This is a horrendous miscarriage of justice. 4 months internet access = approx $80.
Assuming she had downloads running non-stop during the 4 months, at a maximum of 7 mbps (3g), she would have downloaded 8859 GB. With a $193000 bill, the "significant theft" was Telestra charging $22 per GB.
They charge more like $2/MB. Sadly, Australia absolutely sucks in terms of internet access costs.
(7,000,000/8) = 875,000 bytes/s = 0.834 MB/s
0.834 * 60 * 60 * 24 = 72,057 MB/day
(EDIT: Tweaked numbers, had mistyped 0.834 as 0.844 — doesn't affect the point)
If theft of meter SIM cards became endemic, the utility and the MNO would have to spend millions or even tens of millions of dollars to deploy countermeasures. That spend is entirely deadweight loss that exists solely to mitigate bad actors.
Not subverting your power meter seems like a pretty reasonable clause in the social contract that enables us all to have (extraordinarily) cheap and convenient electrical power.
When you're finished, weigh that cost against the benefit of reducing the legal fees for criminals who steal service from your meters.
They could have arranged with Telstra to cut off service to any meter that billed over $X in a month.
In fact, that should have been an obvious step to make, because a meter that was sending too much data was probably buggy, which could mean the data it was sending was probably worthless. The engineers who failed to include the cutoff were insufficiently paranoid.
Yes, fellow geek, there will be some number that represents the maximum amount of bandwidth that might ever be used to diagnose a faulty meter. How much would it cost to figure that out? Again: weigh that against the business benefit of doing so.
The person who abused the meter SIM did not accidentally do so.
Since the electric company is already out of pocket for the $200K, and since it's not Telstra's fault (and hence Telstra shouldn't have to pay the $200K back either) I guess charging the woman the full $200K as a deterrent (assuming she can afford to pay it) isn't too bad.
It does sound like a pretty harsh sentence, but if she'd gotten away with a slap on the wrist imagine what would happen next -- everyone would be ripping apart their electricity meters to get cheap internet access.
It's simply not reasonable to compare the rates payed by a utility for always-on reliable backhaul from hundreds of thousands of meters to those payed by a single mobile phone customer for "download web pages" data service.
Once again we see the phenomenon where technology makes everything easier, including criminal acts, resulting in shock and dismay when the consequences and penalties of those acts are not themselves mitigated by technology.
Charging $193,000 for what someone here estimated was about 90GB of data is, itself, highway robbery. But that's Telstra's fault, not the power company's.
The actual "damage" seems pretty small when compared to crimes which carry similar sentences. If Telstra had a fairer billing system, then a more appropriate sentence would have been more likely.
Law maker should ban telco from excessive charge, say more than $1000 a month, unless authorized by the customer.
Which is funny, because it's more or less standard in the UK, and most of the EU.
Had Telstra informed the power company (not the thief!) it undoubtedly would have been caught earlier, when a much smaller sum had been stolen. Moreover, given that black hats can clone SIMs and such, one might think that consumers should be able to demand reasonable protection from thievery from their telecom provider.
Please note that although it's possible that they have a rather long billing period (e.g. they only got bills every few months), such notices would only be useful if they could occur within a billing period, so it still would have helped protect the power company from theft of services.
I have no idea how you managed to carefully read any of the comments and still confused the account holder (the power company) with the woman who misused the SIM card, whether you were reading my comments or those of nagrom.
Substitute 'account' for 'phone' if you like. They can obviously break it down by SIM because otherwise they couldn't figure that this woman 'caused' these charges, right?
I suppose they would have offered to suspend the line immediately if I had said no.
$22,000 bill because son's data use wasn't covered in family cell phone plan.
$85,000 phone bill. "It turns out that he was being charged on a per-kilobyte basis because his unlimited browsing plan didn't cover using the phone as a modem. As a "goodwill" gesture, Bell Mobility has dropped the bill to measly $3,243."
Finally, here's one from Telstra:
"I have recently signed my BB 8800 up on a Telstra $39.95/mth plan which I understood was for unlimited email and internet browsing. I got the shock of my life when I checked my data usage online and saw a bill for $250+ after only a couple of days. On examining further I note that I have not been charged for blackberry.net connections but heavily charged for wap.telstra."
