Posts by kevinM

  • Speaker: Creating a "New Scoop": Our…,

    There's a wonderful discussion on this problem here:

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Geoblocking, global mode and NZ…,

    A few thoughts

    CallPlus may be facilitating this, but there's nothing to stop anyone from signing up for a VPN. This provides the same outcome : You can configure your internet access so it appears that you're from the US (or the UK for iPlayer)

    Sky in particular must be terrified about the threat to their business model. Netflix is (I think) US$10/month for a huge amount of content on demand with no adds. Sky is $100 a month for a smaller selection of older content, by appointment, with intrusive ads.

    It's a classic case of internet disintermediation. Sky has a local monopoly, but has got fat and complacent. This prices have crept up and their quality has crept down (witness the loss of some sports and programmes, and the increasing lag between movies being released and appearing on the movie channels.).But in an increasingly connected world, they are buggy whip manufacturers.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping,

    I do know more than a little about this.

    The old dial phones would signal the number that was dialled to the exchange by pulsing the line. As the dial wound back to its rest position it would break the circuit repeatedly, at ten pulses a second. In NZ, the mapping was reversed so that the numbers printed on the dial would be in the correct order. (In other countries, the numbers on the dial would read 9,8,7 ...).

    One intersting impact of this reversal was the emergency services number : 999 in the UK 911 in the US and 111 here. This was necessary as if we had used 999, it would have corresponded to three lots of one pulse, which could occur due to wind blowing the overhead lines together.

    Tap dialling works as the old phone boxes would disable the dial if no coin had been entered, but the hookswitch would still pulse the line. When the hookswitch was down (The handset was on it) the line was in an idle state - it was high resistance and would only respond to ringing from the exchange (which was a high voltage AC signal). When the handset was lifted a resistance was put across the line, allowing a current to flow - around 15millamps was necessary for the exchange to detect the offhook state, supply dialtone, and start listening for dial-pulses.

    The machinery used in the exchanges in the 70s and early eighties was really basic. Each pulse would physically cause switches to move to route the call through the exchange. Hence they really only supported dial phones. Later electromagnetic and electronic exchanges would gather the entire number, examine it, and make a decision as to how to route the call. These supported push button phones that signalled to the exchnage using two simultaneous tones (Dual Tone Multi Frequency).

    While the old exchanges were slow, basic and high maintennence, they were notoriously robust. You could take an axe to any one part, and the rest would keep on going. (more like a human brain than a modern computer).

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A wretched editorial,

    I though the telling sentence was: "the time for her to speak out publicly on this case was after any trial was concluded, not before"

    In some cases this might actually be valid, but a key issue here (pardon the pun) is that there might not be a trial. Apart from a few sly insinuations in the editorial, no one seems to be denying that a crime almost certainly took place. And the victim would have been denied any chance of justice unless someone spoke out about it.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Snowden and New Zealand,

    My takeaways:

    Given the capabilities listed, and the volume of events captured, it's almost impossible to believe that lots of data about NZ citizens was not recorded.

    As Tom has suggested, there's a smugness and arrogance in the slidepacks that deeply disturbs me. The Yanks and the Brits and the Aussies have overreached their legal powers and lied about it and been caught. While I would like to believe that our own spooks are squeaky clean, I think that Ian Fletcher is deliberatly misleading us, if not flat-out lying.

    It's quite clear from the documentation that thees capabilities are being used for diplomatic advantage and financial advantage of US corporations.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply