Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

No online voting for Auckland

August 30th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Aucklanders won’t be able to choose their next council at the click of a mouse.

Local Government Associate Minister Louise Upston confirmed that the country’s biggest city wouldn’t feature in a trial of online voting for next year’s local body elections.

Officials from the Super City are some of the biggest supporters of a digital voting revolution, but Auckland Council’s catchment has been deemed too big.

“A trial that includes all of Auckland and its approximately 1 million electors is simply too large to adequately mitigate these risks,” she said.

I understand the nervousness about having such a big Council s part of the trial, but by excluding Auckland you also run the risk that the trial is uneconomic.

If the Government was willing to contribute towards the costs of a trial, then I think it would be fine to say Auckland is too big to take part. But as the Government has declined to contribute costs, then excluding the largest Council in NZ runs the risk that the trial will not occur.

Stung by a dismal 36 per cent voter turnout in the 2013 elections, Auckland Council has lobbied hard to introduce internet voting.

But its campaign has failed. Applications are now only being sought from smaller councils to provide a range of voting systems.

So far, Porirua, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Matamata-Piako, Selwyn, Marlborough and Whanganui councils have confirmed that they want to be part of the trial.

So four cities and three districts. I’m not sure if they will be able to make it economic. I hope they can, because if there is a sucessful trial, I expect 90% of Councils would then offer an online voting option in future.

Auckland Council bosses are not happy about being sidelined as they consider the council is well placed to take part.

“We were disappointed the Government decided to exclude the council from the online voting trial,” manager democracy services, Marguerite Delbet, said.

The council had been actively working to introduce online voting and this year asked the Government to allow it.

Auckland’s size is a risk, but also a benefit. They have a more well resourced voting unit than most Councils, and I think would have addedvalue to teh trial.

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31 million men and 12,000 women!

August 28th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Annalee Newitz at Gizmodo writes:

When hacker group Impact Team released the Ashley Madison data, they asserted that “thousands” of the women’s profiles were fake. Later, this number got blown up in news storiesthat asserted “90-95%” of them were fake, though nobody put forth any evidence for such an enormous number. So I downloaded the data and analyzed it to find out how many actual women were using Ashley Madison, and who they were.

What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.

Those millions of Ashley Madison men were paying to hook up with women who appeared to have created profiles and then simply disappeared. Were they cobbled together by bots and bored admins, or just user debris? Whatever the answer, the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile. Actually, scratch that. As I’ll explain below, there’s a good chance that about 12,000 of the profiles out of millions belonged to actual, real women who were active users of Ashley Madison.

When you look at the evidence, it’s hard to deny that the overwhelming majority of men using Ashley Madison weren’t having affairs. They were paying for a fantasy.

So basically the website is a huge fraud.  They made hundreds of millions of dollars of of suckers who believed their PR.

The numbers dug up from the hacked data is:

  • Number of male accounts that checked their messages – 20,269,675
  • Number of female accounts that checked their messages – 1,492

So a ratio of around 13,000 to 1!

Either way, we’re left with data that suggests Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren’t there.

I wonder how many other sites do this also?


Hotel WiFi in NZ very bad

August 28th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Blayne Slabbert at Stuff writes:

When staying at a hotel would you rather have Sky TV or free wi-fi? What about a bath big enough for three or free wi-fi?

I would definitely opt for the free wi-fi and I expect I’m not alone. Not only do I want it for free, I want it to be a decent speed.

I think 95% of customers would prefer wi-fi to television. And while nothing is free, the question is whether it should be included in the room charge.

I think it should be. Making you pay extra for Internet is like having a charge for water.  And even worse some of the charges are so high you pay more per day in a hotel than your normal monthly cost.

But many top hotels in New Zealand and around the world still charge for wi-fi and a lot have internet speeds that would be classified as dial-up.

During a recent stay at an international hotel chain, the staff at the front desk told me that it charged $8 an hour to access the internet.

Like being back in 1996!

A website,, helps people find good wi-fi at hotels around the world.

It ranks hotels, including those in New Zealand, getting users to submit speed tests and then ranks them according a star rating.


But according to a survey by management consultants Accenture, free in-room Internet access was ranked the second most important factor after room cost in choosing a hotel.

In NZ I tether my laptop to my phone so not such an issue. But when picking where to stay overseas, wifi cost is a major factor.

Still, I’m hopeful wi-fi will be free and fast in all hotels within a few years and we’ll look back and laugh at the concept of paying extra to access the internet.

I wonder if once upon a time hotels charged you for the electricity you consumed?

It is getting better though. I note that Sky City no longer charges for Internet but has free wireless through the complex. It’s great to be able to just use it without even needing a login. And it is fast – faster than the old paid wifi you used to have.

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Don’t take photos of strangers

August 25th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

As far as in-flight break-ups go, at least it wasn’t the fuselage.

Rather, it was a relationship that disintegrated on board a delayed flight out of Raleigh, North Carolina, captured in all its devastation by a fellow passenger and broadcast to the world.

When Kelly Keegs live-tweeted the split as her plane sat stranded on the tarmac, it quickly went viral. The saga garnered thousands of retweets as followers hung on every word, and the hashtag #PlaneBreakup became a home base for observers to discuss the unfolding chaos.

I don’t have an issue with people live tweeting something happening in a semi-public place. But I do think it is appalling when you also take a photo of the people involved, and make that public. That humiliates them to all their friends and family, and shames them on a global basis.

Twitter has a very nasty streak to it, where people revel in public shaming.

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NZ Ashley Madison addresses

August 25th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar


Danyl McL blogs:

I downloaded the dump files and took a look at the breakdown of top level addresses. It seems a little unfair that teachers account for about 0.2% of the addresses but close to 100% of the breathless coverage.

Many of the .co addresses are just private email addresses (, so you could claim that the focus is on teachers and public servants because they were stupid enough to use work addresses. But there are also literally thousands of work addresses included in that .co category including, amusingly enough, many from the media companies running these stories about dirty teachers and public servants. If these journos want to know why someone would sign up to one of these sites they should go ask their executives. Why are the teachers ‘exposed’ and not everyone else?

I think that the media have gone way over the top hunting down people who were registered on the site, just because they are a teacher or used a work address.

Unless there is gross hypocrisy involved (ie someone is a family values crusader), then there is no public interest in publishing stories about people who registered for the site.

As Danyl notes, some users are from media companies. Are they going to start doing exposes on their own staff?

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Car Sharing

August 23rd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Wellington Deputy Mayor Justin Lester has urged council to support a car sharing business, which he believes could be the next Xero or TradeMe.

Wellington peer-to-peer car-sharing company Roam will allow car owners to hire out their own vehicle to other people through an online booking system and keyless car entry software on their mobile.

The business plans to market the software and device to car-sharing platforms overseas – either selling or partnering with car manufacturers and car rental companies.

Wellington City Council needed to support export growth potential businesses like Roam, Lester said.

Our cars sit unused for around 95% of the week. I think car sharing will be part of the future, along with driverless cars.

Good to see Justin Lester wanting the Council to be supportive of innovative companies in this space.


NZF MP accuses former youth leader of HDCA breach

August 19th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Critic reports:

NZ First MP Tracey Martin has claimed Curwen Rolinson is in breach of the Harmful Digital Communications Act, passed in July. In a blog post, Rolinson, former leader of the NZ First youth wing, accused Martin of undermining party MP Andrew Williams.

Speaking at the University of Otago last week, Martin suggested that Rolinson was in breach of the law as a result of a blog post written on 6 July, four days after the Act was officially made into law. 

“I’ve been working on the Harmful Digital Communications bill and what Curwen [Rolinson] did, what Whaleoil [blogger Cameron Slater] does, that’s harmful digital communications,” said Martin.

The Act states that a person is in breach of the law if they intentionally cause harm to someone on the internet. “A person commits an offence if the person posts a digital communication with the intention that it cause harm to a victim,” the law reads. 

If it causes serious emotional harm. I don’t think criticising an MP falls into that sphere. It would be a very bad thing if MPs truied to silence critics using the HDCA. I doubt they would possibly succeed, but would be a bad look to even threaten or try.

