Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Harmful Digital Communications goes to committee stage

March 25th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A new law to stamp out cyber bullying has passed through another parliamentary stage.

MPs debated the second reading of the Harmful Digital Communications bill on Tuesday night. It will create a new offence of sending messages or posting material to cause harm, punishable by up to two years in jail or a $2000 fine. 

Inciting someone to commit suicide will carry a maximum three-year jail sentence.

National and support partners United Future, ACT and the Maori Party voted for the legislation. 

But the bill has critics – including Labour and NZ First. There are concerns the new law will limit free speech, and may criminalise teenagers with harsh penalties.

The law also goes much further than proposals in Australia and the UK, which are less punitive.

Labour’s Clare Curran says she supports the intent of the bill – and cyber bullying is “horrible.”

But the legislation is poorly drafted and there was no input from young people, she added.  Labour are willing to work with Justice Minister Amy Adams with any amendments at the next committee stages.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said he had raised “major concerns” about the bill with Adams and cannot guarantee his support at the next Parliamentary stage.

He said there may be some amendments from the Government which will allay fears, but won’t confirm his vote until he has seen them.

“I have given no commitment to support the Bill beyond the second reading, in view of the concerns that have been expressed, and pending the government’s response to those concerns,” he said.

His concerns centred on “criminalisation and law of unintended consequences…concerns about scope of coverage, and enforceability.”

The bill as currently drafted is quite flawed, and I hope the Government does make changes at the committee stage.

The bill addresses a very real problem, but sometimes the cure can be worse than the problem.


2 degrees buys Snap

March 24th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

2degrees is on a better footing to compete with giants Spark and Vodafone with the purchase of smaller telco Snap, and the addition of home phone lines and home broadband to its mobile service.

No price was disclosed for the purchase of the telecom and internet service firm, although an industry report has said 2degrees had agreed to buy Snap for $26 million.

2degrees first announced it planned to move into the fixed-line market in August 2012.

The two will combine under the 2degrees brand, delivering broadband and mobile service to consumers, businesses and enterprise customers nationally.

This is a good thing for consumers. A third full service telco will be good for competition. 2 degrees has been a real success story in the mobile space, and hopefully they’ll do well in other areas.


Reviewing Uber

March 23rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I finally got around to actually using Uber yesterday, and after just two trips in it, I can’t see myself going back to taxis anytime soon. Why?

  • A really easy to use app
  • Shows you the location of the car coming towards you, and its number plate
  • No delay once you’re at the destination by paying driver – automatically charged to your credit card
  • Around a third cheaper than taxi fares, and you don’t have the fare increasing buy the minute as you get stuck in traffic
  • Allows you to rate your driver (and vice versa) and refuse a driver without a good enough rating
  • You get a GPS map of your trips with them, in case you need to query a charge

The first driver I had is a full time Uber driver. He loves it, as he has lots of jobs, has a great 4.9/5.0 rating, and gets to pick the hours he works. Also He commented they get a better class of clientele with Uber. I’ve had four drivers so far and they all love being Uber drivers.

You may have to wait slightly longer for an Uber driver than a taxi. The first ride was an 8 minute wait, and the second a 3 minute wait. However the fact you can see when they are about to arrive is superb, as you only need to go outside once they are arriving.

If you want to give Uber a go, use the promo code uberdpf and you get your first ride of up to $10 free (as will I).

Three of the four cars I had were both very nice cars, similar to what you may get with Corporate Cabs. Drivers all excellent. I’m hooked.


GST online

March 18th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Prime Minister has warned New Zealanders they could soon be paying GST on online purchases as small as a song download from iTunes.

Mr Key said it was inevitable that the cost of online shopping would go up as GST was charged to more goods and services.

GST is not currently charged on imported digital products such as music and film downloaded from services including iTunes.

Because they are not NZ companies. Good luck getting global companies voluntarily agreeing to put their effective prices up so they collect tax for the NZ Government. It is unfair to NZ companies, but there is no easy fix.

A suicidal government could try and ban NZers buying goods from companies not registered for tax in NZ. Ban access to iTunes, Netflix and the like. I think david Parker proposed banning Facebook if they didn’t pay more tax in NZ. National is not so stupid.

