internet - News, Features, and Slideshows


  • North Korea moves quietly onto the Internet

    North Korea, one of the world's few remaining information black holes, has taken the first step toward a fully fledged connection to the Internet. But a connection, if it comes, is unlikely to mean freedom of information for North Korea's citizens.

  • EC to propose mandatory blocking for child abuse sites

    The European Commission will next week propose a directive designed to fight the sexual exploitation of children, but a clause obliging member states to block pedophile websites has sparked widespread criticism from civil liberties advocates, a German government minister and from within the Commission itself.

  • Senator to introduce Internet human rights bill

    A U.S. senator plans to introduce legislation that would impose criminal or civil penalties on U.S. Internet companies that bow to pressure of foreign governments and violate human rights.

  • US govt to push harder against web censorship

    The US Department of State will launch several new initiatives focused on fighting Internet censorship, including working with businesses and other groups to develop mobile applications that help residents of countries with repressive governments report problems, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says.

  • Turning off pieces of the net 'not sensible': Vint Cerf

    Vint Cerf — who recently visited New Zealand to take part in the IPv6 Hui — probably needs no real introduction, having been a codesigner of the basic architecture of the internet and of the TCP/IP protocol that makes the internet possible. He is even known as a "father of the internet". Cerf was at an IEEE event in Silicon Valley recently to celebrate the 40th anniversary of DARPAnet, a forerunner to the internet, and the 125th anniversary of IEEE itself. InfoWorld editor at large Paul Krill spoke with Cerf about a variety of internet topics, including government legislation that could give the president greater authority over the internet. Cerf also discussed his career with the internet.

  • Members passing motions

    - Members passing motions
    It was a dark, stormy night in Avalon, one of the most peculiar public erections in the Lower North Island, where 1,282 square metres of studio space in total and a large number of cameras wait for live television shows to happen.
    A fleet of chauffeured limousines disgorged their honourable cargo of four into the Avalon Studios foyer, where drinks awaited them. They needed the fortifying libations, as our popularly elected Parliamentarians were to be grilled by two experienced journalists (Fran O’ Sullivan and Russell Brown). In no particular order, the members were Rodney Hide of ACT, David Cunliffe from Labour, National’s Maurice Williamson and Metiria Turei, Greens.
    Responsible for the respective parties’ ICT policies, the four faced not only two journalists, but also a live studio audience that by and large found its way to Avalon in a self-propelled fashion by means of automotive vehicles.
    This was of course the great TVNZ/InternetNZ internet debate and being that, it was followed by people all over the internet as well as over broadcast TV (well, for the first hour at least). Questions were asked, and answered in a roundabout manner by the politicians.
    A general observation: there’s not much difference between the parties’ ICT policies. All are keen to fund a digital, networked future. Where they differ is on implementation issues, with National’s Williamson sounding like an Old Labourite with his promise of billions to build networks, and Cunliffe going big on private interests playing a large part in moving us upwards in the OECD rankings.
    Both found support from the unexpected quarters of Hide and Turei and things were generally chummy and warm.
    It was positive to note that no party thinks it can control and censor the internet. “Anarchy” was the term Williamson used to describe the state of affairs on the ‘net, but not in a negative way. The pat question on “cyber-safety” from moderator Damian Christie was dealt with quickly: use your common sense, parents, and check what your kids are doing on the internet. Not that you’ll be able to stop them anyway, so keep wringing your hands and cyber-commiserate somewhere like Facebook over how dreadful things are these days.
    That said, all politicians agreed that Parliamentarians being videoed on the sly and YouTubed or whatever is a bad thing. While Cunliffe thinks the internet means you have to have a consistent “brand” across all platforms, politicians should be free to engage with the public in a relaxed manner without fear of being recorded. It’s all about context, Hide said. Indeed, but what is this I read about Mallard calling for a regulator for internet content? Does Mallard think he can regulate content from overseas creators, something that Colleague Cunliffe et al clearly believe is impossible?
    Going back to anarchy on the internet, isn’t it curious that the House voted 110 for, 10 against the Copyright Act Amendment? This despite it containing section 92A, the implementation of which has been delayed as it’s universally castigated as unfair and unworkable. I see that the European Parliament has thrown out a similar “three strikes and your out” law, with the ISPs being copyright enforcers for content owners. What are we doing with a law like that in New Zealand then?
    Reinforcement the perception that the Copyright Act Amendment is rotten law came when Brown asked Williamson, who had just admitted to format-shifting crimes against the music industry by using multiple devices and paid-for music, if it was logical that he couldn’t copy DVDs to say his iPod. “There is no logic,” Williamson replied. If that’s the case, why on earth did Williamson vote for the Amendment?
    On practical details, Williamson reckons fibre to 75 per cent of New Zealand homes would cost $18 a month, a number that was laughed at by representatives from the telco industry in the audience.
    Their ears perked up though when told by Cunliffe that $15 million has been earmarked for a second sub-sea cable across the Tasman. Williamson is certain Kordia will get that money, whereas Cunliffe says it’s not been decided yet; again, all four agreed that we’re paying too much for our international transit, due to the Southern Cross being the only viable route out of NZ for most providers.
    At this stage, it’s worth noting that when the Southern Cross cable was due go into the ocean, the government was offered a ten per cent stake in it. The government declined, however, leaving Telecom, Optus and MCI/Verizon as the owners of a cable that has masses of spare capacity left on it for our data traffic. Oh well.
    Sadly, the technical foundations on which any public policy regulating the ‘net should be founded upon were a bit shaky amongst our elected members. While access to government services and information should be possible for everyone and not just Windows users, none of the politicians seemed to understand the concept of Open Standards that would facilitate that. Now there’s a policy waiting to be written.
    Cunliffe seems to be aware of the urgency of getting IPv6 rolled out soon, as within two years, the IPv4 addressing protocol will be exhausted; is there any government content accessible over IPv6 currently though? Where’s the national IPv6 infrastructure to make the transition happen? Maybe we could get a move on with that too, seeing that in two years time, it’ll be a major pain in the rear to not having done so?
    So, it wasn’t really a debate, but as a Wellington acquaintance pointed out, a panel discussion on various internet related issues. It’s painfully apparent that Labour’s natural coalition partner is National (and vice versa); also, the Greens disappointed as their set of ICT policies is just too thin to be taken seriously.
    Hide is half-clued-up on geeky things, but too ideologically blinkered to get the other half that’s also important.
    Nothing new under the sun then.
    - The entire two-hour Internet Debate with video in WMV format
    - Three strikes ‘buried’ as telecoms package partially throttled.
    - Government eyes new rules to cover media convergence

  • DNS flaw strikes at heart of the internet

    If you're a hard-core IT security wonk, you already know about this. If not, go to right now and click on the button that says "Check my DNS". That will run a simple test to tell you whether your name server appears to be vulnerable to DNS cache poisoning.