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Seventeen teenagers killed themselves last year, up from 12 in 2008, according to yesterday’s annual report of the NSW Child Death Review Team. Six children called friends using their mobile phones and one wrote a blog, but most teenagers did not know who to contact once they had received such a message, said Megan Mitchell, the NSW commissioner for children and young people. SUICIDE is on the rise among teenagers – and many are choosing mobile phones and social networking sites to alert friends and family to their plans, presenting mental health experts with new challenges.
Two deaths occurred in the context of severe family dysfunction and two of the children had experienced significant school-related difficulties. Six had been diagnosed with a mental illness and three had undiagnosed mental health issues. The team had recommended people be educated to ”identify and respond to warning signs, tipping points and imminent risk factors”, in light of the communication mediums used by children to inform peers of their intention to kill themselves, she said. ”It is clear from the team’s report that kids need greater assistance about how and when to tell others of their concerns for their friends, especially with a changing technological world. It can be challenging for peers and they need to know what to do, who to tell and to be supported to do so,” Ms Mitchell said. The audit found that 12 of the children had experienced enduring difficulties and two had suffered a pivotal life event. Thirteen of the 17 children hanged themselves. Lifeline 131 114Kids helpline 1800 551 800

  One died by jumping from a high place and three died by lying in front of a car or train.

Photo: Simon Alekna Daniel Brown 19 years old of Manly uses free Wi-Fi on the Queenscliff ferry to Manly.
”The key to providing Wi-Fi free to consumers is finding somebody who is happy to fund it while at the same time getting something out of it for themselves,” he said. MIMP has put internet-connected systems on government buses in Adelaide and Perth that give passengers not only timetable information and security coverage but Wi-Fi access for laptops. Ruwan Weerasooriya’s company CafeScreen provided the system for Manly Fast Ferries and said the technology’s spread was inevitable. The government will continue to look at ways to extend new services like Wi-Fi to public transport users.”

An Adelaide company is providing a glimpse of the Wi-Fi future for public transport. McDonald’s and small cafes provide most of the free services. ANZ Bank has also gone into Wi-Fi in a big way, helping to fund the government’s Manly Ferry experiment and sponsoring free Wi-Fi hotspots in 100 cafes in the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane business districts and at ANZ Stadium’s gold members’ lounge. MIMP Connecting Solutions is testing a bus passenger information service with a spin-off that could revolutionise the use of Wi-Fi in Australia and put the technology into trains, buses, taxis and private cars. NSW has about 1000 Wi-Fi hotspots – most in Sydney. In June Wi-Fi was introduced on Manly ferries for a three-month trial, allowing laptop users to use the internet while sailing to and from the city. Commuters who log on to the system are limited to 20-minute sessions and a download of 50Mb so they do not slow the system for other users. And this month, the government started another pilot program offering commuters Wi-Fi access at Circular Quay station. ”RailCorp is now trialling free Wi-Fi at Circular Quay station and since last week when the trial began about 3000 commuters have accessed the service. ”It would be simple to put into into public transport,” Michael Baker of MIMP said. Half are free. With many of Sydney’s cafes, libraries and pubs already offering free or low-cost Wi-Fi access, the state government is joining the party, creating wireless hotspots on train stations and even ferries.   IT IS an invisible revolution and it is gaining momentum. ”Until now innovations in IT have been driven by corporations but if consumers demanded this sort of free access to a service, governments would undoubtedly react to what people want.”

The government jumped on the Wi-Fi bandwagon only after Manly Fast Ferries, one of Sydney Ferries’ private rivals on the Sydney-Manly run, began offering internet access in May. The Minister for Transport, John Robertson, said yesterday it had been a huge success with more than 60,000 passengers logging on so far.

