Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category
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,Tags: Census, Stats NZ
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.Tags: open data
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.Tags: crowdfunding
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.Tags: David Cameron
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.Tags: Marriott
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.Tags: twitter
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.Tags: Kim Dotcom
The FBI has confirmed North Korea was behind the cyber attacks on Sony Pictures.
“As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other US Government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions,” a FBI statement said.
“While the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information, our conclusion is based, in part, on similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks.”
“We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there,” the FBI said in the brief statement.
“Further, North Korea’s attack on SPE (Sony Pictures Entertainment) reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States.”
The FBI said that it had “determined that the intrusion into SPE’s network consisted of the deployment of destructive malware and the theft of proprietary information as well as employees’ personally identifiable information and confidential communications.”
“The attacks also rendered thousands of SPE’s computers inoperable, forced SPE to take its entire computer network offline, and significantly disrupted the company’s business operations.”
While it has seen a rising number of cyber breaches, “the destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets it apart,” the FBI said.
Spark, Vodafone and Telstra today confirmed a less ambitious plan to lay a separate subsea communications cable between Raglan and Sydney at a cost of US$70 million, which the companies said would make New Zealand’s international connections more varied and secure.
The three companies said they would start construction of the 2300 kilometre Tasman Global Access cable early next year and expected to complete it by the middle of 2016.
French multinational Alcatel-Lucent has been awarded the contract to lay the cable, which will comprise two pairs of optical-fibre with a total capacity of 20 terabits per second.
That’s a lot. By comparison Southern Cross has capacity of around 12 Tb/s (of which around 3.6 are lit).
20 Tb/s would allow one million users to be pulling 20 Mb/s each.
Good to see some increased competition in the cable area.Tags: cables
Stuff reports the top Google search terms from NZers in 2014:
Overall top New Zealand Google searches:
1. Fifa World Cup
2. Robin Williams
3. Commonwealth Games
4. Malaysia Airlines
5. iPhone 6
6. Jennifer Lawrence
7. Charlotte Dawson
8. Flappy Bird
Top “how to” searches:
Top “what is” searches:
Top news item searches:
1. Malaysian Airlines crash
2. Cyclone Lusi
3. Scottish Independence
4. Alex from Target
5. Ukraine news
6. Robin Williams’ death
7. Ebola outbreak
8. Wellington earthquake
9. Cyclone Ita
10. Lunar eclipse
Top Kiwis searched:
2. Aaron Smith
3. Rachel Smalley
4. Lisa Lewis
5. Mark Hunt
6. Joseph Parker
7. Benji Marshall
8. Chris Cairns
9. Mona Dotcom
10. Stephen Donald
Top sports searched:
1. Fifa World Cup
2. All Blacks
3. BBC Football
4. Commonwealth Games
An amusing article on Medium about how the the state of Nevada is trying to cope with bad taxi drivers, rather than allow Uber in which allows people to rate their drivers, so future passengers can be guided by them.
Nevada has gone for:
- Have armed cops randomly pull over taxis
- Spend two years trying to get agreement on an information board at the airport
- A spreadsheet on their website
- A complaint form for people over charged $10 that you have to post in
- A $6 million hardware and software package to allow the state to monitor taxi routes
The Herald reports:
There’s no doubt that Uber, a car-sharing service launched in San Francisco in 2009, is a booming business. With billions in estimated revenues, it’s now set up in more than 200 cities in 51 countries.
It’s equally sure, however, that the company has had its share of domestic controversies, from accusations of sabotage against competitors to suggestions that they would threaten journalists. Internationally, when dealing with different laws and cultures, the potential for new controversies is likely even higher.
It’s worth pointing out, of course, that Uber has often been welcomed in countries, and sometimes is viewed as a positive force (in Saudi Arabia some see it as helping women, barred from driving, become more independent).
The company has also shown a remarkable willingness to engage in lengthy legal and publicity battles to win over courts and the public.
But can any one company win so many battles? Below, we’ve listed some of the controversies the American company has found itself in around the world.
The taxi industry is facing what the music industry faced 20 years ago – a threat to their traditional business model from the Internet. They will try to do what they can to stop progress, but they will ultimately fail.
