Posts by Andre Alessi

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  • Hard News: Snowden and New Zealand,

    By coincidence, this week the GCSB and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) released their “guidance” for New Zealand network operators, which sets out the expectations under the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act, which passed last year.

    I'm interested in how this is going to work at a practical level. The guidelines themselves are quite broad, suggesting that if a network operator isn't sure whether a change is notifiable, they should contact the NCSC to check. This is going to result in a lot of notifications initially, at least until network operators iron out the process. (There is also no mention of timeframes, which could mean serious delays are on the cards for a while.)

    For traditional telcos, notifiable changes won't be terribly frequent, but with VOIP services becoming more common, and with the flexibility (and corresponding ad hoc nature) of VOIP setups, I think we'll see notifiable events skyrocket in the next few years. Some providers will be good at notifying these events, but others won't even realize they need to.

    I don't think exploitation of existing hardware/software exploits by agencies will increase under TICSA-if telcos are unaware of agencies using backdoors, there's nothing stopping them from fixing/patching them as soon as they become known in the industry, which is something that happens regularly. But installation of backdoors that network operators know about is the entire point of TICSA, so we'll see a lot more of that. Whether we see push back from network operators if they feel interception requests are too broad or too invasive...well, that's where things could get interesting.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: My Life in Curry,

    By far the best (and best value) curry I've had in Auckland was at Pakwan in Belmont. Massive servings, lots of free extras and samosas to clamber over broken glass for. They'd have massive vats sitting on the stoves cooking all day until the meat was so tender it'd fall apart on your fork. Sadly, it was replaced by a fairly generic place late last year.

    I used to live around the corner from Sigdi in Devonport, and was a regular there for close to.a decade until I moved away. The mains are patchy in quality, but make up for it with variety, and if you eat in, try the green chilli and coriander naan-absolutely covered with both, and worth a visit on its own.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Internet Party, whatever happens,

    Then there’s the matter of the currently sitting MP who is apparently lined up to stand for the Internet Party.

    If this was a MP in the current government, that'd be huge news, which is why I don't believe it is. I saw references to this being "an electorate MP", which makes me think that they're talking about Hone and the Mana "partnership deal" in a typically vague way.

    Although I could see Brendan Horan leaping at the chance. On the other hand, let's face it, it is Asenati's time to shine.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Web,

    Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied have been documenting each cached GeoCities page via a Tumblr and a rather whimsical blog. It's startling to see the ways the web has changed (four-frame GIFs!) and the ways in which it hasn't ("This is my Def Leppard fan page!"]]

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Web,

    I don't think I realised the significance of this at the time, but my first experience on the internet was the result of a brief foray into journalism in 1995 or 1996. I had been hired by an indie radio station in Gisborne to be "news manager", responsible for the news bulletins, interviews, etc on the morning show. Essentially this involved going online to Yahoo and reading out their articles on air.

    Yes, I realise now this was a terrible idea, but none of us thought anything of it at the time. Having access to news stories before the printed copies of the newspapers even made it to our doorstep was a huge deal for us. (For the record, I did terribly at the job, with no background in journalism and no other characteristics to recommend me beyond a deep speaking voice.)

    Of course, I couldn't afford my own computer or internet connection, so I used to use a computer in a cafe where you'd pay $10 for 15 minutes access...

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Diverse Auckland: are we…, in reply to Jean Hughes,

    As a bus driver I can see this, and even that bus users are perhaps more likely to be non European.

    Now that's an ear-to-the-ground perspective! I've always loved that about Auckland: riding the bus and hearing all the different accents and languages, and trying to place them.

    The community of Brazilian exchange students who catch the Devonport bus every day are notorious for turning certain trips into a raucous occasion, full of Portugese and English swearwords, but the place wouldn't be the same without them.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Diverse Auckland: are we…, in reply to Tariqa Satherley,

    People in Auckland are accepting of diverse ethnic backgrounds, yes, but if you aren't white it's still something to be noticed and commented on.

    Definitely. Racism is still alive and well in Auckland, often it's just obscured under the inherent embarrassed politeness many Aucklanders cultivate.

    It's certainly better here than other parts of NZ, for what that's worth, and I do think there has been a slow shift towards being more inclusive. When my family and I moved here in the mid 1990s from Hastings, we also moved away from a homogenous society that saw us as "weird" (my father was the only person I knew who had an accent, and my sister was Māori while I and my mother plainly weren't) and into a city that welcomed us with a refreshing indifference. No one cared that we were "different", because we weren't that different here.

    I do remember witnessing (or more often hearing about) fairly blatant examples of racism in later years, though, particularly directed at my sister and at Chinese friends. Those incidents aren't really mine to discuss, but as an outsider to those experiences I do get the impression that they've become less common as the years have passed.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Poor Choices, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Poor Choices,

    Is on-line bullying really that hard to see?

    Sometimes, yes it is. Having one person reply to you with "You're wrong!" might be no big deal to most people. Having a thousand, or ten thousand, people say it all at the same time, and for days and weeks afterwards, is potentially emotionally devastating. Especially when each one of those replies is from someone who thinks that they, uniquely, have a duty to say so, and a right to be responded to in return.

    Online modes of communication are so uniquely filtered by individual experience, preferences and asymmetries that there's genuinely no way to tell how someone else is experiencing that communication unless they tell you.

    I'm no stranger to vigorous debate, and generally enjoy it, but I think that it's worth remembering that there's only one person who has authority over whether or not they feel bullied.

    (Late to the party, I know.)

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Bad Judgement, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    and an AWOL management culture at TVNZ that should never have let things get this far.

    I know this is a bit of a nitpick, but politically connected folks come and go all the time into the offices and meeting rooms at TVNZ. There's no way TCNZ's management could know that the purpose of any given meeting wasn't kosher without being told so by the participants.

    To my mind, the failure here is pretty clearly Taurimu's, not his bosses.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

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