The only real solution is for the major economies to agree that a company resident in one country will register for GST type taxes in each country it sells to. But if even one major economy doesn’t become part of such an agreement, then it won’t work. The OECD does have a work programme for this.

Physical goods bought online and worth less than $400 also usually escape GST.

Because the cost of stopping every envelope and parcel at the border, and holding it until GST is paid by the buyer, would cost tens of millions. The de minimis amount should be set at the point which the revenue would significantly outweigh the collection costs. This may be less than $400, or more than $400.

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March 16th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar reports on the spectacular backfiring of Hamas attempting to reach out with a #AskHamas campaign on Twitter.

My favourite response was:

If a tree falls in the woods, and there’s no one to hear it fall, is it still Israel’s fault?

Other good ones are:

  • how it chooses human shields
  • Given a choice, is it better to hide a weapons cache in a hospital’s radiology or pediatrics unit?
  • Why did you murder 30 civilians, including 20 people over the age of 70, at a Passover Seder in Netanya in 2002?
  • Are your brave billionaire ‘leaders’ still urging you and your children to martyrdom from the luxury of a 5-star hotel in Qatar?
  • When is the Gaza City gay pride parade this year?
  • Please provide the exact date of your next rocket campaign vs . And how many dead civilians before you accept a ceasefire?
  • Why did you murder my friends Orit Ozarov and Livnat Dvash and 9 other innocent Israelis at the Moment Cafe on March 9th, 2002?
  • When you drag someone into the street to execute them do you prefer paper or cloth bags over their heads?
  • Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?
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NZ has fastest fibre growth

March 15th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Amy Adams announced:

Fibre growth connections in New Zealand have tripled in the last year, putting us first of all 34 countries in the OECD, says Communications Minister Amy Adams.

The latest OECD Broadband Portal penetration statistics show New Zealand is now number one among developed countries for annual growth of fibre connections from June 2013 to June 2014, with an annual growth of 272 per cent.

The average annual growth of fibre connections in the OECD was 12.4 per cent.

“In the year to December 2014, fibre connections in New Zealand grew from 19,000 to 69,301. This is an impressive jump and demonstrates the impact that the Government’s $2 billion investment in the Ultra-fast Broadband and Rural Broadband Initiative programme is having on the telecommunications services available to New Zealanders,” says Ms Adams.

We are coming off a low base, but that’s excellent growth.

“Over the past ten years, we have moved up from 22nd place out of 30 OECD countries in June 2004 to being 15th out of 34 OECD countries for fixed broadband subscriptions as at June 2014,” says Ms Adams.

“We are now ahead of Australia, the US and Japan for fixed broadband, with more than 31 broadband subscriptions for every 100 New Zealanders signed up for this service.

Good to now be in the top half. The reforms of both this Government and the previous one have helped.

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What people will pay for a top level domain

March 5th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Most will be aware that over the last couple of years companies can apply to be the registry for new top level domains. The application fee is around US$250,000, which provides a minimum level that applicants will think they are worth.

A couple of dozen strings have competing applicants, and if they can’t agree between themselves on who gets the string, then ICANN auctions it off. We have the results of 10 auctions to date, which provides an interesting insight into how valuable different TLDs are seen to be. The winning auction bids were:

  1. .app $25,001,000
  2. .tech $6,760,000
  3. .realty $5,588,888
  4. .salon $5,100,575
  5. .buy $4,588,888
  6. .mls $3,359,000
  7. .baby $3,088,888
  8. .vip $3,000,888
  9. .spot $2,200,000
  10. .dot $700,000

I can see .app doing very well. Not so sure about some of the others.

For those wondering .mls stands for multiple listing service, a common term in the US real estate industry.


Apple case shows need for patent reform

March 5th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Apple has been ordered to pay nearly $US533 million by a federal jury that found the company’s iTunes music store uses software that infringes on patents held by a Texas company.

An attorney for plaintiff Smartflash LLC praised the verdict. Apple immediately announced plans to appeal and said the case shows the need for Congress to reform the US patent system.