Uber cuts out the traditional middle man – the taxi company. It allows passengers and drivers to connect directly. This is great for consumers and also an opportunity for good drivers to build reputations and clients outside a company.Tags: Uber
Louise Upston has announced:
The Government has agreed to continue work to enable a small number of local authorities to trial online voting, Associate Minister of Local Government Louise Upston said today.
“The agreement to continue work is in response to requests from local government to trial online voting at the October 2016 local authority elections. The councils that may participate in a trial are still to be determined.”
Ms Upston said it is important to ensure the trial process is secure and fair so public confidence in the integrity of local elections can be maintained.
“It will be up to local councils to ensure the necessary groundwork is in place before any trial can go ahead. Any participating local authority will need to ensure governance and funding arrangements are in place, and ensure their communities are consulted with.”
Ms Upston said central government will maintain some oversight and will work with local government to establish the security requirements for an online voting technology solution.
“I’ve asked the Department of Internal Affairs to continue to work closely with the local government sector to develop the necessary policy and technical requirements so that online voting could be trialled safely and securely.
Good to see progress on this issue. It would be good to have some local authorities trialling online voting in 2016, so people have the choice of returning their ballot paper by post or via the Internet.Tags: e-voting
The Herald reports:
Spark New Zealand has warned that prices could rise following the announcement by the Commerce Commission of a proposed new wholesale rates that Chorus charges retail service providers, including Spark.
“Today’s announcement is unexpected and we are now facing costs approximately $60 million a year higher than we previously anticipated. These higher costs will affect all our fixed services, not just broadband services,” said managing director Simon Moutter.
I see no need for price increases. The price announced by the Commerce Commission is around $4 a month more than its earlier determination, but it is around $6 a month less than what had been the status quo.
Moutter said intense market competition meant the anticipated reduction in wholesale broadband charges (signalled by the Commerce Commission as far back as December 2012), had already flowed through into retail broadband prices.
“For instance, what you get in our basic $75 broadband plus home phone plan today would have cost you $105 three years ago. In that time, our wholesale costs have barely moved until the new charges came into effect yesterday.”
Comparing any plan today to what it would have cost a few years ago is not very insightful. 20 years ago a broadband plan with 100 GB data would probably cost $5,000 a month. Data is always dropping in price.
As a consumer I would have liked the Commerce Commission to set the price lower, but their job is to work out what is the proper price for a monopoly utility service based on the cost of providing it. They’ve done that job now, and we should respect their independence.
However it would be useful if they had made a decision on whether the price level is backdated. ISPs do need certainty.Tags: broadband, Commerce Commission
The ODT reports:
An ear-splitting shriek of joy and relief rent the air at Dunedin’s Gigatown office last night as the city was named the winner of the Gigatown competition.
The win came after a massive online push from residents and supporters that lifted the city above its five competitors to the top of the competition.
Seconds after the annoucement, Mayor Dave Cull was at the podium in Wellington accepting the prize he said would have a real effect on Dunedin residents.
”This will affect their lives, it will affect their children’s job prospects, it will affect their educational possibilities, it will affect their medical services, it will affect their retail, it will affect every aspect of our lives.
”This will enhance the possibilities for our whole community.”
Thank God I never have to see another #giga tweet in my life.
Congrats to Dunedin for winning though. Having all residents with access to a gigabit connection will be cool.Tags: Chorus, Dunedin
The ODT reports:
Balclutha parent has resigned from her school’s board of trustees because she believes it is not taking her concerns about Wi-Fi in classrooms seriously. …
Many New Zealand schools operate Wi-Fi in classrooms, but former board member Julia Hunter said she had serious concerns the Government was not paying attention to the growing evidence of biological damage being caused by Wi-Fi, and instead continued to reassure boards everything was safe.
”Sadly, our New Zealand standard is 15 years old and was set on the thermal heating of a 90kg man after only six minutes of exposure.
”Our children . . . are being exposed to this equipment for six hours a day, five days a week.”
Sounds terrible! Except …
Ministry of Education student achievement head Graham Stoop said measurements in New Zealand and overseas showed exposures to radio frequency fields from Wi-Fi equipment were extremely low, amounting to tiny fractions of the limit allowed for the public in New Zealand.
A recent study of two New Zealand schools found the highest exposures were 4000 times below the limit, with typical exposures more than 10,000 times below the limit, he said.
If it was half the limit then maybe you’d get worried.
