“Telstra data guy won’t apologise” – News.com.au – 05/04/16

Link to article

I didn’t think I’d be somebody to go out, create a blog and use it as my own personal soap box but sometimes there are things that just piss you off. Something that angers you so much that you stop and you think “You know what? No, this is not cool, man!” This is one of those things. This is why this blog exists and why it will continue to exist. When I read something that pisses me off because it’s so factually wrong, I’ll post it here.

I’m Australian and like a few million others of us, the #1 telecommunications provider in this great land, Telstra, had a few issues where businesses and individuals were left without the internet for a day at a time. It happened twice in one month. Maybe 3 times, I don’t remember. The point is that it wasn’t cool and Telstra went out of their way to give us a Sunday of unlimited data on their mobile network.

Cool, hey?

Except that we were unfortunate enough to encounter dog slow speeds during this time because all these millions that were affected decided that would be the day to blow gigabytes of data by streaming and downloading stuff. Telstra copped it on the chin pretty well. We all knew the network would be slow so none of us were surprised.

Except some journalist at News.com.au

Let me introduce you to a man named John. Over these two days, John went out and downloaded a combined total of 1.5TB of data. That’s 1.5 TERABYTES. 1500GB of data. I can’t even begin to describe the number to those less technical. I work in IT. I know that’s a lot and it is an impressive figure for somebody to download it. How did he do it?

You see, he is lucky enough to possess a 4GX phone. 4GX is the successor to the 4G network. It operates on a different band than 4G and theoretically twice as fast as 4G. It’s an amazing piece of technology that exist in only a few phones and on a few wifi hotspots around the country. John was lucky enough to either be near one of those spots or possess the phone. So having a horrible ADSL2 service at home, he decided to use this technology. Either he created a hotspot on his phone and tethered to his laptop or he used the public hotspot and downloaded away.

Now despite the 2 days of copious downloads, nothing John could have done would have slowed down the network. Millions of people doing the exactly the same thing as him over the 3G, 4G & 4GX networks flooded the network and it slowed to a crawl.

Except some journalist at News.com.au feels differently.

According to this journalist, a dapper looking bloke named Matt Young, John is the guy that has caused all of our troubles and expects him to apologize. What for, you ask? Well, good ol’ Matthew was asked this on twitter and his response?

wtf

That was it. Nothing in Matt Young’s story explains why. Instead, he has used Reddit as his source for the story and merely making claim that: “[John] won’t apologize to critics despite copping it from the rest of the country for abusing the system.

Who are the critics? One or two anonymous posters on Reddit, some twitter users. Only a small sub-section of Telstra users. However he does go on to mention that Telstra gave John a shout-out and that was in a positive light.

In a later edit of the story, Matt did mention that “Yet other users complained to the Telco giant of slow speeds, and when they found out of [John]’s gains, blamed him for adding to the traffic trouble.” Fair enough. If hundreds of thousands of others like John did, then this would be true. And guess what? That is exactly what happened. So many other people enjoyed what is so rarely made free to them but journalism at its finest ensured that they could mark out just one person for it. Here’s some news for you Matt. If Telstra’s systems can’t handle one guy leeching from the network, the problem is with Telstra, not with John. In fact, Telstra had anticipated the congestion and looked at it as a stress test which helps them identify any critical issues in the event of emergency and were more than pleased with their performance.

What about all the slack that John has gone on to receive because of articles like this which News.com.au broke the first time it happened? According to John himself: “I’m getting a stupid amount of messages on Facebook, including abuse” He later states on Reddit that he has “been getting Death Threats all afternoon and evening, It is pure madness yet so funny at the same time”.  So thanks Matt for making all of his details completely public. This is no better than a good ol’ 4Chan doxxing that you have encouraged.

So it’s clear that we have a journalist who creates a click bait story with a sensationalist title about a guy that has done nothing wrong on a system that that he didn’t break. Back in my day, stories like this were verified via a sub-editor and an editor. It was also done by a person that was aware of the technology and thoroughly researched. All the hallmarks of a good journalistic piece. If this was written by a fresh intern, the various mistakes & lack of knowledge in the area could be excusable but instead, it’s a piece written to do nothing more than vilify a guy that never did anything wrong on a service that Telstra placed no limits on. The journalist has gone on to use John’s full name, his age, occupation and personal pictures he has stolen from his personal Facebook. Yet the question must be asked:

“Why?”

UPDATE – 06/04

I have reached out to both John & Matt. John was kind enough to show me the sort of Facebook threats he has been subject to since his name was made public via http://www.news.com.au:

threat

 

He also wishes to express the professional manner in which Matt conducted himself in their communications:

“I do have to say, The journalist was pretty nice to me when we spoke. I have no complaints.”

Should Matt choose to comment, I will update further.