The case involves three patents that Smartflash holds for software used in storing data files and managing access through an online payment system. The outcome will likely add fuel to a broader debate over the federal patent system and complaints that it’s easily abused by companies that make most of their revenue through patent lawsuits.

“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no US presence and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented,” Apple said in a printed statement.

The statement added: “We rely on the patent system to protect real innovation and this case is one more example of why we feel so strongly Congress should enact meaningful patent reform.”

I agree with Apple.The US should follow NZ and not allow patents for software. You have scores of companies that file patents on as much software as possible, just so they can then sue someone who comes along with a similar idea. As in this case, they never produce anything with their patents – they just use them for lawsuits.

It is likely the decision will be overturned on appeal, but it is a shame so much money is wasted on endless patent lawsuits between IT companies.

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An online court for smaller claims?

March 3rd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

The UK justice system should receive a radical overhaul for the digital age with the creation of an online court to expand access to justice and resolve claims of up to £25,000, the official body that oversees civil courts has recommended.

In a transformative proposal for largely lawyer-free, virtual courtrooms, the civil justice council is calling for an internet-based dispute resolution system to be available within two years.

Backed by Lord Dyson, the master of the rolls, who is head of the civil judiciary in England and Wales, the report says existing services – such as eBay’s disagreement negotiation procedure and Cybersettle’s blind-bidding operations – provide prototypes worth studying.

The online dispute resolution (ODR) model proposed in the report envisages a three-tier process: evaluation through interactive services and information, negotiation with online “facilitators” and finally, if agreement has not been reached, resolution by a trained judge relying on electronic submissions.

Only the judge need be legally qualified. If necessary, telephone hearings could be built into the last stage. Rulings by the online judge would be as enforceable as any courtroom judgment.

I think this is a very worthy idea.

There are already some smaller scale precedents such as the .nz dispute resolution service which has a mediation stage, and then an arbitration/decision stage – all done without a face to face hearing.

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ISP market share

March 3rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Jon Brewer has estimated ISP market shares based on Stats NZ and APNIC (IP addresses) data.

The top 10 are:

  1. Spark 41.4%
  2. Vodafone 28.1%
  3. Callplus 16.2%
  4. Snap 2.2%
  5. Trustpower 1.2%
  6. Megatel 0.7%
  7. Woosh 0.7%
  8. Compass 0.6%
  9. Worldxchange 0.5%
  10. Actrix 0.4%

A huge gap between the big three, and the next seven.

In total 79 ISPs are listed, of whom 36 have over 1,000 customers.


English wants to have the geeks more involved in policy

February 20th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Public sector mandarins will have to change their ways by giving geeks a bigger seat at the policy table, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English has warned.

Ministers wanted more “facts” and agencies should start referring to people as “customers” not clients, he said. …

English said the structure of government was going to change much more over the next 10 years than it had over the past 30.

“The use of other words like ‘clients’ hasn’t brought about in the past the kind of culture shift that we need,” he said.

English was speaking in Wellington at an annual homage to technocracy, a conference organised by United States firm SAS Institute, a leading provider of software tools to crunch “big data”.

Data and data analytics should be an intrinsic part of policy-making but that was not how the public service was organised, he said.

“We are making a lot of policy with people who know nothing about customers. We are organised with the sociology graduates ‘over here’ and the geeks down the corridor somewhere.” 

Departments didn’t bring technical people who understood their data to meetings unless ministers specifically requested it, he said. 

“That will change. Policy without using these tools won’t mean much to us because our policies are pretty pragmatic. They are focused on getting better results for customers.”

Very much agree data should be a big part of decision making. The analysis of data should occur in both the public and private sectors. An important part of this is to have the Government continue to make its internal data available outside of Government.

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RIP Red Alert?

February 20th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Insider reports:

The Red Alert blog site was once touted by Labour as the place where its MPs would re-engage with the public and members, to debate policy and excite voters. Now it resembles a ghost town, with digital tumbleweed blowing through its pages. The most recent post is from Darien Fenton, talking about her valedictory speech – last July.

Even before that is was dying. I do more posts in one day than they’ve done in the last 12 months.

