Australia Day medals for ACS president, former president

Two prominent members of the ACS have been rewarded for their work in the IT services industry with Medals of the Order of Australia.

Medals of the Order of Australia (OAS) in the General Division have today been awarded to Australian Computer Society (ACS) president Brenda Aynsley and ACS fellow Peter Murton for their services to the IT industry on the Australia Day 2014 Honours list.

Aynsley became an ACS member in 1989, as well as having been chair of the South Australia Committee of the Pearcey Foundation from 2006-12 and a founding member of the South Australian Internet Association. She also established SA's first internet cafe in 1995, and in 2013, became the ACS' first female president.

"Brenda's contribution to the development of ICT in South Australia and throughout the country has been extraordinary. This recognition is a fitting acknowledgement of her passion, determination, and skill in developing the emerging profession of ICT," said ACS CEO Alan Patterson.

Murton joined the ACS in 1961, being elected as vice president in 1967 and president from 1968-70. Prior to that, he was responsible for introducing the first computer into the Australian commerce industry in 1958.

"Peter Murton is one of the founding fathers of ICT in Australia. His ongoing commitment to both technology and his community is something of which he can be justifiably proud," said Patterson. "We are honoured to count him among our members, and hope that this recognition and his experience encourage others to follow in his footsteps."

The ACS is currently conferring with the major cloud vendors present in Australia in order to acquire industry support for the new Cloud Computing Consumer Protocol that it announced in July . The protocol would be funded by the federal government through its National Strategy for Cloud Computing announced in May.

Through the code, the ACS is setting out to institute a set of voluntary practices to aid consumers in making more informed decisions when purchasing cloud products and services.

"It's important that business and government are in lock step in developing consumer protections when implementing the National Cloud Computing Strategy," then-Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy Senator Kate Lundy said in July.

"Once developed, the Cloud Consumer Protocol will ensure purchasers of cloud services, and in particular small businesses, have the information, tools, and safeguards they need to use cloud services confidently."

However, the code has been criticised by both consumer groups and cloud providers including Google, Telstra, and Microsoft — the former group arguing that the voluntary nature of the protocol will mean that it won't go far enough, and the latter group claiming that a compulsory code could stifle innovation, leaving consumers, businesses, and especially startups worse off.

"The major vendors involved in the consultation were worried about the proliferation of protocols across the world," outgoing ACS president Nick Tate told ZDNet in December.

"The ACS is still looking at whether a voluntary protocol working with some of the vendors would be a good idea, but it would need reasonable buy-in from at least one or two vendors. But we think that is possible."

The Australian government has reassured the cloud service providers that the voluntary code does not signal the introduction of mandatory regulation of the industry.

"What consumer groups are saying is that they'd like to see something which talks about the transparency of what vendors are doing," Tate added.

"Anything that makes things more transparent is of benefit to the consumer and I think of benefit to the market as a whole because it gives consumers more confidence to buy."