Network Neutrality, a much-used-and-abused term, talks about discrimination between types or sources of content (positive or negative) that is not to do with normal network load/demand management. It's been in the news because the United States telco regulator has changed how it approaches the subject - planning to regulate for strong neutrality provisions.
Andrew's been working on a discussion paper putting the issue in the New Zealand context. We plan to get that out to spark more of a conversation next month. At the moment the local situation looks OK. We have some market structure and economic factors that mean the U.S.-style problem won't emerge here, but a watching brief is required.
The allegations on mass collection of data in the Pacific that became public recently are a concern if true. Nobody invented the Internet to keep a constant watching eye on the population. New Zealand's intelligence agencies need to have the tools to do their job, but if mass data collection is being done, there's a problem. I'm of the view that the more we can do to support our Pacific neighbours in the rising tide of diplomatic contest in the Pacific, the better. Drag-netting what's on the Internet doesn't need to be part of that.
In other news, as I noted on the blog, I spent time at the Asia Pac's premier Internet technology training conference in Japan. We are hosting this event - APRICOT - in Auckland next February. Plans are well underway to greet what could be 1000 leading thinkers in the science and art of the current (and future) Internet. My attendance, aside from learning some stuff, was to help us be ready to host next year. It was a very busy ten days, but vital to doing the job we need to do next year.
A final thought: We're busy doing budget and business planning for next year. Member meet-ups are planned over the next few days. A mix of staff and Councillors are looking forward to a conversation about the things that are on your mind. Where we focus our efforts is guided by our cause - the Open Internet - but also by members participating in the conversation.
We are all looking forward to sharing ideas and making sure 2015/16 is InternetNZ's best year yet.
What's coming up
A reminder that YOU have the ability to submit your own events to the events calendar hosted on our website. With lots of events from a wide range of people and organisations, this calendar can become a social hub for you to find out what’s coming up in your area – not necessarily InternetNZ related. These events can be hackathons, meet-ups, even LAN parties if you so choose. To submit your event go to: https://internetnz.nz/events and click “submit an event”. There’s an approval process so that we don’t end up publishing details of the “Route 66 White-Wall Tyres Collectors Club” and their latest gathering – but Internet related events will make it through.
A significant focus recently has been undertaking our work on the Commerce Commission’s Draft Determination on the Final Pricing Principle for copper services, such as UCLL and UBA. Not only is the name of this work a mouthful, but so is the sheer scope and scale of the undertaking – in fact, at the first submission stage of this process, Chorus has submitted well over 500 pages of evidence into proceedings, on top of the 1,000+ pages of evidence released by the Commission in December. You can see what is happening on the Commission’s website here: http://www.comcom.govt.nz/regulated-industries/telecommunications/regulated-services/standard-terms-determinations/unbundled-copper-local-loop-and-unbundled-bitstream-access-services-final-pricing-principle/
InternetNZ is working as part of a consortium of likeminded entities to process this information and comment effectively. Our goal is simple – we wish to ensure that users of the Internet in New Zealand pay a fair price for Internet access. That price has to ensure that network builders are fairly compensated for their investments as well, to ensure that New Zealanders have networks that are capable of providing them with quality services. You can see the submissions that we’ve made on this process to date here: https://internetnz.nz/content/internetnz-tuanz-and-consumer-submission-draft-ucll-and-uba-price-review-determinations
We’ve had some concerns about this process and where it is heading. Already, this process is being blamed for price increases for New Zealanders, and you can see what we said about this here: https://internetnz.nz/blog/were-heading-wrong-direction
The next stages in this process is to provide Cross Submissions, following which there will be a “conference” to discuss details in person, and a further draft of the Commission’s views. On the current timetable, the Commission intends to announce their final decisions at the end of September.
Again as signalled in the last update, we have been working with MBIE on the start of the legislative review process, which seeks to review the Telecommunications Act. However, both officials and the Minister have declared that this review may well have a wider scope as well, including matters relating to Broadcasting and other legislation that is impacted by the greater role that Telecommunications, or Internet, infrastructure is playing in New Zealand.
We’ve provided some thoughts to the Ministry in this regard – you may see these here: https://internetnz.nz/content/telecommunications-act-review
Our feelings are that it would be a shame if this review considered the health of the telecommunications industry alone, as this industry is indeed relatively healthy. It should also not overly concern itself with further regulatory innovations, as the current regulatory regime has resulted in lower prices for the Internet, increased access and greater consumer surplus for New Zealanders. What it should do is consider how this review can create a legislative foundation that enables competition, innovation and use of the Internet in New Zealand.The Ministry has yet to announce the next steps in this process, including what public consultations will be done. We will be seeking member involvement in the public stages of this process later in 2015.