I agree with you that b2c MNO fee structures are predatory.
I do not agree that the fee structure arranged between two giant corporations can be described as "predatory" when it happens to bite the ass of someone who breaks into their network and uses it to steal connectivity.
So you don't think that the power company got screwed here? We both know that it's unlikely that some random woman is going to be able to pay back a sum like that.
Would it really be so reasonable to expect the phone company to do something to at least warn people, whether businesses or private citizens, who are suddenly racking up over a hundred thousand dollars in charges from one phone so that they can do something about the bill?
As I already pointed out, this has affected more people than just those who steal SIM cards. And they should have known that an absurd level of charges were being racked up by a single SIM, so it's not like the phone company couldn't tell that it was abnormal.
If I stole a SIM card and used it to download movies, I would fully expect to be liable for the cost of the data at whatever rate the SIM owner had agreed with the telco.
In this case the thief (or really the recipient of the stolen SIM) was unlucky that the data plan was a B2B contract designed for small quantities of data.
To avoid crippling surprises, people to upgrade to plans they really don't need.
In the banking industry, banks are not allowed to profit from penalty fees (just recoup their losses). I think a similar approach in telecoms would be a good thing.
If you have misconfigured an app on your phone and it run up $10,000 network charge in month. Will you hand over your $10,000 to the phone company? Do you think this is a fair charge?
Cap the telco off how much they can charge unless authorized. I think this is most fair for both party. Telco can cut off access, but no to gouge consumer.
You know, so that they can discover the theft a bit faster than they did in this case, where it took them from November 19, 2009 until February 9, 2010. A lot less would have been stolen from the power company were that the case.
If the damages were $2 and not $200,000 would you still think an 18 month sentence is justified ?
I would guess that most people would think not.
So the true cost of the damage is a significant factor in assessing the appropriate punishment
From what I can tell, virtually every crime against property has a process for settling damages irrespective of the amount of time served in prison. "10-15 months in jail AND a fine not to exceed $50,000", and so on.
That might not be the right way to do it, but it's the way it's currently done, anyway, which means that courts have to inquire into the "true" damages sustained in order to determine what crime the person should be charged with.
A solution could be not to take damages into account in cases like this, so the crime would just be "stealing a meter's SIM card and using it", which would be the same crime regardless of how much money that cost the utility.
I would tend to disagree with this. Having to repay damages removes the benefit associated with the crime, so for ordinary sane people, it would act as a deterrent. In my opinion, jail is more appropriate for crimes where the criminal is likely to be an ongoing danger to society and no other option (probation, mandatory classes, etc.) would have the desired effect.
"Surprisingly powerful lever for criminality" is as good a summation of my thoughts on this as any I've heard; thanks!
But the arguments on this thread aren't only about going easy on someone simply because they're poor. They're also about how it's "highway robbery" for someone to go to jail and pay six figures for stealing a SIM card.
Here? Not so much.
If the worst possible punishment for stealing something was that you had to pay back the cost of the item then the justice system would be doing a pretty piss-poor job of deterring theft.
If someone steals a fake piece of art from my house worth $80, can I turn around and claim that it was the original and therefore worth millions that should be repaid to me?
However, when a utility gets a bill from an MNO for $193k for services they contractually agreed to, and that bill is a result of a criminal action or a tort, it becomes easy to establish $193k as basis for damages in court.
This is not a case about a penalty clause; the damages here emerge straightforwardly from the MNO's usage contract with the utility. The thief didn't stumble across a landmine clause that said "parties agree theft of SIM card incurs $100,000 of damage"; instead, the thief continuously used a metered service that resulted in a 6-figure charge.
One imagines it would be possible to dispute a six-figure liquidated damages claim by arguing that the metered charge was devised in such as way as to deliberately create a penalty clause. My point here being, these things aren't so black and white as to be trivially adjudicated by geeks on a message board. But I think we all in the back of our heads realize that the fee structure for smart meter mobile data isn't an elaborate scam to entrap SIM card thieves.
So, no, your example doesn't work. Companies cannot simply write "you owe me a zillionty squillion dollars if you steal my stuff" and have that hold up in court.
