Chris Keall

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

Kim Dotcom is blowing hard once again on Twitter.


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 »

Labour’s losers review flawed from the get go

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Labour picked one of the Labour movements biggest losers to review their performance at the election. He is Bryan Gould.

Chris Keall explains his credentials at losing.

The convenor for Labour?s panel is Bryan Gould ? the ex-pat famous for being a senior MP in the British Labour Party. He even got as high as making a bid for the party?s leadership in the early 1990s, but was outmanoeuvred by rivals and returned to NZ to become vice chancellor of Waikato University.

Gould is a smart man, I?m sure. But he?s not a winner in the game of politics. The ex-pat was a senior MP between 1979 and 1992 ? a period of course dominated by Thatcher and the Conservatives as Labour struggled to make itself look anything close to electable.

Gould has poured vitriol on Tony Blair ? the man whose up-beat style and move to the centre saw the party finally return to power.

Many in Labour will agree with Gould?s critiques of Blair for going too far in greasing up the press, moderating policy, and poodling to America on Iraq. In various newspaper editorials and his memoirs, Gould won the moral high ground hands down. But he lacks Blair?s ruthless and practical streak, and focus on likeability, that?s so necessary to win power.

A key question for NZ Labour is whether to shore up the party?s base with hard left polices or move to the centre, where elections are won. No prizes for guessing where the academic Gould will land.

Just last Thursday, Gould was comparing Key to Kim Jong-un. Great lorks if you’re a humour writer for the Internet Party. Not so much if you’re trying to talk to middle NZ.

Read more »

Buddying up with Winston

Chris Keall warns Kim Dotcom of the perils of buddying up with Winston Peters…hmmm same could be said in reverse.

Dotcom and Peters have things in common: they can both be charismatic and engaging, they?re both media smart and know what pushes people?s buttons, and they both love a good conspiracy theory involving the government and big businesses.

Peters has come out and backed a pet Dotcom theory ? that the Prime Minister knew about the January 20, 2012 raid on Dotcom mansion before it occurred (yes, this rankle Key, but he?ll still hold his nose and ally with NZ First if that?s what?s needed to hold power after the election).

NZ First has put a document called the ?The John Key/Kim Dotcom Timeline? on its website. The timeline has no new information, but its subtext is clear: look at all this stuff going on and meeting: surely the PM is fibbing when he says he knew nothing about the raid. And there?s also an insinuation that Dotcom was only granted residency so it would make it easier for him to be arrested and extradited. It?s labelled ?Prepared by New Zealand First Leader?s Office,? but consists entirely of Dotcom’s familiar bullet points.

And Winston has alleged the government is spying on him and his visits to Dotcom?s mansion, making the pair brothers in surveillance conspiracy. Most guffawed when they heard this theory, but of course in the MMP world NZ First only has to appeal to 5%, and a good government-is-out-to-get-me story is grist for the mill.

So: Dotcom and Peters seems like best buds all of a sudden.? Read more »

Kumar resigns as CEO of MEGA to get into politics

MEGA has announced that Vikram Kumar has resigned as CEO of MEGA so he can get into politics boots and all via the Internet Party.

Word from my sources is that this has been in play for quite sometime with Kumar being tasked several months ago by Thompson and Bradbury with recruiting candidates, his recruitment attempts were unsuccessful.

He doesn’t want to be a candidate himself and talk has been around him assuming the president role. The money rumoured to be involved is in 6 figures.

It really beggars belief that he would mislead Chris Keall this morning so outrageously.? Read more »

Why corporate welfare must end

Corporate welfare is as evil as normal wlefare…it creates bludgers who get use to taking but it is worse for corporate welfare, because those bludging ratbags then inevitably sell the company offshore and the corporate welfare is all gone into the bulging pockets of the former owners.

Chris Keall explains about another corporate bludger who has sold out.

For staff of companies like Navman and The Hyperfactory it’s a familiar story. A hot NZ technology company is sold to offshore buyers, with its founder pledging jobs will stay in New Zealand – only for that promise to melt away as the new owners take control.

The latest casualty is NextWindow, a company whose revenue hit $60 million+ as it supplied touchscreen technology to PC makers like HP, Asus and Lenovo.

The recipient of a $6 million, no-strings government grant?is gutting its local office, a source close to the situation tells NBR ONLINE.

