Kim Dotcom accuses NZ PM Key of conspiring with Warner to extradite him to US


Dotcom claims he has emails between New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Warner exec Kevin Tsujihara in which Tsujihara explains that Dotcom was followed by private security in Hong Kong and that Key had made the extradition promise to Warner as part of the deal to shoot The Hobbit in NZ (the MPAA, Warner and Key's office all dispute the email's authenticity).

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NZ TV won't air ads for geo-unblocking ISP

Callum writes, "A New Zealand ISP has had its TV ads rejected by multiple NZ TV Networks (there are three in total, bless) citing a possible 'breach of copyright'."

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Kim Dotcom offering $5M bounty for information on how his case was rigged

Kim Dotcom, proprietor of the defunct Megaupload, is convinced that the raid on his company was crooked, and he's put up a $5M bounty on information that will help him prove misdeeds on the part of the US or New Zealand authorities:

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New Zealand requires network operators to register with cops, give spies oversight of their network ops


Juha writes, "When the rest of the world decides to scrutinise and dial down mass surveillance of Internet users, New Zealand does the opposite. From now on, network operators will have to register with the cops, have staff with security clearance and ask the GCSB spy agency for permission to change their networks and buy gear. This is to make it easier for the government to intercept communications and to keep network secure. The new law applies to everyone, from small ISPs to Facebook, Google, Microsoft and telcos. Failure to comply could cost as much as NZ$500,000 in fines per day."

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NZ Greens unveil Internet Rights and Freedoms bill

Andrew writes, "The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has launched their Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill. The Bill was launched on a crowdsourced platform where members of the public are given the opportunity to shape these emerging rights and freedoms. This is the first time a Bill has been crowdsourced by a political party in New Zealand. The Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill proposes:"

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Drunken bet results in 99-character name-change: "Full Metal Havok..."

Nat writes, "A Dunedin, NZ, man lost a bet five years ago and changed his name by deed poll to the longest name he could make (99 characters, 1 shy of the Dept of Internal Affairs limit). I want to know what they were drinking because the name is fantastic. "The 22-year-old man from Normanby is now legally known as 'Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova'." (Thanks, Nat!) Cory 21

New Zealand's spies admit to illegally deleting key evidence in Kim Dotcom case

GCSB, New Zealand's secret police force has admitted to illegally deleting key evidence related to the raid on Kim Dotcom over his Megaupload service. The spies agree that the evidence was illegally deleted, but claim it was an honest mistake, because the data "aged off" their retention system.

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For sale: water-tank castle


If you're in New Zealand and want to have the coolest playhouse/LARP-prop south of the equator, this Trademe ad is offering a concrete water-tank converted to a castle for a surprisingly reasonable $500 (you have to pay to move it, though).

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Glowing 3D printed squid filled with bioluminescent soup


Rebecca Klee and Siouxsie Wiles's "Living Light" is a 3D printed hollow squid filled with bioluminescent bacteria. They've thoroughly documented their build-process, and the project is really shaping up to be gorgeous.

From the lab to the park (via O'Reilly Radar)

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Scholar shows 'three strikes' programs don't reduce piracy

Evaluating Graduated Response, a new paper from Rebecca Giblin from the law school at Australia's Monash University, looks at the impact of "three strikes" and "graduated response" punishments for file-sharing. Countries including France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, the U.K., Ireland and the U.S. have adopted systems whereby people accused of file-sharing have their Internet access curtailed. This takes many forms, from losing access to YouTube and Facebook until subscribers complete a "copyright training course" designed by the entertainment industry to out-and-out disconnection from the Internet.

A good summary in IT News by Juha Saarinen discusses Giblin's findings from an in-depth survey of the file-sharing landscape before and after the introduction of three strikes rules: "There is no evidence demonstrating a causal connection between graduated response and reduced infringement. If 'effectiveness' means reducing infringement, then it is not effective."

Giblin is the author of 2011's Code Wars, an excellent book on the first ten years of file-sharing data.

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NZ prime minister John Key: We have to spy on you because al-Qaeda has training camps here. Also: FISH!

The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is trying to ram through legislation to legalize the kind of domestic surveillance that the US NSA and the UK GCHQ have engaged in. When asked whether he thought he had popular support for allowing the government to spy on New Zealanders' entire online lives, he refused to answer the question and kept changing the subject to fishing quotas (seriously).

But wait, there's more! According to Key, it is necessary to spy on Kiwis because al-Qaeda is running training camps in New Zealand. Yes, seriously.

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US spies supplied intelligence on investigative journalist to NZ military

US spy agencies fed "metadata" about a New Zealand journalist's communications to New Zealand's military spies, who were upset that he had reported on human rights abuses against Afghani prisoners of war. Jon Stephenson was writing for McClatchy and "various New Zealand news organisations." The NZ Defense Force later attempted to discredit Stephenson, saying he had invented a visit to to an Afghan base, a claim it retracted after Stephenson brought a defamation suit against it. NZ government is presently pushing legislation to allow its military spies conduct domestic surveillance of NZ citizens, even a leaked NZDF manual discloses that the media are classed with foreign spies and extremist organisations as threats to the state.

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Edison cylinder inscribed on a beer-bottle

Mathew sez,

19th Century technology meets 21st Century music over a bottle of beer in the latest extension to the Beck's Record Label project. This time, the art label has evolved, and been replaced by the grooves of Auckland band Ghost Wave. Their new single was inscribed into the surface of a beer bottle which could then be played on a specially-built device based on Thomas Edison's original phonograph.

The idea originated with creative agency Shine in Auckland NZ, but making the world's first playable beer bottle was a formidable technical challenge. The clever people at Gyro Constructivists first had to design and build a record-cutting lathe, driven by a hard drive recording head. Then they reinvented Edison's original cylinder player, using modern materials and electronics and built to very fine tolerances. The Edison Bottle made its public debut at SemiPermanent in Auckland in May to a standing ovation from the assembled media and design community.

The Beck's Edison Bottle

Comedy boy-band extols virtues of indie games

James sez, "The boys of Viva La Dirt League (a New Zealand boy-band parody group specialising in songs about Starcraft!) have just released this funny, awesome, video about the pleasures of buying indie games. I think their work deserves your viewing!"

I concur. This is what boy bands should all be about: cussing, indie game references, and fursuits.

Indie Game Anthem (Thrift Shop) - Viva La Dirt League

NZ Press Council finds against statement saying "Homeopathic remedies have failed every randomised, evidence-based scientific study seeking to verify their claims of healing powers"

Juha sez, "Amazingly enough, New Zealand's North and South magazine has lost in the NZ Press Council, after a homeopath filed a complaint against an article that stated: 'Homeopathic remedies have failed every randomised, evidence-based scientific study seeking to verify their claims of healing powers.'"

"Mr Stuart [a homeopath] supplied the Press Council with a letter from Dr David St George, Chief Advisor on Integrative Care for the Ministry of Health, who advises the ministry on the development of complementary medicine in New Zealand and its potential integration into the public health system. He was not speaking for the ministry in this case but offering a personal view.

Dr St George believed the statement in North & South's article arose from a misunderstanding of the Lancet study, which had compared 110 published placebo-controlled trials of homeopathy with the same number of published placebo-controlled trials of conventional medical drug treatments. He said most of the 110 homeopathy trials in that study were "randomised, evidence-based scientific studies" which demonstrated an effect beyond a placebo effect. "

Dr St George said there was no debate about whether there were scientific studies demonstrating homeopathy's therapeutic benefit but rather, whether those studies were of an acceptable methodological quality.

Case Number: 2320 CLIVE STUART AGAINST NORTH & SOUTH (Thanks, Juha)