So I do believe that knowing the true damages, and not just the dollar figure specified by the contract, is relevant here.
If you or I accidentally ran up $200K in charges due to somebody stealing our SIM then yes, we could probably negotiate it down. In a big-business-to-big-business context, though, Telstra is as likely as not to say "Hey look, that's what the contract says, you signed it, so suck it".
Without any information to the contrary, I'm willing to believe that if the court decided that the actual damages to the power company were $183,000, then the actual damages were $183,000.
The position you're advocating is that a contract between two private companies should be used to calculate damages for a criminal act. That's a very bad idea - it makes those companies legislators.
If the shopkeeper says the loaf of bread was worth $200K and the the court doesn't question the amount because the shopkeeper has been billed $200K for replacement of said loaf according to a contract with the bakery, the shopkeeper and the bakery have legislated the punishment for the crime.
The utility is in this case contractually obligated to pay those fees. The basis for damages here is straightforward.
Somebody mentioned $22 a gig... well, the highest-data plan on http://www.telstra.com.au/mobile/browsing_packs.html is $69 for twelve gigs a month, with excess data charged at five cents a meg, or fifty dollars a gig. That sounds like a lot, but as we've said, the 3G network really isn't designed for individual customers doing terabytes of data per day... they clearly don't want you using 3G in that way.
> Justice Tennent said Monks destroyed the card when she realised it did not belong to Mr Freeman.
Yet she still hands down 6 months of jail, 12 months of suspended sentence, and almost $200,000 of fines. What?
First thing I thought. She was being questioned, had to make up a name on the spot and immediately came up with the main character in Half Life.
If she was downloading at max 3G speed 24-7, that's still $22 per GB.
If we want to follow the law to the letter we don't need judges, something like Watson would be more than adequate (and cheaper).
There's no indication that she's clueless or poor. A clueless person probably wouldn't have any use for the insane amount of data she downloaded. And a court probably wouldn't impose a $183,000 fine on a person who was both poor and disabled.
She's on a disability pension, but disability pensions aren't means-tested.
"You are 33 years old. You have one conviction for stealing in 2002. I accept it was probably a relatively minor matter because it was dealt with by way of a fine. Your upbringing was unstable in the extreme. You lived in the streets for most of your teenage years and became involved in drinking alcohol and drug taking. You have been diagnosed with depression and bi-polar disorder. You are socially isolated and spend long periods at home alone and accessing the Internet. You have no family support being largely estranged from parents and siblings. You are in receipt of a disability pension. You have incurred debts and have difficulty managing money. It is doubtful that you will ever repay the money stolen by your use of the card."
Evidently she spends a lot of time on the Internet, so she is not clueless in that sense, but from this description she doesn't sound very educated either.
Taking dspillett's example, if what the victim claimed (and even believed) to be a priceless Stradivarius actually turned out to be a modern mass-produced instrument, it'd be deeply unfair to make the defendant pay as if it were.
The sentence does seem harsh to me too, but generally speaking ignorance is not an acceptable defence espscially when the ignorance is not knowing/caring about the scale of the offence rather than just being ignorant that it is an offence at all.
Quite possibly. Intent often matters, e.g. involuntary manslaughter vs murder.
As for murder, the penalties there do differ depending on your state of mind, but that's not an issue of mistake (you can't try to third-degree murder someone but mistakenly first-degree murder them).
Not to say I agree with the punishment in this case, though.
In the theft and criminal damages context, you could have an analog, though we don't currently, where being judged guilty of one of the more major theft or damages offenses (like "theft over $X") requires an intent to cause that level of theft or damages. If you meant to cause $50 in damages and actually caused $50k, that could be a lesser offense than if you meant to cause $50k in damages. You'd be found guilty of essentially "damage over $X but with intent to only cause damage under $X", the way 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter are lesser offenses due to the lack of intent to cause death, even when there was intent to violently injure non-fatally.
When you get excused is if you didn't act purposefully... e.g. if you drive your car recklessly and kill someone you'll be guilty of manslaughter. If you purposefully hit someone with your car you'll be guilty of murder even if you only meant to break a few bones.
Basically they have a pretty tenuous, very expensive 3G network to serve an enormous sparsely populated area and they really don't want people to use it to download large amounts of data. They're happy to sell you a wired link for that purpose.
The problem here is Telstra and/or the power company for not securing their SIM card or account.
At the very least this "Mr. Freeman" should be involved in the case as he removed the SIM card, which is probably a violation in and of itself.
NYC Cabs charge $2 per mile while their driving. So a 20 mile trip costs $40. But you're arguing that since the car gets 20 miles per gallon of gas, it should only cost $4.
Considering that there is such a simple technical solution (IMEI lock) to this problem and considering the amount the Telco charged for the data in this case, I really think that the punishment here was too harsh.
The power company should at least pay for some of the charges due to not using a simple technical precaution (which, according to the article, they implemented for later customers) and the carrier, well... where I live extortion is a crime in itself and charging 193K for data traffic is just crazy.
Sure. And all that could have happened, however FTA: "Kylie Maree Monks, 33, pleaded guilty". If you plead guilty, it's over.
This is a clear case of a uninformed and/or unintelligent defendant and a judge with a severe case of hemorrhoids.
So, how could someone ring up $200k data bill? Here's Telstra's current mobile phone plans http://www.telstra.com.au/mobile/plans/phone_plan.html
Note, this includes a whopping $5 data/month at the bargain rate of $2/Mb
It wasn't that long ago they were selling 3 year, $29/month adsl plans that included 200Mb (yes, Meg) of data, and then charged $15/Mb for any used over that
I think law schools should have mandatory "Internet Technology & Law" classes. I used to think that the judges in cases like music piracy were just dishonest and in bed with RIAA. Now, I understand the situation is even worse: they are totally clueless about basic technology. And, obviously, they are not intelligent enough to have a health curiosity and learn about these matters (the US Supreme Court judges, for example, have demonstrated that they do this).
I have no reason to believe that that interesting suggestion would help solve the problem you identify. My basis for saying this is that I attended a law school in the United States, where as far as I know all law students have to take a course in United States constitutional law to obtain their degrees, and yet I graduated in a class that included graduates who acknowledged to me that they had never, ever read the entire United States Constitution (which is only a few thousand words long). Making a course a required course does not seem to guarantee that students will learn the expected knowledge to be gained from the course. Isn't the same result found in university computer science courses?
Do you think a higher percentage of students would understand more about the Internet & technology after taking a required class on it?
In general, I think that most young people who attend law school are more knowledgeable about the law after attending than before. (I cannot say the same with confidence about young people who attend colleges of education with respect to teaching.) But as someone with a legal background, some of the statements I see here about why the Australian judge's decision was an outrage are not convincing to me. Are you willing to consider the possibility that if all readers of HN became much more knowledgeable about the law, they might perhaps disagree with the dollar amount of the judgment, but support the finding of liability in the case?
Hmm, it seems Stanford Law school has tons of courses in 2nd/3rd year dealing with this, e.g. http://www.law.stanford.edu/program/courses/details/481/Comm.... I guess other law schools have it, too. So maybe we just have to wait until the tech savvy judges filter through the system.
By which point, probably about a generation from now, some new issue will have come up that our once-savvy judges are now clueless about. Serious question: is there any way to solve the insane round trip ping times between law and technology?
1) I am not trained in law in general, or Australian penal code in particular, but I don't have to be: There are some legal decisions that you just know are wrong, even though you may not be a legal expert, e.g. cutting off the right arm for theft (in sharia law), death penalty (exercised in Singapore and other countries) and death penalty in general, prosecuting minors for texting their own revealing photos, etc. Nassim Nicholas says in The Bed of Procrustes "My biggest problem with modernity may lie in the growing separation of the ethical and the legal." I feel this to be the case with this verdict, i.e. the law has been applied to the letter, without regard to the particular circumstance.