”The heroes in the Gen Y world are the guys who start a small business in the garage or the friends who start an eBay-like business online. The generational group portrait which paints Gen Y as having an increased sense of entitlement has a flip side that seems to be leading to increased entrepreneurial activity in this age bracket. A social researcher, Mark McCrindle of McCrindle Research, which studied Australian entrepreneurial activities with 1000 Gen Yers aged between 18 and 25, found a quarter of them wanted to run their own business, which is much higher than the national rate across all age groups, which is not even one in 20.   ”It’s not the old Amway of door-to-door sales – that’s not the model I am using,” she said. Mylie Dantier, 25, a former IT account manager living in Balmain, gave up her office job and now sells about $35,000 to $40,000 a month of Amway products to her online network of between 500 and 600 people, who come to her for recurring sales of toothpaste, protein shakes, vitamins and dishwashing liquid – products they would go to the supermarket to buy. ”The whole future of online social media goes arm in arm with direct selling which is why it is popular with a younger tech-savvy sales force,” he said. Direct selling companies report an increasingly younger sales force and are changing their product range accordingly: Avon has introduced a skincare range for the under 20s to target university and high school student sellers and Amway has introduced protein shakes and vitamin supplements to attract a younger clientele. ”It’s not daggy like it was in the past to sell products such as Amway and Avon,” Mr McCrindle said. ONE in four Gen Yers expect to be self-employed at some time in their working life, according to independent research which has found an increasing number of under-25s are selling door-to-door style products such as Avon, Amway and Tupperware. Gen Yers use their online social networks to sell Amway products and organise Tupperware parties. But instead of leaving the catalogue in the letterbox, it’s more likely to be in your email inbox. ”Our brand seems to be speaking to a younger age group again who are using the internet as a gathering tool,” she said. Tracy Pratt, of Tupperware Australia & New Zealand, says recent research found the bulk of its sales force (49 per cent) were under 34, making Australian Tupperware sellers the youngest in the 100 countries in which its products are sold. Scoring the job at the big Fortune 500 company is not the status symbol of success like it was in their parents’ day.”

John Holloway, the executive director of the Direct Sellers Association of Australia, whose members sell $1.6 billion worth of products annually in Australia, says a 12.5 per cent sales rise in the past three years has been driven largely by online sales in the under 25 age group.

‘Halo: Reach’ video game invasion begins

Halo: Reach launches in Australia today. Photo: Supplied
The first title, “Halo: Combat Evolved” was released in 2001 and the franchise has attracted a cult following and inspired novels, action figures, comic books, and clothing. More than 2.7 million players participated in a “Halo: Reach” multi-player online test of the videogame beta in May, according to Microsoft. AFP “Halo: Reach” is a much anticipated prequel to a hot video game franchise billed as a pop culture phenomenon by Microsoft Game Studios, the publisher behind the title made for play exclusively on the company’s Xbox 360 consoles. The trigger fingers of “Halo” lovers worldwide are twitching ahead of the release today of the latest installment of the acclaimed science fiction shooter video game. The latest installment is set before the main “Halo” trilogy, which focuses on a super-soldier called “Master Chief” and his artificial-intelligence companion battling to save humanity from an alien alliance called the Covenant. More than 34 million copies of “Halo” video games have been sold according to Microsoft. “We’re delivering on our promise to redefine blockbuster entertainment experiences and ultimately help make this year the biggest ever in Xbox history.”

The video game goes on sale a minute into Tuesday local time in more than 25 countries. The prequel tells “the tragic and heroic story” of a group of soldiers making a stand against Covenant forces on a planet called Reach. Tens of thousands of shops signed on for a “midnight launch” expected to attract millions of the franchise’s devoted fans. Special “marquee” launch events were planned for London, Oslo, Stockholm, Seattle, and New York. “When it comes to the size and scope of a franchise and especially the dedication of the fans, no game is bigger than ‘Halo’,” said Game Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer. The “Halo” franchise is the creation of US video game studio Bungie.

Internet safety advocate Robyn Treyvaud said when she asks a class of year 4 students if they are on Facebook, most put up their hands. POLICE and teachers are warning parents that children as young as eight are at risk from cyber bullies and online predators because they are flouting Facebook website age restrictions. Whilst this is not strictly a school matter, we are very concerned about internet safety”. “Kids who are 10 don’t want to be 10 online. “Evidence shows the greatest harm comes from their peer group, not the dodgy online stranger or predator.”

