Technology

NZ is the only country where Internet access is getting more expensive

Spark, Vodafone and Callplus together represent 94 percent of the residential internet market and all have put up their prices for home internet packages.

Internet service providers blame the rises on the Commerce Commission’s recent draft decision which reduced the price companies pay for use of the copper wire network.

The charges relate to what Chorus (the wholesaler) charges internet service providers and telcos like Spark, Vodafone, Orcon, Slingshot and Flip, for accessing their copper infrastructure which was deployed years ago by the Post Office. Those wires run down almost every street in the country and are the phone lines we have been using for decades.

Because it is a monopoly, the price that the wholesaler can charge is regulated by the Commerce Commission.

In 2011, when Telecom was split into a retail arm (Telecom) and a wholesale arm (Chorus), the Commission had to work out what Chorus’s wholesale services were worth, and what price they would charge internet service providers and telcos, including Telecom (now Spark) to use those services.

The price was originally set at about $45 per customer per month. Read more »

Mega’s little problem with a pesky thing called the law

Kim Dotcom is blowing hard once again on Twitter.

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He is going on about ‘his’ MegaChat…funny thing is he was crying poverty and said he had given all his shares in Mega to his estranged missus…so quite how it is his is another matter entirely. Perhaps he has misled another court?

In any case his boastfulness ignores a problem.

Chris Keall at NBR explains.

Mega has said it will abide by the laws of every company it operates in. As a registered commercial entity it can barely take any other stance.

And when the FBI so successfully eavesdropped on the Skype chats and instant messages Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants while investigating Megaupload, it did so with a warrant issued by a judge.

What would Mega do if a law enforcement agency in a country its service operates in (that is, anywhere), hands it, or one of its users, a lawful warrant asking for encryption keys? In NZ, it has to live under the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act, aka TICS, which gives our government broad-brush powers to demand depcryption keys from a service provider when there is a (very broadly defined) threat to NZ’s national interest. This as-yet-untested legislation gives the ICT Minister discretion over who is defined as a service provider. Network operators like Spark, Vodafone, 2degrees are very clearly service providers. It’s more of a grey area for the likes of Microsoft Skype, Google Hangouts and now MegaChat – but I’m guessing the Crown won’t give MegaChat a free pass. ¬† Read more »

“Bird Chopper” wind farm fined millions in US for killing hundreds of birds

As is usual the “green” energy solutions proposed by the green taliban adherents are actually as far from being green as is possible.

A wind farm in the US has copped millions in fines for chopping up hundreds of birds including nearly 40 golden eagles.

Breitbart reports:

Power company PacifiCorp will cough up $2.5 million in fines after its Wyoming wind farm was found to have killed 38 golden eagles and 336 other protected birds.

The Justice Department prosecuted the company’s green energy project, asserting that the company failed to build the windmills in a way that would minimize the threat to endangered birds.

‚ÄúPacifiCorp Energy built two of its Wyoming wind projects in a manner it knew would likely result in the deaths of eagles and other protected birds,‚ÄĚ said Sam Hirsch, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department‚Äôs Environment and Natural Resources Division in a statement in December.

PacifiCorp pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this month, according to the Associated Press. ¬†¬† Read more »

Imagine how much time you’d spend in jail if you actually worked closely with the hacker

Imagine how much time you’d spend in jail if you actually worked closely with the hacker…especially if you actually helped plan the whole hack attack.

I’m looking at you Mr Hager, Mr Fisher and Mr Nippert.

A journalist with connections to the hacking collective Anonymous has been sentenced to five years in jail after posting online links to stolen data.

Barrett Brown originally faced charges punishable by more than 100 years in prison, but the sentence was reduced after he pleaded guilty last year.

He said he broke the law to reveal details of illegal government activity.

The case drew criticism from advocates of free speech and media rights organisations.

One of Mr Brown’s supporters is Glenn Greenwald, a journalist who publicised the National Security Agency (NSA) spying programme revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. ¬† Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup – More sunlight needed

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The Whaleoil investigation into a cover-up in the $400 million concrete industry now has documents that show the new $40.6 million Manuaku District Court and Fonterra’s $120 million Waitoa UHT factory have been made with dodgy cement.

As more documents are provided to Whaleoil, the more the cover-up becomes not only ¬†a case of incompetence on the part of the officials responsible for overseeing construction of buildings, but also a desperate attempt at trying to confuse anyone that looks into this issue. ¬† Read more »

How thick are Labour?

Andrew Little has fed a story to their embedded gallery journalist Vernon Small about the requirements for a new chief press secretary.

Expect to see Labour leader Andrew Little in a good light on the 6pm television news – or questions to be asked at the top of his media unit.

Little is advertising for a new chief press secretary to head the party’s media and communications strategy, and the successful applicant is expected to ensure Little appears “in a positive story on the 6pm news at least twice a week”.

Other key targets put emphasis on social media, including 100,000 “likes” for the party’s Facebook page, up from about 38,000 now, and 40,000 “likes” for Little’s Facebook page by the 2017 election. It currently boasts 10,422 “likes”.

Little’s new spin doctor will also be expected to increase Labour’s email contact list to 200,000 by the 2017 general election, from about 87,000 now.

How dumb is that?

This just shows that Labour has learned nothing from the past 6 years. For two elections now they have touted their fantastic ground game, their dominance of social media and even rolled in David Talbot to advise them on this stuff…all to no avail and with results the reverse of what was predicted. How he could even bill Labour for such a losing strategy is beyond me.

What these chumps have not realised is that Facebook likes does NOT equal votes. Slacktivism or Clicktivism is called that for a reason…useless big talking internet warriors who don’t translate the click of their mouse into actions on the ground. ¬†¬† Read more »

Police now hassling Uber passengers as they continue their commercial jihad on behalf of cab companies

The police have involved themselves very prominently in a civil dispute between Uber and other cab companies and are now shaking down passengers as they continue their jihad against Uber on behalf of cab companies.

Auckland police are questioning Uber passengers in their crack-down on the driver-on-demand system.

Holly, a 26-year-old woman who did not want her surname used, said she was in an¬†Uber¬†car at Auckland’s ferry terminal on Saturday.

A police officer in an unmarked police car stopped the car and questioned her telling the driver to stay away while she was grilled, she said. Holly said the officer pulled her aside and asked how she ordered the vehicle and whether they had agreed a set price before the journey.

When she said “it (the¬†Uber¬†app) tells me at the end”, the officer turned his attention to the driver.

Holly said the officer told her that Uber was illegal in New Zealand.

It’s not, but the manner of billing passengers is what has caused contention. Uber¬†operates as a private hire service which means the fare has to be set at the time of booking, rather than using a meter.

Police have confirmed they have stopped several¬†Uber¬†drivers and charged them or issued them infringement notices for using their¬†smartphone app as a meter – a breach that would make them subject to taxi regulations. ¬† ¬† Read more »

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The real public outrage against hackers will finally start when the toast burns

You think I’m kidding, don’t you? ¬† Until hacking affects each and every one of us, isolated incidences that happen to celebrities, companies or the odd journalists aren’t going to get the outrage they deserve.

And this is when the public will be at the hackers’ mercy:

You approach your front door and the lock slides open at a prompt from your phone.

Once inside your kitchen the coffee maker springs into action and the oven is flashing up a recipe for the evening meal.

It knows what food you have because it has just been talking ‚Äď by wifi ‚Äď to the equally ‚Äėsmart‚Äô fridge.

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Read more »

Hackers hack pretend bank for virtual money

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What sort of world are we heading for? ¬† The people who have been running a bank with the pretend “Bitcoin” money have been robbed. ¬†By hackers.

Hackers have stolen more than $5 million in virtual currency from Bitstamp, a major bitcoin exchange, forcing the company to freeze user accounts, suspend trades and block deposits.

The Slovenia-based company said that fraudsters made off with 19,000 bitcoins a day before being found out, Fortune reports.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the theft or how it happened.

Bitstamp CEO Nejc Kodrińć has said that his company will assume liability for all bitcoins lost prior to its warning today.

Remind me again why hackers are just harmless and their crimes victimless? ¬† Read more »

Happy Birthday to my most favourite effect: The Streisand

Exactly ten years ago today, the internet finally gave a name to one of its favorite phenomenons, the Streisand Effect. Or: What happens when you try to censor something and the internet loses its collective shit, dumping even more attention on it. And what a glorious decade it’s been. Read more »