The Treaty of Waitangi

14 Jun

Application of the Treaty in Information Technology

Peter Clark

Jackson Thomas

Karl Villacorta

Matthew Best

Active Protection


We talked about the need to consult with the owners of Maori intellectual property before incorporating it into any web design, games, videos or other types of soft-ware.


This document is a response from the Waitangi Tribunal to a claim lodged with them. It looks at what the treaty might become once all historical grievances have been resolved.  It looks at the change in relationship between the two signatories to the treaty from one of victim/victor to none of mutual advantage where both parties end up better off. The crown will still be entitled to govern and  Maori are obliged to act as cultural guardians (kaitiaki) towards taonga works  (treasured things)and related knowledge.

Although current laws do not fully back up Maori rights to the intellectual property of their cultural and artistic works, we need to be aware that as time goes on these will be more and more recognised by the courts.


Internet of Things

8 Jun

7 June 2013

Today’s lecture was on the internet of things – the way that the internet is developing such that everything in our environment will be connected to the internet.

We watched a TED Talk interview featuring Dr John Barrett, a professor at Cork University in Ireland. (The Internet of Things: Dr. John Barrett, TEDxCIT, 05/10/12)

He looked at the potential uses of an internet of thing:

1) As a type of Tricorder as seen in Star Trek. This is a multifunctional hand-held device used for sensor scanning, data analysis, and recording data. John sees our smart phones morphing into these devices that we will point at any linked in object which will then tell us all we might want to know about it.

2) To monitor things such as hearts. You could use an app to monitor your vital signs and send the info to a computer at the local hospital. They would analyse the data and send you a warning message should you need it. Or even call you an ambulance if things had deteriorated that far.

3) To search for objects rather than just webpages. e.g. car keys, children or pets. Taking this idea further we could hook up all our possessions so that if they are stolen we can get them to tell us where they are. Might make theft a thing of the past!!

4) Manage things better. Such as traffic and energy flows.

5) Control things. For example, having smart appliances in the house communicating with the power grid so that they turn on when the cost of power is at the lowest point. They could even turn on when the wind was blowing the hardest to take advantage of green energy.

6) Play with things. Could have a huge impact on on-line gaming. It will bring real world objects into the game for a more realistic experience. Additionally, sites such as are animating magazines. You download the app to your mobile then point it at the picture in the magazine that has been ‘layared’ and watch the video or gif through the mobile screen.

Image(, n.d.)

This is similar to the way you can download the Jet Propulsion Lab app to watch a 3D model of the Mars rover on your dining room table.

Image(, n.d.)

Dr Barrett also looked at the potential loss of privacy that this internet of things could bring. Unfortunately it is probably already too late to worry about that with details recently coming to light of the US Governments PRISM project which feeds in information from all social media sites to the CIA – and has done so since 2007!

Image(, 07/06/13)

We also linked to another TED talk called ‘The next 5,000 days of the Web’ – a talk by Kevin Kelly. – Kevin Kelly (July 2008)

One thing he says about the first 5,000 days of the web is how things like Wikipedia are impossible in theory but possible in practice. We need to “get better at believing in the impossible”. What a great idea!!

Furthermore he goes on to state that we have in fact created one giant machine called ‘The Internet’ which is the most reliable machine ever made. It uses 5% of world wide electricity and has over 100 billion clicks per day – back in 2007! The total amount of connections and clicks is roughly comparable to a human brain – although with greater storage capacity. With the size of the internet doubling every year, by 2060 it will will more processing power than the human population of the planet.

In the next 5,000 days he sees the internet becoming smarter, more personalized and more ubiquitous as the world becomes an internet of things. This will come about due to the convergence of the following four technologies:

Identity: Every object and person will need it’s own unique identity. This will be facilitated by IPv6 which will provide a virtually unlimited number of IP addresses.

Communication: All these objects and people will need to communicate with each other. This will be facilitated by ever faster wireless.

Sensors: Many items will require sensors so that we can tell when they are being used.

Control Anywhere: This will be facilitated through our mobile phones which will become ever more powerful and indispensable.

The technology for all these ideas exists already. It’s just a matter of time now before it all comes together: and that time is probably not far away.The future will arrive before we expect as innovation speeds up.

At the beginning of this course we blogged about where we saw computing by the year 2043. In our discussion we thought that computer interface would move from keyboard and mouse to voice recognition and then probably on to mind recognition. Well that time is looking a lot closer than we thought with mind controlled games already coming to market. (05/06/2013)

And with research into this field accelerating, communication with  computers by thought is nearly a reality: (n.d.)

The internet of things will soon be a reality too.

