it.gen.nz

Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Electronic voting

Today on Radio New Zealand National I talked about electronic voting – why you might, why you might not, and why it probably won’t be coming here for a while. Read on for my notes and links (warning: hilarious video!) or listen to the podcast. (more…)

posted by colin at 11:56 am  

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Crushed by the weight of destiny

I’ve just spent a rapt couple of hours in one of my favourite places – Musée Rodin in Paris. I love Rodin’s work because he can evoke such intense emotions using lumps of stone and metal. Here is one of my favourites:
Caryatid.jpg

This is the Cariatide à la pierre. A caryatid is an architectural column in the shape of a human figure, and this caryatid has partly collapsed beneath the weight she is carrying. But she’s still struggling to get to her feet, even though she knows it’s hopeless.

The sign by the exhibit says that she represents humankind being crushed by the weight of destiny. It’s part of a larger Rodin work called The Gates of Hell, loosely based on Dante’s Inferno, which explores the extremes of suffering and pleasure.

posted by colin at 4:36 am  

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Catching child abusers on the Net

Today on Radio New Zealand National I talked about catching people who abuse children and put photos of it on the Internet. In New Zealand, dozens of people are brought before the courts and charged with child porn offences every year. Often, they go to jail.

Read on for my speaking notes, or listen to the podcast. (more…)

posted by colin at 11:50 am  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What hackers do

Today on Radio New Zealand National I talked about hackers and what they do.

The term “hacker” has two quite different meanings. Some people are proud of being hackers, and they mean that they are clever programmers rather than computer vandals. Others, sadly, use skills – or sometimes just programs that other cleverer people have put together – to break into computers and generally cause problems.

Read on for my speaking notes or pull the podcast.
(more…)

posted by colin at 11:50 am  

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Censoring the Internet

Today on Radio New Zealand National I talked about censoring the Internet.

Back when the Net was a lot younger, someone famously said that “the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it”. He was wrong, of course – some countries’ citizens can’t read about material their governments don’t want them to, or not without technical workarounds that are beyond many Net users.

And, even in liberal democracies like New Zealand, there are limits to free speech on the Internet. If you publish objectionable material – child porn and the like – on the Internet here, expect to be prosecuted.

Read on for my speaking notes or listen to the podcast and hear what I really said.
(more…)

posted by colin at 11:55 am  

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