She also found:
Mrs Hunter said there had been no long-term scientific studies conducted on the harm the equipment was doing to children, and in 2011 the World Health Organisation re-classified Wi-Fi electromagnetic as 2B, a possible carcinogen.
They love that word carcinogen.
”Exposures from Wi-Fi are significantly lower than cellphones. The class 2B classification is also shared with everyday items such as coffee, pickled vegetables, talcum powder and sunblock.”
We must ban coffee and talcum powder in schools also!
No tag for this post.
The Herald reports:
Lightbox, the internet-based television service launched by Spark this year, has welcomed the competition from United States online streaming giant Netflix, which aims to start up in New Zealand in March.
Lightbox says it is “confident” it has enough to offer that Netflix will not have.
Netflix, an online TV and movie website with 53 million customers worldwide, will directly compete with both Sky TV and Lightbox.
It will be good to have Netflix here officially. It gets a bit tiring pretending to be American so they will take your money!Tags: Netflix
The Herald reports:
A complaint has been lodged with police against a former politician who tweeted the name of a prominent Otago man who has permanent name suppression.
The man’s lawyer, Jonathan Eaton, QC, confirmed to the Otago Daily Times a “formal complaint was lodged with the NZ police last evening”.
That complaint related to a tweet by a former politician who named the man on Twitter.
The Herald have not named the former politician. It is not hard to guess though. I’m interested in where liability may lie if you do name the former politician who tweeted. Think through these scenarios.
- If I retweeted the tweet naming the prominent Otago man, then that would very likely mean I breached the supression order also
- If I did not retweet it, but provided a link on my blog to the tweet, would that make me liable? Probably.
- What if I do not link to the specific tweet, but did link to the twitter account. Would I be liable? Less clear cut.
- And what if I named the former politician who tweeted, but did not link to his twitter account. Is simply naming him something that could make me liable? I would hope not, but like the Herald won’t risk it.
The former politician still has the tweets up, and has repeated the name in a subsequent tweet, so I don’t think he cares if he gets prosecuted. Hard to imagine he won’t be, as the breach is deliberate and sustained. I have sympathy for what he did as I think name suppression should not have been granted, but think it is unwise for anyone to deliberately breach a legal order.
Any commenter who names (or hints at identity) of the tweeter (or the supressed) will get a strike.Tags: name suppression, twitter
InternetNZ have said:
InternetNZ is surprised and bemused by recent comments from the Chief Censor that he is considering “prosecuting” Slingshot over its GlobalMode service that enabled Internet users to access sites that were otherwise blocked in New Zealand.
Whether Slingshot’s global mode does or does not breach copyright is a civil issue, not an issue for the Chief Censor.
Yes some people may use it to access material not classified for NZ, just as millions of NZers use You Tube to view videos not classified for NZ.
InternetNZ does not believe that an Internet Service Provider is responsible for what its customers do on the Internet and that to suggest otherwise creates a bizarre world where Internet providers are held up to a different standard to other utility suppliers.
InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter says that CallPlus has every right to provide this service. “The courts have not decided that the service is illegal,” he says. Comments from the Censor would seem to single out ISPs for special treatment, and that isn’t good for the Internet or for Internet users.
“I don’t recall the Censor making similar claims when NZ Post started YouShop, enabling customers to order items that were unavailable in NZ and have them delivered to a phoney address in the United States.
The Chief Censor is at risk of massively over-stepping his role. His role is not to act to protect the commercial business models of NZ distributors. It is not his role to promote regional geo-blocking.
If the Chief Censor does try to prosecute Slingshot, then I’ll happily donate to their legal fees.Tags: Chief Censor, Slingshot
The Herald reports:
US President Barack Obama has embraced a radical change in how the government treats Internet service, coming down on the side of consumer activists who fear slower download speeds and higher costs but angering Republicans and the nation’s cable giants who say the plan would kill jobs.
Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to more heavily regulate Internet providers and treat broadband much as it would any other public utility. He said the FCC should explicitly prohibit Internet providers like Verizon and AT&T from charging data hogs like Netflix extra to move their content more quickly. The announcement sent cable stocks tumbling.
The FCC, an independent regulatory body led by political appointees, is nearing a decision on whether broadband providers should be allowed to cut deals with the content providers but is stumbling over the legal complexities.
