The Actrix Online Informer is published each month to help keep
Actrix customers up-to-date with what's happening on the Internet, and to
help ensure they have every opportunity to benefit from it.
Actrix – New Zealand's first Internet Service Provider
Welcome to the June Actrix Online Informer
Welcome to the June 2011 Actrix Online Informer.
What would happen if Australia decided to invade New Zealand? How would the Australian government sell the concept to its own people? The wonderful TV show, The Gruen Transfer, is dedicated to looking at advertising and how it seeks to manipulate the public. In a regular segment of the show, advertising gurus are invited to come up with a campaign to "sell the unsellable". In this video, The Pitch-Invade New Zealand, two television advertisements have been designed to convince Aussies that an occupation of New Zealand would be the right thing to do. They're both quite amusing and good examples of that trans-Tasman rivalry that is a big part of both of our cultures. Enjoy!
Alongside out usual trove of goodies, our feature article this month is on the recent changes Parliament has made to Section 92A of the copyright act and what that means for ISPs and their customers.
Section 92 and you
by Rob Zorn
You're probably aware of Parliament's recent changes to Section 92A of the Copyright Act designed to curb illegal downloading from the Internet. Until these changes were made there were little or no repercussions for downloading copyrighted material. The only way you could get into any trouble was if the owner of the copyright specifically sought action against you, and it was hardly likely that James Cameron would single you out of the millions of people who illegally downloaded Avatar.
However, now that Parliament has made changes and Section 92A of the Copyright Act has been successfully repealed, internet pirates can face a fine of $15,000 after the changes come into effect in September. A further penalty, which would see users have their internet accounts terminated, has been postponed.
What changes have been made and what do they actually mean?
The new Bill puts in place a system of warning notices to be issued by internet service providers (ISPs) to deter users from copyright infringement (downloading stuff like music and movies illegally). The Bill has been labelled a "three-strikes policy" because it gives offenders three chances or warnings before action will be taken against them. After the third warning, the owner of the copyrighted material that was illegally downloaded may apply to a Tribunal for the offender to have to pay up to $15,000.
It's important to note that the application of this law rests solely at the discretion of ISPs. Without them sending out infringement notices to copyright offenders, the copyright owners can't take action against offenders. The Bill puts ISPs in quite some position of responsibility.
Internet piracy is rampant in New Zealand, with a recent survey showing that 87 percent of those who download movies from the internet don't pay for them. However, whether we'll see significant changes to the way we download is yet to be seen. While some tout the Bill as a success for copyright holders and intellectual property, others dismiss it as un-democratic, a hindrance to creativity and a complete waste of time.
Yay or nay?
There is obviously some support for the Bill. For a start, every politician voted in favour of the changes except the Green Party and independent MPs Chris Carter and Hone Harawira. Minister of Commerce Simon Power says he is looking forward to the Bill's changes coming into effect in September.
According to Power, "Online copyright infringement has been damaging for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent. This legislation will discourage illegal file sharing and provide more effective measures to help our creative industries enforce their copyright."
Further, record companies and movie studios the world over must also see this as a battle won against copyright infringers. These companies and studios actually have teams that scour the internet looking for any instances of their property being pirated. Cases in the past have been brought against offenders, though only in the United States and not in New Zealand (yet).
And then, of course, there is opposition to the Bill. A Facebook group called Opposing the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill gathered over 13,500 fans as they discussed the law and planned protests. They encouraged Facebook users supporting them to replace their profile picture with a black square to indicate their opposition to the Bill.
Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, recently spoke out against government forced regulation of internet use, comparing it to China's restrictive internet regime and declaring it a "disastrous precedent" for freedom of speech.
Protestors have labelled it undemocratic and also a hindrance to creativity, claiming that without access to present creative works, future creativity is significantly disadvantaged.
Others say that this heavy-handed approach is short-sighted and backward-looking. People will always download music and videos from the internet, they say, and the horse has already bolted. Laws like this will just encourage them to get better at finding ways to do it anonymously, making the problem even worse for copyright holders. The industry would be smartest to try and compete with this i.e. provide a better download service that is cheap and attractive so people won't be tempted to break the law. Surely, that is the way of the future.
So whats the verdict?
It is important to note that the majority of those participating in this argument are not arguing whether or not internet piracy should be legal; the argument is based on whether threatening to deny offenders internet access is the best way to combat piracy. When the law changes eventually take effect, a number of issues will arise for ISPs.