Reference List Ted Talk by John Barrett. (05/10/12) Retrieved 7/6/13 (n.d.) Retrieved 7/6/13

Jet Propulsion Laboratory:  (n.d.) Retrieved 7/6/13

Zerohedge: (07/06/13) Retrieved 7/6/13 – Kevin Kelly: (July 2008) Retrieved 7/6/13 (05/06/13) Retrieved 08/06/13 (n.d.)

Interaction Design

31 May

30 May 2013

Today’s lecture was about interaction design, aka designing user friendly computer systems and applications. We looked at the progression in usability from 1946 to the present and how usability has improved along the way. 

Back in the early days of computers they were massive mainframes that were operated by specialists. The miracle of them actually working was considered sufficient and a user friendly interface was definitely of secondary importance.

The original programmers priorities might be summarised as:

1) Functionality

2) Reliability

3) Usability

4) Attractiveness

 As time has gone on, functionality & reliability have improved and user friendliness & attractiveness have come to the fore. This has mirrored the move of computer users from specialists to the general public. With the advent of Windows, computing became an activity that regular office workers could be trained to do. This was great for increased productivity as it eliminated a number of jobs such as expensive computer specialists and the lowly typist. Eventually computers made it into the home with the personal computer (PC) and with it a much larger range of functionality. Although not as easy to operate as other house-hold appliances the usability of PCs continued to improve with the big players especially innovating at a rapid pace. Consumers found that the training they had received at work could be easily transferred to using a PC and most of us became quite proficient at using them and trouble-shooting them when they crashed.

When selling to the mass market, products must be very easy to use and not require any specialist knowledge at all. This means that a computer like a smart phone needs to be able to be operated as simply as a TV. If mass-market products don’t have this level of usability retailers will not stock them as customer queries and complaints take up valuable staff time to sort out. Once the product has been sold ideally the retailer doesn’t want to see the customer again until it’s time to upgrade to the newest version.

This is where computing is today and the level of expected usability has risen to the smart phone level. The programmers of today need to be programming with usability at the top of the list. This is the level to which I will be aiming to programme or design to. Anything less will be unacceptable to both employers and customers.

Software that dont work good

Even the big players like Facebook can get it wrong. 


Although on the face of it this screen is very self-explanatory, to a non-computer user it is not clear at all. One of my older relations came to me with a problem that she couldn’t post updates on her Facebook page. No matter what was typed in the dialogue box, nothing would appear. After further query I discovered the problem. She was not hitting the Enter key after typing her post. Seems like an obvious thing to do but there is actually no-where on the page that tells you to do it.

This highlights one of the big problems in designing software and applications for the general public. How can you put yourself into the shoes of a computer illiterate when you yourself aren’t one. 

One method is to conduct user testing of the product using personas. Each member of the design team can be given a type of person they want to represent as a user class and can put their input in as to how the products usability will it that person. e.g. One could be a young student and one could be a novice grandmother (depending on whether or not the target market includes both groups).  

Apple have produced a document that sets out the usability requirements for developers wanting to develop apps for use on Apple products called iOS Human Interface Guidelines

This is very useful as it lets developers know how high the bar has been set in relation to what Apple expects.


Reference List Retrieved 31 May 2013, n.d.




25 May

24 May 2013

Today’s lecture was about the impact of designing software for use around the world by people in different cultures and countries. Depending on their location they speak different languages, use different character sets, different currencies, are in different time zones and use different date and number formats,

Any software design needs to take account of these differences. We looked at the Windows 8 operating system and how it is possible to change the regional settings through the control panel. It’s also possible to change the language settings through the control panel to enable a choice of languages to be made. We looked at the difficulty of doing this in practice when stuck with a standard English based keyboard.

With Word you first need to change the language in the operating system first, then change the language in Word itself (Files, Options, Language) then download the Proofing tools for that language (19.1mb) which is all very time consuming. Depending on how often you’re going to use it, it may be easier to use the “character map” accessed from the Windows home page. You can just copy the language character you need from the map into your document rather than change the language settings for the application itself.

We looked at stand-alone applications such as Skype which have language settings that must be chosen on installation. Once these have been chosen they are difficult to change and are quite inflexible.

We looked at how Web sites can be designed to accommodate users in different countries.Some websites offer their users a choice of languages using a drop down menu or by having the flag of a country that speaks that language. This can be quite useful but is not perfect as some countries (like Canada) speak more than one National language. We also looked at web sites that can determine the locale of the user from the IP address. This looks clever at first glance but can be quite frustrating in practice if (for example) an English speaker is accessing a website from a foreign location. The group have written a paper addressing the issues:


The conclusions at the end of the lecture were that designing software for multi-national/cultural use is complex, imperfect, expensive to do right but may be essential for some businesses.

