Internet killed the Broadcast TV star

Teena Harris likes to have a movie night with her family once a week, so they can enjoy watching TV together for a change.

“What I’ve found is that now everybody has a device, you’re not sitting down like you used to,” says the 47-year-old marketing manager and mother of three.

Back in the old days – well, a year ago, actually – she says the St Heliers family used to gather in front of their 42-inch TV in the lounge and fight over which channel to watch.

“Last year we’d all sit down and watch My Kitchen Rules, but now we don’t.”

The Harris family are at the leading edge of a TV-watching revolution in New Zealand and around the world. A few years ago they watched free-to-air channels and Sky. Three months ago they dropped Sky because they weren’t watching it enough to justify the cost. The family has subscribed to Netflix, the US internet-based giant which started in New Zealand in March, and their viewing habits have almost totally switched to commercial-free online viewing.

Teena streams an episode of Netflix on the TV at night after coming home from work and doing dinner and the evening chores. Her husband Craig likes movies and documentaries and dips back into free-to-air to catch the late news.

Their 14-year-old son Sam has moved off the big screen altogether, watching action dramas like Homeland on his iPad. Daughters Sally, 12, and Molly, 9, follow the same teen dramas like Pretty Little Liars on Netflix that they used to watch on Sky’s Disney Channel.

“It’s changed from watching what’s served to you on traditional TV to going and picking what you want to watch,” says Craig. Read more »

Surely even the Russians wouldn?t be so stupid as to cut off the Internet?

They can bomb, they can annex and they can do whatever they like invading other non-relevant (non-western!) countries, but if they ever cut off the Internet, the backlash they?ll face will be unprecedented.

You can kill every day, but if you take away our Facebook, it will be the last thing you ever do.

The presence of Russian submarines and spy ships near undersea cables carrying most global Internet communications has US officials concerned that Russia could be planning to sever the lines in periods of conflict, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The Times said there was no evidence of cable cutting but that the concerns reflected increased wariness among US and allied officials over growing Russian military activity around the world.

The newspaper quoted naval commanders and intelligence officials as saying they were monitoring significantly greater Russian activity along the cables’ known routes from the North Sea to Northeast Asia and waters closer to the United States. ? Read more »

It’s illegal for us to buy this NZ book, but the rest of the world can

American publishing house Polis Books plan to publish?Into the River, by Ted Dawe, in hardcover and as an e-book after founder Jason Pinter heard about the New Zealand ban.

“Any time a book is banned, all it serves to do is get the book more readers,” he told Radio New Zealand’sMorning Report.

“This is how I heard about the book, to begin with – I was actually on holiday with my family, and it made me want to read the book.”

There are no plans to restrict the age of American readers, although Mr Pinter said Polis would recommend that readers be over 13, as parents tended to buy for their children and might want to be aware of its more sensitive themes.

Why don’t crazies like Family First ever consider the Streisand Effect? ?Instead of saving kids from being exposed to material they deem unsuitable, they now have achieved an even greater market for the book. ? Read more »

Would you trust the UN to control the Internet?


Everything the UN does turns to custard, except profligate waste and spending money, they are world champions at that.

Now there is a proposal for the UN to take over control of the internet.

It may not have intended to, precisely, but the United Nations just took sides in the Internet?s most brutal culture war.

On Thursday, the organization?s Broadband Commission for Digital Development released a damning ?world-wide wake-up call? on what it calls ?cyber VAWG,? or violence against women and girls. The report concludes that online harassment is ?a problem of pandemic proportion? ? which, nbd, we?ve all heard before.

But the United Nations then goes on to propose radical, proactive policy changes for both governments and social networks, effectively projecting a whole new vision for how the Internet could work.

Under U.S. law ? the law that, not coincidentally, governs most of the world?s largest online platforms ? intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook generally can?t be held responsible for what people do on them. But the United Nations proposes both that social networks proactively police every profile and post,?and that government agencies only ?license? those who agree to do so.

?The respect for and security of girls and women must at all times be front and center,? the report reads, not only for those ?producing and providing the content,? but also everyone with any role in shaping the ?technical backbone and enabling environment of our digital society.?

How that would actually work, we don?t know; the report is light on concrete, actionable policy. But it repeatedly suggests both that social networks need to opt-in to stronger anti-harassment regimes and that governments need to enforce them proactively.

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Spot on HDPA, it is the hackers who are scumbags not those playing away

The scumbag media have been lapping up the Ashley Madison hack, enjoying wrecking peoples lives off of the back of criminal hackers.

Heather du Plessis-Allan-Soper calls time on the media and says we should be going after the scumbag hackers.

A few years ago a friend learned a good lesson about private information online. This was back when TradeMe was new and everything about it was novel. Someone posted a house for auction with a $1 reserve. Novel! Someone wrote a funny sales pitch for their dead grandmother’s knitting needles. Novel!

TradeMe was where my friend went to track down one of these people selling something quirky.

He logged into his TradeMe account to post the seller a message below their auction. He was a journalist, he explained. This was his name. This was who he worked for. This was his email address and would the person drop him an email to organise an interview.

It didn’t take long for another TradeMe user to spot the correspondence, click on my friend’s trading history and give him a quick heads up. Everyone could see he ? the journalist of this name, working for this company ? had recently bought two second-hand gay porn DVDs.

My friend hadn’t come out publicly yet. He could have been embarrassed or hurt if, instead of a polite heads up, the person had called a gossip columnist.

