Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Southern Cross Cable on the Dotcom allegations

September 15th, 2014 at 5:11 pm by David Farrar

A press release from Southern Cross Cable:

Claims of cable access total nonsense

The claims made today by journalist Glenn Greenwald that the Southern Cross undersea cables have been tapped into or accessed are total nonsense said the CEO Anthony Briscoe today.

The cables, which link New Zealand to Australia, the Pacific and the United States, are untouched, Mr Briscoe noted.

“I can tell you quite categorically there is no facility by the NSA, the GCSB or anyone else on the Southern Cross cable network.”

“Let’s be quite blunt. To do this, we would have to take the cable out of service and I can assure you there’s no way we are going to do that.

“It is a physical impossibility to do it without us knowing. There is just no way it can be done. I can give you absolute assurances from Southern Cross – and me as a Kiwi – that there are no sites anywhere on the Southern Cross network that have to do with interception or anything else the NSA or GCSB might want to do.”

He added, any breach of the cable would require temporarily shutting down its transmission for hours. Southern Cross has monitoring systems built into its computers watching for any such break and they would be triggered as soon as any attempt was made.

“There isn’t a technology in the world, as far as I am aware, that can splice into an undersea fibre optic cable without causing a serious outage and sending alarms back to our network operation centre, that something’s wrong.”

Southern Cross is obligated to comply with the well-established and public lawful surveillance requirements in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and related laws in the United States. However there is no equipment installed in the New Zealand or United States landing stations, or on the cable itself, which could result in mass interception of communications.

We are very disturbed that such unfounded allegations have been made and feel that it’s important for all New Zealanders to understand that this outrageous claim is totally untrue.

The so called moment of truth is turning into a moment of farce.

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Australian copyright reform fails

September 13th, 2014 at 7:01 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

“Unanimous” opposition to the Australian government’s proposed copyright law changes will force it back to the drawing board to tackle online piracy, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.

Representatives from both sides of the online piracy debate – including the telecommunications companies and rights holders – have warned the changes to copyright law outlined in the government’s discussion paper on online piracy are too broad and could have negative unintended consequences. 

Turnbull hosted a lively public forum in Sydney on Tuesday night that included panellists from the film and television sectors, internet service providers and consumer groups.

The government has proposed creating a new legal framework – known as “extended authorisation liability” – to make internet service providers more accountable for their customers’ illicit downloading.

A stupid idea.

Australian Performing Rights Association CEO Brett Cottle said that despite the availability of affordable online music streaming services such as Spotify an estimated 3 to 3.5 million Australians use torrent services at least once a month to download music without authorisation. 

But a study commissioned by Spotify, released on Tuesday, found music piracy had declined by 20 per cent in Australia thanks largely to the availability of legal streamings services. 

Good – heading in the right direction.

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iPhone 6

September 10th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Apple have announced details of their new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+. The 6 has a 4.7 inch display and the iPhone 6+ a 5.5 inch display. The iPhone 4 by comparison is 3.5″ and iPhone 5 is 4.0″

Features include:

  • Thinner (6.9 mm and 7.1 mm)
  • Higher Res (1920 x 1080 for the 6+)
  • 64 bit A8 chip
  • An M8 co-processor that can calculate elevation, number of steps climbed etc and also be a barometer
  • 8 megapixel camera
  • A near range wireless chip which can be used to make small purchases – very exciting
  • Battery life of 11 or 14 hours
  • Handoff to allow you to switch between Apple devices

I’m definitely buying one. Not just for the new features – but mainly because my 4s battery only lasts around four hours now before draining!

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A cool school app

September 6th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Keeping up with the kids’ school activities just got easier for some Hamilton parents thanks to a mobile phone app.

Parents can notify absences, check upcoming events and get notices and more through Southwell School’s app.

It has been up and running for around two weeks and is so far on about 500 phones.

The free app runs on iPhone and Android and was developed by Snapp Mobile in about six weeks, Helm said.

Southwell would have spent less than $5000 on the app, which came with a “back end” website so the school can make minor modifications.

Snapp Mobile director Joshua Woodham said more and more schools were choosing to communicate with parents through apps.

School parents were on the go and found it helpful to receive updates and alerts on their mobile devices wherever they were, he said.

Functions of the Southwell app include checking out upcoming events and copying them to personal calendars, linking parents to ticket purchasing, quick access to staff contact details, and alerts straight to mobile.

That’s a very worthwhile investment. Good initiative.

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35 more towns to get fibre under National

September 4th, 2014 at 2:31 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A further 5 per cent of New Zealanders will get ultrafast broadband if National is re-elected, the Government has announced.

National communications spokeswoman Amy Adams said the footprint of the fibre-optic cable network would be extended from the original target of 75 per cent of the country to a new target of 80 per cent at a cost of between $152 million and $210m.

The extended programme would be funded from the Future Investment Fund.

Adams listed 35 towns she said would be “strong contenders” to join the existing 33 cities and towns getting UFB. They included some large towns such as Westport and Picton.

The UFB programme was the “most ambitious communications infrastructure programme in the world, given our low population density”, Adams said.

Excellent. A few shares in Air New Zealand or some power stations in exchange for another 5% of the population gaining fibre. A great move, and very welcome I am sure by the 200,000 extra New Zealanders who will now get fibre under this plan.

The towns named by Adams as strong contenders for UFB are: Te Puke, Motueka, Morrinsville, Kerikeri, Huntly, Thames, Matamata, Otaki, Kawerau, Waitara, Kaitaia, Dannevirke, Alexandra, Stratford, Whitianga, Cromwell, Taumarunui, Picton, Foxton, Kaikohe, Marton, Te Kuiti, Katikati, Temuka, Waihi, Waipukurau, Warkworth, Carterton, Dargaville, Opotiki, Snells Beach, Te Aroha, Wairoa, Paeroa and Westport.

National has led the way on having a fibre connected country. In 2008 all Labour was promising was VDSL to more of NZ. National promised and is delivering fibre to 75% of NZ, and now 80% of NZ. On top of that a big investment in rural broadband.

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Google Drones are coming

September 1st, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Google has made a big bet developing airborne drones capable of delivering anything from candy to medicine – and has been testing the flying vehicles on a Queensland farm on the Darling Downs.

Google X, a division of the US-based technology company dedicated to making major technological advancements, tested Project Wing near Warwick earlier this month, the first time “non-Googlers” had been involved.

Google X director Astro Teller said Project Wing’s goal was ultimately to build a system for delivering small and medium sized packages within minutes to anyone, using self-flying vehicles.

Bring it on.

“There’s no reason we should all have a power drill in our garage when, at any one time, the world is using one hundredth of a per cent of its power drills,” he said from the company’s headquarters in California.

“Also, there are situations like emergency response after a flood, or an earthquake, or a tornado, where bringing medicine or other supplies to people who are in need can be very valuable and time can be of the essence.

“We’re looking at the whole spectrum of value that can be delivered using self-flying vehicles.”

The prototype drone used in Queensland was a “tailsitter”, which allowed for vertical take-offs and landings and high speeds during flight – up to about 90km/h.

Very cool.

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Should rural broadband be funded by taxpayers or telcos?

August 29th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

National announced this week a further $100 million for regional broadband. I certainly welcome the investment, as I have welcomed the investment in fibre to 75% of NZ. I think there are overall benefits to NZ by having a fast connected country.

But there is one part of National’s policy I am not so comfortable with. The fibre to the home initiative is funded by the NZ Government, ie taxpayers. As I said, confortable to have some taxpayer investment in infrastructure.

But the $100 million for rural broadband will be funded by extending a levy on telecommunications companies. And this money will go from them, to possibly their competitors. I’m not so keen on this.

If there is a case for better rural broadband (and there is), then it should be funded by the Government (taxpayers), not by a levy on telcos.

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Greens are advertising on Whale Oil!!

August 28th, 2014 at 3:52 pm by David Farrar

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Stuff has this screenshot of Whale Oil, with Green Party advertising on it. That’s very very funny.

It’s very nice of the Greens to help boost the income of Whale Oil.

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$100 million for rural broadband

August 27th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

NBR reports:

InternetNZ has welcomed a move by ICT Minister Amy Adams to top up the six-year, $300 million Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) with $100 million more in contestable funding if National is re-elected.

Ms Adams has also promised $50 million to boost mobile phone coverage in remote areas.

The policy would be funded by extending the Telecommunications Development Levy, currently due to expire in 2016, for another three years.