The type of businesses that will benefit most from internationalisation are  the big multi-nationals who sell products in many different countries. Smaller companies that sell internationally will also benefit.


The kind of countries that benefit most from internationalisation are the ones with more than one languages spoken within their borders.

We are lucky that English is the international language (especially of business) that is understood by the widest number of consumers in the world and that everyone within New Zealand speaks it.. Often we can get away with having English as the only language on our websites However, as non-English speaking consumers in countries like China become more numerous this will no-doubt change.

Reference List 03/09/10  François Yergeau (Retrieved 25/05/2013) (Retrieved 25/05/2013, n.d.)

Virtual Environments

17 May

17 May 2013

Today’s lecture was from Clare Atkins on virtual environments within the IT space. We looked at a few videos on YouTube from artists such as Queen and the makers of The Matrix movie who questioned the nature of reality. I think that reality is the real world as experienced by ourselves through the use of our 5 senses. i.e. if something is real you can touch it, see it, smell it, hear it or taste it.

Things like dreams and thoughts are real too but in a virtual way, the same as the virtual world Second Life is real but what happens within it is not. You can have a real thought experiment in your head but the actions that take place within the experiment are not real.Another way to look at it is that the actions you take in a dream or a virtual world have no real world consequences.

Robert Munroe has written an excellent book on out of body experiences where he travels in his mind to different levels of reality. He does this firstly by changing his focus from Focus 1 (which is our wakeful experience of reality) through to Focus 10 (which is a mind awake body asleep state). (Munroe R., 1985)


From Focus 10 in Roberts Afterlife map it is possible to travel further and further into higher realms of reality – as he did himself. Focus 12 is expanded awareness, Focus 15 is no-time, Focus 21 is other energy systems, Focus 22 is physically alive but unconscious, Focus 23 is physically dead but stuck in no-mans-land due to no beliefs, Focus 24-26 is physically dead but stuck in their belief systems, and to Focus 27 which is physically dead but in an organised & structured Afterlife resembling Second Life. People can build their own dream reality here and continue their development in the Afterlife. This has been sumarised below by Afterlife researcher Brude Moen on Frank Kepple’s website, The Wider Reality.


Frank Kepple has taken Roberts explorations further still and clarifies what Robert began. Frank has his own map of the Afterlife which comprises 4 levels of Focus. Focus 1 is the Real Time Zone (RTZ), Focus 2 is the sub-conscious and Focus 3 is what our primary focus becomes once we die (corresponding to Roberts Focus 23-27). Frank also calls Focus 3 the Transition Area as we move through it to Focus 4 where we become our wider selves. Here is what Frank says about Focus 3:

“There are billions of people on the mid to upper branches all interacting with each other in an objective sense, just as we all do within the physical. The upper branches of Focus 3 are VERY physical-world like indeed, even better in fact on the top-most branches. In my mind I call it the supra physical, sort of like the physical on steroids! In Focus 3 you will find an almost infinite variety of different environments that people have created for themselves to live in, either knowingly or unknowingly. Many of these environments are wonderful and beautiful, some are boring and others are horrific. When people create objects and environments in Focus 3, these things remain until removed, so it is possible to turn up at a location long forgotten about by its creator. It may even have other people hanging about in it! You could even stick around here and add your own touches if you like! Creating things in Focus 3 is slightly tricky as it involves the subjective creation process but with practice you can get the hang of it. 

Note: One of the most fundamental rules of the Wider Reality that you must take on board is the rule of ‘Like attracts Like’. 

This is important in order to understand the myriad ‘worlds’ of Focus 3: After physical ‘death’, people with similar beliefs and values will tend to gravitate towards the environments in Focus 3 populated by those of similar beliefs (their collective beliefs created these areas). Furthermore, they will tend to stay there until they have a fundamental shift in beliefs and/or values, at which point they will move on to ‘higher’ regions of Focus 3 where people are more free thinking. These ‘upper areas’ of Focus 3, where people are happily free of dogmatic beliefs, are the regions labeled Focus 27 by Monroe. The number of environments in these upper reaches of Focus 3 is huge but here you will find many of the environments described by Monroe, such as ‘The Park’, the ‘Life Review Centre’ and so on. 

Just to clarify: Focus 3 is HUGE! So say I have had experience with 2 thousand people on the lower branches, as I call them, of the Focus 3 tree. This 2 thousand may account for 10% of people (highly unlikely!), 1%, or 0.0000000000001% (perhaps looking more likely). I really have no way of knowing at this stage. There is so much to explore here!” (Kepple F.,   n.d.)