Currently the majority of illegal downloading is done using BitTorrent sites. It used to be through software programs such as Napster and Limewire, but these have recently fallen by the wayside because BitTorrent is generally much faster. While it is true that the majority of BitTorrent traffic is for illegal downloading, there is a significant amount of open source software and freeware to be downloaded from these sites that are free to the public. There are even feature length movies that have had their copyright restrictions relinquished so that the public can access them freely.
A minor issue of privacy arises here, too. ISPs do not act like Big Brother, or concern themselves with what you are viewing or downloading (it's not their job to be the police!) but they will be informed when the copyright holder informs them. They'll have to be told exactly what you were downloading before they can send you a warning.
A much more serious issue of concern with this system is that end users are presumed guilty rather than innocent and that there's no burden on copyright holders to prove you were downloading something illegal. ISPs just have to take the copyright holder's word for it and if the end user disagrees, the burden is on them to prove their innocence. This is likely to become quite contentious and upset a lot of people.
Another problem that will make this law hard to police is that it's quite common for a number of computers all to be sharing the same IP address. An IP address is a unique string of numbers that identifies each computer attached to the Internet. If multiple users (e.g. on a network) are sharing a single IP address and one of them downloads copyrighted material, the ISPs will have the impossible job of determining which user it was that broke the law before they can action any penalty. And what if it's your flatmates using a shared computer, or your children downloading without your knowledge?
In these cases it is the account holder who will be held responsible, and we can see this potentially upsetting a lot of account holders.
No doubt everyone will have their own opinions of the law changes. Actrix will comply with the law once in effect but at this moment the details of how it will be implemented have not been fully finalised. However, we will make an announcement on Actrix policy in regards to copyright infringement and the application of this new law before any enforcement begins.
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Cyberspace news snippets
What's been happening in the online world?
Facebook predator stands by scam: The woman dubbed the "Facebook predator" is unrepentant about tricking schoolboys into online relationships. Click here for more.
Pirates may help lawmakers see the treasure: The copyright debate shows politicians have no idea what the internet really is. Click here for more.
Let's get everyone online, says expert: Ultra-fast broadband needs to reach everyone if it is to truly transform the country, says a visiting expert. Click here for more.
Illegal downloading rife in NZ: Kiwis are movie-loving pirates, an online survey has found. Click here for more.
Computer scammers intensify NZ attacks: Scammers have stepped up a cold-calling con which convinces computer users to hand over cash to fix a non-existent virus. Click here for more.
NZ internet piracy policy one-sided, says expert: The Government's "three-strikes" policy aiming to tackle online piracy lacks the depth and sophistication found in Europe's reform of copyright law, says an international expert. Click here for more.
Labour to repeal parts of broadband bill: Labour says it will repeal parts of proposed telecommunications legislation if elected this November. Click here for more.
Schools monitor students' online exploits: Students are being warned schools are actively monitoring them online - their Facebook profiles, their forum posts, their tweets - to check for misbehaviour. Click here for more.
Online 'planking' craze warning after death: New Zealanders are being warned that the internet craze of "planking" could lead to injury or worse, following the death of an Australian man. Click here for more.
Kiwis want privacy regulation: While most New Zealanders feel positively towards Google, more than half think the search engine should be regulated to protect personal privacy, a poll indicates. Click here for more.
Tweeters could be fined for election day campaigning: Twitter users will be in line for $20,000 fines if they are caught campaigning on election day. Click here for more.
Kiwis worried online past could hinder career prospects: Almost a quarter of Kiwis are worried their online past could hinder their career prospects moving forward, although just as many believe being active online is essential for career development. Click here for more.
Seven telltale signs you're an email addict: How strong a grip does email have on your brain? It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming compulsive about whether your inbox contains any new messages. Just look at the stats. Click here for more.
Hunt for Holocaust loot goes online: The world's first internet database of more than half a million pieces of property lost by Holocaust victims has gone online to begin another chapter of restitution. Click here for more.
Osama conspiracy theories flourish online: Nothing short of photos of the Osama bin Laden's dead body will satisfy the internet's army of conspiracy theorists. And probably not even then. Click here for more.
How bin Laden emailed without being detected: Despite having no internet access in his hideout, Osama bin Laden was a prolific email writer who built a painstaking system that kept him one step ahead of the US government's best eavesdroppers. Click here for more.
YouTube adds 3000 movies for rental debut: YouTube is adding more than 3000 movies for its users to rent, along with the millions of free user-created videos the popular website is best known for. Click here for more.
