December 22, 2009
Safeguarding the internet from the scourge of illegal pornography, gambling and criminal activity was top of the national agenda this year as Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy continued to push his proposed mandatory internet filtering scheme.
Considered a misguided policy by many, the debate took a dramatic turn in March when a list of blacklisted websites was published online. The Government forged ahead regardless of the controversy and spent much of the year trialing the filtering scheme.
Zealous policing of the internet was not confined to blacklisted websites, and child abuse charges against Chris Illingworth were finally dropped in September by Queensland Police. Illingworth was charged last year for republishing a MA15+ rated video of a man swinging a baby by its arms, but the case ran out of steam following a review by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Another Australian who was forced to defend himself in court this year was rewarded with a $445 million windfall from Microsoft when a jury found the company had breached a patent for security software he created in the 1990s. Although Ric Richardson’s victory has since been overturned by a judge, he hopes to appeal.
Microsoft made headlines again in October for ridding the world of its universally unpopular Vista operating system, and replacing it with Windows 7. It also attempted to trump Google in the search engine wars with the release of Bing, but its internet foe fought back with a public preview of the Chrome operating system and a limited beta release of an Outlook email competitor called Wave.
Our love affair with gadgets reached dizzy new heights in 2009 with the release of the iPhone 3G S, rumours of a new tablet PC, and rise of the netbook phenomenon. This was also the year that the iPhone apps market went into overdrive, bringing us delights such as the Zippo lighter app and the CityRail timetable. Our state and federal governments cashed in on the craze after releasing a flood of new data to the public.
Google also made steady progress in its mission to dominate the smartphone sector as a number of handset makers joined the Android movement, and in October the Kindle e-book reader from Amazon finally reached our shores.
There was no shortage of action for music lovers in 2009 with video games such as Rock band and Guitar Hero sealing their place at the top of gaming charts and inspiring a new generation of spin-offs. Music piracy also made headlines with the high profile case against Pirate Bay dismaying BitTorrenters worldwide. The fight against piracy continued on our own doorstep with seven major movie studios and the Seven Network suing internet service provider iiNet for allegedly permitting customers to download movies illegally.
The social networking movement kept us very well informed this year about what our friends and colleagues were up to as Twitter reached a $1bn valuation and became the latest fad for wayward celebrities wanting to chit chat directly with fans.
A new generation of web sensations were also spawned via YouTube creating instant celebrity for the likes of the Chk Chk Boom girl and Susan Boyle, while an entire Greek wedding party became the unwitting subject of a viral email campaign. Other unfortunate social networkers also landed on the wrong side of the privacy debate when they discovered there was a downside to their newfound ability to publish all their thoughts and activities to world when taking sick leave from work.
Not to be left out of the technology race, a New Zealand toddler stumbled upon a new way to acquire excellent toys in May when he won an auction for a $15,600 digger listed on the TradeMe site.
Top ten tech stories
-Leaked Australian blacklist reveals banned sites
-How the man in a van outsmarted Microsoft
-Windows 7: It's Vista done right
-Vigilantes publish alleged arsonist's image online
-Toddler accidentally buys $15,600 digger on auction site
-Jb hi-fi's $15 plasma tv too good to be true
-Sorting inbox fact from fiction
-How my big fat greek wedding went viral
-Terrified chinese iphone worker kills himself after prototype misplaced
-Shock threat to shut skype
Click to view image: '85d59d6f1344-greekwedding420x0.jpg'
Tags: biggles9, Chris Illingworth, , Queensland, Australia, Task Force Argos, menderman
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (load item map)
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