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The online GST proposal

August 18th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Government has published a discussion document about what to do with GST on online purchases. It is here. They key points are:

  • Offshore suppliers will be required to register and return GST if their supplies of services to New Zealand-resident consumers exceed a given threshold in a 12-month period. Submissions are sought on the value of that threshold.
  • In some situations, an electronic marketplace or intermediary may be required to register instead of the principal offshore supplier.

The Government has kicked for touch (for now) the most politically significant issue of the de minimis threshold of $60 GST/fees (or $400 of goods) for collecting GST at the border. That is the issue I am more interested in. If Customs starts seizing my books from Amazon, I’ll be bloody pissed off.

What is proposed in the discussion document is pretty unobjectionable, but that is because they may be unenforceable.

Basically it is saying we’re going to ask overseas e-tailers to agree to register for GST in NZ, and pay us GST.

Some may do so, for reputational reasons. But what if they don’t?

These companies may not have a legal presence in NZ. Will Amazon be banned if they don’t agree to register for and collect GST?

So I’m not sure this will achieve much. It may get some voluntary compliance for reputational reasons, but not too many businesses will rush to pay a voluntary tax. If all OECD Governments agree to pass laws mandating each other’s GST laws must be honoured by their own businesses, then it would be a different matter.

So as I said the big issue for me is the de minimis threshold. There may be a case to reduce it a bit, but if the cost of collecting GST at the border is more than the revenue from it, then the threshold is too low.


Passwords a step too far

August 17th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Over the weekend I read the Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Register) Bill.

As I blogged when introduced, I’m a supporter of it. In fact I think over time you might widen its eligibility criteria to other serious crimes.

But there is one section of the bill, which goes too far in my view. Child sex offenders are near the lowest of the low, and I’m all for a register to allow authorities to track them. But let’s look at the list of personal information to be reported:

  • Name/s
  • DOB
  • Address/s
  • Identity of children in same residence
  • Nature of work and name and address of employer
  • Membership of any groups with kids in them
  • Details of cars owned or driven
  • Details of tattoos etc
  • Passport details
  • Numbers of landlines or mobile phones

So far so good. Then we turn to the Internet details:

  • details of e-mail addresses used
  • details of online accounts and aliases used or intended to be used

Again no problems. But:

  • details of any ISP used or intended to be used including login details, user name and password


That would then give the state the ability to monitor basically their Internet communications. A government official could login and see every e-mail sent to or from them. And this could be for life.

Everything else is reasonable. But the password is not. It is the Internet equivalent of having the state listen in to every phone call you make – without any warrant. Or open every item in the post to and from you – without a warrant.

If there is reasonable cause for concern, then they can get a warrant to intercept the communications. I’m okay with those on the register having to hand over usernames and login details so they know what accounts to target if there is concern. But including the password in the register of information is a step too far.


The power of social media

August 16th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

John Key did a video on why he thinks we should change the flag, and rebutting some of the arguments against.

He didn’t do a media release. He didn’t do a speech on it. He merely stuck the video on his facebook page.

It’s had 489,000 direct views of the video, and 1.24 million people have seen the post as it has been shared by 6,206 people to their facebook followers.

That’s a bigger audience that either of the 6 pm TV news bulletins.

A great example of the power of social media. Not only have hundreds of thousands viewed it, but this is not a 30 second soundbite. Half a million people viewed a seven minute long video because they are interested in the issue.

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Voicemail to texts

August 16th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Apple employees are said to be testing a new Siri function that allows the digital assistant to convert your voicemail messages into texts.

Transcribing voicemails into text and relaying them on to the user via text message could eliminate the need to call and listen to voicemail, according to Business Insider.

That would be great. I detest voicemails. You need to pay to clear them, and have to then write them down, before actioning them. My phone message actively discourages people from leaving voicemail messages and requests they text or e-mail me.


Smart move by Dominos

August 12th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A pizza company’s drivers will be able to be tracked from the moment they leave the store to when they drop the pizza off at your door.