Maybe the time has come for them to euthanise it.


iPhone 6+

February 15th, 2015 at 10:43 am by David Farrar reports:

THE Apple iPhone 6 Plus phablet has changed the way we use our smartphone, sending people around the world scrambling to watch video on their bigger and better screens, a global report has found.

The Citrix Mobile Analytics Report, which looks at the a global cross section of mobile network usage for 2015, found that Apple fans who own a 5-inch iPhone 6 Plus use twice as much data as those with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

The report attributes that extra data demand to a insatiable hunger for video for those people with the bigger screen phablet.

This does not surprise me. I have a 6 Plus. Since I got it, I have not used my iPad in over two months. I can use the 6 Plus to view videos, read documents, browse more websites etc. I was nervous about it being too big when I ordered it, but am very very glad I did get a 6 Plus, not just a 6.

It is no coincidence that this week Apple became the first company in history to break the $700 billion mark in terms of market capitalisation.


Air NZ and WiFi

February 14th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The ability to board a plane and shut off from the world is a luxury in an always-on world of technology. Or so it used to be. Airlines across the world are increasingly offering free on-board wi-fi, or at somewhat affordable prices.

Domestically, it was once an offering on Air New Zealand flights when it launched its Rugby World Cup branded A320s in 2011 (at a trial rate of a whopping $20 per megabyte). Quietly, and presumably because the trial was a flop, in-flight wi-fi disappeared within months and has never returned – not even on the new international 787-9 Dreamliners.

How surprising that people don’t want to pay $20,000 a GB!!!

Qantas in Australia experienced similar disappointment. In 2012 it conducted trials of wi-fi (at prices ranging between $14 and $43, depending on pre-purchased data allowance), but less than 5 per cent of customers used the service. It seems now, though, that New Zealand and Australia’s national airlines are falling behind.

In late 2014, Emirates launched free on-board wi-fi for the first 10MB (enough to check emails and social media accounts), with a nominal US$1 (NZ$1.35) fee for the next 600MB. This includes some flights in and out of New Zealand, such as the daily Auckland-Sydney A380 flights.

That’s not bad.

Eventually, Emirates will offer wi-fi as a free and standard in-flight service, much like its on-board entertainment selection.


Emirates reported a daily average of 3500 global connections across all of its flights last October, with the highest number of users on a single flight being 153 passengers.

Shows there is demand for it at the right price.

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UFB progress

February 13th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

MBIE has the latest quarterly report on UGB progress.

  • 43% of homes in the target areas are now UFB capable
  • Almost 70,000 homes now have fibre connected and working
  • Northland is 100% complete, Waikato 77% complete and Bay of Plenty 68% complete
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Has NZ caved on copyright in the TPP?

February 9th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The EFF report:

New reports indicate that Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators have agreed to language that would bind its 12 signatory nations to extend copyright terms to match the United States’ already excessive length of copyright. This provision expands the reach of the controversial US Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (or the “Mickey Mouse Act” as it was called due to Disney’s heavy lobbying) to countries of the Pacific region. Nations including Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Canada would all be required to extend their terms and grant Big Content companies lengthy exclusive rights to works for no empirical reason. This means that all of the TPP’s extreme enforcement provisions would apply to creative works for upwards of 100 years. …

These are the terms of the proposal, revealed by several leaks of the TPP Intellectual Property chapter: If the copyright holder is an individual, the minimum copyright term would extend to the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years after her death.

It is unclear if NZ has caved on just the length of copyright, or also on all the other issues in the intellectual property chapter. If it is the latter, that is truly bad as the US proposed text would be severely detrimental to the Internet, ISPs and users.

If they have only caved on the length of copyright, that is less bad but still undesirable. The current NZ law is for copyright to apply for life plus 50 years, and an extension to life plus seventy is not justified.

The reason we have copyright is to protect and encourage innovation and creative works. If there was no copyright at all, then we’d have few authors and movies. However no author or creator is encouraged to produce creative works by the possibility royalties will still flow 70 years after they die.

You could make a principled case that copyright should only apply for the life of a creator. However that could set up an incentive to kill authors to make their works public domain, plus if they have young children it is fair that royalties from their works should continue while their children become adults.