So consider that before we roll out the moral indignation over the cheaters being named and shamed in the Ashley Madison adultery website hack.

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Boing Boing and the EFF label the HDC as troll-friendly

Boing Boing and the EFF don’t have much good to say about Amy Adams’ Harmful Digital Communications Act.

If you set out to create the platonic ideal of a badly considered anti-trolling bill that made a bunch of ineffectual gestures at ending harassment without regard to the collateral damage on everything else on the Internet, well, you?d be New Zealand?s Parliament, apparently.

The Harmful Digital Communications Act has been under consideration for three years, but despite a long debate, the Parliament elected to create restrictions on all online speech ? from private arguments to videos of police brutality ? that would never be countenanced in the offline world.

HDC?s takedown regime takes all the worst elements of DMCA takedowns ? someone complains to a hosting company or ISP and they remove material nearly automatically, with hardly any consideration of whether the complaint passes the giggle-test ? and makes them even worse. Under the new system, trolls who mass-dox or denial-of-service attack a victim could make all of her online presence disappear with impunity, and face no penalties at all for abusing the procedure. If the victim did manage to attempt a counterclaim to keep her online life intact, it would require that she disclose her home address and other details to her attackers.

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The overloaded sense of righteousness

Liam Hehir discusses the findings of author Douglas Preston and his belief in the rise of virtual lynch mobs.

We have just seen Pebbles Hooper become a victim of it, previously John Tamihere, and of course I am still subjected to this lynch mob mentality just because some people who oppose me politically thought it a good idea to break the law and feed my private communications to the media.

In many ways, however, the most interesting part of Trial by Fury?comes at the end, when the author discusses the unflinching hatred of Knox evinced by many people he encountered on the internet. No matter what the evidence showed, many had an unshakeable – almost religious – belief in the need for Knox to be punished.

This is what led Preston to the phenomenon of altruistic punishment which, briefly stated, is the manner in which people will punish perceived wrongdoers despite not personally being affected by the wrongdoing. Brain scans show that when we punish somebody for violating a social norm, we are rewarded with feelings of self-satisfaction. This is what drives us to stick up for people being bullied, report shoplifters to store security and castigate people who park in disabled people’s parking spaces.

It goes without saying that this instinct is a good and necessary thing. It is easy to see how altruistic punishment is an essential ingredient of any justice system ? and is therefore a big part what allows us to build and live together in civilisations. The desire to punish wrongdoers is therefore part of what makes us human. In fact, this is so much the case that no other animals, including chimpanzees, punish third-party offenders in this way.

What Preston was interested in was the idea that the internet can overload this sense of righteousness, leading users to take leave of their sense of proportion. There’s a lot to be said for the idea.

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If UK figures can be believed there are over 59,300 men who want sex with children in NZ

Graham Capill, convicted sex offender and former leader of Christian Heritage party

Graham Capill, convicted sex offender and former leader of Christian Heritage party

A recent study in the UK of?by the National Crime Agency suggests that 1 in 35 men want child sex. If we extrapolate those figures for New Zealand based on the?latest census data that means that there are 59,388 potential kiddy fiddlers running around out there.

Up to 750,000 men living in Britain may have an interest in having sex with children, the Government has been warned.

A shocking analysis by the National Crime Agency reveals that about one in 35 adult males poses a potential risk of being a child abuser or of seeking out child sex images online.

Horrifically, as many as 250,000 men may be sexually attracted to pre-pubescent children ? defined as those under 12 ? according to the findings disclosed exclusively to The Mail on Sunday.

Phil Gormley, the deputy director general of the National Crime Agency (NCA), said: ?We are starting to get a real sense of the scale.?

He also warned that paedophiles are so numerous that ?the reality is that we are all living not far away from one?.

Calling for an urgent new approach to safeguard children from potential abusers before they strike, he said: ?If all we have is arrest and incarceration that will not help them come forward.? ? Read more »

Cry Baby of the Day


While people are experiencing floods and the resulting destruction, loss of power, homes and all that goes with flooding some little cry baby in Howick is having first world problems.

A Howick man is fuming after it took two days for Chorus to sort out an internet outage that affected more than 120 east Auckland residents over the weekend.

The Bleakhouse Rd resident, who did not wish to be named, said he was disappointed it took two days to be told the issue with with Chorus’ fibre network rather than his internet service provider, Spark, which he had contacted repeatedly.

The man said his internet had been working as normal when he left home early on Friday morning.

“I get back – there’s no internet.”

Boo fricken hoo, harden up cup cake, at least your house isn’t under water. ?? Read more »

Why Porn and Journalism Have the Same Big Problem

There is a great article at The Atlantic that shows why it is that Porn and Journalism have the same big, big problem.

The smut business just isn’t what it used to be.

The early days of the Internet were a bonanza for major pornography studios, as the web transformed adult entertainment into an instant, unlimited, and completely private experience — always just a credit card charge and a cable modem away. But what the Internet giveth, the Internet taketh away. As the most recent Bloomberg Businessweek?recounts in its feature on the rise of the new and controversial .XXX domain, the big production companies have seen their profits shrink by as much as half?since 2007, as audiences have fled to aggregators such as XTube and YouPorn that offer up a never-ending stream of free naked bodies.

Enthusiastic amateurs flipping it up for free have been the death of the porn business for ages. Ever wondered why there are no brothels in small towns? Because the local lasses flip it up for a beer or two at the pub and the locals won’t pay more than that for a tumble in?the?cot.

And so it is with journalism. ? Read more »