2017 Predictions Review

A blog post from Andrew Cushen, Deputy Chief Executive at InternetNZ
22 December 2017

Apparently experts are only marginally more accurate at predicting the future than monkeys throwing darts at dart boards… In the spirit of being little better than chance each year the Issues team thinks about what might happen, and then publish it under my name so that I get the blame. Our 2016 predictions were 75% right. So let’s see how we did in 2017.


10. We'll see a big international tech company move here because of the Internet

Does RocketLab count? They’re technically a US company, they launch from Mahia peninsula but thanks to our great networks here in Aotearoa NZ they are based in Auckland, California and Northern Virginia, USA. I’m very hopeful that RocketLab moves from #StillTesting to regular, commercial space lift in 2018, but they’re not a Moa yet (our local term for NZ Unicorn companies).

I think I can take half a mark there.

Score: 0.5 / 1

9. Tech education gets a shake up for our Internet age

PREDICTION: The Ministry of Education announces a significant curriculum change establishing technology education as an industry-relevant subject area at secondary school level, to the acclaim of the many potential employers crying out for skilled young people.

We’re going to have coding and software engineering concepts in the school curriculum. I call that a full point.

Running score:  1.5 / 2

8.  The Government makes a push on realising the benefits of connectivity

PREDICTION: The New Zealand Government announces a major initiative to encourage the digital economy in New Zealand.

We have a govt that has put closing the Digital Divide as a ‘front and centre’ policy.  There can be no better proof that they realise the benefits of connectivity.

I’m taking a full point here.

Score: 2.5 / 3


7.  Trump will change the global Internet

I’m not sure where to start here. His use of Twitter has spawned a cottage industry in R-code for social media analysis. His FCC Chair has repealed the 2015 Network Neutrality rulings so it’s not been great. But the Internet, as of right now, still exists and I’m sure it will continue to route around any damage that the Trump Administration seeks to do to it.

Unfortunately, the Net Neutrality changes could harm the Internet as we know it - so I am going to take half a point here, ok?

Score: 3 / 4


6.  Encryption keeps getting demonised

The best line from politicians about encryption in 2017 still has to go to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull when he said “The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia”. Classic.

Fortunately, the New Zealand Government and officials have been very reasonable and measured. This year we wrote two papers on encryption and after the NBR called them compulsory reading for politicians we sent every MP a copy of each paper.

TL;DR - another full point.

Score: 4 / 5


5. Election 2017 includes some big promises for fibre everywhere

PREDICTION: A political party with members in Parliament makes an election promise of fibre to match the current copper footprint - about 98% of all New Zealanders

Closing the digital divide count? No? I used that for #8? Okay. Well given that after UFB 2 and RBI2 are finished we’re talking about some 8500 households that won’t have fibre or 4G-based wireless I think we can still give this half a point.

Score: 4.5 / 6

4.  The Telco Act review kicks copper to the curb

PREDICTION: The outcome of the Telco Act review will remove protections for copper networks.

We haven’t made it all the way through the legislative process for the new Telecommunications Act, but the Bill as it’s being considered by the Select Committee will remove protections for copper networks where Fibre is available.

I’m taking a full point for this one:

Score: 5.5 / 7

3.  The Internet of Things goes into a meltdown of poor security practice

PREDICTION: A major electronics retailer will be forced to issue a product recall of an IoT device due to it leaking personally identifiable information of consumers.

Alas, I think this is a no.

Hmmmm After WannaCry and NotPetya the headline of a meltdown is pretty accurate. NotPetya apparently inflicted almost US$1 billion in damages across Maersk, Merk and FedEx alone - all with a windows exploit that was patched 9 weeks before WannaCry spread across the world...

But, alas no actual widespread product recalls so I have to give myself a 0 for this one.

Score: 5.5 / 8

2.  The CERT saves the day!

PREDICTION: The NZ CERT will run incident response on a national scope cyber incident in 2017.

They exist and they are making a difference and they’ve been kept busy but there’s been no big thing that’s required them to save us all (which is a good thing?). Half-point for us, and two Internet biscuits for the team at CERT.

Score: 6 / 9

BONUS POINT: The incident is in relation to the New Zealand general election.

Thankfully, that’s a no too.

1.  NZ commits to fair use of copyright

PREDICTION:  In 2017, New Zealand commits to extending copyright law to include fair use provisions.

Nope, the copyright review hasn’t even actually happened yet and isn’t scheduled to start public consultation until April or May 2018. We’re hopeful and we have our views, we’re even going to run a special copyright event in March 2018 with Cory Doctorow in the lead up to the review going public. But still. No point for me.

Final score: 6 / 10


Marginally better than chance so take that monkeys.

I wonder what my predictions for 2018 will be? 

From all of us here at InternetNZ, have a safe and fun holidays. We'll see you all next year!