Information technology

Face of the day

Ian Fletcher -Faifax NZ

Ian Fletcher
-Faifax NZ

While in general our MSM seem determined to only focus on the negative possibilities of our Government having these kind of capabilities I for one am glad that they are trying to protect us as the threat is very real. Given the fact that the Labour Party could not even make their website secure from the average Joe on the web clicking on the links they provided aren’t you glad they are not currently in power? They called looking at all the private data and credit card details that they left totally unsecured and in public view on their website ‘hacking’ for goodness sake. Fit to run this country? I don’t think so. What they did was no different to someone not putting privacy settings on their facebook page and then being all outraged when everyone was able to look at their photos and download them.

Spy boss Ian Fletcher has both hands tied behind his back justifying cyber-security defence system Project Cortex

The director of the Government Communications Security Bureau says he can’t say how Cortex will work or exactly which organisations will come under its protection. To do so would risk exposing vulnerabilities, he says. Nor will he say how much Cortex is costing.

Nevertheless, he wants to talk about why the GCSB is making the investment in the system, the existence of which was brought to light by Prime Minister John Key in the lead up to Kim Dotcom’s “moment of truth” event in September.

The Government is due to review the country’s spy agencies and their legislative underpinning next year. Fletcher says the GCSB’s biggest challenge is recruiting the right people in a tight labour market.

The internet has made it easier for “both good things and bad things to happen”, he says.

Read more »

Finally a minister who gets that driverless cars and not trains is our future

Simon Bridges appears to get it.

That our future lies in enabling technologies not restrictive technologies.

Trains are constrained by tracks and are not at all versatile, whereas driverless vehicles are enabling in many, many ways.

The prospect of cars travelling New Zealand highways with no one behind the wheel is moving closer says new Transport Minister Simon Bridges. Officials are reviewing legislation allowing for the testing of umanned autonomous vehicles on public roads.

Mr Bridges has pledged to work with environmental interests while also pursuing the Government’s road building programme.

Mr Bridges said he was committed to “a balanced approach” and ongoing investment roads were important even from a green perspective, “over time as we move to electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles”.

Mr Bridges said the Government was not doing a great deal to accommodate autonomous vehicle technology, “but I don’t think there’s any doubt that if you look at what’s going on internationally, maybe not in the next couple of years, but over time we will see driverless vehicles and that will have implications, like for example less congestion because vehicles can travel closer together”.

Read more »

Another Cunliffe cock up [UPDATED]

As suspected and intimated here on the blog it was David Cunliffe’s office and Curran’s who inadvertently leaked Dotcom’s conceived ICT policy from LAbour.

How many more cock ups will Labour’s caucus put up with from this tool.

But it gets worse…they have named Rob Egan…long suspected to be a blogger at The Standard as the culprit.

However late last night Labour’s chief press secretary Simon Cunliffe confirmed that the email sent in error actually came not from Curran’s office, but from that of the Labour leader.

While Simon Cunliffe would not say who the particular staffer was, Fairfax has been told it came from Rob Egan, a former communications manager for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Curran could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile Fairfax is saying yesterday that it was Cunliffe’s worst day yesterday…that was before this latest cockup.

David Cunliffe faced his worst day as Labour leader yesterday after admitting to a lapse of judgment over a trust that channelled anonymous donations to his leadership bid.

He was then forced to watch as National crowed over the accidental leak of his party?s information technology to a government minister.? Read more »

Labour wants to tax ISPs, watch them tax you in return with higher charges

Labour continue to show what a bunch of muppets they are with their ICT policy that was inadvertently leaked to National showing they want to tax ISPs.

It shows their complete lack of business acumen. They are suggesting a tax on the entire internet via ISPs.

Any cost lumped onto a business like an ISP is simply going to be passed straight onto the customer leading to higher charges.

Telecom is bristling at the suggestion Labour could impose a “content levy” on internet providers.

Labour was left red-faced today after MP Clare Curran?s ideas on ICT policy were accidentally emailed to her National Party counterpart, Communications Minister Amy Adams.

These include imposing a revenue-based levy on telecommunications carriers to create a contestable fund to support the ?creation and accessible distribution of New Zealand digital content?.

Another suggestion is a ?digital bill of rights? policed by the Human Rights Commission that would ?guarantee a citizen privacy?.

Curran, who is associate communications and information technology spokeswoman and Labour?s spokeswoman on ?open government?, said the ideas titled ?ICT Policy Framework 2014? were sent to Adams? office this morning. She did not personally send the email, she said. ? Read more »

How much of Labour’s ICT policy did Dotcom write?

Yesterday Labour’s ICT policy got leaked, with all its naf names for things.

Clare Curran got blamed but good sources tell me it came from David Cunliffe’s office, in any case he is the spokesperson responsible for ICT.

It doesn’t really matter though, Curran was thrown under the bus. Isaac Davidson from the Herald reports:

Labour has revealed that it embarrassingly sent internal policy documents and speech notes for leader David Cunliffe to a National Party Cabinet Minister.

ICT spokeswoman Clare Curran’s staff accidentally emailed the documents to Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams.

One of the documents outlined Labour’s potential strategy in the ICT sector.

It included proposals such as a fixed monthly allocation of broadband for every citizen, a Digital Bill of Rights, and a levy on telecommunications companies or internet service providers to fund New Zealand digital content.

Ms Adams said it was not the first time she had been accidentally emailed confidential Labour documents.

“Strangely enough, it’s the second time they’ve included me on their internal communications.

So maybe they like me, who knows? ?? Read more »

Amy Adams vs Clare Curran

Clare Curran must surely be a contender for the worst MP in parliament ? and that?s no mean feat.

Last week she demanded the Government sort out the issue with Transfield not paying its ultra-fast broadband contractors.

