Saturday, November 16, 2019

Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Annual "unparliament" at Old Parliament House?

Asia Pacific Hall at the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
SFU Asia Pacific Hall
At Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Ten Years On,  we are back from work-shopping actions to progress. Mine was to propose an annual "unparliament" be held at Old Parliament House.

The Simon Fraser University  Centre for Dialogue has a purpose designed circular room, the Asia Pacific Hall, for fostering constructive discussion.

OPH Senate Chamber
In contrast, Australia's Old Parliament House has two chambers with rows of seats facing each other, designed for an adversarial approach where there is a government, and opposition (with a small amount of room for others on the "cross bench). However, the old building hardware could be updated, with some mobile devices and applicaions, to allow for techniques such as deliberative democracy. In effect we would be upgrading democracy with some teach.

Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Open is Expensive, Not Just Free

At Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Ten Years On, one of the un-conference presentations was on "Open is Expensive, Not Just Free". The essence of this seemed to be pointing out that open access initiatives are usually supported by unpaid volunteers. The implication is that these initiatives can't be maintain, because we can't expect people to keep working for free. I suggest the start-up community has an answer to this. There are models by which people can work on free open products, but still make money from them. One example is "social enterprises". Also start-up centers, such as the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN), train people how to build a business case, which includes who is going to pay, and also trains people to ask for money. Also there is The Mill House, which specializes in social enterprises.

There is a live stream and online questions are accepted. From the

Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Recommendations

Minister's Office, Old Parliament House
At Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Ten Years On, we broke into groups to look at the "Engage: getting on with Government 2.0" report recommendations.  There is a live stream and online questions are accepted. From the two groups I talked to Recommendation 4: Encourage public servants to engage online , has had mixed results. There are now many ways for government to collect citizens views online. However, public servants are, if anything, more constrained in doing anything with the results of the consultation. The digital public facing system is not well interfaced to the old analogue public service hierarchy. There is then a widening air-gap between the public service and the political level of government. 

To me this problem of getting anything done in government sounded an old problem. As a public servant,I had to occasionally work around the official processes to get anything done. This was usually with official approval. For these purposes links to academia and the professions are useful. Unfortunately in the Internet age it is very much more difficult to have an off the record, or "other hat" discussion. To that end I have added "Teaching Gov 2.0 to Government" to the list of topics for discussion.

A recent example is that ANU will run the Cyber Bootcamp Project for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Such courses provide a way for government employees from across governments to have a relatively free discussion. Students can explore ideas as students, then work out how the outcomes can be put to their organizations as initiatives. This also happens in professional bodies, and standards committees.

ps: My old posts from ten years ago are at gov2taskforce 

Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Ten Years Done

Pia Andrews
At Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Ten Years On, Pia Andrews gave an upbeat summary of achievements.Pia  pointed out that, for example, the Australian Federal Government adopted an open access creative commons license for its documents, and state agencies adopted more online engagement. However, she suggested more recently this engagement has changed to consultation, rather than encouraging more active citizens participation. I have noticed this, being invited to what are characterized as "co-design" workshops with government, but which are really old fashioned, customer focus groups, dressed up with some hashtags. There is a live stream and online questions are accepted. 
ps: My old posts from ten years ago are at gov2taskforce 

Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Ten Years Off

Nicholas Gruen,
CEO, Lateral Economics
At Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Ten Years On, Nicholas Gruen is reflecting on the original intent of the Taskforce and what happened. There is a live stream and online questions are accepted. He showed some "historical artifacts" slides, which showed the excitement and potential of Gov 2.0 ten years ago. One aspect was how outsiders, not from government, could have input. The widespread interest in the report "Engage: getting on with Government 2.0", was its translation into Korean. However DR. Gruen's summary was "We got our recommendations accepted, but then they were not implemented".

Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Ten Years On

Greetings from Old Parliament House in Canberra, where the Director is opening Gov 2.0 Taskforce: Ten Years On. I will be blogging on it throughout the day. There is a live stream and online questions are accepted. My old posts from ten years ago are at gov2taskforce. Here is the official announcement of the event:
"It has been 10 years since the Gov 2.0 Taskforce handed down it's report. Those were optimistic days, so let's review & plan next steps. ...

