NSW government pledges AU 63m to emergency services radio comms


The New South Wales government's Telco Authority will be designing a new state-wide radio network for more than 70 emergency, law-enforcement, and essential services agencies thanks to a AU 63 million investment as part of the government's Critical Communication Enhancement Program (CCEP). The government's network investment, announced on Tuesday by NSW Minister for Finance, Services, and Property Dominic Perrottet, will see the agencies share a more reliable radio network with greater coverage than that currently in use for handheld and in-vehicle voice radio and paging systems. "Our law-enforcement and emergency services personnel depend on fast and accurate information to protect the lives and property of NSW citizens," Perrottet said. "Today's announcement shows we are getting on with the job, delivering a smarter, more reliable, more resilient critical communications network that will increase the safety of citizens and front-line personnel in NSW." The more than 70 agencies would be condensed into one portfolio under an integrated operating model once they share the same infrastructure, with the current combined opex and capex costs associated with running 1,972 voice radio sites to also decrease, with just 732 voice radio sites required under the new plan.

The great question of the 21st century: Whose black box do you trust?


The role of technology-fueled algorithms in shaping our society, and how to use them responsibly, is one of the topics I'll be exploring at the Next:Economy Summit in San Francisco, October 10-11. Some years ago, John Mattison, the chief medical information officer of Kaiser Permanente, the large integrated health provider, said to me, "The great question of the 21st century is going to be'Whose black box do you trust?'" Mattison was talking about the growing importance of algorithms in medicine, but his point, more broadly, was that we increasingly place our trust in systems whose methods for making decisions we do not understand. A lot of attention has been paid to the role of algorithms in shaping the experience of consumers. Much less attention has been paid to the role of algorithms in shaping the incentives for business decision-making. For example, there has been hand-wringing for years about how algorithms shape the news we see from Google or Facebook.

Australia amends rules to allow commercial drone flight


Commercial operators of "very small remotely piloted aircraft" will no longer be required to obtain a number of regulatory approvals to fly their unmanned vehicles under new regulations approved by the federal government. Under the changes, the regulatory requirements for remotely piloted aircraft are eased, with the term "unmanned aerial vehicle" (UAV) replaced by "remotely piloted aircraft" (RPA). The explanatory statement says this is to align itself with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) terminology. Director of Aviation Safety at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Mark Skidmore said the regulation changes maintain appropriate safety standards while cutting red tape. "While safety must always come first, CASA's aim is to lighten the regulatory requirements where we can," Skidmore said.

German lawmakers want to require black boxes for autonomous cars, report says


Following two confirmed Tesla Autopilot-related crashes in the U.S., including a fatality, German lawmakers are planning legislation that would require carmakers to include a black box for cars. More commonly associated with aircraft, the proposed black box would record when an autonomous system was engaged, when the car asked the driver to retake driving duties and when a human driver took control or not, according to Reuters. The intent of this legislation would help both carmakers, regulators and law enforcement officials determine who is responsible in the event of an autonomous car crash. SEE ALSO: Tesla is the only carmaker beta testing'autopilot' tech, and that's a problem Both Volvo and Mercedes-Benz have said they will accept responsibility for the actions of its cars when in autonomous driving mode. I suspect, though, simply knowing when the system was engaged or not won't be the only factor used to determine fault or responsibility.

Australian police raid opposition Labor over suspected leak of documents

The Japan Times

SYDNEY – Australia's election campaign was hijacked on Friday by police raids on the Labor opposition, over a suspected leak of documents citing cost blow-outs in a multibillion-dollar broadband upgrade, sparking concerns about abuse of power. Labor questioned the timing of the raids and whether the government had put pressure on police, while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the head of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) rejected any suggestion of political interference. The controversy capped the second week of campaigning ahead of a national election set for July 2, in which polls indicate a tightly contested race between Labor and Turnbull's Liberal-National coalition government. The unprecedented timing of the raids, which carried on until the early hours of Friday morning, also led to concerns it could have a negative impact on whistleblowers. "This is about the right for the public to know the truth.