2) The "technical cluelessness" of the judge comes about from his prima facie acceptance of the charges applied to the usage. Aurora was billed $193,187.43 by the provider Telstra for data transfer between 19 November 2009 to 19 February 2010, approximately $64K a month. It is stated (http://www.supremecourt.tas.gov.au/cops/monks_k_m) that she has downloaded movies among other Internet activities (interesting that they didn't bring in piracy charges for the movies), the exact number of movies or the amount of data downloaded is not stated (this is one question the judge should have asked). The conviction is presented as "she has downloaded $200K worth of data, which is erroneous, this is what Aurora was billed. This is akin to RIAA suing for $9K per shared song (http://www.wired.com/listening_post/2007/12/us-department-o/), this doesn't mean that a song is "worth" that much. I am assuming that the 3G account for this SIM card is sporadically used for a high amount per megabyte. So what they did is to charge all Monks' usage using that rate. The judge could have investigated the amount of data usage and based his conviction on fair market value of that.
3) Now for the special circumstances, perhaps the more "emotional" part. As the judge describes
Not much more need to be said.
4) Here's the judge's main reasoning:
"That must operate to demonstrate to you that you cannot repeat this type of offending but also to demonstrate to others that, even though the initial theft of the card may not have been yours, your taking advantage of that theft to the extent you did will not go unpunished. I am conscious that you live in rental accommodation and that you may lose that if jailed. However, there is no choice in my view other than to impose a custodial sentence. However to recognize the mitigating factors and your prospects of rehabilitation with support, that will be partly suspended."
So, although he sympathizes with Monks' situation, he want to make an example out of her. He mentions that Monks will probably lose her rental accommodation if jailed. It is clear that she is incapable of paying back the compensation levy of $150 (will this bring additional fines?), let alone the $193K. If they are not going to get their money back, what good is the fine? It is clear that this is a message to everybody else.
5) What riled me in this case is that everybody is so sympathetic with RIAA cases, but when it comes to this case, which, in effect, is pretty much the same, people suddenly become strict law enforcers.
But at least some of the blame probably goes to the lawyers involved.
This is actually pretty standard for these kind of cellular data collection systems. The company negotiates a ridiculously monthly rate for a bulk volume of devices, on the premise that those devices will be using very a low and probably consistent monthly amount of data.
In return, they usually have a very low data allowance and high to very high overage charges. Basically, it puts the pressure on the company to ensure that their equipment is properly configured and really doesn't use a large amount of data.
There's no "robbery" involved.
In effect, this charge is a life sentence to a person. You don't expect the lady to pay this back anytime in the next 30 years, do you? Bear in mind that she needs to fulfill her regular needs with a criminal record hanging over her head. And since the fine is administered by a court, I don't imagine that it will be defaultable.
If an individual did this to someone, there's no doubt that it would be looked-upon differently. It's done by a corporation with no physical body and people defend it.
The goal of a society should, in general, be to construct a reasonable, fair place for people to live. This woman did not get treated fairly.
In other words, I am reasonably certain that you have decided on your conclusion and are working backwards from there (see your nonsense about "cackling maniacally"). I am rather certain that this is an unacceptable way of looking at business or law.
As for whether the fine is equitable--well, let's see:
* The overage charges were part of a legal contract and agreed to by both consenting parties.
* An third-party agent--the thief--unlawfully incurred charges on behalf of the power company (charges that, one can presume, would have been an acceptable, if regrettable, cost of doing business had they been incurred, for example, due to a software fault in their power meters).
What do you think should happen? Do you think the telco should not be paid according to the agreement for their account? Should the power company pay it despite the SIM card against which the charges were levied being stolen? Or should the fine be levied against the thief who committed the wrong?
As is likely apparent, I am of the opinion that the thief should be forced to make good on her damages. They are not illusory damages; _someone_ will be made less than whole if the thief is not expected to provide compensation. And, no, I don't expect her to pay it back. But it is her obligation to make whole those she has wronged. Doing otherwise is neither reasonable nor fair.
The unforeseen cost of her action is quite high. That's unfortunate. But, at the end of the day: if you commit a crime against another person or entity, you _are_ culpable for the results. If she did not want to be held responsible for the results of stealing another's property, she shouldn't have stolen it.
Keyword: damages. Damages are not the same thing as missing out on an opportunity for profit through means of extortion.
Sure, she should pay for her damages caused to Telstra--they just need to give her an itemized receipt of expenses that she caused the company. This might include the amortized cost of hardware, maintenance, support staff, etc. However, these costs would certainly not include Telstra's insane profit margins. The purpose of most legal systems (Australia's too, I hope) is to maintain justice, not to serve as an alternative means of doing business. Somehow, I think Telstra might come up with a slightly smaller figure than 193k if required to itemize their damages.
