Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

$100 million for rural broadband

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

NBR reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Studying Simon Lusk

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

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

 

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If you want to follow the 100 recommended on Twitter

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


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

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

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Smart lights

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

Stuff reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sounds a good investment to me.

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100 people to follow on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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Dotcom has another go at Xero

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

Chris Keall reports:

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

Get off the grass, Kim.

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

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

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

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

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Welcome Spark

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

The Herald reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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A giganation?

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

Telecom have said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Online voting report released

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

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The report makes seven findings. They are:

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

Some of the specific recommendations include:

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

The Institute of IT Professionals has welcomed the report:

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

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

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

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

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

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Spark

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

spark

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

UPDATE: Telecom comments:

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

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

Seems to be great minds think alike then!

 

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www.govt.nz

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

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

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

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

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NZ Taxis against Uber

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

Stuff reports:

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

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

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

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

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Internet Party and social media

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

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

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

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

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

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Chorus v Telecom

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

Stuff reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dotcom attacks Drury and Xero

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

One News reports:

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

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

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

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

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

One of the tweets is below:

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

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

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

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Drury on ICT and Internet Party

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

IT Brief reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Labour’s Comms & ICT policies

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

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

Labour’s policy is here. The details are:

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

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

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Chromebooks

July 24th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Pati Suailua looked at buying a laptop for his six children to share – now, thanks to a school lease system, he has four Chromebooks in the house.

The Porirua father said some families were too proud to sign up to the $4-a-week lease system but he jumped at the opportunity to invest in his children’s education.

Te Mana o Kupe Trust has already leased Chromebooks to 400 families and, by the end of next year, more than 2000 children from 13 schools in Porirua East are expected to have a device.

One-third of Porirua East households don’t have access to the internet, so the next step was to get community wi-fi set up, trust founder Antony Royal said.

“Ideally, in the next few months, we’ll start building and installing wi-fi so that households with our Chromebooks can connect to it.”

Schoolwork could be completed offline at home, but Royal said online learning should not stop at the school gate for those families that could not afford broadband.

Suailua has internet access but said the big difference with Chromebooks was that his Corinna School children could do their homework online at a price that didn’t break the budget.

A great initiative. The cost of Internet capable devices is dropping. Kids don’t need full computers or iPads.

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The Comcast service rep who won’t take no for an answer

July 23rd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

This is incredible. I would have told the service rep to go copulate himself long before the call actually concluded.

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.nz names will be available on the 30th of September

July 21st, 2014 at 11:26 am by David Farrar

The .nz Domain Name Commission Ltd has announced:

The Domain Name Commission Limited (DNCL) is pleased to announce that from 1pm, 30 September 2014 a significantly amended .nz policy will come into effect – ushering in a new era of choice in .nz domain names. 

From that date, people will be able to register shorter, simpler, more representative names immediately before the .nz – as well as the more familiar-looking options like ‘.co.nz’ and ‘.org.nz’. 

All existing options like .co.nz, .org.nz and .govt.nz will continue to work as they always have and people will still be able to get names with them. The change simply means that from 1pm, 30 September 2014 people will be able to get names with them, without them, or both.

A lot of people will have questions about what names can they get, based on their existing registrations. There is a new website to tell you the status of a name:

A website at anyname.nz has been created by the Domain Name Commission for holders of .nz domain names to check out their options and learn more about what the change might mean for them. Anyname.nz also shows what the shorter .nz domain names will look like in a web browser from 1pm, 30 September 2014.

Monahan describes the policy change allowing registrations directly at the second level as a boon for choice – one that opens up an exciting new .nz registration possibility. She encourages all those with an existing .nz domain name to visit anyname.nz or contact their Registrar to check their options and learn more about what’s happening.

The site is very easy to use. I’ve just checked and found (had not checked up until now) that:

  • I have preferential registration status for curia.nz
  • I have preferential registration status for kiwiblog.nz
  • That some one else (in fact two people) has preferential registration status for farrar.nz
  • That dpf.nz will be available on a first in first served basis on 30 September

“The change keeps all the advantages of the current system while expanding choice. Other countries have already made a similar change and now New Zealand is too.”

Holders of .nz domain names wanting to find out more about this exciting, watershed change to the .nz domain name space should contact their Registrar or domain name provider or visit anyname.nz.

Note that I am the current Board Chair of DNCL. The decision to allow registrations at the second level was made last year by InternetNZ on a recommendation from the DNCL Board.

 

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Netflix for NZ

July 19th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Netflix is declining to comment on an Australian report that it plans to launch an online television service in New Zealand and Australia by the middle of next year.

Netflix’ California-based corporate communications director Joris Evers told Fairfax Media today Netflix had no comment on rumours it was coming to New Zealand. It had not made any announcements regarding the market.

Australian film-industry website  Inside Film reported that Netflix had made firm offers to major United States studios for the Australian and New Zealand streaming rights for “a wide range of first release and library movies and television content”.

Inside Film quoted two unnamed Netflix executives as saying a launch in the middle of 2015 was on the cards. However, the initial offers Netflix had made to studios for local content rights had not been viewed as “the most desirable”, it said.

About 30,000 New Zealanders and at least 100,000 Australians are estimated to have found workarounds that have let them subscribe to Netflix’ North American service.

I’m a subscriber to Netflix. It took a bit of effort, but I wanted to do everything I could to pay for the overseas content I want to view. It would be nice if I could subscribe without having to alter my IP address and zip code.