The Levy (successor to the old Kiwi Share Levy that used to go straight into Telecom’s pocket) extracts $50 million a year from telecommunications companies, proportionate to their revenue (see Commerce Commission table right).

As the law stands, the levy will reduce to $10 million a year after 2016.

Funds from the levy go toward the RBI build, which is being carried out by contract winners Vodafone (building new cell towers fixed wireless broadband leg) and Chorus (fibre). Unlike the $1.35 billion the Crown is investing in various companies involved in the urban Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) rollout, the money does not have to be paid back, and Chorus and Vodafone get to operate RBI infrastructure on a commercial basis (with the proviso they give all retailers equal access). 

The fact the new funding is contestable is a blow for Chorus, which had been feeding off rumours that National will put more money toward public-private broadband. 

I think it is a good thing that the funding will be contestable, so rural regions get the best bang for the buck.

Today’s policy announcement has also put Labour on the backfoot. 

National has already comprehensively out-spent the previous Labour government on broadband; Labour’s ICT policy promised new spending in the region of $21 million.

Again, David Cunliffe and Clare Curran find themselves out-Laboured by Steven Joyce and Amy Adams.

Labour need all the spare money to pay families on welfare more money for staying on welfare.

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Studying Simon Lusk

August 24th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Geoffrey Miller has gone back through Simon Lusk’s Master’s thesis on Ecampaigning, and makes some observations.

 

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If you want to follow the 100 recommended on Twitter

August 18th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar


Geoffrey Miller (who co-authored the list) has set up a Tweet list of the 100 accounts to fllow for the election, for those interested.

Actually the list only has 99 members on it, because for some reason Martyn Bradbury has blocked him!

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Smart lights

August 18th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Wellington wants to be the first city in the southern hemisphere with street lights that track runaway dogs, flash when someone is in danger and dim when there is no one around.

A city council committee will this week consider whether to upgrade the capital’s 18,000 street lights with brighter LED bulbs and digital technology that interacts with smartphones, tablet computers and GPS satellites.

They would also be fitted with infra-red sensors so they can dim to about 10 per cent of full power when no-one is around and illuminate whenever someone walks by.

Paul Glennie, the city council’s team leader of strategic planning, said all sorts of services could be delivered once the capital’s street lights were all “talking to each other” across a wireless connection.

Wellingtonians could use their smartphones or tablets to tap into the lights and track how far away a rubbish truck was or see which lamppost their microchipped dog was sniffing around.

Motorists could be directed to available parking spaces via their GPS devices.

City officials could also adjust light levels via their smart-devices or a text message whenever heavy rain or snow hit the city, or when emergency services required.

“It could be that street lights actually flash outside a property that has called for an ambulance,” Glennie said.

LED lights use less power but produce better light, and illuminate to 100 per cent without the need for a warm-up period.

That means there would be no danger to public safety but energy use could drop by up to 95 per cent, Glennie said.

“Currently we leave the lights on all night whether there’s people around or not. But if we can turn them down when no one is around then no one should really be affected.”

Creating the southern hemisphere’s first “smart” light network could cost between $10 million and $20m but save capital ratepayers about $2.1m each year in energy savings.

Sounds a good investment to me.

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100 people to follow on Twitter

August 17th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Bryce Edwards in the NZ Herald gives a list of 100 people to follow on Twitter for the election.

Redbaiter will be delighted to have made the list. Well done Red!

The slightly sad thing is I think I was already following 99 of the 100 people listed (can’t follow myself!)

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Dotcom has another go at Xero

August 16th, 2014 at 5:53 am by David Farrar

Chris Keall reports:

Not content with trolling over the Hager book, Kim Dotcom decided to pick another fight with business icon Rod Drury, baiting him over Xero’s share price.

Get off the grass, Kim.

The political party Dotcom founded is campaigning for cheaper and better broadband connectivity, domestically and internationally. Drury has pushed hard on both those issues. So you’d think he’d be someone Dotcom would respect. …

Dotcom is claiming credit for Xero’s share price dropping 20%, as if this is a proud achievement.

Xero has 330,000 small businesses as customers, and has created 900 jobs – mainly in New Zealand.  They are our our most successful Internet based company. Rod personally has also been a huge champion for Internet issues.