Even at 200k, there has to be a sense of scale. Essentially this decision destroys her life. Leeching a bunch of movies over the course of 4 months is hardly worth having your life destroyed over. The crime does not match the punishment.
Personally, I find the market value of the service - i.e., the stated rates of the contract - to be a reasonable starting point. If one finds this to be too high, perhaps one should not have stolen things in the first place.
Say I steal a car. This car has a child in the back seat, but I am not aware of that. In fact, I go on being unaware of this for the whole time I am in possession of the car (and the child is fine, somehow.) When I am caught, do I receive the punishment for kidnapping, or simply for grand theft auto?
In Australia? I haven't the faintest idea.
As part of the fine, the telco should be made good on damage accrued, i.e. the actual cost incurred. I certainly don't expect the court to allow them to profit on the crime. The contract was between the power company and the telco. Since the data was not used by the power company, I don't see that the contract is a valid point of reference at all. If I cut through a mains water pipe and spill 20,000 gallons of water, should I be charged at $10 per 200ml as I may be charged that somewhere else in the country? No, that's ridiculous - it's the same argument that record labels use to calculate 'damage' from file-sharers.
"As is likely apparent, I am of the opinion that the thief should be forced to make good on her damages. They are not illusory damages; _someone_ will be made less than whole if the thief is not expected to provide compensation."
I agree with you! But saying that the telco will be made less than whole if they aren't paid according to a contract that she didn't know about (which gives unfeasibly high weighting to data charges on a plan she didn't know about and which has no relation to the cost of the data transfer) is absurd.
"The unforeseen cost of her action is quite high. That's unfortunate. But, at the end of the day: if you commit a crime against another person or entity, you _are_ culpable for the results. If she did not want to be held responsible for the results of stealing another's property, she shouldn't have stolen it."
You're not charging her cost. You're charging her almost pure profit.
Sounds like the judge put the wrong thieves in jail.
Either way, this should have been a really bad publicity for Telstra, but I guess they don't really care.
ps. I know 100% that both my mobile operator as well as bank here in Latvia will call me within few hours after an unusual usage.
Do power companies not have to pay rent for their corporate offices, either?
What does '$200k worth' of Telstra data look like anyway?
If you're prepaying at the highest levels, it's $1.50/GB up to 10GB. If it was this, she must have downloaded a little over 130TB of data or been subject to one hell of an overage charge. Seems unlikely.
If you're using their 'extreme usage' standard plan, it's $5/GB up to 120GB, which may well be enough for dozens of movies. That plan is $600/mo or $15k over 2 years. Which means she's being accused of stealing over two decades' worth of their highest consumer data tier.
Either something's up with Telstra's corporate data rates or there are some incredibly customer-hostile penalties attached to these things.
Those overages are as high as they are because they're a deterrent from the power company from fielding broken hardware that uses more bandwidth than it should.
Come to think of it, shouldn't Aurora have noticed a meter dropping off the grid and taken action to shut down that data account?
By way of comparison, if I accidentally spin up 4x as many EC2 large instances as I needed, I don't believe Amazon has a system to send me a message saying "you are doing something dumb, stop it".
The legal system failed both in its discretionary punishment and in regulating the telco enough to avoid this situation and protect consumers.
I imagine a lot of them are used by criminals who want to make anonymous calls, they probably get cut off more slowly than stolen handsets.
Negligent for not securing their meters and SIM cards better in the first place.
Do we really believe they didn't negotiate the bill down with their supplier when they found out about it. Even Telstra is usually willing to help out a little.
Doubtful. Aurora likely negotiated an extremely low monthly rate, knowing that these devices would use very little data in very predictable ways.
Aurora should've locked the SIM to a specific device. That's definitely on them.
I mean, common sense says she didn't think she was doing anything wrong.
That was her second story. Her first story was that she didn't know anything about it. Her second story was that some man she met on the internet (whom she could not identify any further except to give a name, despite the fact she had presumably exchanged physical goods with him) decided to ask her (a random stranger) to download a bunch of data for him because his modem was broken (despite the fact that they had no trouble talking on the internet).
