Download This Show

Download This Show is your weekly guide to the world of media, culture, and technology. From social media to gadgets, streaming services to privacy issues. Each week Marc Fennell and a team of people far smarter than him (his words, not ours) take a fun deep dive into how technology is reshaping our lives.


  • Are home quarantine apps a step too far?

    Oct 21 2021

    South Australia is the only jurisdiction in Australia actively trialling home quarantine technology, but human rights groups are already raising concerns. Are there better options? Plus, a UK legal challenge is raising questions about whether politicians should be able to destroy their WhatsApp messages. And recent shutdowns in major online services could be a sign of things to come.   Guests: Josh Taylor, Reporter at Guardian Australia & Alice Clarke, freelance journalist and game reviewer

  • What's being done about fake vaccine passports?

    Oct 14 2021

    We’ll soon be walking around with them and flashing them to wine, dine and travel – but how easy will it be to spot a legitimate vaccine passport compared to a fake one? We discuss what could have prevented a security flaw and what’s being done about fake vaccine passports.   Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia will be using an artificial intelligence tool to stem abusive messages being sent on electronic payments. Plus, Facebook and Instagram introduce new features in an effort to p...more

  • Why are we getting so many scam texts?

    Oct 07 2021

    If you’ve been getting strange calls and text messages asking you to click links or hand over personal information, you’re not alone. Scamwatch has reported a record $211 million in losses to scams so far this year – an 89 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. So where are the scams coming from and what should you do when you're targeted? Plus - YouTube removes all anti-vaccine misinformation, Donald Trump sues to get back on Twitter and the Facebook whistle-blower goes publi...more

  • Can Europe untangle your wires?

    Sep 30 2021

    The EU plans to make USB-C connectors the standard port for all smartphones and tablets, angering Apple as the move would impact iPhones more than its rivals. And Facebook under fire again after leaked documents reveal a series of accusations about its internal workings. Plus, would you pay for a streaming service that’s just news?   Guests: Natasha Gillezeau, technology journalist, The Australian Financial Review & Peter Wells, freelance technology journalist

  • Can AI prevent crime?

    Sep 23 2021

    Can artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive technology prevent crime? And what is at stake if it does? This week we look at an AI tool Queensland police are trialling to help predict and prevent domestic violence incidents, and what’s happening around the world with this type of technology more broadly and how transparency can underpin public trust and support of such tools. Guests: Professor Lyria Bennett Moses, Director of the Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation and a Professo...more

  • The Original Conspiracy Viral Video?

    Sep 16 2021

    This week: How the conspiracy video Loose Change energized the "9/11 truther movement" and sparked an age of disinformation. Meanwhile, Facebook unveils Ray-Ban Stories which are designed for hands-free photos and videos. Plus, foldable phone sales are up and it’s yet to be determined if they’re the future or a fad, and how many mini-subscriptions are too many?   Guests: Alice Clarke, Award-winning freelance technology journalist & Cam Wilson, Associate Editor at Crikey

  • Put down that controller, kid

    Sep 09 2021

    China is banning children from playing online games for more than three hours a week. The measures come in response to growing concerns over gaming addiction, but will it work? Meanwhile, El Salvador becomes the first country in the world to recognise Bitcoin as legal tender and Banksy’s website is reportedly hacked, despite warnings, leaving a fan out of pocket for buying a fake Banksy NFT. Plus, are gadgets that promise to track and improve our sleep just getting in the way of a good night’s...more

  • OnlyFlip

    Sep 02 2021

    If you backflipped any harder, there’d be spinal damage… this week we discuss how the subscription service OnlyFans which is famous for its adult content ended up doing a drastic about-face within days. Plus, what do new national security bills allow and who can be the target of these new powers? And Apple pays millions in a settlement and celebrates 10 years of executive Tim Cook. Guests: Ariel Bogle, Analyst at ASPI Cyber Policy Centre & Jonno Seidler, Creative Lead at Unyoked

  • Are OnlyFans screwing themselves?

    Aug 26 2021

    The work of adult entertainers is being disrupted again, after the subscriber-only website OnlyFans announced it will ban adult material. Meanwhile, an office in Bucharest is showing how post-Covid workplace life can look like, with anti-virus innovations. And how concerned should you be about the security of vaccination passports? Plus Mark Zuckerberg has a plan to turn your next work meeting into a weird virtual reality thing. Update: After this episode was published, OnlyFans announced i...more

  • What will win: Your new phone or the planet?