Yet the founder of the Internet Party denigrates him, for he won’t worship at the Dotcom altar. So again do we think Doctom put $4 million into the Internet Party because he is passionate about Internet issues, or because he wants utu?

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Welcome Spark

August 8th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Simon Moutter today hoists a new flag up Telecom’s mast, marking its tack away from two decades as New Zealand’s safe and stodgy telecommunications provider.

For the managing director, it’s a signal of the company’s new direction, towards a bright digital horizon of revenue growth and new services such as internet television.

Moutter’s flag, bearing the new company name Spark, aims to jettison Telecom’s past persona and chart a course to it becoming a competitive provider of communications, entertainment, and cloud computing services.

I”m loving the new Telecom. They have become a competitive retailer, instead of a regulatory gamer.

Spark were the first company to bring in flat rate data roaming, and also the first big player to bring in uncapped fibre plans. They now try to be a market leader, rather than stop the market evolving.

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A giganation?

August 5th, 2014 at 4:02 pm by David Farrar

Telecom have said:

It’s time for a ‘Giganation’ says Telecom as UFB coverage hits 100%

Telecom, soon to be Spark New Zealand, says the time has come for Gigabit per second data download speeds to be available across all of New Zealand’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre network.

Telecom made the call today as its Ultra Fibre products became available in the Taupo area – making it the only Internet Service Provider (ISP) selling fibre broadband services everywhere in New Zealand where the UFB network is currently active.

“When the UFB network rollout began in 2012, the standard download speeds available were 30 or 100 Megabits per second (Mbps),” says Telecom’s General Manager Product and Service Delivery, Lindsay Cowley.

“Since then, we’ve seen encouraging product innovation and speed increases across the four fibre companies who are contracted by the Government to build the UFB network and offer wholesale services to ISPs. Telecom has worked constructively with all LFCs to bring fibre products to people around New Zealand.

“A top download speed of 1000 Megabits, or 1 Gigabit, per second – the maximum technically possible under the UFB network’s current configuration – is now on the table as Ultrafast Fibre Ltd has announced it will launch the product throughout their coverage area of approximately 162,000 addresses in the central North Island.

I agree with Telecom. I love being on fibre and have chosen a 30/10 package as that is all I need for now. But demand keeps growing and we want everyone on UFB to have the option of a 1 Gb/s connection so people can choose the connection speed (and price) most suitable to them.

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Online voting report released

August 5th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said:

A report looking at the feasibility of online voting for local body elections has been welcomed by Associate Local Government Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.

In September 2013, Cabinet agreed to establish a working party to consider the feasibility of online voting in New Zealand’s local elections. The working party met from December 2013 to May 2014 and has now reported back with its recommendations.

Mr Lotu-Iiga says the working party found online voting for local elections is feasible. The report said that online voting has the potential to enhance the operation of local democracy and offer New Zealanders a more accessible and convenient option to cast their vote.

“One of the major benefits of online voting is as a tool of convenience. It would enable voters to act on their intention to vote quicker, easier and in a forum more in line with the modern digital age,” he says.

“We have seen good examples of that recently with the census, where 35 per cent of forms were completed online in 2013, which is up from 7 per cent in 2006.”

I was on the working group that write the report. It was a lot of work, but I’m really pleased with the report.  Very impressed with the DIA staff who supported the working group.

The report makes seven findings. They are:

  1. online voting is feasible
  2. broad implementation is not feasible in 2016
  3. online voting should be trialled in 2016 as part of local elections
  4. online voting can improve and enhance the voting experience
  5. public trust and confidence must be maintained
  6. implementing online voting will require a partnership approach
  7. securing online voting is critical, but not easy

Some of the specific recommendations include:

  • online voting should be considered complementary to postal or booth voting and not as a replacement to existing voting methods
  • Councils and their communities should choose whether online voting is available as a voting method
  • In order to ensure that online voting systems are secure enough, the Department should harness the expertise of the wider security community through a ‘bug bounty’ or similar process to attract constructive analysis of proposed systems for vulnerabilities.
  • The Department should ensure that any online voting solutions are highly auditable.
  • For the 2016 trials, online voting should use the existing postal ballot issue to communicate login details to users, only allow one-time access to the online voting system and use two factor authentication if possible – our preferred option is for the voter to use their date of birth (acquired from the electoral roll) as a ‘shared secret’

The Institute of IT Professionals has welcomed the report:

IITP CEO Paul Matthews, who sat on the working group, welcomed the release of the report today. “This report plots the path forward for online voting in New Zealand, and carefully weighs up the issues around security and other factors”, Matthews said.