Sounds very much like Second Life!

Google Glass

There will be a couple of great things about using Google Glass. One would be the overlay of historical information over the top of an actual historical monument you were looking at. Another would be the real time photos or videos you could take while actually doing an amazing activity and upload for your friends to see. How much more impressive would it have been if Hilary had on some Google Glasses while conquering Everest?

There will be a couple of not-so-good things about using Google Glass. One would be the difficulty of protecting your kids from being videoed by pedophiles while at the pool or beach. Anyone wearing glasses could be a potential perv and parents will need to be particularly vigilant. Another thing will be the loss of privacy if everyone is videoing people at random all the time. People having a sickie from work may find themselves being videoed on the Ski-slopes which may turn up on a social site frequented by your boss. Awkward!!

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is a 3D virtual reality headset for use in video games and other virtual realities. It has an ultra wide field of view (110 degrees)  and very low latency (lag between your movement and the videos) so that the user feels totally immersed in the game.


(Daniel, (darknrgy), YouTube,  2013)

This video demonstrates someone using the Oculus Rift headset to explore a villa by the sea. I chose this video of the Oculus Rift VR headset being given a test run because I think this technology is actually cooler than the Google Glass. I would buy one of these before the Glass as it opens up a whole new experience in full immersion experience of the net. Daniels girlfriend tried it on at the end and said she felt nauseous after about 10 seconds. That shows how realistic it must be.


Munroe R., Far Journeys, 1985, New York, Doubleday

Moen B, n.d. The Wider Reality, Retrieved 17 May 2013,

Kepple F., n.d. The Wider Reality, Retrieved 17 May 2013

Daniel, (darknrgy), uploaded 30 April 2013, Retrieved from youTube 17 May 2013,

Social Media

11 May

10 May 2013

Today we looked at the main social media sites running today. This is a real time snapshot and may be different tomorrow and was certainly different in the recent past. Who even remembers Myspace? (, n.d.)


Yet they are still out there and News Corporation paid USD580,000,000 way back in 2005 (, 2011) when that was serious money. Which of Facebook, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, Spotify, StumbleUpon or Yammer (purchased for USD1,200,000,000 by Microsoft way back in 2012 – (, 2012)) will still be around in 8 long years.


This is a social media site for business professionals. You upload your personal details, company details (if you have your own) and employment history. (, n.d.)


You can then link in to other people you know and have them confirm the skills you have listed. Other people you have linked to can see who’s in your network and can verify that you can do what you say you can do. You can join discussion groups in areas that interest you, look for new jobs and advertise to fellow members. They have quite a good news service and are trying to provide upmarket content that will encourage users to spend more time on the site.

The advertising is LinkedIn’s primary source of revenue and works on a cost-per-click basis like Facebook and Google Adwords. The cost-per-click is the highest of all the social media sites because the target market has above average earnings. You can target ads directly to CEOs, CFOs or company directors. The only problem is that I don’t think many of them spend much time on LinkedIn to be able to see your ads. I ran a campaign on here for my electric bikes business and got no response at all. Mind you it cost me nothing as well as no-one clicked on the ad.

As of January 2013 they have 200,000,000 members (up from 100m way back in March 2011!) and are adding new ones at a rate of 2 per second according to Techcrunch. According to their own figures they had over 650,000 members in New Zealand in 2012 so they are popular here too.

I have used this site to advertise my company and I could use it to help get a job after I graduate from NMIT.

Crowd Sourcing Sites – Including Kickstarter

We also looked at crowd sourcing sites which are sites used to fund peoples worthy projects. Although the prospect of a monetary reward is slim, if you donate enough you may get a mention in the credits. The sites mentioned were Indiegogo, PledgemeNZ and Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is for creative projects only and has had over 4,000,000 people pledge over USD650,000,000 so far. (, n.d.)


In the pictured example above movie director Brian Knappenberger wants to raise $75,000 to make a documentary. He goes to the site and creates his project with a short video explaining the idea and stating how much money he needs for the project and the rewards donors will get. If he reaches his target then the donors’ accounts will be debited the money and his account will be credited. Kickstarter takes a 5% fee + 3-5% for bank charges.

According to their own FAQs, they have had over 41,000 projects funded so far which is a success rate of just under half. The average project size is $5,000 and the average donation is $71. The added benefit is that the artist keeps 100% of the copyright.

I could use it to fund some new high tech gadget that I might design like the Pebble E-Paper customizable watch. Which has raised over USD10,000,000 so far. Target was $100,000!!! (, n.d.)