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Google on the right to be forgotten

July 17th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

An op ed by the Chief Legal Office for Google at the Guardian:

When you search online there’s an unwritten assumption that you’ll get an instant answer, as well as additional information if you need to dig deeper. This is all possible because of two decades’ worth of investment and innovation by many different companies. Today, however, search engines across Europe face a new challenge – one we’ve had just two months to get our heads around. That challenge is figuring out what information we must deliberately omit from our results, following a ruling from the European Union’s court of justice.

In the past we’ve restricted the removals we make from search to a very short list. It includes information deemed illegal by a court (such as defamation), pirated content (once we’re notified by the right’s holder), malware, personal information such as bank details, child sexual abuse imagery and other things prohibited by local law (such as material that glorifies Nazism in Germany).

All reasonable – stuff where a court has made a decision, or things specifically prohibited by a statute.

We’ve taken this approach because, as article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

But the European court found that people have the right to ask for information to be removed from search results that include their names if it is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive”. In deciding what to remove search engines must also have regard to the public interest. These are, of course, very vague and subjective tests.

The result being that Google has to decide what information on people we are allowed to find!

It’s for these reasons that we disagree with the ruling. That said, we obviously respect the court’s authority and are doing our very best to comply quickly and responsibly. It’s a huge task, as we’ve had over 70,000 take-down requests covering 250,000 web pages since May. So we now have a team of people reviewing each application individually, in most cases with limited information and almost no context.

The examples we’ve seen so far highlight the difficult value judgments search engines and European society now face: former politicians wanting posts removed that criticise their policies in office; serious, violent criminals asking for articles about their crimes to be deleted; bad reviews for professionals like architects and teachers; comments that people have written themselves (and now regret). In each case someone wants the information hidden, while others might argue that it should be out in the open.

None of it should be hidden. The decision to remove content should be made by the original publisher, if anyone.

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A reader on Labour’s website

July 16th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A reader e-mails:

I went there yesterday to try and find out what Phil Twyford had said about the roading package.  First thing I noticed on the front page: no search function.  So I went to news and clicked on press releases.  They’re in chronological order.  So I clicked on page 3, as I figured that might take me back as far as June 29, when we made the announcement.  It didn’t, so I clicked on the last available page – page 5.  That took me back as far as July 4, but there is an arrow to the right of the five numbered pages, so I clicked on that, figuring it would take me to pages 6 and beyond.  Nope, it took me back to the front page of press releases.

 Shit I thought, I’ll have to go to Phil Twyford’s MP page – that’s bound to have his press releases.  No, it doesn’t.  It doesn’t actually have any of his media statements – there’s no hyperlinks from his page to anything he’s said, press releases or speeches.  It did have a link to what looked to be his personal website (‘Website: twyord.org.nz’), so I thought it might be there, but astonishingly that link merely refreshed the very page I was looking at.

 So in a nutshell:

  • Labour’s website has no search function
  • It has no archive of its press releases older than the past two weeks, and older releases just seem to drop off the bottom of the list as new ones enter the system
  • Its MP pages have none of their statements, and the links to what appear to be their external personal websites don’t work

 And, as someone else out to me, if you look at their team page, here: http://campaign.labour.org.nz/team the bios don’t follow any orchestrated formula; they’re a shambles – some are in the first person, such as Nanaia Mahuta … “since becoming an MP I have …”, some are in the third person, such as David Cunliffe … “David is in politics because he believes people matter …”, and some, like Chris Hipkins (ironically the Education Spokesperson) are a grammatical mess … “Chris passionate about education …”

The main purpose of Labour’s website seems to be to get people to give them their e-mail address.

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Why is .xyz so popular

July 15th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I was surprised to read:

The 1,500,000th registration of a domain name under one of the new gTLDs happened in the last few days, probably last Friday, although exactly when is hard to pinpoint on newTLDstats.com daily update.

Currently total new gTLD registrations are showing at 1,517,747 with around one in five (301,627 – 19.87%) of these being .xyz registrations. Just on registrations, the second most successful new gTLD has been .berlin, which now has 136,943 domains under management, or 9.02 percent of all new gTLDs.

Can this be true? .xyz is the most popular new TLD?

Both of these new gTLDs have had differing promotions that have been extremely successful at getting them initial registrations. Network Solutions has run a promotion for .xyz where their .com registrants received the equivalent .xyz domain for free, resulting in Network Solutions being responsible for 232,685 of the gTLD’s DUM, or over three-quarters (77.14%) of the total.

Oh, now that makes sense. When you give them away for free, that is not what I call success.

The .berlin gTLD ran a successful promotion itself with a limited number of registrars where the maximum fee charged per domains was €5.55, with some even giving away domains. After three days of the promotion, DUM had jumped almost 90,000.

Again, if you give them away, that doesn’t indicate how successful you will be long-term.

According to the latest nTLDstats.com statistics, the third most popular of the new gTLDs is .club with 83,003 DUM, followed by .guru (65,137) and then .photography (40,603).

I can see why .club could do well.

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Wheedle wheedled

July 12th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Online auction site Wheedle is closing, less than two years after it was set up to take on Trade Me. 

The site’s sole funder, Mainfreight co-founder and rich-lister Neil Graham, decided against further investment in the company, he said in a message to Wheedle members tonight.

“Our aim was to create a commercially successful site where people could buy and sell online without costing users an arm and a leg. 

“More than 80,000 members backed us and we’re very proud of that achievement.”

With respect Wheedle could almost become a text book case of how not to do a launch. Competing with Trade Me would have been challenging for the best of competitors, but Wheedle never got it together.

Launched in October 2012, the site aimed to undercut Trade Me by charging a flat-rate $1 fee on items that sold for more than $20. 

People don’t care much about the fees. They care about the price they’ll get.

NBR has a good feature on what went wrong.

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