During the development of the report, the Institute was heavily engaged and very pleased with the focus of the Working Group and Government on protecting the integrity of voter’s private information amidst the security implications of online voting.

“We especially support the recommendation of a ‘bug bounty’ approach to the online voting system. While bug bounties are used extensively in our sector by most prominent technology companies, this would be a step forward for a Government and is one of the key recommendations from the IT profession to Government last year, following various public sector security breaches.”

“We thank the Minister for looking to IITP and other organisations such as Internet New Zealand to provide independent expertise for this Working Group. As the representative body for the IT Profession, this enabled IITP to work with others to ensure tech-related factors were well considered, independently and without technology bias,” Matthews concluded.

Basically what is needed now is for central and local government to work together to determine how to find the initial costs of developing a robust online voting system. This will have potential for not just local government elections, but also referenda. Note I don’t advocate using online voting for parliamentary elections – just as a complementary option to those systems that rely on postal ballots – as the postal system is basically dying.

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Spark

August 1st, 2014 at 7:21 am by David Farrar

spark

Peter McCaffery has noted the similarities. He hopes Telecom didn’t pay their designers too much money!

UPDATE: Telecom comments:

* The Telus Spark logo displayed doesn’t seem anything like their main logo (see link below) although it seems they use a similar graphic device in some circumstances  http://www.sparkscience.ca/

*Whatever the similarities might be, Telus Spark the Science Centre opened in Oct 2011 – two years after Telecom started using the ‘spark’ logo as part of our 2009 rebranding.

Seems to be great minds think alike then!

 

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www.govt.nz

July 30th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Attended the launch of the revamped Government portal, www.govt.nz, last night. With a goal of having 70% of transactions with the Government done online, it is important to be able to easily find out where to do them.

The site is clean and simple. Sensible categories, and information. I tried searching on various terms such as “pay tax” and “Milford Track and it came up with the page I wanted. The only term it didn’t cover was “tenders”.

So overall seems to be a successful revamp, that will be a good gateway for residents and organisations to use to find out where most Government information is online.

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NZ Taxis against Uber

July 30th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Controversial car travel app Uber is eyeing the Wellington market but the taxi federation says it is illegal under New Zealand law and warns that it is “sugar-coated poison” that will lead to higher fares.

Uber has denied claims it was operating illegally since it started in May in Auckland, where people can book a ride from motorists who are not cabbies.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said Uber was effectively acting as a booking agent for a network of private hire service providers – not as a taxi firm – and those private hire services were a long-established form of passenger service in New Zealand.

The Taxi Federation doesn’t like the idea of competition. I do. Can’t wait for Uber to get here.

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Internet Party and social media

July 29th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Beveridge blogs on two social media gaffes by the Internet Party.

  1. Dotcom posting a joke about Batman killing a hooker
  2. The Internet Party a modified version of Picasso’s Guernica, which was about the bombing of the Spanish village by German and Italian planes, killing many civilians

Matthew has a collection of tweets in response, which are interesting.

This is not the first time by Dotcom. He actually tweeted some rape jokes a while back. Yet Laila Harre has no compunction about being his mouthpiece, while also condemning the “rape culture” in New Zealand.

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Chorus v Telecom

July 28th, 2014 at 4:03 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Chorus has returned fire over a complaint Telecom laid with the Commerce Commission over a new copper broadband product.

Telecom said Chorus planned to impose an “artificial cap” of 250 kilobits-per-second on the average throughput of its regulated copper broadband service in order to make new “premium” products it announced in May more attractive.

Telecom said the move would significantly degrade the performance of regulated copper broadband services, the price of which is set by the Commerce Commission.

It has laid a complaint against Chorus, saying the proposals breached the Telecommunications Act and were also a “breach of good faith”.

The commission said it would investigate the complaint and revealed CallPlus had also voiced concerns about Chorus’ changes.

This shows what a good idea it was to separate Telecom and Chorus. In the old days, this may have just happened without dissent. It is a good thing to have the interests of the largest competitive provider separate to the interests of the monopoly infrastructure provider.