The international Norton Online Living report found that 62 per cent of children aged eight to 17 have had a negative experience online, such as accessing inappropriate content, cyber bullying, giving out personal information and importing computer viruses. Ms Treyvaud, who advises schools on cyber safety, said the children are naive about the impact of sharing personal information online and are influenced by hearing older children talking about Facebook. trawling cyberspace”. “Parents will spend a fortune teaching their children to swim or drive but not any energy, money or emotional effort to teach their kids to stay safe online.” Ms Cooper wrote that some parents were

“unaware that children must be over 13 years of age to sign up… Childhood experts said these children have to lie about their age because users have to be over 13 to create a Facebook account. Mosman Public School principal Kate Cooper has warned parents in her newsletter about children signing up for Facebook. Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said children using social media was “one of the great unaddressed public health issues of our time”. They want to be the cool 18-year-old and the reality is they can be,” Ms Treyvaud said. Peer group pressure is forcing increasing numbers of primary school-aged children to sign up to the popular social media site without the knowledge of their parents. Senior Constable Michael Steele told The Newcastle Herald a 10-year-old boy told him he had been chatting online with a man in Queensland. One involved a year 3 student defaming a teacher. “We make assumptions that because the kids are tech-savvy and know how to sign up to Facebook accounts without mum and dad knowing about it, they can do all the navigation of the technology, but they are not equipped to navigate the sorts of negative experiences they have when they go online. He said children “do not really understand there are paedophiles… Police school-liaison officers in the Hunter have been invited to schools after incidents involving children on social networking sites.

Apps are ‘tracking’ users

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POPULAR mobile phone applications are sharing sensitive information about users, including their location, with advertising companies, a study has found. Of the 30 applications, 15 sent sensitive information, including the phone’s location, to several advertising companies’ servers. A group of computer engineers wrote a computer program called TaintDroid and installed it on a smartphone to monitor how 30 apps – mobile phone programs for the likes of social networking and downloadable games – were using sensitive information.

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The applications assessed included BBC News Live Stream, MySpace and Solitaire, which can be downloaded on smartphones using the popular Google-owned Android operating system. Do you know more? The study’s lead author, William Enck, who is completing his PhD at Pennsylvania State University, said: ”We were surprised by how many of the studied applications shared our information without our knowledge or consent.”

A spokeswoman from Google said on all computing devices, desktop or mobile, users needed to entrust at least some of their information to the developer of the application. nphillips@smh.com.au

  ”We provide developers with best practices about how to handle user data.”

Users were also free to uninstall applications at any time, the spokeswoman said. TraintDroid’s findings suggest that smartphones are becoming another outlet for advertisers to track people. Two also shared mobile phone number and sim card identifiers with random servers, whose owners could not be identified. Using a technique called ”taint tracking”, the researchers tagged sensitive information held within their test phone, such as the phone’s ID numbers and location, which can be traced when accessed by an application or if it leaves the phone via its wireless internet connection.
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Cyber Storm is about to be unleashed, bringing chaos to Australia and across the world. Photo: Erin Jonasson
While official efforts focused on protecting government and corporations, members of the public did not understand the extent of the problem or the risks they faced. Its aim is to test the ability of Australia and its allies to respond to what governments, spy bosses and security experts say is the real and growing threat from cyber attacks. The threat is real, and it requires prudent planning.”