Reference List (n.d.), Retrieved 11 May 2013 – (2011, October 22), Retrieved 11 May 2013 (2012, June 25), Retrieved 11 May 2013 (n.d.), Retrieved 11 May 2013

Knappenberger B., Luminant (2013, April 24),Retrieved from 11 May 2013

Pebble Technology, (2013, April 11), Retrieved from 11 May 2013


20 Apr

Friday 19 April 2013

We had a very interesting lecture today from Clare Atkins on Creative Commons aka copyleft. This addresses an issue with the copyright law that has arisen in the new millennium with the rise of the internet. It is now much easier and commonplace for people to be able to share music, videos and other content with their friends and family. This is still illegal in the eyes of the law but not in the eyes of the people that do it.

Is sharing theft?

Under traditional law this is viewed as theft but I think it is not theft in the same way as stealing a physical object. When you share something with someone else you still retain the original that you paid for. Your friend may be interested to see the thing they have copied but it is debatable whether or not they would have gone out and bought it themselves. Thus it is even debatable if the company that produced the material is in fact missing out on sale proceeds.

Certainly copying material on a commercial scale for profit is theft and should certainly be prosecuted. However sharing with your friends is a natural human activity and does not deserve to be criminalized. If the law is being widely disregarded by the people it is supposed to serve then perhaps the law needs to change and not the people!


Aaron Swartz was one of the original developers of social news site, He was an internet activist and an opponent of internet censoring bills, SOPA and PIPA. He was also a proponent of greater sharing of research material produced from publicly funded universities. He was being prosecuted by the US department of justice for releasing a ton of research onto the web from MIT. However he committed suicide before the case came to trial.

His suicide has highlighted the issue of the lack of public availability of publicly funded research.  It may well lead to its free access which would be the best legacy he could have hoped for.

Creative commons Aotearoa

These are the different types of licences available according to the  website:


This licence lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.


This licence lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially with credit to you (their new works must also be non-commercial).


This licence lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.


This licence lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.


This licence allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.


This licence is the most restrictive of our six main licences, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

For my blog I would choose the first one: Attribution non-commercial – Share Alike. This is one of the least restrictive ones and I don’t mind people using my work or making changes to it, as long as they’re not making money off it and they allow others to share it forward in the same way.


9 May 2013

Today we looked at a clip of the Dr Who soundtrack that had then been mashed up to something slightly different than the original. This is hosted on the website. We talked about copyright issues relating to this and whether there is in fact a creative commons licence involved.

According to Soundcloud’s Terms of use, community guidelines you can’t share, adapt, display, perform or transfer any content that is not your own creation unless permitted under the creative commons licence selected by the uploader. In this case the uploader, Grim and Reaper’ don’t appear to have one.

In Soundcloud’s  ‘Learn about copyright’ section they state that you must have permission from the copyright owner unless using a small clip for review or your use constitutes “Fair Use” under the applicable law.

Since there is a limited viewing audience for this clip and there is no profit being made from it the Fair Use provision may apply.



Creative Commons License
Copyleft by Peter Clark is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 New Zealand License.


12 Apr

12 April 2013

Today’s lecture was spent looking at copyright and the issues around copyright  We looked at the opinions of  class members regarding downloading or sharing music and video and found a sizable minority who didn’t even think copyright was Good,

If this is a universal opinion (and  probably an even larger minority amongst the school-age generation think it is) then it makes the conclusion of Paul Tassi in his Forbes article ‘You will never kill piracy’ even more likely. This is that  the big studios and labels need to change their model to take account of the new reality instead of tying to fight it.  We are no longer living in 1998 and consumers are no-longer happy to pay $25 to see every new movie at the theatre when they could download one to the comfort of their own lounge for free. Maybe the model needs to change to something like the one for Apps at the App Store where everything costs $1 or $2. Then the temptation to download for free is much reduced. If you offered additional benefits to legal downloaders like ‘Ultra High Definition movies downloaded using an  Enhanced Download Mechanism’ provided by the studio, this could encourage even more legal downloads.

Part of the problem is one of perception when the so-called victims of internet piracy are large multi-national corporations that earn mega-millions and pay their stars millions too. From the perspective of a poor student or unemployed young person, Intellectual Property theft is not even as bad as shoplifting from a wealthy supermarket chain. Given this ease of piracy, and how vicimless each individual crime seems to be (to the perpetrator), this is a valid conclusion in my opinion.

I for one never new how easy it was to download an illegal video!

