Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: New Lounge Toy Update

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  • Bart Janssen,

    Actually, it boils down to the one channel: Food TV.

    Same here. Sod the news, Market Kitchen is on. Of course we do have to watch Top Gear.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Of course, any real organised criminals will have their assets buried offshore and won't suffer any risk of confiscation.

    Real property is generally of very little use to you when it's overseas. Cars, houses, blocks of land... All very real, very local, and already regularly targeted by the cops under existing forfeiture rules.
    Also, a court order to freeze and seize funds in overseas banks is an option. Unless the assets in question are real property on foreign soil in a country without forfeiture laws, most criminals can't keep their ill-gotten gains out of the hands of our authorities.

    As for your activists and "brown people", how many of them would own assets worth seizing that they couldn't back up with a proper paper trail? You know, things like employment records, hire purchase/mortgage payments... Those things that people who live in a cash economy find rather difficult to provide.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    If I were a defence lawyer, I'd be arguing that that is interpreted as an individual asset being worth $30k rather than an aggregate value of all assets. It's a bit of a murky definition, IMO.

    I think I'll argue that the demos rules the kratos and that people shouldn't have to be saying shit to nobody. Fuck details. This shit is heinous.

    As for your activists and "brown people", how many of them would own assets worth seizing that they couldn't back up with a proper paper trail? You know, things like employment records, hire purchase/mortgage payments... Those things that people who live in a cash economy find rather difficult to provide.

    Ah yes, the nominally law abiding needn't worry.

    It was press day for TiVo yesterday

    Yipee skippy.

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Murray Hewitt,

    "I use my iPhone all the time as a music player in the car, via a hokey old cassette adapter."

    About that car stereo thing. I drive a classic car and don't want to cut the dash for a cd player, so I (and many others) am stuck with under-dash mounting, or in the glovebox with a remote, etc. Who the hell uses CDs in a car anymore anyway? Why do these things need to be DIN standard width when all you want to do is plug in your iPhone/iPod or listen to bFM?

    Wainui • Since Jan 2008 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Brickley, Rich, you do realise that asset forfeiture is already on the books, don't you?

    Ah yes, the nominally law abiding needn't worry.

    In theory, no, they shouldn't. Balance of probabilities cuts in both directions. Does it make it easier for the authorities to get a seizure order? Absolutely. Does it make it harder to demonstrate that your lifestyle was in excess of your income? Hell no. Do you have to now provide some proof? Yes. Much proof? No, not really.

    Maybe I'm just naive, but I really have been struggling to work out how someone who's "nominally law abiding" could end up unable to prove that they didn't acquire assets by way of legitimate means. If nothing else they should have records with IRD for their income tax payments. Bequests generally come with associated paperwork, or at least records from the probation of the will. Gifts could be a little tricky, if the giver can no longer be contacted and there's nothing else to support an assertion that it was a gift, but then you come back to the balance of probabilities and if there's one unexplainable asset against an otherwise-legitimate background the balance isn't in favour of that asset being bought with the proceeds of crime.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I'm going to go with 'don't use the phone in the car'.

    Science Media Centre: Hands-free calling in cars almost as dangerous

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Rich of Observationz wrote:

    ... especially once McCully becomes PM...

    Don't say things like that, dude. Even as a joke.

    You've just given me all the symptoms of a heart attack.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Don't say things like that, dude. Even as a joke.

    What he actually meant was that McCully is going to reach his zenith and move into what you could describe as a postmeridian phase.

    Better? I learnt this technique at a first aid course.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I'm using a Blueant Supertooth 3 which works well for answering, especially with the phone in a bracket. The iPhone interface for switching between iPhone / iPhone Speaker / Blueant is nicely done and easy to use with the phone handy in the bracket.

    I bought the same Blueant model and it works pretty well and is easy to use. It attaches to the sun-visor. At about $180 it's reasonably priced. My wife and I did a bit of research on the best buys and it appears to have the most features and the best reviews for products of about that price range.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    You've just given me all the symptoms of a heart attack.

    And an idea for a new book ?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Matt, it's quite possible to rent houses, land and cars. The world is full of corrupt countries where a well connected criminal could keep money tucked away.

    Also, I suspect with a bit of tweaking, the government could designate a protest group as a "terrorist organisation" and treat any of their assets (money from donations, for instance) as the proceeds of crime. With this law, they don't need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that any crimes actually took place.