Nor were cyber attacks without victims. When he opened the new cyber security operations centre in Canberra in January, then defence minister John Faulkner revealed defence networks were attacked on a daily basis. The attacks cut power supplies, disrupted ports and airlines, and compromised intelligence communications. The former head of the Australian Federal Police high technology crime centre, Alastair MacGibbon, sees gaps in Australia’s approach to the cyber threat. The director of the Cyber Storm II, Steven Stroud, told an industry conference that participants were surprised by the level of damage inflicted by the attacks, even though they were aware of the risks. About 50 organisations are expected to take part in the Australian arm of the exercise, the third and biggest in a series testing national responses to major cyber attacks. In a speech last month, ASIO boss David Irvine placed cyber attack alongside terrorism at the top of Australia’s threat list, describing it as ”the issue of the 21st century”. Officials were concerned about maintaining the exercise’s security, a department spokesman told this website. Cyber Storm II, with Australia playing a major role, was based on a similar scenario – simulated attacks by a group with a political agenda and the time, money and motivation to penetrate any network. While no real operations were affected, information systems virtually collapsed during the exercise, as IT managers scrambled to cope. In Cyber Storm, a lot of people hit their hand with a hammer and were surprised that it hurt,” he said. Cyber III, which also involves Britain, Canada and New Zealand, is the latest sign of how seriously governments regard the risk of cyber attack. Under intense pressure, players abandoned protocols for dealing with failures, losing key information in the process. A common problem, according to the report, was that while responding to multiple incidents, managers failed to see they faced a crisis. It threatens to halt business, cripple power supplies, paralyse governments, and undermine national security. Cyber Storms I and II, in 2006 and 2008, resulted in virtual chaos. There was little capacity for ordinary citizens to report online crime affecting them, or for these reports to be co-ordinated and assessed. The first was based on a scenario in which a coalition of anti-globalisation activists attacked US and Canadian computer systems. A report by the Attorney-General’s Department reveals participants were stunned by the speed and global scope of cyber attacks on banking, finance, water, electricity, communications, information technology and government agencies. Senator Faulkner declined to comment on whether the attacks were launched by China, the culprit widely blamed for state-sponsored cyber attacks. CYBER Storm is about to be unleashed, bringing chaos to Australia and across the world. There were about 200 ”electronic security incidents” involving defence networks each month last year, he said. ”Because people don’t see physical damage when it comes through cyber, people have got the idea that it’s a very clean weapon. ”This is a dirty weapon you can’t see.”

 

Source: The Age Architects of the drill, co-ordinated by the Attorney-General’s Department, will not outline the cyber game scenario, organised by the US Department of Homeland Security. There’s nothing clean about it.” Attacks on power grids, for instance, could have ”huge unintended consequences” on places such as hospital wards. Mr MacGibbon, who works for Surete Group consultancy, said talk of the cyber threat was not a ”Chicken Little exercise of saying the sky is falling down. The name suggests an apocalyptic movie, but Cyber Storm is an official exercise involving some of our biggest businesses, government departments and spy agencies. Nor would he say when the exercise begins, although this website believes it is imminent. When systems controlling power supplies were hit, communications also failed. ”If you hit your hand with a hammer, it’s going to hurt. As a video on the website of the super-secret Defence Signals Directorate puts it: ”Online is the new front line.”

Cyber Storm will play out on business, government and intelligence agency computer screens here and overseas, testing their ability to respond to co-ordinated attacks on the systems underpinning almost every aspect of society.

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”Clearly, we would not be tearing anything up,” he said at a banking conference. He ruled out removing cables that are being installed around the country by the government-owned NBN Co. After being appointed to ”demolish” the Gillard government’s planned network, Mr Turnbull yesterday told a business audience in Sydney the Coalition would take a ”hard-headed” look at the project if elected. The opposition’s communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, has conceded the Coalition would not ”tear up” what had already been built of the national broadband network if it won the next federal election, saying it would put any infrastructure to good use. ”If infrastructure is built, we will ensure we make the best use of it.”

