From the Hobbit Law to the anti-file sharing amendment to the NZ copyright act, when US private interests come calling with their pet government gorilla in tow, our elected representatives tend to go along with their wishes.

The latest result of private interest pressure appears to be an extension to copyright coming up for New Zealand as "negotiated" in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Committing to the TPP means copyright will last the life of the creator plus seventy years in NZ, a paywalled story on the IP Watch website claims.

That's up from life plus 50 currently, as per the Berne Agreement New Zealand is a signatory to. As popular political commentator David Farrar pointed out in February this year, such an extension will only benefit large corporations and not the creators.


I totally agree with Farrar that we should be looking at reducing the length of copyright instead.

Now, importing US law is one thing, but it's kind of annoying that our legislators do it out of sync with the Americans. We are tightening our laws when the Americans are looking at relaxing theirs.

New Zealand - and Australia - for instance have both gone down the rabbit hole of making it easier for state agencies to conduct surveillance against the populace, with no obvious benefits for them.

Australia's government intends to bring in far-reaching data retention legislation, that requires telcos and ISPs to keep track of citizens' communications and store phone call and internet activity metadata for two years.

Internet providers will pay for the privilege, which means users will be billed to be surveilled.

That law is being pushed through while the not just civil liberties advocates in the US, but tech giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and others are picking up the cudgel against mass government surveillance in America, seeking to end it.

It's worth noting here that the tech companies are not leftie conspiracy nutters and plonkers, but hardcore capitalist corporations that believe mass surveillance of users and collecting their data threatens their businesses.

Bipartisan support for reform of US surveillance laws and better protection of people's right to privacy is building up. It would be fantastic if our MPs were to take note, so that we don't have to go through the same things a few years on from now.


When antivirus companies go viral

Tech companies do come up with brilliant products and services, but their marketing doesn't always reflect that. Actually, that's being too kind: much of tech company advertising is cringeworthy and plain awful.

To remind us of that fact, antivirus ent turned consultant Graham Cluley has compiled five of the worst marketing videos produced by companies in his particular industry.

They're all baaaaad, but Symantec's Hack is Wack competition featuring Snoop Dogg (and his management team) is err, "fun fo' shizzle" in a way the US antivirus company may not have anticipated.

Here's a sample Hack is Wack entry for your delectation: