Squiz Today / 09 June 2021
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 9 June
“After a few bevs, and after you’ve waited in the queue for about 15 minutes already, this option suddenly becomes much more appealing.”
Say the designers behind the Peequal - a “hands-free” women’s urinal that puts an end to queues for the ladies. Don’t flush it till you try it…
THE MESSAGING APP WITH A SAVAGE STING
The patience and tech skills of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) paid off yesterday. The Aussie end of the sting was named Operation Ironside, and it yesterday resulted in the arrests of 200 people linked to organised crime and bikie gangs - the largest single-day crackdown in Australia’s history. AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said they uncovered 21 murder plots, shut down 6 secret drug labs, seized nearly $45 million in cash and assets, and were able to prevent a mass shooting in Oz. Many more arrests have been made overseas. And it all hinged on some Esme Watson-grade snooping…
WOW, THEY TOOK IT THAT SERIOUSLY?
They sure did. And how they did it is the stuff of a Hollywood blockbuster.
• In 2018, the FBI and AFP took down an encrypted app used by criminals to send messages to each other called Phantom Secure. Kershaw yesterday said his officers and their FBI counterparts then began hatching a plan. "Some of the best ideas come over a couple of beers," he said.
• Enter AN0M… The FBI took control of the communications company in its infancy and turned its app into a criminal honeypot. Long story short, the AFP enlisted undercover agents and informers to push the new app with ‘criminal influencers’. It took off globally with 27 million messages sent from 11,800 devices over the last couple of years.
• Thinking it was safe to use, crime gangs planned executions, mass drug importations and money laundering - all while authorities were monitoring the messages and gathering intelligence. And authorities around the world moved to act on that information yesterday.
AND HOW DID IT GO DOWN IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD?
The action certainly wasn’t limited to Australia… Some 9,000 police officers worldwide were involved in the broader operation known as Trojan Shield. And in the end, the app was being used by around 300 criminal syndicates in 100-plus countries. More than 800 arrests have been made across yesterday and overnight, including in the US, UK, Germany, NZ and across Europe - and more are expected. Not a bad day in the office for police…
SQUIZ THE REST
LOCKDOWN LIFT IN SIGHT AS TEMPERS FRAY
The main game: Victorian authorities have made progress determining how the Delta (Indian) COVID strain slipped into Melbourne, linking it to a returned traveller from Sri Lanka. What they’re yet to figure out is how community transmission occurred. That development and reports of 2 new cases yesterday raised hopes Melbourne’s lockdown will be eased tomorrow night.
The noisy sideshow: The circumstances of Premier Daniel Andrews’ fall in March as he remains on leave recovering from a spinal injury. Yesterday, the Liberal opposition demanded answers about where/how/when he fell, saying it’s their job to ask questions. But acting Premier James Merlino bristled saying they should be “ashamed of themselves” and demanded an apology. Rumours about the Premier’s dangerous tumble linger in the dark corners of the interweb. One involves the family of trucking magnate Lindsay Fox who sought advice on whether to sue over claims they are somehow connected to Andrews' fall. While a date hasn't been set, Andrews is due to return to work later this month.
UYGHUR BIRTHS TARGETED BY POPULATION PLANNERS
According to a new study, China's ethnic Muslim population could be reduced by a third in 20 years. China has been accused of genocide in the southern Xinjiang province where reports say Uyghur Muslim women are being forcibly sterilised after being detained in work camps. According to official data, there was a 48.7% decline in birth rates among ethnic minorities between 2017 and 2019, but the official line is it’s down to improvements in income and access to contraceptives. However, German researcher Adrian Zenzwas found Beijing’s policies will change the demographic balance in the region to lift the Han Chinese population from 8.4% to 25% by 2040. The report "really shows the intent behind the Chinese Government's long-term plan for the Uyghur population," Zenzwas said. #SquizShortcut
IT WASN'T JUST YOU. THERE WAS A GLOBAL WEB OUTAGE LAST NIGHT...
Governments, streamers and news outlets were affected by an internet outage caused by an unexplained configuration error at Fastly. It's a content delivery network (CDN) whose job is to get your request from the server to your device ASAP. The company handles 10% of the world’s internet traffic, and it’s one of 3 major CDNs globally. Unsurprisingly, it’s caused discussion overnight about the concentration of critical internet infrastructure after the outage was enough to take down major websites and services for almost an hour at about 8pm AEST, including the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. And for some, things got very serious…
BAD NEWS FOR NIGHT OWLS WITH A DAY JOB...
Speaking of people who might like some evening interweb browsing... A new study says people who like the nightlife but have to get up in the morning are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety because their sleep cycle is all out of whack. It’s not so for early birds whose natural sleep schedules tend to align with regular work hours. Defying one’s internal body clock and "having a higher misalignment" is "associated with higher odds of depression," study author Dr Jessica Tyrrel said. The disclaimer: the association doesn’t necessarily imply causation - or to be plain-spoken, there’s no evidence that night owls who are dragging themselves out of bed to go to work are making themselves depressed. As hard as it is…
IT’S MATE AGAINST STATE
No, it's not the latest clash of the premiers over COVID... It’s one of the rugby league’s big annual moments - game one of State of Origin. Slated to be played in Melbourne, the annual NSW v Queensland footy-fest opener has been transferred to legit cane toad territory, Townsville. The Far North Queensland city has had to scramble to provide enough accommodation for fans with tents the order of the night for the sellout crowd. As for the game, Queensland goes in as titleholders, but there's a long list of injuries weakening their lineup. NSW are the series favourites, but they were a better team on paper last year too. Here we go…
APROPOS OF NOTHING
In a “very, very rare” confrontation, a whale off NSW’s Far South Coast has landed on top of a boat injuring 2 men. What’s rarer? Finding someone who says it’s happened before…
It’s sorta surprising we haven’t seen this before, but face mask tan lines are really quite something.
And for night owls needing a push, it’s hard to go past Russell Crowe’s morning tweets. Make that man into an app…
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEST) - Federal President of the Australian Medical Association Dr Omar Khorshid addresses the National Press Club - Canberra
8.10pm (AEST) - State of Origin opener - Townsville, and broadcast on Nine
Former soldier Ben Roberts-Smith scheduled to give evidence in his defamation trial against Nine Entertainment - Sydney
Tonight - PM Scott Morrison departs for Singapore for a lightning visit before heading to the UK for the weekend's G7 meeting
Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount to testify about the ransomware attack last month - US Congress, Washington
ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, April (Additional Information)
Birthdays for Patricia Cornwell (1956), Michael J. Fox (1961), Johnny Depp (1963), Natalie Portman (1981)
• China leasing Hong Kong’s new territories, including Hong Kong, to the UK for 99 years (1898), as well as the anniversary of the lease expiring, handing the city back to China (1997)
• the first appearance of Donald Duck in The Wise Little Hen (1934)
• the Ghost Train fire at Luna Park in Sydney that killed seven (1979)
The Squiz Archive
Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?
Get the Squiz Today newsletter
It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.