The executive chairman of NBN Co, Mike Quigley, will also speak today in Melbourne, making his first public comments since the election campaign. Mr Turnbull is expected to provide further details on his thinking on competition in the sector in a speech in Melbourne today. The opposition has so far focused on attacking the cost of the network and calling for a cost-benefit analysis, but it is understood some senior Liberals see developing a clearer policy on how they would support wider access to broadband as a high priority. In a possible clue into the opposition’s thinking, Mr Turnbull explored a ”structural separation” of Telstra – of its wholesale and retail arms – without building a whole new broadband network. Paul Budde, a telecommunications consultant who supports the network, said Mr Turnbull’s comments made sense because the public was growing tired of the Coalition’s ”black-and-white” attacks on the network. NBN Co is expected to provide fresh details soon on how the government’s promise to prioritise rural areas will affect the costs and timetable of the installation. However, he did not endorse this approach. Mr Turnbull’s concession reflects pressures on the Coalition to explain where it stands on broadband. So far, the network has been introduced to test sites in Tasmania and work has also begun in mainly rural areas.

Screenshots showing what Facebook Places looks like on the mobile.
Facebook said Places would enable “serendipitous meetings” between friends who are near each other. [such as] rewards and achievements,” said Sharon. Users are always notified when tagged by someone and can always remove any tag. When users open up Places they are provided with a list of venues – restaurants, bars, businesses, shopping centres, etc – near them, which is ranked according to distance and other factors. Places is highly similar to location-based apps like Foursquare and Gowalla, both of which have signed up as partners with Facebook to use the Places API. When users check in somewhere they can see recent checkins from friends and their comments. they focus on tips and they focus on the game-like elements of the service … “Foursquare is really based on exploring a city … But Sharon said the feature wouldn’t mean the death of Foursquare. The Australian launch follows recent launches in the US, Canada and Japan. Users get notifications if friends check in somewhere close to them. Facebook users in Australia can share their location with friends from today after the social networking website launched its Places feature. “If some of your friends hang out at the Hog’s Breath Cafe then perhaps that’s the reaason why it’s at the top of the list,” said Facebook Places product manager Michael Sharon. Keen to avoid another privacy backlash, Facebook stressed the service would be opt-in and users would have to check in to venues before their location was revealed on their page. The feature will be gradually rolled out on Facebook’s servers from today and users can access it from the Facebook iPhone application or, for users of other smartphones that support HTML5, from touch.facebook.com. Friends who are out together can also check each other in to locations, but Facebook stressed that users could only tag people who are on their friends list and people who don’t want friends to tag them can turn the feature off in the privacy settings. “We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about a number of safeguards that we could add as well as the right defaults that people should have,” said Sharon. “The big differentiator for us is that this is all about sharing where you are with your friends, not just broadcasting it to the world.” The default privacy setting would be to share with “friends only” and users can even restrict location sharing to specific friends or groups of friends.

BlueKai could not be reached for comment to find out how many of the 160 million people whose profiles it is selling to advertisers worldwide had opted out of the service.   And a British company, Phorm, which has been investigated by European regulators for alleged privacy breaches, targets customers of consenting internet service providers with ads based on websites they visit and their customer details. Such is the concern about online privacy that American regulators are even considering a ”do not track” register, similar to the Australian Do Not Call database set up three years ago to combat telemarketing. ”However, that’s rapidly changing and the question arises whether the current law is sufficient to address these issues.”

BlueKai says it does not collect or share personal information such as names, addresses or phone numbers. It is set to ignite a debate in Australia over whether the harvesting of people’s internet browsing history is an invasion of privacy. A former federal privacy commissioner, Malcolm Crompton, said the debate over online privacy in Australian would become a ”man in the street issue”. ———————————-Inside the cookie monster———————————-

The world’s largest ”data exchange”, the Californian company BlueKai, boasts it already has the computer addresses and ”purchasing intent” of 8 million Australians it knows are in the market for cars, holidays and online shopping. Users are identified by their computer browser’s address and not by name. ”Up until now Australian businesses have not been very aggressive in this area,” said Mr Crompton of the consultancy Information Integrity Solutions, which advises companies and government on privacy matters. THE online behaviour of millions of Australians is to be tracked and auctioned to advertisers by a new generation of internet businesses setting up shop here. It was found to have served up ads to users of British Telecom’s net service without seeking their prior consent. Both are part of a wave of companies poised to enter the market to mine the data that flows from people’s browsing history.