About this Event

A few folk who were involved or contributors to the Gov 2.0 Taskforce (2009) thought it might be useful to reflect on the 10 years since the Report was delivered. Those were optimistic days and a strong community formed around the activities and engagement from the Taskforce. The Report recommendations were accepted almost entirely by the Government Response, so 10 years on, how well was the intent and vision of the Report realised, and what do we need to do next?
Our sincere thanks to the Museum for Australian Democracy (and Democracy 2025) for being the venue sponsor and supporter for the event. The event will be hosted at Old Parliament House, the perfect setting!
Thanks also to Cordelta for coming on board as a corporate sponsor and The Mandarin as media sponsor.
The goal of this event is threefold and would involve a diverse crowd that broadly reflects the communities and sectors of Australia:
  1. To reflect on 10 years since the Gov 2.0 Taskforce Report, progress made or not.
  2. To identify and articulate the barriers to progress, and consider the old, new and emerging opportunities and threats.
  3. To (re}energise and activate a diverse community around the goal of better public sectors for a better society, both through reconnecting in this event, and through creating and committing to actions over the coming year.
The event will be in Canberra, where the Taskforce was launched, but people are welcome to create satellite events to connect local communities using the live stream and online tools to contribute to the day.
Please note this event is being run by volunteers, and any feedback, volunteering or support is welcome.
We hope this event helps contribute some momentum to a range of community and cross sector activities. We believe this needs to happen if we are to get the public sector we need. One that is collaborative, resilient, trustworthy, fair and which provides a stable foundation upon which all people can thrive.
Please also book a place in the kids creche if you need it, noting that teenagers are welcome in the event on a normal ticket.
We also have an anonymous survey running to get pre-event feedback to help inform the day, so if you can spare about 10-15 mins, please get a cuppa and participate in the Gov 2.0 Taskforce Recommendations Report Card survey.
The rough agenda is:
  • 09.30 - Welcome to Country
  • 09:40 - Introductions and outline for the day
  • 09:45 - Nicholas Gruen reflects on the original intent and hopes/fears of the Taskforce and observations from the last decade.
  • 10:00 - What was implemented at the time?
  • 10:05 - Government 2.0 as an enabler of citizen led initiatives
  • 10:15 - Gov 2.0 Taskforce Report Card - survey result overview 
  • 10:30 - Report card group session: To reflect on the survey results of progress made on Report recommendations, where we went backwards and what we wouldn’t do. Fully participatory session for attendees to discuss, review and identify what success might look like today..
  •  11:00 - Break - BarCamp signups
  • 11.20 - Primer talks for barcamp session (10 mins each):
  • Gov innovation trends: Alex Roberts reflects on global trends in public sector innovation and his observations of progress in Australia since the Gov 2.0 Taskforce (including with Design Gov).
  • Emerging tech and government - what technology trends have or could have the greatest impact for public sectors from the last 10 years?
  • 11:40 - BarCamp session: short self-nominated sessions for participants to present ideas about the barriers to progress, new threats and opportunities facing us, and to draw out the hopes and fears for the future.
  • 13:00 - Lunch
  • 14:00 - Action stations: After participants vote for the topics/themes they want to action, they each go to the “action station” of greatest interest around topics or themes to identify and commit to practical actions and experimentation over the coming year to improve public sectors, to further realise the original intent from the Gov 2.0 Taskforce, and to bring about a better future for all. Teams report their actions into the online tool.
  • 15:30 - Reflections from the day and report from action stations.
  • 16:00 - Close"

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Digital Law on Rottnest Island

Selfie, at Rottnest Hotel
Perth in the distance, from
the front step of Rottnest Hotel
Greetings from Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Western Australia, near Perth, where I am with a couple of dozen lawyers, discussing how to digitize the law. I have been asked to talk for an hour on cyber security, which is not my specialty, and  I suspect I will not get past my third slide, without this room full of bright young things taking us off on an interesting tangent.

Some notes:

Smart contracts

Blockchain Challenges, ACS 2019
“A smart contract can be defined as an event-driven computer program that executes on an electronic distributed, decentralised, shared and replicated ledger used to automate transactions. Even where a smart contract is not technically a ‘contract at law’, it may give rise to obligations and remedies that sound like a contract in law.”
From: Blockchain Challenges for Australia: An ACS Technical Whitepaper, by Nick Addison, Samuel Brooks, Katrina Donaghy, Mark Ebeling, Scott Farrell, Vincent Gramoli, Adrian Lawrence, Marc Portlock, Mick Motion-Wise, Bridie Ohlsson, Beth Patterson, Philippa Ryan, Mark Staples, Ingo Weber, and Tom Worthington, 2019, Australian Computer Society, Page 37 (emphasis added). URL

Protecting Smart Contracts

ANU Cyber Reading Group
“Fuzzing is an approach to software testing where the system being tested is bombarded with test cases generated by another program. The system is then monitored for any flaws exposed by the processing of this input.”
From: Fuzzing: The State of the Art, by Richard McNally, Ken Yiu, Duncan Grove and Damien Gerhardy, Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Division, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, DSTO–TN–1043. URL

The Human-Factor in Security

Fake Day Care Centre
Webpage, SMH, 2013
  • Social engineering can be used to fool staff to give access to a secure system.
  • The attacker collects information used for phishing attacks.