    (Before anyone suggests that it's preposterous that a government would use anti-terrorism laws to target legitimate protest, it goes on all the time overseas.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Also, I suspect with a bit of tweaking, the government could designate a protest group as a "terrorist organisation" and treat any of their assets (money from donations, for instance) as the proceeds of crime. With this law, they don't need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that any crimes actually took place.

    They could do that with or without this law, though, if they were so inclined. I don't in the least buy the argument that this particular change is thin-end-of-the-wedge stuff, if only because there are other ways of achieving the same ends when you have the power to pass whatever law you see fit.

    As for renting, of course it's possible. That doesn't mean that it's done, though. You're assuming significant levels of competence on the part of these criminals, too. Given the things that the police have seized in the fairly-recent past (cars, houses, bullion, jewellery, stacks of cash...), I do think you're over-egging this one somewhat. Just because the law has changed doesn't mean that the crims are going to wise up all of a sudden.

    Not quite sure what that article from the Guardian is meant to add to this particular debate, either. Didn't see any mention of asset seizures, or indeed of anything related to actual judicial proceedings as opposed to the police just being fascists - which, in the UK, is something of a given when the elected leaders hold the attitudes they do toward civil rights.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Rich, designating protest groups as terrorist groups would require some rejigging of the Suppression of Terrorism Act, and even that would not be sufficient to meet the requirements of the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act. There would have to be a lot of rewriting of both acts, as they currently stand, to allow protesters to have their assets confiscated.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Russell those Belkin FM tuners don't work well (read at all) around town in my experience because the stations are too close together on the dial. Can't seem to find a frequency clear enouh.

    They work OK (just) on road trips when there is less "noise" on the spectrum.

    In summary, not worth the money.

    I second that. But the device Russell linked to was one that connects to an auxiliary jack on the stereo. But if Russell has an auxiliary jack, why is he using a cassette adapter? Perhaps he was planning to use the cassette adapter as the jack? Wow, that's 2 technologies between iPhone and stereo, one of them analog.

    To be honest I think such a setup is even less safe than holding the phone to your ear. The distractions caused from juggling phone and phone answering device, stereo volume control, etc all sound like a recipe for a big stack.

    I'm pretty sure the iPhone supports speakerphone natively If so, what's wrong with just using that? Then, as Steve Barnes suggested, some Velcro is all Russell will need to go handsfree.

    I'm going to go with 'don't use the phone in the car'.

    That's probably sensible advice that I will utterly refuse to take. My response is that whenever I receive or make a call, I just start driving safer. The easiest way is to slow down and massively increase your following distance to the vehicle in front. Or stop. Also, I absolutely insist that the other person I'm talking to respects that I'm driving so I can't concentrate on what they're saying all of the time and will often ask them to repeat themselves.

    As for handsfree, I'd like to get one for each car, but to be honest, I don't really know that it will help much. The first thing I think when I get in the car is not "Now, get my phone out and plug it in". So when it's ringing, it's in my bag or my pocket. I suspect that when the new law comes in, I will just stop if I need to take or make a call. If I'm on the motorway, I'll probably just risk it - dicking around setting up the handsfree sounds more dangerous than just using my phone how I always have. I'll just make my calls briefer, and drive safer like I always have. The handsfree will be entirely for those extremely rare occasions when I need to have a long conversation.

    If I used my phone for pumping music in the car, perhaps I would think that way. But I don't - I use a dedicated stereo, because I actually like that better. They're designed to be used in cars, you never forget them and either don't have them or leave them in the car. They never run out of charge. They pump high quality sound. My one takes SD cards, so you can always just take the card out of your phone if you must have the latest tracks playing and haven't bothered to put them on some medium for the car (SD or CD in my case).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Simone Hindin,

    I've been waiting for this damned thing since I first read about it in Wired seems like a decade ago. I can tell you that I'm looking forward to be able to watch recorded things (like Primeval) on the projector that don't look like they're off YouTube because they've been taped on a video tape that should have dog ears its been used so often.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    @Russell
    We have just been through buying a Belkin device for iPod playback in our latest car since the cassette widget doesn't work with CD players. I could not get it to work, it would transmit okay, until I started the engine and the connection in the ciggy lighter was well dodgy. It got returned to retailer (distance selling regs here in the UK are very useful) and apparently the entire ciggy charger range have been discontinued because of that sort of problem and apparently because they have been damaging people's ciggy lighters from an electrical p.o.v.