Americans face piracy site blocks: Websites that link to pirated music and movies or sell counterfeit goods could soon be blocked in America. Click here for more.
How's your Internet addiction?: One in every 25 teens reported an "irresistible urge" to be on the internet, tension when they weren't online, or said they had tried to quit or cut down on internet time, according to a US study. Click here for more.
Cyber law risks making the 'ordinary' criminal: A senior lecturer in internet law says the arrest of a Fairfax journalist over his receipt of an unauthorised Facebook photo "defies sensible explanation". Click here for more.
Filmmakers bet on BitTorrent for a hit: An Australian film that is challenging conventions on how to fund and distribute movies could be seen by tens of millions of people under a bold internet deal. Click here for more.
Dotcom bubble likely to burst: As ever, Warren Buffett puts it best. "If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy," he says. And in bubble 2.0, just like the first dotcom boom and bust more than a decade ago, the world's most famous investor is staying on the sidelines rather then risk being the patsy. Click here for more.
Internet via contact lenses, as computers die out: What will workplaces be like in 2030? Respected futurists share their forecasts. Click here for more.
Web makes mockery of gagging orders: The names of celebrities have been suppressed by courts in England, the United States and New Zealand in the last few years. But if you have access to Twitter and Facebook and a taste for celebrity gossip, you can usually find the answers - assuming you don't already know them - in a matter of minutes. Click here for more.
Twitter hits new high with Everest tweet: A renowned British climber has taken Twitter to a new high, firing off the first "tweet" from the peak of Mt Everest. Click here for more.
Facebook sued over children 'liking' products: An American dad is suing Facebook for not getting permission from parents or guardians before letting members of the online social network know when children "Like" brands. Click here for more.
Bin Laden raid was revealed on Twitter: An IT consultant, living in Abbottabad, unknowingly tweeted details of the US-led operation as it happened. Click here for more.
Facebook paying users 10 cents to watch certain ads: Facebook has introduced a program that, in effect, offers consumers a financial incentive to watch ads on the site Click here for more.
Facebook hires PR to smear Google: In a twist seemingly out of a Hollywood thriller, Facebook hired a prominent public relations firm to try to plant stories harshly criticising Google's privacy practices in leading news outlets. Click here for more.
Facebook may have leaked personal info: Facebook users' personal information could have been leaked to advertisers, a security software firm has claimed in its official blog. Click here for more.
Suicide blamed on Facebook faker: The mother of a man who committed suicide after he was rejected by an online persona of the "Facebook Predator" has spoken of her hatred for the woman. Click here for more.
Celebrity trashings show dark side of online gossip: It's not just celebrities who have their reputations trashed online. Click here for more.
The 'other' Mark Zuckerberg can't join Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg - no, not that one - can't join Facebook Click here for more.
How can social networks make money?: With social networks now big business, what can the companies do to turn free services into hard cash? Click here for more.
One thumb up for Facebook security improvements: Outstandingly mediocre. Click here for more.
Taliban begin tweeting in English, add followers: The Taliban have long been known as haters of modern technology, certainly the kind that comes out of the Western world they revile. Click here for more.
Tag Pages in Facebook photos: Ever had the urgent need to tag the Coke can you're holding in that beach picnic picture on Facebook? Well, now you can, as the social network has added the ability to tag Pages in Facebook photos. Click here for more.
Winklevoss twins take Facebook fight to Supreme Court: Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are taking their beef against Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to the US Supreme Court. Click here for more.
Footballer acts against Twitter: Legal action is being taken by an unnamed professional footballer against the micro-blogging site. Click here for more.
Zuckerberg: Kids under 13 should be allowed on Facebook: Facebook's founder sees the social networking site as a tool with educational potential. That of course means getting kids Facebooking at an early age. Click here for more.
Facebook says lawsuit a fraud: Lawyers for Facebook are calling a man's federal lawsuit claiming part ownership of the company ''a fraud on the court''. Click here for more.
Saving face: the top 10 rules of Facebook: It's the ultimate online frenemy. Facebook has helped people across the world connect in ways never seen before, but it is also responsible for ruining the reputations of many a person, famous or not. Click here for more.
Mind your jargon: Buzzwords are bad enough in the business world but social media is adding a whole new layer of gobbledygook. Click here for more.
Stolen bike found using Twitter: A US woman says her savvy social media skills are what reunited her with a stolen bike. Click here for more.