“We are stunned the president would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the Internet and calling for extreme” regulation, said Michael Powell, president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the primary lobbying arm of the cable industry, which supplies much of the nation’s Internet access.
This “tectonic shift in national policy, should it be adopted, would create devastating results,” Powell added.
Netflix swung behind Obama, posting to its Facebook page that “consumers should pick winners and losers on the Internet, not broadband gatekeepers.”
“Net neutrality” is the idea that Internet service providers shouldn’t block, slow or manipulate data moving across its networks. As long as content isn’t against the law, such as child pornography or pirated music, a file or video posted on one site will load generally at the same speed as a similarly sized file or video on another site.
This will be interesting to see how it resolves. I back the principle that ISPs should not deliver some content to customers slower, unless the content host pays a surcharge. But the Government should only intervene if there is a serious problem that the market doesn’t solve. The best solution is to have a competitive access market, so that if an access provider tries to charge more to speed up content, customers go elsewhere.
Tags: net neutrality
Philip Matthews has an article in Stuff on the left blogosphere., which is an interesting read. Slightly disappointed that he repeats an accusation that I get paid for blogging (if only!) and fails to mention for The Daily Blog editor was on the payroll of two political parties – neither of which he revealed until right blogs exposed it.
“Right across the Left there are conversations,” says Asher Goldman, co-founder of the newly- launched blog On the Left. “We lost the election, what does that mean?”
Is it even possible that bloggers are part of the problem?
Goldman agrees that blogging and tweeting are no substitute for real-world political activity. It should be an extra not an end in itself.
“A successful blog for me is one that has good stuff to contribute, a community built around it that is participating in useful, productive discussion and a few visitors, hopefully,” Goldman says. …
Goldman is a Green Party member, co-founder Stephanie Rodgers is a Labour member and both believe their new blog should be broadly across the Left rather than overtly party-based. They also want it to be fun, which has not traditionally been a feature of Left-wing politics.
I wish Asher and Stephanie well. If they can make their blog fun, rather than a daily dose of hatred, then they should do very well. It is important to have strong voices from across the political spectrum online. The Internet is a wonderful medium that allows anyone to broadcast – and how influential and listened to they are, is mainly a function of how they conduct themselves.
They already have 13 authors, several of whom used to blog at The Daily Blog. I’ve added them to the blogroll on the left sidebar.Tags: Blogosphere
Stats NZ has done its annual ISP survey. Some changes over time:
- Dialup connections have dropped from 13% in 2011 to 3% in 2014
- Fibre connections up from 13,000 in 2013 to 46,000 in 2014
- Broadband download speeds of under 8 Mb/s down from 33% in 2011 to 14% in 2014
- Broadband download speeds of over 24Mb/s up from 2% in 2011 to 16% in 2014
- Broadband upload speeds of under 1.5 Mb/s down from 80% in 2011 to 38% in 2014
- Broadband upload speeds of over 10Mb/s up from 0% in 2011 to 16% in 2014
- Plans with no data caps up 2% to 8%
- Plans with a data cap of over 50 GB up from 2% to 39%
- Monthly PBs (million GBs) used up from 13.4 in 2011 to 53.1 in 2014
- ISPs that are IPv6 capable up from 30% in 2011 to 52% in 2014
Really good to see the growth in plans with no data caps, and also the quite significant speed increases.Tags: ISPs, Stats NZ
Controversial smartphone app Uber has struggling taxi drivers moonlighting for them, according to the New Zealand Taxi Federation.
Uber has its official launch in Wellington this afternoon even though it has been used in Wellington for the past couple of months. It was launched in Auckland earlier this year.
Uber allows registered drivers with their own cars to link up with customers through a smartphone app, with fares pre-agreed.
Federation executive director Roger Heale said they “were kind of enjoying” Uber being in New Zealand.
“The people who are driving for them are the taxi drivers who can’t get work anywhere else. They’re current taxi drivers who, if they get a job have to jump out, take the top sign off [the cab], and go around and do the job as an Uber driver.” …
Uber spokeswoman Katie Curran said they were “thrilled with the reception” they had received in Auckland and Wellington from riders and partner-drivers.
“We’re glad the Taxi Federation recognises that Uber is raising the standards of the for-hire transport industry.”
Good to see the NZ taxi industry not being hysterically opposed to new technology and business models, as some of their overseas counterparts have been.
Tags: taxis, Uber