Amy Adams must step in and ensure that people working on the taxpayer funded ultra-fast broadband roll out get paid and that the sub contractors who pay them are not left in the lurch, Labour?s communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran said today.

So, that?s exactly what Amy Adams did. Although it?s a fair bet that Adams was already smashing heads behind the scenes before Curran caught up with the play

Adams made it very clear to Transfield that she wasn?t impressed that they were trying to get out of paying its contractors.? Read more »

Yet another Clare Curran own goal

Clare Curran has been called many things, but certainly never competent.

Today she has displayed exactly why this is the case. The Labour Party techtard?has scored yet another own goal.

Once again, Curran has written a letter of complaint making all sorts of wild allegations, only to have it flat out rejected.

She has been in a flap that telecommunications companies are colluding with the Government over the price people pay for copper broadband.

My spies tell me that Curran shopped the story to a number of journalists in the press gallery but was shot down by everyone she approached.

And when none of the press gallery journalists would touch the story, it appears that Curran turned to her future press secretary, Tom Pullar-Strecker. ? Read more »

Labour’s ICT policy leaked

How appropriate that Labour’s ICT policy has found its way into my hands ahead of the official launch tomorrow.

Why wait? With the wonders of modern technology you can read it here first.

Looks like Labour still has ongoing leaks in their IT systems.

Labour’s ICT Policy Leaked

Why I don't want an iPhone

I don’t want an iPhone. I like my Blackberry just fine, and now I will explain why I don’t want an iPhone, ever.

Major Reason: Security – PIN, encoded messaging and browsing.

Blackberry TorchUAE to ban Blackberry email, web browsing and messaging.

Citing national security concerns, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that it will soon ban e-mail, web browsing and messaging for the BlackBerry smartphone.

?In the public interest, we have today informed the providers of telecommunications services in the country of our decision to suspend the Blackberry services of messenger, email and electronic browsing,? stated Mohammed al-Ghanem, the chief of the UAE?s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

?Today?s decision is based on the fact that, in their current form, certain BlackBerry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national-security concerns,? continued the government?s statement. According to al-Ghanem, ?It?s a final decision,? but they are continuing discussions with Canadian-based Research in Motion (RIM), makers of the BlackBerry device.

That is one major hell yeah reason why I want a Blackberry. Authoritarian, nosy, snoopy governments can’t read my data. The major plus is that Research in Motion has refused to buckle to such big brother bullying. If I am going to rely on something for my communications then i want to know that the provider of the technology won’t sell out on it’s consumers.

At the heart of the ban is the method in which RIM handles BlackBerry data. Unlike most phones, BlackBerry data is encrypted and routed overseas through RIM?s network center in Canada. This has been a major point of contention for several nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and India, because it means that these nations cannot monitor the encrypted data being sent. According to The Wall Street Journal, the ban came after RIM rejected the idea of setting up a proxy server within the UAE.

Data security and privacy is important, and it is something Apple and Microsoft suck at. kudos to research in Motion for looking after its consumers.

Ban on BlackBerry data a security badge of honor
By Glenn Chapman (AFP)

SAN FRANCISCO ? Security experts have said that banning BlackBerry data service in the United Arab Emirates smacks of political backlash and could be a testament to how hard it is to snoop on that network.

“The BlackBerry security model is very different from other phones,” said Kevin Mahaffey of Lookout mobile security firm.

“It is end-to-end and the encryption is so strong nobody knows how to monitor it.”

Canada-based Research In Motion built its own platform for business customers that encrypts BlackBerry email messages and routes them in a way that keeps the data off limits from even telecom firms that carry the transmissions.

“They have such good security that I think some countries are uncomfortable with the fact that they can’t intercept it,” said Lookout chief executive John Hering.

While iPhones have been all the rage with smartphones users thrilled by games, social networking, video watching and other casual uses, BlackBerry has remained a favorite for business people craving secure wireless communications.

Leave the iPhones to the kids. There is a reason why sensible government ministers use Blackberrys. The media is supporting Blackberry too.

Blackberry pickle: RIM should resist snoops

THE last thing Research in Motion should do is kowtow to authoritarian governments. The smartphone maker on Tuesday tried to create some buzz around the New York launch of its revamped product (the BlackBerry Torch is widely touted as the answer to the Apple iPhone). But the real buzz was over whether the Canadian company was caving in to pressure for it to sacrifice some of its vaunted consumer security to satisfy the demands of state security.

The United Arab Emirates, which boasts 500,000 BlackBerry users ? not to mention a fair chunk of the 100,000 visitors a day who pass through the Gulf states ? is threatening to suspend vital BlackBerry applications like email and Internet browsing unless the firm makes it easier for the government to monitor encrypted BlackBerry communications.

Kuwait has expressed similar concerns and has given RIM a list of 3,000 so-called porn sites it wants the firm to block from its smartphones in the country. Meanwhile, RIM is reportedly compromising with the government of India by sharing technical codes for corporate email services. (India, at least, is a genuine democracy.)

At issue is RIM?s closed communication network. The firm processes users? encrypted messages through its own centres in Canada and the U.K. and does not use the open Internet for transmissions, so BlackBerrys are less vulnerable to electronic surveillance.

Governments that like to keep an eye on their citizens are frustrated and claim the BlackBerry can enable criminal behaviour or terrorist plots, although terrorists are far better at carrying out attacks with low-tech means. The real concern is the fact that BlackBerrys can empower citizens to organize opposition to authoritarian governments.

I say to governments, including our own, keep you beady distrustful eyes out of my communications. And on that front, I note that Blackberry has released their new Torch.

A note to loyal fans thinking of buying a present for The Whale…a Blackberry Torch looks like the business for me. Thanks in advance.