    Aug 19 2021

    We use our smartphones for hours every day, but do you know what goes into making it? And more importantly, where are those metals going to come from in the future? Plus, Twitter lets go of one of its weirder and more pointless features. And is virtual reality a way forward for a struggling music industry and why is the gambling industry investing so heavily in Artificial Intelligence? Guests: Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson, National Technology Editor for News Corp & Daniel Van Boom, News Editor f...more

  • Facebook + The Universe = The Metaverse?

    Aug 12 2021

    Apple plans to scan devices including iPhones and iPads for child sexual abuse images. It’s commended by child protection groups but has privacy campaigners concerned. So, what’s the fine print for Apple’s new tool, neuralMatch, and could it be a game changer? Meanwhile, why Instagram creatives are angry and what exactly is a metaverse? Mark Zuckerberg has an idea. Plus, calls are growing to ban an artificial intelligence ‘nudification’ tool – the latest in a long line of unethical services. ...more

  • How to get banned from YouTube

    Aug 05 2021

    If you want to repair or replace your smartphone or tablet, it can be confusing to know how to go about it or where to go. And the Productivity Commission has found that it should be much easier for consumers to navigate this system and what’s called their ‘right to repair’. So, what is it and should we have the right to repair? Plus, what did Sky News Australia do to get bumped off YouTube for a week?   And why is one of the biggest movie stars suing Disney, and which Aussie tech start-up jus...more

  • Gaming with a disability

    Jul 29 2021

    Sixty-eight per cent of Australians play videogames, and 20 per cent of gamers have a disability. The Australian gaming industry is worth $2.43 billion but is it paying enough attention to this market and considering their needs? This week, we speak to gamers and developers living with a disability to hear what’s making gaming more accessible, the barriers yet to be overcome and what the future of gaming holds.   Guests: Ellen Jurik, Narrative and Game Director, Blowfish Studios Meredith Hal...more

  • Finger power & Spyware scandals

    Jul 22 2021

    This week we dive into the biggest spyware scandal of the year, Pegasus, that was sold to authoritarian regimes and is being used to target activists, politicians and journalists. Plus, the power is in our hands – or rather, fingertips – with a new device that can generate small amounts of electricity from finger sweat or pressure. And US President Joe Biden says that social media is killing people, while beyond-the-grave deep fakes get us pondering the moral and ethical limitations of the tec...more

  • Are Covid breathalysers coming soon?

    Jul 15 2021

    Breath-based Covid-19 tests are under development around the world, so has the time for disease-detecting breathalysers finally arrived? Meanwhile, Reddit is opening an Australian office, so we want to know why and what’s behind its success. Plus, big news for one of Uber’s biggest competitors and should we shame politicians for being on their phones too much? Guests: Natasha Gillezeau, Technology journalist, Australian Financial Review & Cam Wilson, Associate Editor, Crikey

  • Indigenous start-ups talk country, culture and health

    Jul 08 2021

    In this episode, our NAIDOC week panel tell us all about how their start-ups are harnessing the power of technology to help users connect with their country, culture and improve health outcomes. Guests: Kayla Cartledge, CEO & Founder, Our Songlines Dr Kyle Turner, CEO & Co-Founder, Pearlii Dr Christopher Lawrence, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering & IT at University of Technology Sydney. Lead investigator in the development of the SWAMSmob app.

  • Two exorbitant tickets to space, please.

    Jul 01 2021

    The report from the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force has finally landed, so what exactly does it reveal? Plus, Virgin Galactic gets the green light to take passengers into space, or more precisely, to the edge of space. And we look at the legacy of one of the most influential but dangerous people in tech history and how much BuzzFeed is really worth. Guests: Rad Yeo, Technology journalist and co-host of Queens of the Drone Age podcast & Meg Coffey, Social Media strategist

  • It’s a hit. Except when it isn’t.

    Jun 24 2021

    We think of shows on Netflix, Stan and Amazon as being hit shows because everyone is talking about them but the truth is that no one outside of those companies actually knows how many people are watching. So that hit might not actually be a hit at all. So how can we bring a little transparency to the process? Plus, the women taking on an adult media company, the surgeons conducting surgery in augmented reality and when international travel is happening again do we want to do it at the speed of ...more

  • Is ANOM an anomaly?

    Jun 17 2021

    How do you arrest more than 800 suspected criminals around the world? Get them to use an app that happens to be controlled by worldwide law enforcement. We dive into the weird world of the ANOM app and the role it played in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest crime stories of the year. Also - dozens of the world’s most popular websites like the New York Times, Twitch and Spotify disappeared offline last week… and it’s all thanks to one company that underpins a huge part of the internet...more

  • How long is long enough?