It sounds to me like a completely bullshit story. I assume the judge saw it the same way. In fact, I'm guessing there was some other evidence which didn't get included in this story -- surely the electric company knows exactly whose meter the SIM card comes from?
I have a feeling that quite a few nerds would be pissed off enough about this to donate a cup-of-coffee to a "keep this poor woman out of jail" fund.
That, and hopefully something like that would bring publicity to the absurdity of this.
Granted, yes, what this woman did was completely wrong, and she should be punished for it. That punishment should be about on par with people who use cracked smart cards in their satellite receivers.
The only similarity between this and satellite crackers is that they both involve smart cards. (And the satellite people can pay for their own crimes/torts as well - keep MY coffee out of it).
The power company is not using one of the standard Telstra plans. Think about it--the cheapest plan linked to is a minimum of $30/month. Does anyone really think the power company is going to be spending $30/month/meter to collect meter readings?
Of course not. They will have some kind of special rate structure where they pay a small or no monthly fee, and either have a small data quota, or perhaps have no quote but pay a fairly high rate per byte starting at the first byte.
I feel the supplier should carry part of the costs. Unlimited SIMs easily accessible with zero safeguards should attract a stupidity tax.
Interestingly the some of the sales material states "If a system is using more data than anticipated, Telstra Wireless M2M [Machine2Machine] Control Centre can alert you or automatically message directly to a device installed in the vehicle. Automated alerts and business rules monitor the health of the devices and instantly modify services based on exception activity." Guess Aurora weren't taking advantage of that.
Looking at the Telstra Business website, their $19/month 1GB plan has an excess usage rate of $0.25 per MB. Yes, megabyte.
For your guess of 796GB that would work out to over $200,000.
A $150 recharge on Telstra for their prepaid mobile broadband gives 10 GB of data allowance and has an expiry of 365 days.
Seriously, how much data can the smart reader be sending back?
Internet is very expensive there. I was there as a tourist and left earlier than planned because it was so hard/expensive to get internet access. In third world countries on the same trip it was easier/cheaper to get internet access than in Australia.
Wrote about it here: http://creativedeletion.com/2008/11/05/wifi-in-sydney-availa...
EDIT: OK, my bad. But Australia is run by the same ppl in the same way. NWO and the world government are around the corner anyway :D
If you'd bothered to actually read the article, you'd know that this happened in Australia, not the US.
Why say she is a woman? Depressing. Is it required? No it is just to stress the fact that women are stupid and perhaps deceitful than men. Yet my empirical suggests otherwise. So sad HN.
Edit: Downvote all you want.
Maybe it's just my poor english skills, but I see nothing implying that the woman was stupid in the title, not even some kind of subtle feminist-troll-bait. If anything, the title was suggesting that charging 200k for any amount of data one person could download with conventional hardware is ridiculous.
So could you kindly explain in simple words for the poor brain-atrophied male human I am, what in this title could be read as "women are stupid" and not as "a poor soul got screwed by a greedy telecom operator and an uninformed judge" ?
 Feel free to use this confession for a generalization about all men being stupid, I am sure we will all find it very amusing and some sarcasm-fu masters might even generalize in response that all feminists are paranoid.
When I first saw this headline, I thought "Guy" referred to "Guy Kawasaki" :)
This interpretation never occurred to me. Little did I realise that I was subconsciously trying to imply that women are stupid and deceitful!
How would you have phrased it?
Use of stolen SIM lands person in jail.
On this topic, a fantastic satirical article by Hofstadter about uses of gendered pronouns: http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~evans/cs655/readings/purity.html
"Use of stolen 3g card lands organism in jail" /scrubbed
And "stolen" is much too strong a word. Let's say "illicitly obtained".
And it wasn't the "use", it was the excessive use.
And there was a fine also, so you can't just leave it at "jail". That sounds judgmental, anyway. Call it "corrective action".
OK, now what have we got?
"Excessive use of illicitly obtained 3G card by conscious organism garners heavy corrective actions"
Ahh, much better. No one can possibly be offended by that. Right?
But if I must choose, I'd choose the former over the latter even though it makes it more difficult for me to make a living.