Hashtag Trending – Australia’s anti-encryption law; Project Alias; Amazon’s ‘passive’-income problems

Australia passes a law against encryption; Project Alias lets you choose whatever name you want for your smart assistant; and it turns out not everyone selling stuff on Amazon is getting rich quick, or at all.

Australia Becomes First Western Nation to Ban Secure Encryption from technology

Trending on Reddit, Australia passed a bill that will force companies to hand over encrypted data to police upon demand. No judicial review or oversight will be required to attain this data, other than a warrant. Companies must also create tools to track data if police request it and they currently don’t have a way to track it. There has already been backlash from Australia’s IT sector on this. Local encryption firm Senetas has threatened to move its business elsewhere as a result. And secure-messaging provider Signal says that it couldn’t comply with the law even if it wanted to due to the design of its encryption. Any cyber security expert will tell you – if there’s a backdoor in your encryption, then it’s not really secure.

Trending on Google+, Project Alias allows you to rename your smart assistant to whatever you like. It’s a small device that you place on top of your Google Home or Amazon Alexa speaker. Using an app, you can program it so you can use any word you like to activate your voice assistant. That’s great if you’re tired of saying “Google” all the time. The device also promises to protect your privacy, if you’re worried that Silicon Valley tech giants are surveilling you. It plays white noise into the smart speaker’s microphone, masking anything you’re doing in your home. When you say the Alias name, it whispers the real trigger word and stops the white noise. If you need some inspiration on what to name your assistant, this Project Alias video might help:

Trending on LinkedIn, a warning about get-rich-quick schemes on Amazon. The Atlantic has a story about all those coaches that promise they can get-rich-quick to make a “passive income” by selling items on Amazon.com. Well here’s the shocker – it doesn’t always work. Services like Amazing Wealth System and Sellers Playbook pitch the dream of quitting your day job and spending just a few hours a week managing an ecommerce storefront. But the harsh reality is that those shipping fees add up, products don’t alway sell well, and often they break and customer must be reimbursed. 48 consumers filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission over such schemes in the first nine months of 2018. Here’s some advice – if someone claims to have gotten rich off of so-called “passive income,” yet is asking you to pay thousands to take their coaching course, steer clear.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Brian Jackson
Brian Jacksonhttp://www.itbusiness.ca
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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