Fake childcare website from: Page, F., & Jean, P. (2013, April 16). Free childcare scam aimed at intelligence staff. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from:

Asia Pacific Hypothetical

RAAF P-3 Orion Aircraft,
photo by 'Timothy'
CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
"At 02:20 Zulu, 1 April 2017, one of our maritime surveillance aircraft was reported missing. The aircraft was conducting a freedom of navigation flyover on one of the reefs, subject to claim by several nations. The last recorded radio transcript … “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, this is Surveillance One Zero Five Charlie Delta, one zero zero kilometers South East of ... " [Transmission ends]” ...
It is proposed to target the opposing force's electronic control systems. This is expected to disable electrical systems and cause some local electrical fires. Our intelligence assets in the area will arrange for video of the damage to be posted to social media, for maximum news value. We will be working with civilian government personnel with special expertise, to prepare a human factor attack on their Internet of Things (IoT)."

From Cyberwar: Hypothetical for Teaching ICT Ethics, by Tom Worthington for the course ANU Networked Information Systems,


Information Warfare Division (IWD),
Australian Department of Defence
"the purpose of a cyberweapon is to attack an information system in order to perpetrate harm".

From Henschke, A. (2014). A decision-making procedure for responding to cyber-attacks. In M. Keelty, A. Henschke, N. Evans, S. Ford; A Gastineau; L. West, Cybersecurity: mapping the ethical terrain. National Security College (ANU). URL

“Offensive Cyber Security operations introduces and exercises a complete range of reverse engineering techniques and attack patterns. Students will also learn and exercise analysis of systems based on minimal information.”

From ANU (2019). Cyber Offensive Operations Course (COMP8502), ANU Handbook. URL

Reponse to Attack

“Credential theft. … four spearphishing emails, to ANU users ...
Compromised infrastructure. The actor built a shadow ecosystem of compromised ANU machines, tools and network connections to carry out their activities undetected. Some compromised machines provide a foothold into the network. Others, like the so-called attack stations, provided the actor with a base of operations to map the network, identify targets of interest, run tools and compromise other machines
Data theft. The actor used a variety of methods to extract stolen data or credentials from the ANU network. This was either via email or through other compromised Internet-facing machines. …”

From: From Incident Report on the Breech of the Australian National University's Administrative Systems, ANU, 2 October, 2019 URL

Internet of Things

Newcastle IoT Coverage,
City of Newcastle 2018
“The Internet of Things is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.”

From: From: Council begins roll out of smart city tech, City of Newcastle, 24 Apr 2018. URL

ps: ANU to run 'cyber bootcamp' for ASEAN officials, By

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Autonomous Kei Car Highway
Nissan Dayz kei car
On Friday I attended the Spatial Futures Forum  on Intelligent Cities and Transport hosted by University of Sydney. One topic was autonomous vehicles. It was pointed out that these would not help those who do not own a car, and are outside the cities which have autonomous public transport. However, it it occurred to me that a form of miniature autonomous public/private transport system could be built for the zone just outside cities.

Nissan has announced its Dayz Wider Kei car will be equipped with semi-autonomous assistance with acceleration, steering and braking on the highway.

If such Kei Cars are used, then the width of a standard Australian traffic lane (3.5 m) could carry two lanes of oncoming traffic. Conventional vehicles, such as fire appliances, could use this road, with the oncoming traffic diverted to a passing loop (as is done with railways).

This would greatly reduce the cost of building a highway, as it would only need to be 3.5 m wide for most of its length. Where cost and space are at a premium, and conventional vehicle access is not needed, an even narrower single lane roadway could be used. This would allow bridges and elevated roadways to be quickly built from shipping container sized modules. Tunnels would only need to be about 3 m in diameter.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Information Warfare Division Video

The Information Warfare Division (IWD) of the Australian Department of Defence has a snappy new video on the "new and emerging threats in the digital world", to promote Information Warfare jobs in the Australian Defence Force. But this may make people think the threat is from little green men crawling up our data cables. ;-)