    So it looks like you have timed your search well. Look elsewhere. Not that we have found anything. As for phones in the UK people pull over, the law says you must cut the engine before answering as well. We haven't bothered with hands free even though a bluetooth ear dongle has been available for some time.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    What happened to the edit?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    a huge part of the problem is what you do with your brain when talking to someone on the phone

    I also heard (somewhere I don't remember) that you mentally create a picture of the absent conversationalist - which is why talking by phone saps more attention than talking with someone sitting next to you in the car, handsfree or not. Seemed to fit experience.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    What happened to the edit?

    I see a clickable Edit button. It works, though cancelling still returns me to the top of the thread (bug).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Yeah, not asking what's happening with it now. I mean a couple of days back. It vanished.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Science Media Centre: Hands-free calling in cars almost as dangerous</quote>


    I'm hanging out for: Talking in cars almost as dangerous.

    followed by

    Science Media Centre: Blinking in cars almost as dangerous

    until we're all being driven round by owls, with their tongues cut out.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    If a protest organisation (e.g. Greenpeace) were engaging in illegal behaviour (trespass, criminal damage, etc) to make a point, would any money raised by that organisation be "proceeds of crime"?

    So that money could be confiscated? And the government would only need to demonstrate that this criminality is "probable" in front of a judge, rather than prosecuting in front of judge and jury?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm hanging out for: Talking in cars almost as dangerous.

    Research came out in Italy a couple of weeks ago claiming that yelling at your kids is worse than smacking them.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Maybe I'm just naive, but I really have been struggling to work out how someone who's "nominally law abiding" could end up unable to prove that they didn't acquire assets by way of legitimate means. If nothing else they should have records with IRD for their income tax payments.

    So I run a consulting business - I sell my time by the hour mostly to people in the US - what does that look like from a NZ perspective? gobs of money, sometimes quite large gobs appear in an offshore foreign currency account in my bank - then I pay tax to the IRD on the money as it gets passed to my checking account - I imagine someone doing something really dodgy - money laundry, offshoring stolen cars etc etc would have similar banking patterns - sure I have invoices - but those are just pdfs that I made and emailed - some of the companies I've worked for don't even exist any more (not my fault honest) ....

    You can see how one might be a bit worried that some copper with the wrong end of the stick might show up one day and take all my stuff

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    There would have to be a lot of rewriting of both acts, as they currently stand, to allow protesters to have their assets confiscated.

    And

    And the government would only need to demonstrate that this criminality is "probable" in front of a judge, rather than prosecuting in front of judge and jury?

    I'm concerned at how the police could 'creatively' interpret and apply laws that are supposedly limited to prevent abuse. There is a kind of Murphy's law in effect regarding the police and their powers: If a law is specifically designed not to be directly repressive, it will be used to be repressive through harassment.

    For example, during the raid on Abel Smith St here, a lot of computer hardware and film stock and equipment and even avocados were seized as 'evidence'. Possibly the avocados might have looked like cunningly disguised grenades to the cops who had tinfoil under their helmets, but a lot of the other seizures were actually unrelated to anything remotely 'subversive' or Tuhoe. This included material and equipment for an environmental documentary a former student of mine had been working on outside of NZ for years. That work was effectively sabotaged and years later now, she hasn't been able to work on it or get her irreplaceable stock returned to her.

    Secondly, as the Law Society has pointed this out, it is a common police tactic to wear down opposition by constantly laying and then dropping charges and then laying new charges. This can lead to enormous legal expenses for defendants as each case has to go through depositions and hearings if not trials. The toll it takes psychologically is enormous too.

    Now, IIRC, they can take DNA samples from people they "intend" to charge. Put that in the former context and they can "intend" to charge someone, use that as a pretext to build a database on them and then play a shell game with charges for years afterwards.

    Remember that what was nominally anti-terorism legislation in the UK was used to pursue Icelandic banks.

    It's a legal truism that extreme cases make bad law and anything that comes in under the guise of "fighting terrorism" and "getting tough on crime" will be used and abused outside its supposed intent. It will be abused by the police who know that even applied incompletely, such legislation is still very useful for harassment, intimidation and suppression of people they don't like.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

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