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Dotcom attacks Drury and Xero

July 28th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

One News reports:

A war of words has erupted between Kim Dotcom and the founder of online accounting software firm Xero.

Speaking on TVNZ’s Q+A programme, Rod Drury said Internet Party leader Laila Harre knows nothing about technology and he wished Mr Dotcom would go away.

“At the beginning it was really cool to see someone like that come through but his manipulation of the media, so he’s very media savvy, understands that it’s a good story, that journalism’s cheap, I think it’s a big sideshow,” said Mr Drury.

Kim Dotcom then hit back with a string of tweets, claiming Xero was over-valued and pointing out how many more users his own company has.

“CEO of totally overvalued NZ cloud ‘accounting’ company Xero (300k users) says: ‘I represent the Internet Generation. Kim Dotcom doesn’t’,” tweeted Kim Dotcom.

One of the tweets is below:

Not such a nice guy is he when you dare to criticise him.

I would point out that Xero’s 300,000 users all pay for Xero. From $500 a year upwards. The vast vast majority of Mega users (and I am one) have a free account – because it is, well, free.  I understand well under 1% of Mega’s customers are paying customers.

I want both companies to succeed. I use both. Mega is very different company to Megaupload. But it is not a good look to have the self proclaimed mentor of the Internet Party trash talking and denigrating NZ’s most successful Internet company. But that just confirms the Internet Party is about Kim Dotcom, not about the Internet.

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Drury on ICT and Internet Party

July 26th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

IT Brief reports:

As the political heavyweights debated the future ICT roadmap for New Zealand last night, Rod Drury sat shaking his head in the crowd.

Taking the stage amidst the backdrop of Auckland’s evening sky, key political figures debated long into the night about the future of New Zealand’s ICT sector.

Chaired by the New Zealand Technology Industry Association, CEO Candace Kinser orchestrated discussion with technology representatives from National, Labour, the Green Party and the Internet MANA parties.

But as the opinions flowed and policies were outlined, Xero’s charismatic CEO reawakened a conversation which, in the eyes of the entrepreneur, drifted widely off the overriding issue.

“I find this really depressing but I’ll try to be positive about it,” he said, in his typically outspoken manner.

Addressing Internet Party leader Laila Harre first, Drury told the recently elected head of the Kim Dotcom funded political party: “We’ve been in the industry for 20 years and you don’t speak for us, Kim Dotcom should go away and it’s kind of insulting to hear what you speak about because it doesn’t take into account the hard work we’ve done for the last 20 years.”

Rod is never shy about saying what he thinks. His view on this issue, is widely shared I must say.

According to Drury, panelists Harre, Amy Adams, Clare Curran and Gareth Hughes spoke about “incremental stuff which everybody else is already doing”, branding the discussion “boring.”

National had the big bold vision in 2008 of fibre to the homes of 75% of New Zealanders. I’m pretty comfortable with keeping the focus for now on the implementation of that. But we move towards the completion of that, we do need to get some thought leadership and vision on how we use it.

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Labour’s Comms & ICT policies

July 25th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I think it is a sign that the Government is doing most things right,  when most of Labour’s policies seem to be to keep the status quo and just have a lot of reviews. This is not a bad thing. An Opposition shouldn’t promise massive change just for the sake of it.

Labour’s policy is here. The details are:

  • Review the Ultra-fast Broadband project
  • Review the Rural Broadband Initiative
  • Review the telecommunications regulatory framework
  • Review the Telecommunications Service Obligations
  • Encourage local authorities to include broadband availability in their online maps
  • Hope someone builds a second cable, and offer the same money as National to be an anchor tenant in one
  • $2.4 million a year for local Councils to roll out Internet access to low income communities
  • $1.6 million a year for a pilot rural fibre connectivity scheme
  • $1.3 million a year for a connectivity innovation fund
  • Review the Telecommunications, Commerce and Radio Communication Acts
  • Review the Copyright Act
  • Review the recommendations of the Data Futures Forum

There’s nothing bad in this policy. The modest spending commitment of around $5 million could get some good results.  But largely the policy is an endorsement of the status quo and almost a dozen reviews. Some seem pointless, while others are very desirable (I am very keen on a first principles review of copyright law).

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