Layoffs will see 11 staff left in NextWindow’s Auckland office, which at the time of its 2010 takeover by Canadian company Smart Technologies housed around seven times that number.

Powerbyproxi leases space in the same building. CEO Greg Cross tells NBR his company has already taken over space vacated by NextWindow.? Read more »

Liar, liar Hooton’s pants are on fire

It looks like Matthew Hooton?s campaign against the Government is about to unravel

Finally, we have a journalist prepared to look past the PR rubbish and actually examine the dodgy behaviour of those involved in the broadband campaign against the Government.

Now that a bit of sunlight has been shone on this?tired old grouping of the disaffected drinking buddies of Hooton, the greedy, the tax dodging ratbags and second rate bloggers, things are about to get interesting.

Hooton has been spinning to his heart?s content that his campaign is about putting more money into the back pockets of Kiwi mum and dads.

Absolute rubbish.

As the NBR?s Chris Keall has revealed (behind the paywall), it looks like the campaign is actually about stuffing that money into the pockets of?retail service providers. Hooton couldn?t give a toss about Kiwi mum and dads.? Read more »

Dotcom proposal a great big DotCon

Chris Keall is the first tech journo to call Kim Dotcom on his bullshit…obvious no invite for Chris to a pool party at the fat German’s place:

Kim Dotcom got an impressive amount of media over the weekend for his ?plan? to revive Pacific Fibre ? with the twist that Kiwis will get free or discounted broadband (subsidised by charges to business and government, and money from the not-yet-launched?Mega).

Sorry, but the bus just doesn?t go out that far.

Even at the height of Megaupload, Mr Dotcom didn?t have $US400 million to spare for a Sydney-Auckland-LA cable.

His proposal to fund the project by suing Hollywood studios is the stuff of fantasy.

And as for the parallel suggestion of crowdfunding ? that?s a neat idea for a $ 1 million project. Not so much for one that costs half a billion.

Dotcom mentioned Pacific Fibre co-founder Sam Morgan as a possible partner, but Mr Morgan told Stuff the pair had not discussed the project.

Bruce Simpson is the second:

From where I stand, this is not looking good for Kimmy and smacks of desperation. One can’t help but get the impression that he’s effectively trying to buy the support of NZers in his battle against the looming issue of extradition to the USA.

The silly thing is that he doesn’t need to make promises like this, most Kiwis are probably right behind him. This inducement to support Kimmy smacks of the campaign contributions paid to John (“where am I? I forgot everything”) Banks and the way he bought his residency by investing in NZ at the suggestion of the NZ government.

Of course, in case it may have slipped your mind, Kim won’t be able to kick a few hundred million into the Pacific Fibre project unless he’s freed from threat of extradition to the USA and his currently frozen assets/funds are thawed.

And what an inducement he’s offering to make sure that happens.

Unfortunately, I suspect that many Kiwis will see this move for what it probably is — a blatant attempt to buy his way out of a difficult situation.

Given the way that our politicians have dipped their hands into his pockets at every opportunity, in return for granting favours, I can understand why KD probably thinks this will work — but I’m afraid he’s likely to come out sorely disappointed.


iPhone helps Banks win Epsom

Chris Keall wasn’t sure who to vote for in Epsom, so he asked Siri:

Siri asked: Should I vote for Paul Goldsmith? from Chris Keall on Vimeo.


Nats promise to keep lid on interest rates

Nats promise to keep lid on interest ratesA National-led government would choke interest rates by reigning in state spending and boosting the economy's productive sector, finance spokesman Bill English says. Speaking to delegates at National's annual conference today,… [NZ Politics]

This is very pleasing to see and they have effectively silenced any argument from Labour about cutting spending by the way they have phrased it.

By focusing on wise sonverment spending rather than willy-nilly unsustainalbe welfare programmes new Zealanders will be much better off.?

Wild Wild Northland

Local vandals hapu are resorting to criminal acts of desperation to get their own way press their claim over disputed land.

Apparently thousands of metres of  fencing have been cudt and all the sheep and cattle mixed up into one big paddock.

One criminal spokesman for the local hapu (who has been arrested for trespass) said; 

"We want to move the stock from our whenua [land],"

This is an example of why National was pushing for "one law for all"….and that was supposed to be dog-whistle race based politicing!!!!!!!! Yeah right.