    Jun 10 2021

    Facebook says it will suspend former US president Donald Trump's accounts for two years following its finding that he stoked violence ahead of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol in Washington DC. But what are the wider ramifications of that decision? Also - what do you get when you sign up for Twitter’s new paid service Twitter Blue? Turns out not a lot. Plus - Apple updates, and would you play videogames on Netflix? Guests: Dr Emily van der Nagel, Social Media Lecturer at Monash Un...more

  • The dangers of liking something too much

    Jun 03 2021

    Instagram backflips on a move it made to hide likes on posts, to protect users’ mental health. So, what does this change mean? Also - how to not get scammed when buying the internet’s newest and most confounding fad – NFTs. Plus, WhatsApp sues India and Facebook does a good thing. Guests: Meg Coffey, social media strategist & Cam Wilson, Associate Editor, Crikey

  • Can cryptocurrencies survive without China?

    May 27 2021

    Cryptocurrencies have come up against the might of China, which has warned financial institutions to "resolutely refrain" from providing services using digital currencies because of their volatility. So what does that mean for their future? Plus, trusting artificial intelligence to diagnose your skin condition on Google’s new skin check app, and the court case that could reshape Apple’s App Store. And it was the gateway to the internet for millions but as Microsoft Internet Explorer takes its f...more

  • Buy my fake voice?

    May 20 2021

    How can you tell whether someone’s voice is real or not? Well thanks to a new platform allowing celebrities and influencers to ‘clone’ their voice with artificial intelligence, deepfake voices are going to make it harder for us to distinguish the real from the robot. Meanwhile, what Elon Musk’s U-turn means for Bitcoin, and what we all need to know about the changes to WhatsApp. Plus, Instagram for kids? What could possibly go wrong? Guests: Natasha Gillezeau, journalist for The Australian Fi...more

  • Court is in session… Facebook Court that is.

    May 13 2021

    Being called its own version of the US Supreme Court, Facebook has created an Oversight Board. It's set up to be an independent body that would make binding decisions on moderation and content problems, but how is that going in practice? And should other social media companies follow suit? Plus, Twitter tries to bend user behaviours with targeted prompts and the option to 'tip' Tweeters. And Apple's new AirTags are designed to be attached to keys and wallets and to beep when you lose them. S...more

  • Forget auctions. Print yourself a home.

    May 06 2021

    What looks a bit like ice cream, takes hours to build and you can live in it? Answer: A 3D printed house. So what do these houses mean for the future of housing?

  • Would you pay to listen to this as a podcast?

    Apr 29 2021

    Apple unveil new plans for podcasters to get paid on their platform, but will it work? And what does it say about the monetisation of podcasts? Meanwhile, India cracks down on social media posts that are critical of the government’s handling of the Covid crisis Plus - digital horse racing. Can you trust it? Guests: Meg Coffey, social media strategist & Peter Marks, software developer

  • The ACCC won against Google. Now what?

    Apr 22 2021

    Google was taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over misleading Australian mobile and tablet users about how it collects location data. The ACCC won and now Google could face fines of millions of dollars. The ACCC says this case is the first in the world on location data collection so how significant is this win and what does it mean for our location data? And there’s more frenzy in the world of digital tokens this week as the value of Dogecoin skyrocketed...more

  • Monkeys with mind control and super-fast internet

    Apr 15 2021

    If you could control things with your mind, what would you do? You’d play a never-ending game of Pong with a monkey, wouldn't you? Well good, because Elon Musk has got you sorted for that alarmingly specific scenario. And another week, another leak, with half a billion LinkedIn account details leaked. So what happened and what can you do about it? Plus, why the Victorian Government is taxing Electric Vehicles and what ultra-fast internet in space looks like. Guests: Sarah Moran, Co-founder...more

  • Oops, Facebook did it again.

    Apr 08 2021

    For Facebook it was old news, but for over 500 million of its users it was new and shocking, that their phone numbers and personal data were leaked online. So how did it happen, and what can we do about it? Plus, Kurt Cobain made a new song from beyond the grave thanks to artificial intelligence, but is it any good? And Microsoft has announced it's providing Augmented Reality headsets to the US Army to help troops identify targets and danger, blurring the lines between video games, reality and...more

  • WTF is an NFT?

    Apr 01 2021

    Non-Fungible Tokens have been making headlines and causing many people to scratch their heads. With an artist raking in $US70 million for a digital artwork, and tweets being bought, we thought it's time to try to understand what's going on and why. And entertainment giants Netflix and Amazon Prime are clashing with creatives in countries like India over cultural and religious sensitivities. But should they be? Plus, if you could wash your clothes without taking them off, would you? A new gadge...more

  • Smart watch? Smarter everything.

