 iiNet customers accused of pirating their film. But today, the lawyers representing the film’s rights holders confirmed that they will be dropping the case, ending the nearly two-year long legal fight.

2. We had a chat to an Aussie guy who risked it all for a shot in San Fransisco. His name is Michael Dunworth and he now runs Snapcard, one of the biggest players in Bitcoin.

Over the last six months, Snapcard has partnered with some US tech giants, working with Microsoft in August to power their Bing rewards competition and also with Paypal for an internal hackathon.

Snapcard raised $3 million in a seed funding round, with money coming from investors at Alibaba, Paypal and Tesla. It’s currently going through a Series A round as the startup looks to expand to Australia as well as south eastern Asian countries.

Have a read of his story.

3. There’s big investments happening in residential energy storage. AGL is one of several companies who has invested a combined $US36.5 million in Sunverge Energy which claims it has the leading solar energy storage technology in the world. Its solar integration system combines lithium batteries like Tesla’s Powerwall and combines it with a sophisticated control platform that allows power flows to and from the grid to be controlled as part of a virtual power plant.

4. The Tax Commissioner has slammed big tech companies. Chris Jordan has told big multinational tech companies operating in Australia that “enough is enough” and that they should pay up now instead of trying to “delay and obstruct investigations”.

“The excuses we hear from these companies are frankly over the top — how is it possible that companies known for their new-age technology and innovative products and services, fail to be able to furnish us with basic reports showing their business structures, their profits, how much tax they’ve paid and where?” he said.

5. The government wants kids to be in STEM programs. Yesterday it announced an $8 million package early childhood program that it hopes will “inspire Australia’s next Howard Florey or Elizabeth Blackburn”.

The Little Scientists program, which runs workshops to help educators to develop playful experiments for 3 to 6 year olds, and The Smith Family’s math program, Let’s Count, for kids aged 3 to 5, will each receive $4 million in funding. The programs will reach 350,000 children around Australia.

And if you’re not already, follow the #IronBoyAu story on Twitter about a 9-year-old Sydney boy with cystic fibrosis taking down evil in the streets of Sydney.

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