Paul Tassi raises another point; that the days of these mega-budget movies may be over. A budget movie with a cast of no-ones with a great plot may be the new model. Hello Blair-witch Project! Produced over 8 days for a cost of  $25,000 and Grossed $248 million.


They spent another $25 million marketing it but the point still holds that a great movie was produced on a low budget that could easily have been put in the App store at $1. It may have grossed even more money and not needed such a huge marketing budget. Is the film-viewing public best served by these big-budget films hyped to the max with mediocre plots and story-lines? Personally I can’t stand most of them anyway.

New companies like Stage 32 are already springing up to offer budding budget film-makers advice on how to get their projects off the ground:


New Zealand’s own favourite Internet bad boy, has said that the main reason people were using Mega Upload to pirate movies was because of the Studios strategy of releasing them in one country ahead of another. A huge buzz would be created in that country which would then spill over into other countries in which the movie had yet to be released. Having no legal way to get hold of the latest craze, people were more-or-less being pushed by the studios themselves into downloading the movies illegally.


I think both and Paul Tassi are correct. If criminalizing half the population is the answer than you’ve got the wrong answer. It’s time for the mega-corps to move with the times and accept that the days of the mega budget movie, the mega rich superstars and the captive consumer are over for good. Two bills that the US government attempted to pass, Pipa and Sopa, were killed because the public will not accept these draconian legislative solutions. These issues relate to problems that are affecting a minority of the super-rich. Calling them by a different name and trying pass them off to the public again just won’t wash.

The biggest issues and problems with Digital Copyright today are:

1. It’s almost impossible to find a foolproof way to stop people copying and sharing digital games, videos and music.

2. The incentive to do so is too large. i.e. the difference between $30 (for a CD) or $7 (for a 3 day new release video hire) and free is too great.

3. There’s little sympathy for the victims (large multi-national corporations).

4. The current generation of users is used to getting content for free on the internet. It’s a huge uphill battle to force them to pay legacy retail prices for what they are used to getting for free.

5. There is no dialogue from the big players to come to an accommodation with the public over pricing.

Attempts to solve the issue of digital piracy via legislation are doomed to failure.This is due to five main reasons:

1. It’s so easy to do, nearly anyone can pirate stuff at will.

2. There’s a low risk of capture.

3. The perception of the public is that this legislation is to help large corporations (mainly American).

4. So many people do it that you would criminalize half the population or more if you cracked down on it.

5. Factor 4 makes it political suicide for a democratic government to crack down on it.

The second Paul Tassi article entitled ‘ Lies, Damned Lies and Piracy’ raises the point that internet piracy is a non-issue for these multi-national companies anyway. They make record profits year in and year out despite all the cries of poverty inducing piracy. Sure they could make even more bucket loads of money if piracy was killed dead but that is never going to happen. The big losses they do make are the result of releasing dud movies or games. This can cost $100’s of millions. For example, John Carter which has cost Walt Disney $200 million and counting. No-one’s claiming this loss is the fault of piracy!) Losses due to piracy pale compared to the cost of these lemons.


The best new laws might be no new laws. The only thing that really needs to change is these companies business model. However they seem to be doing very nicely as is so maybe we should best just ignore them.

Two great examples of Fair Dealing:

First up is the irrepressible Annoying Orange doing his version of Gangnam style with over 43,000,000 views so far:


And then there is New Zealand’s own Kimbra singing Somebody that I used to know, with over 390,000,000 views on YouTube:


And the very funny parody of this song by ‘The Key of Awesome’ with over 15,000,000 views:, Image

This is fair use and not copyright infringement because the people making the parody videos are not doing so for commercial advantage but more for the creative fun of it. They are also helping to spread awareness of the original work and thus helping in some small way to increase their sales.

A brief look at Network Security

7 Apr

Friday 5 April 2013

Today’s lecture was on computer network security hosted by Ryan Clarke and comprised 2 slide-shows.

Slide-show 1 – Intro to Infosec (Introduction to Information system security)

We produced a word cloud from the class which showed that the main things people in the class associate with Security are Passwords, Firewall, Hackers and Privacy.

With regards to passwords we discussed the idea of the ‘password phrase’ as being much more secure than any single password combination of letters and numbers which can be quite easily broken.

We looked at the security triangle which emphasized the trade-off between cost, usability and security level and noted that 2 out of 3 are usually attainable. Organisations usually want low cost, high usability and high security but unfortunately the later two come with a high cost so a compromise is made.

We looked at the different categories of Infosec and how important the ‘People’ part of the security issue is. Peoples bad security practices  are one of the main vulnerabilities of any system. Training needs to be given emphasising good practices like constant of upgrading applications and add-ons when available, regularly changing passwords and not introducing unsecured personal appliances into secure networks.