    Mar 25 2021

    Imagine if your brooch knew when you were lonely, if silicone skin could sense pain, and if VR was as real as reality itself.

  • The future of solar power

    Mar 18 2021

    From solar 'paints' to solar-integrated electric vehicles, there are cutting-edge technologies shaping a renewable future. Australia has the highest uptake of solar globally, with more than 21% of homes with rooftop solar PV. And yet among consumers there are still so many questions about solar to power our everyday lives. Guests: Amy Bainbridge, ABC Consumer Affairs Reporter & Professor Renate Egan, lead of the UNSW activity in the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics

  • Would you pay for Twitter?

    Mar 11 2021

    Would you pay to follow someone on Twitter? It's one of the latest ideas that Twitter has floated so we're diving into the world of the Super Follow. Plus, there’s been a renewed focus on whether the likes of UberEats are doing enough to ensure the safety of their drivers. They’ve unveiled some new plans but are they getting to the root of the issue? And sex workers are up in arms at the government's new online safety legislation - but why? And what are the ramifications for everyone else that...more

  • Artificial Intelligence gets creative

    Mar 04 2021

    Artificial Intelligence underpins our lives and creative endeavours in unexpected ways, from music collaboration to teaching methods. So where is the technology of AI going and are we still in charge? Guests: Rae Johnston, SBS NITV Science and Technology editor & Dr Ollie Bown, Associate Professor UNSW School of Art Design, author 'Beyond the Creative Species'

  • So who just won? Australia or Facebook?

    Feb 25 2021

    It was only a week ago when Facebook and the Australian government locked horns over the proposed media bargaining laws and now Facebook has backflipped saying they’ll walk back its block on Australian users sharing news on its site. So is there a winner in this battle? And NASA Perseverance rover landed on Mars – we got to see its descent and landing in amazing detail and hear audio recorded on the surface for the first time. So what can we learn from this feat of science? Plus, Clubhouse has...more

  • Where are Australia’s electric vehicles?

    Feb 18 2021

    Around the world, electric vehicles are gaining attraction, interest and sales. Billions of dollars are being poured into this technology and into electric self-driving cars, but not without some serious accidents. So where is Australia at in this fledgling market, and what does the future hold? We have industry members to test some claims and to tell us what questions we should ask if want to buy an electric car. Guests: Bridie Schmidt, Lead reporter, The Driven & Behyad Jafari, CEO Electric...more

  • Is that true or did you just read it on the internet?

    Feb 11 2021

    Misinformation moves faster online than truth. But when it comes to elections, COVID-19, vaccines, 5G, QAnon, chemtrails, are the moves by social platforms actually working? And more importantly, what do you say to a person online that you know is sharing content that you know to be untrue - what's the best way of handling that? Guests: Ariel Bogle, Analyst, ASPI & Cameron Wilson, Reporter, Business Insider and Gizmodo

  • GameStop right now, thank you very much

    Feb 04 2021

    The internet was meant to democratise everything from content to ideas. But there’s another edge on that sword and it turns out we aren’t really prepared for it. This week: a video game store, Wall Street and the front page of the internet go to war… not entirely sure who wins. Plus, media companies want Google and Facebook to pay for news. The ACCC is pushing legislation to make that happen. Google says it breaks the concept of a free searchable web and instead have proposed a new idea for jou...more

  • Google going? WhatsApp going! Trump gone

    Jan 28 2021

    DuckDuckGo, Ask Jeeves, Yandex, Swisscows, Bing - the search engines we could be forced to use if Google delivers on their threat to quit Australia. How likely is that? Messaging service WhatsApp sees an Old Testament scale exodus. Plus, Donald Trump may not be President or on most social media platforms - will that make it harder to track his influence online? Guests: Sarah Moran, Founder, Girl Geek Academy @GirlGeekAcademy & Jonno Seidler, Unyoked

  • Bye 2020

    Dec 17 2020

    Congratulations, it was weird, it was lonely, frustrating and unprecedented. What changes forever after this, and what whips back? Also, you used to use video streaming services to chill out, now use them to sweat. Plus, one of the biggest adult entertainment sites is under fire - are there implications for the rest of the digital world? Guests: Rae Johnston, Science and Tech Editor, NITV @raejohnston + Cameron Wilson, internet reporter, BuzzFeed News Australia @cameronwilson.

