Issues round-up: speeds, laptops and cross-border digital markets

A blog post from Ben Creet, Senior Issues Advisor at InternetNZ
7 June 2016

Kia ora koutou,

Another blog with some articles that have caught the issues team's attention over the last week or so. 

Netflix puts new speedtest into the mix

speed imageNetflix has decided to put a new speedtest site into the market. The functionality is pretty limited when compared to speedtest.net (see our comparisons) as there’s no info on ping or upload speeds. But, it’s really slick, works automatically and has a very simple interface. Almost like it’s designed for you to quickly see how fast you can download video! 

speed image

A more digitally interconnected Europe?

The Digital 5 (D5) countries are meeting in Wellington this week. The D5 is New Zealand, Estonia, the UK, South Korea and Israel. It’s an interesting mix of countries with very different paths, but who are all trying to work together and learn from one another. 

Estonia’s infrastructure for digital government and commerce fascinates me. Its an awesome example of what a small society can do when it builds its institutions and civic infrastructures anew at the dawn of the Information Age. Their attitude to Internet-enabled commerce and society is pretty impressive. One example of the types of thinking that the Estonian government and their political leaders do to make online commerce easy comes from Ars Technica’s interview with the Estonian President about the European Digital Single Market. Essentially, they’re seeking to push for further integration in Europe with a single EU digital market. The example used in the article for why that might be useful is how the Estonian president can’t buy his wife (a Latvian national with a Latvian iTunes account) a song on iTunes as he’s Estonian with an Estonian credit card…Anyway, take a read, watch the interview with the Estonian President and get a taste of why our “e-government” people used to have a catch-phrase of “e-stonia or bust.”

Trust PCs straight out the box? You crazy?

Ever wondered why your work’s IT department always re-image a new PC? Well one good reason is because companies like Lenova, HP, Dell and Acer may be really good at making PCs, but the extra software they put on your windows laptop is less... good. Not only is this extra software “bloatware” (unnecessary software that bloats your PC and slows it down), but its poorly coded and creates security risks. 

Duo security have done some analysis of the top five laptop suppliers to test that theory and yes, it turns out the updaters and other software they put on your PCs is horribly insecure. The best example of recent is a bug in Lenova’s “Accelerator Application” which has led Lenova to make the following recommendation."Lenovo recommends customers uninstall Lenovo Accelerator Application."

For those of you who are thinking - great, but what about my personal PC? I’d suggest you look for a Windows 8.1 or 10 PC that is “signature” branded. Signature means it’s just Windows and doesn’t come with the manufacturer’s bloatware or trial versions of rubbish software you don’t want as well (norton I’m looking at you!).

What’s on our radar

  • Tonight I’m attending an Innovation Partnership event for the D5.
  • On Thursday evening we’re running our Speaker Series event Death and the Internet. You can RSVP here.
  • This week Andrew is talking to a class of undergraduate public relations students at Waikato University to help start a class project on information security public relations campaigns. Watch this space!