10 fascinating Facebook facts – and what they say about us: A study released this week revealed that 47% of Facebook users have swear words on their pages. A survey last week, meanwhile, showed that undergraduate men who talk about alcohol on Facebook tend to have more friends. Click here for more.
Security and Safety
Expert gives scammers taste of own medicine: Computer scams are a multibillion-dollar industry and one Taranaki cyber-expert is doing his bit to flush out the conmen. Click here for more.
Osama scams: FBI sounds alarm: The FBI is warning computer users against unsolicited emails and social network posts purporting to show photos or videos of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Click here for more.
Hotspot cautionary tales: You should be careful when using free internet connections, because you don't know if they're secure. Wi-Fi hotspots are breeding grounds for hackers, so be careful. Click here for more.
Bid to make finding love online safer: Something just didn't seem right when Ilana Angel met her internet date at a bar. He furtively looked around the room and immediately suggested they go someplace else in his car, leaving hers behind at the bar. Click here for more.
More parents lenient about young Web use: poll: A new survey shows the number of parents who would allow their children to have a Facebook page has doubled. Click here for more.
Social networks hotbeds for cybercrime, says Microsoft: Phishing attacks on social networking sites rocketed 1200 per cent at social networks last year, it said. Click here for more.
Consumer groups welcome 'do not track' privacy push: Privacy and consumer groups welcomed a "Do Not Track" bill introduced in the US Senate that would let Internet users block companies from gathering information about their online activities. Click here for more.
Cybercriminals prey on fascination with death: The online interest in Osama bin Laden's death has attracted numerous internet scammers who are baiting Facebook and Google users by claiming to offer pictures of a deceased bin Laden. Click here for more.
Cyber-crooks eye Apple Macs: The days when Mac users need not worry about their computers getting infected with malicious software may be coming to an end. Click here for more.
Baring your soul online can open a can of worms: Former private investigator Warren Olson once tracked down a man who was thought to be dead after he used his airpoints. Click here for more.
One in 14 downloads malicious: Microsoft has warned that hackers use mind tricks more often than software skills to get viruses into computers. Click here for more.
Skype deal raises risks for firms: Microsoft's US$8.5 billion (NZ$10.6 billion) acquisition of Skype is likely to boost videoconferencing from workers' desktops, posing further risks to video technology providers like Polycom and Logitech. Click here for more.
The Weird, Wide Web
Now you can kiss people over the internet: Engineers at the Kajimoto Laboratory have been working on a device that lets users "transmit the feeling of a kiss" long-distance via internet. Click here for more.
Facebook braggers busted for bank heist: Authorities say four people were indicted in a Houston bank robbery in the US after bragging about it on Facebook. Click here for more.
Facebook-loving couple name baby 'Like': Stumped for an original name for their newborn daughter, an Israeli couple took inspiration from social networking site Facebook and named her "Like," Israeli daily Maariv reports. Click here for more.
Probe over eBay 'toddler for sale': Authorities say a woman offered a two-year-old relative for sale on eBay and accepted a man's tongue-in-cheek bid. Click here for more.
: Click here for more.
It was five years ago today
Each month we dredge through our archives to pull out stories from the Actrix Newsletter of exactly five years ago. Sometimes these stories will show just how much the net has changed in such a short time, and sometimes they'll be included just because they're interesting.
Internet rivals break out champagne: Telecom's jubilant internet service provider rivals were last night hopeful of a rapid beginning to significant increase in broadband competition. Click here for more.
Hacker fears 'UFO cover-up': He says he spent two years looking for photographic evidence of alien spacecraft and advanced power technology. Click here for more.
Coming soon: The Web toll: New laws may transform cyberspace and the way you surf it. Click here for more.
Web inventor warns of 'dark' net: The web should remain neutral and resist attempts to fragment it into different services, web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said. Click here for more.
Privacy worries over web's future: The next phase of the web could face "big privacy" issues, a senior UK academic has warned. Click here for more.
Knife-wielding devil teddy bear rampages through eBay: ...a terrified eBayer is attempting to offload a satanic teddy bear which, well, let's get it from the horse's mouth. Click here for more.
NZ 'definitely not for sale': An Australian man, obviously with a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock, tried to flog off Aotearoa on online auction site eBay. Click here for more.
Bringing it all back home
Thanks again for reading the Actrix Online Informer. Feedback can be sent to me via the e-mail address listed below. Please limit this to comments/suggestions regarding the newsletter. Non-forum requests for support should go to the Actrix Help Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to the Accounts Department (email@example.com).
Take care through June!
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