Domino’s New Zealand general manager Scott Bush said the company’s GPS Driver Tracker was developed with Navman Wireless as an extension to the company’s smartphone app and is launching in New Zealand following a successful trial in Australia.

“Our customers will be able to watch their driver on route to their door in real time [and] know exactly who their driver is,” Bush said.

The software was inspired by Uber and also works on desktop computers and also keeps delivery drivers safe, Bush said.

This is a very smart move. It is frustrating not knowing when your pizzas will arrive, and the ability to see where the drive is in real time, will be a significant selling point.

It won’t be the only point of difference. Taste is still king, and for me Hell reigns supreme over Pizza Hut and Dominos. Wholly Pizza is very good also.

However another story by Stuff has the unions protesting this really smart move:

Service and Food Workers Union organiser Russell Taylor said unions were nervous about monitoring technology in the workplace, which was becoming more common.

“It’s an invasion of privacy. Employers say it’s being done for the benefit of the employees but more often than not it is used against them.”

Unions did not want workplaces relying on technology for health and safety.

“In our view all workers should be within sight and sound of another person at all times,” he said.

Is it any wonder why so many unions are regarded as dinosaurs?

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857 blocked, only one million to go

August 5th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

India has blocked hundreds of adult websites to prevent pornography becoming a social nuisance, a government official said on Monday, sparking a debate about censorship and freedom in the world’s largest democracy.

In India’s first big crackdown on Internet porn, service providers have been directed to block 857 websites, N N Kaul, a spokesman at the department of telecommunications, told Reuters.

“Free and open access to porn websites has been brought under check,” Kaul said.

“We don’t want them to become a social nuisance.”

Yeah, that will work. Idiots.

Last month, the Supreme Court refused to impose an outright ban after hearing a petition that said Internet porn fuelled sex crime. The court said individuals should be free to access such websites in private.

So the Government is ignoring the court.

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French law should not apply to the NZ Internet

August 4th, 2015 at 12:08 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Google is pushing back against France’s data privacy authority after the watchdog ordered the search engine giant to extend the so-called right to be forgotten to its websites globally.

France’s data protection authority CNIL should withdraw an ultimatum threatening Google with fines unless it delists requested links across its network, the Mountain View, California-based company said in a blog post on Thursday.

“We respectfully disagree with the CNIL’s assertion of global authority on this issue,” Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, said in the post. The French regulator’s order from last month “is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the Web,” he said.

The French data protection authority is threatening the global nature of the Internet.

The European Court said that in Europe there is a right to be forgotten and required Google to remove links to old articles on people, if they qualified.

That was a bad enough ruling, but it applied to only, etc etc.

The French regulator is demanding that it apply to and etc. That means that French law would apply globally and what we can access and view in NZ would no longer be uncensored.

This is very very important stuff. Once you allow one country to demand their law applies to all other portions of the Internet, then you have the Internet governed by the most restrictive regimes.

If I was Google, I would tell CNIL that if they are going to try and assert global authority over the Internet, then Google will block all IP address in France from accessing any google service – hence they can no longer be fined by the French regulator. The massive backlash from French citizens against the regulator should see it pull its head in.

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$1.2 million for a basic Council website is too much

July 31st, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Christchurch City Council has spent $1.2 million upgrading its “outdated” website.

The revamp included new software, new content and staff training and took three and a half months. The site was last overhauled in 2009 and that version ran on systems that would not be supported past this month.

The $1.2m spend came out of the council’s IT capital budget for this financial year.

The director of a Christchurch web development company said the total cost was a surprise.

“That takes my breath away. You vaguely hear of those sorts of number getting thrown around. I’m struggling to get my head around where that cost would come from.”

The director, who asked to remain anonymous as his company did web development work for the council, said parts of the design, such as the user elements for rates and dog registration, were quite technical, making precise cost estimates difficult.

“[But] we’d have happily done the job for half that and probably, I believe, still arrived at the same result.”

$1.2 million is a huge figure. If they had designed a website where you could interact online with the Council in every area, that sort of price might be justified, but it is primarily just a static website.