  • Movies are dead now (apparently)

    Dec 10 2020

    Wonder Woman 1984, Dune, The Matrix 4, Godzilla v Kong were slated to be the blockbusters of 2021, but they won’t be played in US cinemas. What does it mean for movie lovers in Australia?  Is this hastening the end of the big screen experience? Plus, the high-profile AI ethics expert who has left Google and why her departure is so controversial. And the major company that’s pulled the plug on self-driving cars. Guests: Jessie Hughes, VR expert and creative technologist + Seamus Byrne, editor & h...more

  • OnlyFans: The future of the internet?

    Dec 03 2020

    It’s a service that’s become famous for adult entertainers that may well have cracked a conundrum facing creative people on the internet – how to get paid. What is it that makes Hyperloop special and do we want it in Australia? Plus, has the gaming world inadvertently gifted the world a social media platform that's not a horrible trash fire? Guests: Sarah Moran, Girl Geek Academy @GirlGeekAcademy + Angharad Yeo, host of ABC Good Game Spawn Point

  • Fitbit for pets and can Maru stop online bullying?

    Nov 26 2020

    Fitness trackers for pooches - has your pet reached their step count? Across the world more than half of all girls have been harassed or abused online. Can ‘Maru’, an anti-harassment chatbot help? Plus, Twitter has unleashed its latest new feature and in a surprise to precisely no one, lots of people are complaining. Guests: Jocelyn Brewer, psychologist, cyberpsychology consultant @diginutrition + Nic Healey, breakfast presenter ABC Western Plains @dr_nic

  • The new core of Apple+ Robodebt payout

    Nov 19 2020

    The Federal Government has agreed to pay $112 million in compensation for its botched robo-debt welfare recovery scheme. How did it go so wrong? Can Airbnb weather the pandemic? Plus, what happens when one of the world’s most valuable computer companies breaks up with the firm that has made their insides tick along for many years? Guests: Peter Wells, tech writer and host of Meta, a podcast about podcasts @peterwells + Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson, national technology editor for News Corp @jendudle...more

  • Netflix invents a 'TV channel' and the alt-right flock to Facebook rival Parler

    Nov 12 2020

    The bold, innovation from Netflix — we believe it’s called television! How the social media giants fared against the torrent of US election misinformation. Plus, are people leaving Facebook for new right-leaning social media apps? And why does Google want to buy a fitness tracker company? Guests: Ariel Bogle, analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute + Angharad Yeo, host of ABC Good Game Spawn Point

  • 2020: QR codes finally became useful

    Nov 05 2020

    Why have the little black and white grids you have to photograph to go to a café become the go-to tech for the pandemic? Can artificial intelligence tell if you have Covid from the sound of your cough? And Marc's given up on hovercars, but maybe we can still get holograms in our future…Guests: Jessie Hughes, VR expert and creative technologist + Peter Wells, tech writer and host of Meta, a podcast about podcasts @peterwells

  • How bad is foreign election interference in 2020?

    Oct 29 2020

    The maelstrom of online interference during the US election. Tech companies are scrambling to deal with political misinformation and probably worse. Plus, gone before we knew ye - streaming service and one-word punchline QUIBI calls it quits. And he’s the tech magnate known as the Hermit King, whose reign affected most mobile phones. Who is it? Guests: Sarah Moran, Girl Geek Academy @GirlGeekAcademy + Jeremy Kirk, Executive editor at Information Security Media Group @jeremy_kirk

  • Is Apple quietly killing your phone?

    Oct 22 2020

    Does Apple slow down your phone down to encourage you to buy a new one? Imagine a world without news on Google or Facebook - other countries have done it, so how did it play out for them? And is Twitter too good at dealing with sketchy content on the platform? Guests: Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson, national technology editor for News Corp @jendudley + Cameron Wilson, reporter, Business Insider, Gizmodo Australia @cameronwilson

  • Sick of doing video calls?

    Oct 15 2020

    What if you could get an AI face to do your video calls for you? The push to break up huge tech companies coming from Washington DC. Plus, are Twitter and Facebook doing enough to stop misinformation and is Tinder doing enough to stop sexual assault? Guests: Peter Marks, software developer, Access Informatics @petermarxy + Rae Johnston, Science and Tech Editor, NITV @raejohnston *CONTENT WARNING: references to sexual assault

  • Social dilemmas and strange drones

    Oct 08 2020

    It flies, it spies, it’s the strangest security camera - what does it tell us about surveillance and fear? What The Social Dilemma gets right and wrong. Plus, if you’re working from home, should your boss be allowed to use monitoring software to spy on you? Guests: Jeremy Kirk, Executive editor at Information Security Media Group @jeremy_kirk + Natasha Gillezeau, tech and media journalist, AFR @natashagillezeau