Slide-show 2 – Preparing your people

This slide-show went into more detail on the threats posed by the users of networks and means of mitigating them. Disgruntled employees are one avenue of security breaches and we discussed the dangers of sacking system administrators. Furthermore anyone who leaves needs to have their access to the system terminated immediately.

Careless behaviour by regular employees can also be a major issue. As well as the training detailed above they also need  to be aware of phishing attacks (emails enjoining them to, ‘Please update their details NOW), accessing dodgy websites that can upload malware into the network, and social engineering whereby people befriend them in order to access the network and do bad things.

The ‘Please hold’ strategy is most effective is someone suspects they’re being manipulated over the phone. The perp will usually hang up after 5 minutes; never to be heard from again.

Appropriate security considerations for the TALOS network.

The Australian Defense Signals Directorate has a list of 35 strategies to mitigate targeted cyber intrusions of computer networks. Of these, the top 4 strategies will eliminate over 85% of the threats. It would be well worth while to implement these measures for the TALOS network – if nothing else! They are:

  • use application white-listing to help prevent malicious software and other unapproved programs from running. Only designated software would be allowed to run without some sort of over-ride.
  • patch applications such as PDF readers, Microsoft Office, Java, Flash Player and web browsers as soon as the patches are available. Maybe have a 48 hour deadline for users to do this.
  • patch operating system vulnerabilities as soon as practicle.
  • minimise the number of users with administrative privileges.


Defense in Depth

Defense in depth is the intelligent security management of people, processes and technology, in a holistic risk-management approach. It is based on military strategy which says that defenses are primarily in place to delay rather than prevent the advance of an attacker. In the military context, this assumes that an attack will lose momentum over a period of time, and this will give those under attack time to respond as needed.

In an IT environment, defence in depth is similarly intended to increase the cost and effort of an attack against the organisation, by detecting attacks, allowing time to respond to such attacks, and providing layers of defence such that even a successful attack will not totally destroy an organisation.

The core principles of a defence in depth strategy are:

1.    Implement measures according to business risks.

2.      Use a layered approach such that the failure of a single control will not result in a full system compromise.

3.      Implement controls such that they serve to increase the cost of an attack.

4.      Implement personnel, procedural and technical controls.

Holistic approach

A holistic approach to security means the implementation of defence in depth controls across governance, people, process and technology.

Digital Behaviour

1 Apr

Thursday 26 March 2013

Had an interesting lecture today from Ryan Clarke on digital behaviour. We looked at what  identity is and Ryan created  a word map from the definitions emailed in by the class. Personality seemed to be the most common definition. We agreed that identity has value.

We looked at the importance of identity from both a private and company perspective and the importance of reputation to both.


From an individual perspective there are 4 main concerns:

The first, as a parent, is to ensure the online safety of your children. As practices such as sexting become more prevalent it is important for parents to keep their children well informed of the dangers of activities such as this. As children they don’t have the experience necessary to spot the pitfalls.As we discussed in class, emailing a naked photo of a minor is technically trafficking in child pornography. In the US this has already resulted in some young people being placed on the sex-offenders register. This can affect their ability to travel and to get a job for life.

In addition, once a naked photo is out on the internet it is there forever and cannot be called back. This can lead to embarrassment when it gets into the wrong hands. Often young people do not think through these consequences and need to be made aware of them. There is a good site in New Zealand for parents which highlights these issues as shown in the link below:


The second, related to this lack of ability to recall photos, is the inability to retrieve anything at all. This means that all your comments or antics, once posted, are out in cyber space for ever. Even if you attempt to delete them they may already have been forwarded to someone else, posted on another board or blog, captured by a website like People have long memories so even if your comment disappears from view it may still be remembered. The lesson here is to think twice and then a third time before posting anything. Think how you’d feel if your mum, your potential boss or your current boss read it – they may well do!

The third is identity theft and the nefarious use of our personal information to steal our money. Obviously a bad thing and a good reason to limit the amount of personal information you let out online. Also a good reason to limit access to social media sites like Facebook to people who are truly your friends and not friend everybody you meet. Information such as date of birth should not be given out to all and sundry as this is a primary means of identifying you for activities such as on-line banking.

The fourth is that it is increasingly important to be aware that how we present ourselves online. Our antics, opinions, hobbies and friends  can be viewed by others who we may not have expected. They will see our posts out of context and may make assumptions about us that are not true. For example employers are now looking at  Facebook profiles to see the suitability of employees. Our private life is spilling over into our work life more and more and social media is blurring the distinction. The website has a good article on this too:



For Companies too, online reputation is increasingly important.  Nowhere is this more apparent than on sites like Twitter where companies are finding that private leaches into public and communicating is a whole new ball game.