As an example I went to their services section to see what could I do online. Under burials, there is no online form to book one in. You download a pdf, print it out, then have to scan it back in and e-mail it to them.

Other services which you can’t do online are:

  • Dog registration
  • Tenancy application
  • Report to noise control

Incredible that they spend $1.2 million and can’t even convert some pdf forms into online forms.


A reader on Uber

July 27th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

A reader writes in:

A bit of feedback for you, and if you choose to publish, I hope will send a bit of a message from a platform that has been an advocate.

Bride and I have adopted Uber and loved the app, the service and the convenience. We also loved the price (typically not overly price sensitive – but it was a distinct bonus). However, last nights experience was not so good and had an element of biting the hand that feeds.

We were traveling from Khandallah to Newtown for a party leaving at 6.30pm. Clocked on the app to be told that there was a ‘surge rate of 1.5x normal rate’ to encourage more Uber drivers onto the road. We swallowed the dead rat and booked. $56 to Newtown (with a driver who bad mouthed other cab companies from start to finish – chatty guy and nice enough, but not classy or my preferred backtrack en route).

Leaving party went to book via app, ‘surge rate 2x normal fare applies’. Bollocks to that. Called Wgtn Combined, cab there within 15 and happy to text on arrival as was p!ss!ng cold and we were down a driveway. That same journey was $43 (and blissfully quiet!).

I know you have been a vocal advocate of Uber and market driven demand, I though I might whore your platform to fire a shot across their bows and warn them against premature complacency.

I recently had a 2x surge rate also, but that was from Wellington Airport at 1.30 am in the morning. Normally when prices get that high, I’ll choose a taxi instead. However there were none there, and around 30 people in a queue waiting for one.

So I had a choice of paying a higher rate for a guaranteed ride in ten minutes, or spending an indefinite amount of time queuing for taxis. I went for the Uber.

So yes I am a fan of Uber, but also not an uncritical one. My main frustrations to date are:

  • Not enough drivers in Wellington. Often have a fair wait for a driver
  • The estimated times for a pick up are often on the low side – ie they say six minutes and it takes ten
  • Surge pricing does occur fairly often

But overall still very happy with them.


The NZ National Broadband Map

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

There is now a national broadband map for NZ. You can enter in an address and see what the availability is of fibre, VDSL, ADSL and wireless.

The map has been produced by NZRS (who also run the .nz domain name registry), a company owned by InternetNZ with assistance from MBIE and of course the retail providers.

For example if you put in 175 Melbourne Road, Island Bay, Wellington it tells you:

  • Fibre planned for 2016 to 2019
  • VDSL available with download speeds of 15  –  60 Mbps and upload of 5 – 18 Mbps
  • ADSL available with download speeds of 10 – 22 Mbps and upload of 1 – 2 Mbps
  • Wireless not available

A great resource that has already proven massively popular with 60,000 visits within hours of launching.

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280,000 reasons why it was such a bad court ruling

July 23rd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

538 report:

I’ve been working with NPR to discuss a number of the week. This time it’s 280,000 — that’s the number of requests individuals in Europe have made to Google so far asking the company to remove certain web pages from its search results.

The number of requests has been consistently climbing since May 2014, when the European Court of Justice ruled that an Internet search engine has to consider such requests from a person about search results related to that person’s name.

This just degrades the usefulness of search engines, if 280,000 people can get information on them suppressed in the results.

In my view it was a terrible ruling by the European Court of Justice, and I hope we never get anything like that here.


Smart Police work

July 22nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Police have been snooping on people’s Facebook profiles, and using the evidence to carry out drug raids.

The monitoring has been exposed by members of a blackmarket Facebook group, who complained of receiving letters out of the blue from police, warning them they were being watched.

One unidentified user received a letter from the Canterbury Organised Crime Squad, dated July 15, warned that their membership of a group suspected to be aiding illegal drug deals had been noticed. 

They might wish to “review” their membership of the group, the letter suggested – and it had a card for a drug abuse helpline stapled to it.

“Police have been monitoring your Facebook profile and established that you are engaged in a Facebook group that actively sells and trades in controlled drugs,” the letter said.

“Committing offences against [drug laws] can lead to penalties, including imprisonment.” 

Police confirmed on Monday that they were monitoring social media pages, and sometimes using the evidence they found to mount raids.

This is smart work by the Police. And it isn’t spying or snooping. If you’re stupid enough to join public groups devoted to criminal activity, you shouldn’t be surprised the Police take an interest.

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The power of the users

July 14th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar reports:

ELLEN Pao, who made headlines with a high-profile Silicon Valley gender discrimination lawsuit, was ousted Friday after a brief but stormy tenure at the helm of online bulletin board Reddit.

Pao took over earlier this year as Reddit CEO after being fired from the prominent venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, prompting a highly publicised lawsuit.

But she quickly ruffled feathers and provoked anger with the unexplained firing of a Reddit employee, leading to an online petition calling for her departure.

Reddit, which has more than 163 million users and describes itself as a forum for real-time journalism, said in a statement that Pao resigned “by mutual agreement” and would be replaced by founder and original CEO Steve Huffman.

It wasn’t the petition that did her in, but that many of the moderators of subreddits went on strike, did blackouts etc. Basically they got the message across that they were collectively more important to Reddit than the CEO.


Tame on Uber

July 12th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Jack Tame writes in the Herald:

I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago and I needed a cab. I was downtown, it was a Tuesday evening and that chilly breeze was holding off from blowing across the bay. In short, it wasn’t tough to find a taxi rank with a few drivers twiddling their thumbs. …

But Andre explained that he won’t be shelling out for an overnight direct on Air New Zealand anytime soon.

“Buying the medallion to own this cab cost me all of my life savings,” he explained.

“Two hundred and fifty grand that I’ll probably never get back.”

You have to feel sorry for the drivers. Their industries make you pay an obscene amount of money to drive a taxi.

The next few days I was in LA where the cabs weren’t quite so ubiquitous. With Andre’s words still in my ears, I whipped out my phone and let Uber do Andre’s work. Six separate times.

It was easy. It was cheap. And I can see why those cabbies in France and the UK are so worried that Uber will steal their jobs. In Christchurch alone, more than 1,300 people applied to become Uber drivers this week.

If history teaches us anything about commerce, it’s that consumer convenience and cheap prices will always win out. It’s why your running shoes were made in Vietnam and your T-shirt in Bangladesh.

No one wants anyone to lose their jobs, but economies are always forced to evolve. Just ask the Luddites – the machines always win.

In California, a 15-minute cab with Andre cost me $114. Covering more than twice that distance with six separate Uber trips cost me $82.

So it is a no brainer.

The difference is Uber drivers don’t need to pay $250,000 to be an Uber driver. They try to make the cost of entry as low as possible. The NZ Government should be doing the same – how do we make it easier for people to earn a living being a driver, while still having safety assurance.


Hawaiki makes progress

July 10th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

For the first time, it actually looks as if the 50% Spark-owned Southern Cross Cable could get some serious competition.

Hawaiki Cable founder Remi Galasso has been trying to raise $400 million for a trans-Pacific submarine cable since 2008.

Today, Hawaiki signed an equity deal with SIL Long Term Holdings, the family investment vehicle of NBR Rich Lister Sir Eion Edgar. …

Speaking to NBR shortly after the deal was made public, Sir Eion would not say how much money he would put into Hawaiki but described it as “substantial.”

He said he would also be advising the cable company and helping it bring other investors onboard.  

Asked whether his investment was contingent on more customers coming on board (at the moment Haiwaiki has one firm customer, Crown agency Reannz), Sir Eion said “No, we’re committed.”

That is promising. Pacific Fibre got lots of potential customers but never got the capital. Hawaiki looks to be achieving both.

However the history in this space is that progress is a long way removed from commitment. Until they announce the project is definite, I’m not counting on it.

He said Hawaiki would lay its 25 terabit-per-second Sydney-Whangarei-Hawaii-mainland-US cable by December 2017. He expected it to be cashflow positive in three to five years.

It will be great if they achieve this.


