Paul Swain has announced actual dates and places and things and appears to be working on the job description for the new Communications Commissioner. Expect to see the necessary legislation introduced in March or April and enacted before the end of the year. This can only be a good thing - at the moment we're in a kind of limbo where the old rules seem superfluous and the new ones have yet to kick in. Telecom still hasn't supplied the numbers on how much it earns from the local loop as it is required to do by law. Yet the government seems reluctant to answer questions on it or even push the issue with Telecom. Instead the government is trying to tackle the tricky issue of making the Kiwi Share relevant in the 21st century and things of that sort. Probably fair enough, really.
The Minister of Bandwidth - IDGNet
Squabbles recede but big hurdle looms - NZ Herald
An older column from Richard Braddell but it sums up the situation quite nicely.
And speaking of telecommunications, the police have just about signed a deal with Vodafone to allow them to tap cellular calls. They'll need a warrant of course, but until now it has been impossible for them to listen in on an encrypted digital call. The problem appears to have been one of cost - who pays for the gear needed to listen in? Paul Swain says the issue is close to being resolved.
Police close to new deal on bugging cellphones - NZ Herald
Laws less than adequate for IT era
Two court cases are in the process of proving just how antiquated our laws are when it comes to dealing with IT issues, like hacking or viruses. At the moment there are two bills before parliament that hope to address the issues of electronic crime and e-commerce but as it stands at the moment we have to charge "hackers" with crimes like unauthorised use of a telephone and cattle rustling. The first case, that of a man convicted of running up $80,000 in phone bills, is undergoing the appeals process and rests on whether an electronic file can be considered a document under New Zealand law. The Law Commission doubts that it can, which would mean this conviction could be overturned. That would have a huge impact on the other case. Trying to decide whether any damage was done to the computer system is Judge David Harvey, who wins quote of the week for this little gem:
"Alteration to the magnetic particles on the disk may constitute damage to property constituting temporary physical harm and impairment of value or usefulness". Fantastic stuff. Doesn't that happen every time I use my mouse or keyboard? I shall add judge to the list of jobs I wouldn't have for all the tea in China.
Definition of 'document' crucial in hacker cases - NZ Herald
And just to prove how important such laws are, Toshiba's been hacked. - IDGNet
Spectrum auction concludes - Rest In Peace
The second leg of the 2GHz spectrum auction has finally finished, some 130 years after it started. Nobody noticed so there are precious few stories about it.
Oh, come on. It's not that bad. The second stage of the auction was all about licences to run various second generation (2G) slots and so was considerably less tense than the battle for 3G slots. The usual suspects were there - Telecom, Vodafone and so on. Dark horse Northelia bought quite a bit, and still won't say what it plans to do with it. Northelia is owned by Stuart Beadle, the local franchisee of a commercial cleaning company, which is interesting. Quite what he'll do with it is anybody's guess.
Ministry of Economic Development - The official auction site