So I think a copyright term of life plus 20 years is what we should have. We should not be always extending the life of copyright to benefit some US corporations. Think if you could never put on a Shakespearean play without having to pay a large fee to the great great great great grand children of Shakespeare.

Copyright is an invented right, which seeks to balance the rights of creators and the rights of users. It is not an natural right such as free speech. It is an important intellectual property right, but extending the term to life plus 70 years will not benefit creators (they will be long dead). It will benefit a few large corporations.

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Top rated ISPs

February 5th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The annual Consumer survey of ISPs is out. Five ISPs had a rating of 90% or higher. They are:

  1. Inspire Net and Actrix 97%
  2. Snap 93%
  3. WxC and Now NZ 90%

Always happy to see Kiwiblog’s host ISP rated at the top.


Household Internet access by income

February 4th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ has released census data showing 77% of households have Internet access at home, up from 61% at the previous census. This varies greatly by household income.

  • Under $25,000 is 46%
  • $25 k to $50 k is 68%
  • $50 k to $100 k is 87%
  • Over $100k is 96%

Not entirely clear though if having an Internet capable mobile counts as home Internet access,

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NZ Govt 4th in world for open data strategies

February 3rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Computerworld reports:

New Zealand has ranked joint-fourth in the recently published World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data Barometer, which highlights the role that cities could play in countries’ open data strategies.

The 2014-15 edition of the Open Data Barometer examines open data readiness, implementation, and impact across 86 countries, providing a country ranking based on scores in each of these three categories.

The findings from the newly released report point to a growing divide between those countries able to establish and sustain open data programmes, and those countries where open data activities have stalled, moved backwards or not yet begun.

The UK once again earned the top spot in the Barometer’s global rankings this year, followed by the US, Sweden, France and New Zealand while Australia ranked joint-tenth in the list.

“Governments continue to shy away from publishing the very data that can be used to enhance accountability and trust” and highlighted the power of open data “to put power in the hands of citizens,” says Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Web inventor and founder of the Web Foundation.

Bill English has played a key role in championing an open data strategy for the New Zealand Government, and while stil much work to be done, good to see we are well placed.


A great crowdfunder

January 29th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Wellington brewer Yeastie Boys successfully tapped into $500,000 last night, less than 30 minutes after its equity crowdfunding campaign launched.

In December, the craft brewer said it expected to double turnover to about $1.5 million if it managed to raise the moneyon the PledgeMe platform.

Creative director Stu McKinlay said at the time the capital raised would be used to develop the company’s production in Britain and sales across Europe.

Last night, McKinlay rang the bell for the opening of the capital raising, and within half an hour the $500,000 mark had been reached.

“It’s great to be able to immediately refocus on making beer and getting it to the people who love it,” McKinlay said.

“It’s why we’re here and why our crowd supported us.”

The company sold a 12.5 per cent stake at a dollar a share, valuing it at about $4m.

I love how the Internet has made it so easy for companies and good causes to attract capital, and that individuals can now easily pledge support to initiatives they support and think will be successful.


David Cameron losing it?

January 14th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Use Snapchat or WhatsApp to keep in touch with British relatives? You might want to enjoy that while it lasts.

As the British general election campaign begins and European tension mounts over the recent Paris attacks, Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested banning encrypted messaging services if British intelligence agencies were not allowed access to the communications. Snapchat, Apple’s iMessage, and WhatsApp all encrypt the messages sent through their applications, along with innumerable other services.

“Are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read?” he asked during a campaign speech. “My answer to that is: ‘No, we must not.'”

I like a lot of what David Cameron has done, but he has increasingly authoritarian tendencies when it comes to the Internet. Banning messaging that uses encryption on the Internet is nuts. I doubt it is possible, and it is definitely undesirable.


Marriott trying to block Wi-Fi

January 6th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

CNN reports:

Google and Microsoft have joined a growing chorus of businesses that oppose Marriott’s attempt to block guests’ Wi-Fi hotspots in their hotel rooms.

Marriott (MAR) and the hotel lobby American Hospitality & Lodging Association asked the FCC this summer to allow hotels to deploy equipment that prevents people from turning their phones into Wi-Fi hotspots.

In order to avoid pricey hotel Wi-Fi charges, many guests opt to use their data allotment from their cell phone provider, connecting their laptops to the Internet via their smartphones.

At Marriott connection rates start at $14.95 per day. For $19.95, guests get “enhanced high speed Internet” which includes video chatting, downloading large files and streaming video.

In its petition to the FCC, Marriott and the hotel lobby argued that guests can use their smartphones or Mi-Fi devices to launch an attack against a hotel’s Wi-Fi network or threaten other guests’ privacy (by stealing their credit card data or other personal information). They also said that those gadgets can interfere with the hotel’s Wi-Fi, slowing down speeds for other customers.

What a load of duplicitous crap. They just want to force people to pay them huge amounts of money to access the Internet.  I would never ever ever stay at a hotel that blocked me being able to tether my laptop to my phone.

Marriott do not control the airwaves around their hotel. They have no more right to block external Internet access by guests, than they do to block oxygen, so guests have to pay for their own oxygen from Marriott.


Online speech in the UK

January 5th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

James Bloodworth at The Independent writes:

At some point saying “offensive” things online stopped being a social faux pas and became a potentially criminal act.

Dare to be rude about the wrong person or group and, in a bad parody of Erich Honecker’s East Germany, you could hear the knock on the door in the middle of the night and be dragged off to some dreary police cell for questioning.

I exaggerate of course, but not much: around 20,000 people in Britain have been investigated in the past three years for comments made online, with around 20 people a day being looked into by the forces of the law, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Appalling. As we consider the remaining stages of the Harmful Digital Communications Act, we should be careful to ensure we don’t end up with the same in NZ.

And so, in a further erosion of free expression, the police in Scotland have this week decided to investigate former Apprentice star and professional controversialist Katie Hopkins for off-colour comments made online about the Scottish nurse who contracted Ebola.

Doing what she is paid handsomely to do (and presumably what got her 291,000 Twitter followers), Hopkins came up with the most grotesque thing she could say about the issue and condensed it into 140 characters, tweeting that the nurse in question was a “sweaty Glaswegian” and referring to Scots as “Jocks”.

In response, the perennially thin-skinned of Twitter cobbled together a 12,000-strong petition demanding that Hopkins be charged over the tweets and handed it to a police force desperately looking to justify its place in the world at a time of falling crime.

There are some sad people outraged on Twitter. And an apple falls to the ground. Both are daily events.

This isn’t only about professional controversialists like Hopkins: what of the woman found guilty of a public order offence for saying that David Cameron had “blood on his hands”? Or Azhar Ahmed, who was prosecuted for an online post mocking the deaths of six British soldiers killed in Afghanistan?

All vile and grossly insensitive certainly; but on balance I think I’m more afraid of the Twitter Stasi and their increasingly zealous police enforcers.

There is no right not to be offended.


Is it time up for Twitter?

December 31st, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Danyl McL blogs:

But two weeks of not-being-on-twitter made me realise something: somewhere along the way twitter became completely awful, and not constantly exposing myself to – and participating in – this endless cacophony of advertising soaked shrill, mean-spirited outrage is a wonderful experience. I encourage other compulsive twitter users to try it.

I’m not quite at this point, but I have to say I’m not far off. Twitter has become somewhat awful. The constant outrage is wearying. Slate even has a feature showing how on every day of 2014, there was a different thing people got outraged over on social media.

I think I’ll follow Danyl’s lead and have a break from Twitter for a couple of weeks. I suspect I’ll enjoy that.


Is paying criminals not to hack a good idea?

December 27th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

NDTV report on how Kim Dotcom stopped a denial of service attack on Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox by giving the hackers 3,000 lifetime vouchers for Mega’s premium service.

While the intention may have been just to be able to play his games (or to get some publicity painting him as a saviour) I think it is a bad precedent to reward hackers – ether for hacking, or for stopping hacking. Either way it incentivises them to do more hacking in future.

Also of interest is that Dotcom claims he is broke, and can’t afford anything – yet gave away 3,000 lifetime premium subscriptions to Mega.

An annual premium subscription is around 100 Euros so NZ$150. A lifetime one would probably be valued at around $2,000 using a modest discount rate. 3,000 x $2,000 is $6 million.

It’s tough being broke.