NZ broadband

July 9th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

InternetNZ says it’s not our broadband that sucks – it’s how we’re using it.

The group’s annual NetHui event logs on in Auckland today, hosting key figures from the industry, MPs and others interested in how the internet is changing our lives, and what lies ahead.

InternetNZ work programme director Andrew Cushen says New Zealanders like to complain about the state of our broadband infrastructure, but the reality has left the cliché behind.

“The simple fact of the matter is over the last five years in particular, the Government has put in a great deal of money through the ultra-fast broadband programme and the rural broadband initiative, to make New Zealand’s internet some of the best in the world,” he said on TV3’s Paul Henry programme this morning.

“Yes there are still some issues, yes there are still some people waiting for some rollouts to get there. But the story is really fantastic in terms of the capability of the network… By 2020, 98 percent of New Zealanders are going to have really fantastic connectivity.”


The Government has invested a huge amount in our broadband infrastructure. The fibre roll out especially is great as it is basically future proofed.

Speeds are lifting, and data caps have faded as an issue. The focus as Cushen says is shifting to what we do with it – as businesses, consumers, Government, citizens and families.

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Kiwiblog and the Harmful Digital Communications Act

July 9th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I have updated Kiwiblog’s complaints policy to take accounts of the Hamrful Digital Communications Act 2015. The policy is here.

The new section is below:

Harmful Digital Communications

If you believe a comment or post on Kiwiblog is harmful to you as defined by the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015, please e-mail You may also text the editor on 021 940 045 to alert me to the complaint, but the complaint must be submitted via e-mail and include the information detailed below.

If the material is in a post written by the editor, then I will consider the complaint and amend or remove the material if I agree it is harmful. If you do not agree with my decision, then from 2017 you will be able to complain to the Approved Agency and/or the District Court.

If the material is in a post written by another author (such as a guest poster or a commenter) then Kiwiblog is an online content host under the HDCA, and safe harbour provisions will apply.

Kiwiblog will refer your complaint within 48 hours to the actual author and notify them that a request has been made for the material to be removed or amended.

The author has a maximum of 48 hours to respond to the complaint. They can do so in three ways:

  1. Not respond at all – which will lead to the material being complained about being removed or amended
  2. Agree to have the material removed or amended, which will will be done by the Kiwiblog Editor
  3. Not consent to having the material being removed or amended, in which case it will remain online unless a takedown order from the court is issued.

In all cases I can decide to remove or amend comments, regardless of the above procedure, if I believe it is in breach of Kiwiblog policies. These HDCA provisions are in addition to existing policies.

The safe harbour provision means that Kiwiblog does not have liability under the HDCA for material authored by others, so long as I follow the procedure summarised below. So any disputes are between the complainant and the author – Kiwiblog is merely the online content host.

The details of notices and counter-notices are in s24 of the HDCA, specifically:

(3) A notice of complaint must—

(a) state the complainant’s name and a telephone number, a physical address, and an email address for the complainant; and
(b) state the specific content, and explain why the complainant considers that the specific content—
(i) is unlawful; or
(ii) breaches 1 or more communication principles and has caused harm; and
(c) sufficiently enable the specific content to be readily located; and
(d) state whether the complainant consents to personal information that identifies the complainant being released to the author; and
(e) contain any other information that the complainant considers relevant.

(4) A counter-notice must state—

(a) the author’s name and a telephone phone number, a physical address, and an email address for the author; and
(b) whether the author consents to personal information that identifies the author being released to the complainant; and
(c) whether the author consents to the removal of the specific content.

The details of both complainant and author will remain confidential, unless permission is explicitly given to share your details, or ordered to by a court.


Some alternatives to global mode

July 2nd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

If you wish to be able to pay someone for the content you consume, and were reliant on global mode, here’s a few alternatives.

  1. UnoTelly has a one month free trial for NZers
  2. Hola – takes 30 seconds to install
  3. Fast VPN
  4. Hotspot Shield
  5. Unblockus

I use Hola – it is great, and free.

UPDATE: Read comments below about Hola. May be worth avoiding.

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