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ACS Week In Review: 31 January 2014

Friday, 31 Jan 2014

With January now complete we hope you all enjoyed a great Australia Day. It was certainly a memorable time for our President Brenda Aynsley OAM and one of our Past Presidents Peter Murton OAM, both of whom were recognised in the Australia Day Honours List. You can read more about their achievements below.

The New Year is a perfect time to make sure you’re following the ACS on Twitter and Facebook so you can stay up to date with the latest information. You can find us at http://twitter.com/acsnewsfeed and http://www.facebook.com/australiancomputersociety

ACS President, Fellow recognised in Australia Day Honours

Australian Computer Society (ACS) President Brenda Aynsley OAM and ACS Fellow Peter Murton OAM have been awarded Medals of the Order of Australia in the General Division on the 2014 Australia Day Honours list.

A member since 1989, Ms Aynsley was recognised for her service to the information and communications technology sector. She was a founding member of the South Australian Internet Association, Chair of the SA Committee of the Pearcy Foundation from 2006-2012 and opened South Australia’s first internet café in 1995.

In 2013, Ms Aynsley was elected as the first female President of the ACS and in 2008 was awarded honorary life membership of the organisation.

“Brenda’s contribution to the development of ICT in South Australia and throughout the country has been extraordinary. This recognition is a fitting acknowledgement of her passion, determination and skill in developing the emerging profession of ICT. Her commitment to promoting the Australian ICT profession through overseas forums has seen her act as a representative of her country on many occasions, and I have no doubt she will continue to drive the profession forward.” said ACS CEO Alan Patterson.

NBN in a policy vacuum and needs clear objectives, says iiNet

IINET, the largest provider of internet services on the National Broadband Network, has said the mammoth infrastructure needs to be much more than just a big pipe to download songs faster, and has called on the government to introduce new objectives to spur productivity and create jobs.

In a scathing submission to the Senate select committee on the NBN, iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby said the NBN was a "policy vacuum" that neither Labor nor the Coalition had sufficiently explained the need for.

"Successive governments have struggled to communicate concrete reasons for an investment in the NBN," Mr Dalby said.

"iiNet does not believe that downloading songs faster or being able to connect multiple televisions should be the drivers of national infrastructure." Instead, the NBN policy should establish a clear set of objectives that focused on productivity, job creation, export opportunities, and improved regional, industry and competition outcomes.

"The Australian public, and it seems the parliament, appears to be unsure why the NBN is being built and so discussions are still mired in the operational issues of costs, timetables and technology, rather than national benefits," Mr Dalby said.

Social Media watchdog has ‘serious risks’: Freedom commissioner

The incoming human rights commissioner tasked with looking at issues of freedom, Tim Wilson, has said that there are "serious risks" with the government appointing a watchdog with the power to force social networking sites to remove content that is deemed to be "harmful" to children.

Yesterday, Parliamentary Secretary for Communications Paul Fletcher released a discussion paper outlining the government's proposal to bring in a Children's eSafety Commissioner with the power to compel large social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook to "rapidly" remove content that is said to be "targeted at and likely to cause harm to an Australian child".

Wilson, who was appointed to the new role of freedom commissioner by Attorney-General George Brandis late last year and will take up his position on the Human Rights Commission next month, told ZDNet that while there are good intentions behind the government's proposal, it has serious risks associated with it.