This video by David Amerland highlights the top 10 social media disasters in 2011 where companies, their employees and even their CEOs have come unstuck:


Top 10 Worst in 2011

10, New Media Strategies, customer; Chrysler. Employee tweeted the F word from the company account saying that ” no-one in Detroit knows how to f…ing drive” Result, employee sacked, NMS fired. Lesson – every tweet matters

9, Qwikster/Netflix. Set up Twitter ac for new Qwikster service without checking to see if the name was already in use. It was the handle of a pot smoking, sexist, foul mouthed student. with hilarious results. Quikster died 3 weeks later. 800,000 users quit Netflix in that quarter. Lesson –  every aspect of a companies online presence needs to be thought through.

8, Qantas. Launched a Twitter campaign (with the hash tag #QantasLuxury) where it asked customers to describe their dream in-flight luxury experience. Campaign was launched the day before strike action by staff grounded the airline and was hijacked by disgruntled customers. Lesson – Timing is everything with online campaigns. The online world is linked to events in the real world.

7, Bob Parsons, CEO of Go Daddy a major US web domain host. Tweeted a link to a video of himself next to an elephant he had just shot whilst on safari in Africa. Resulted in a massive backlash and campaign to boycott Go Daddy. Compounded this faux pax by trying to explain the kill as philanthropic work to protect a Zimbabwe village from marauding elephants. Lesson – private life cannot be separated from public. Don’t make excuses, just apologise when things like this happen .Don’t post holiday snaps of yourself clubbing baby seals, harpooning whales or shooting elephants online. Especially if you’re the CEO!

6, Unileaver with their Twitter campaign promoting their sauce, Ragu. They encouraged mums to tweet about the hopelessness of their husbands in the kitchen. Videos were sent to celebs in the hope that campaign would go viral. It did, but not in a good way. Husbands everywhere were annoyed and tweeted that Ragu hates dads. Issue was compounded when Unileaver first failed to respond at all, then tweeted calling negative comments in Twitter “unbalanced”. Discussion became so heated the campaign was pulled. Lesson – social media marketing is a 2-way channel

5, Kenneth Cole shoes tweeted in jest that the Arab Spring uprising occurred due to rumors that their new spring collection is now available online. Uproar ensued and within the hour they had tweeted an apology and withdrawn the campaign. Lesson – show empathy and sensitivity in your blogs and be prepared to apologise and pull the campaign to limit the damage if you get it wrong

4, US congressman Anthony Wiener. His unfortunate surname resulted in media headlines of Wienergate. A photo of a suspicious bulge in his pants went viral. He tried denying that he had actually posted it but got caught out lying. Result was he had to resign from the house of Representatives after 12 years in office. Lesson ‘Don’t tweet your meat.’ Social media is not a private means of communication.

3, Virgin America.Their new booking system went haywire causing many to miss their flights. In the ensuing Twitter storm the company tried to play down the problem creating even more anger. Lesson – own up to your mistakes and apologise early and often.

2, PayPal insensitively announced that they would not allow a website to use their ‘Donate’ button to provide toys to poor children at Christmas as it was not a charity. Bloggers pointed out that in their own documentation it stated that the Donate button could be used for ‘worthy causes’. It then froze their accounts and kept the commission charged. Complaints flooded onto PayPal’s Facebook page at the rate of 1,000 a minute. Paypal then compounded the problem by deleting some of the comments. PayPal backed down within 24 hours and even made a donation themselves. Lesson – corporate policy cannot be allowed to overrule empathetic behavior. i.e. don’t be a corporate bastard.

1, Blackberry who tried to downplay the massive outage of their push email service with a ‘Happy Monday’ tweet that totally ignored the service down issue. Issue was compounded when CEO was wheeled out and tried to downplay the problem and didn’t say sorry once. Result  is that Blackberry faced a class-action suit from disgruntled users. Customers left (1.2 million in the following month). Stock price crashed (following a $485 million quarterly loss). Lesson – learn how to say sorry. Practice first if necessary.

As an IT professional we need to be aware of the dangers that social media presents to ourselves and the company we work for. Identity and reputation are important and need to be protected.  Keeping this in mind, social media is a fantastic way for companies to increase their brand awareness and eventually their bottom line and share price. Done properly it is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Consider the Facebook page of Converse with 35,943,503 Likes and 238,749 people talking about it. A marketers dream as they can market their shoes directly to people that they know already Like them.