Industry Research Agenda
As mentioned in the last update, InternetNZ has been working with MBIE, Crown Fibre Holdings and other industry stakeholders on developing a new telecommunications and Internet industry research agenda for New Zealand. We are really pleased that this group is now meeting in earnest, developing this research agenda for the telecommunications industry in New Zealand. This nicely matches the work being done in the Community Development stream of InternetNZ’s work in supporting and facilitating an Internet Research Forum. Between better coordination of the “demand side” for research through this Industry Research Agenda, and the Internet Research Forum’s work on the “supply side” of research, and our own efforts to increase the visibility and access to core data about the Internet in New Zealand, we are expecting that 2015 will be a year of great leaps forward in research into the benefits and uses of the Internet in New Zealand.
Gigatown & Regional ICT Development
In February, we recognised the launch of Gigatown Dunedin. InternetNZ, via our work with the Innovation Partnership, has supported Dunedin by reviewing their Plan for Success: http://gigatown.co.nz/gig-success/sites/default/files/plans/Gigatown%20Dunedin%20-%20Plan%20for%20Success_FINAL.pdf
We think there's a lesson from Gigatown; there is a lot of untapped potential in our local communities about how we can get maximum benefit from enhanced connectivity in New Zealand. Dunedin and the other four finalists have shown the way here, in developing plans that not only help enhance the economic development potential of the Internet, but also the many other productive and positive benefits of better Internet in New Zealand.
We’ve been exploring partnerships with the likes of Local Government New Zealand and the Digital Office in how we can best work with Local Government in New Zealand to help them realise the potential of these opportunities in regional New Zealand. It’s an exciting new angle of work that we look forward to sharing more about in 2015.
INTERNET LAW AND RIGHTS
InternetNZ has commissioned Chalmers and Associates (C&A) to conduct a review of possibilities that could be pursued in the upcoming copyright review. This document will be available online soon and we will alert you when it is.
In the document, C&A reviewed many of the key trends in Copyright legislation around New Zealand, and how these may be relevant in any review that New Zealand undertakes, to ensure that our Copyright regime best enables innovation across the Internet.
We are very keen in receiving feedback on this paper. While we intend to do public consultations on this matter over the next few months, we also hope to receive feedback directly. If you have thoughts on this paper, or indeed on the potential of such a legislative review, please share them to Andrew at Andrew@internetnz.net.nz.
In late December, we released our Pre-Public Discussion Document on Net Neutrality in New Zealand. We received a number of very useful comments on this paper, which we are currently working our way through.
One of the key pieces of feedback received is that we should look to consider the decisions made by the Federal Communications Commission on this matter. As you've seen from our press release, that decision has been made, and it’s very useful and relevant to include in our analysis. Now that this is out, we would like to reflect upon it and the rest of the feedback received further.
We would also like to solicit further feedback from parties that we deliberately haven't engaged with so far; particularly the major telecommunications companies of New Zealand. We intended to include them in this process after the next update, but instead will be sending them the current "pre-public" document for their comments too.
We will have a further draft for full public consultation ready in late March, and then generate some public discussion about the issue in April. This next draft will do its best to reflect the feedback received so far; the US developments; and further feedback received from the sector.
We’ve been pretty concerned by some of the recent news about the use of the Internet to undertake State Surveillance, and by the announcements by Customs that they intend to review the rules upon which they seize New Zealand citizen’s devices at the border. You can see our press release on these matters here:https://internetnz.nz/news/mass-collection-pacific-data-affects-kiwi-holidaymakers
Mass surveillance via the Internet is one of the things that InternetNZ takes very seriously. It isn't what the Internet was designed for, and is a wholly inappropriate intrusion into the privacy of individuals. We aren't naive enough to think that the modern world doesn't require some surveillance activity, but we think it should be targeted, warranted and proportionate - not massive driftnets that catch everything just to make sure there is no plotting going on. One of our responses to this is to create a new, specific, Internet Security Portfolio into our Internet Issues Programme, to ensure we continue to focus on this and to try to ensure that the Internet remains a place we can all trust.
As a result of these announcements, we have reached out to Customs to seek to work with them on refining their proposals. We don’t know what we can do about surveillance activities in the Pacific, but we are thinking about how we can support international initiatives that would make Internet-based surveillance more difficult as part of our 2015/16 Business Plan. We are very keen for member ideas here, and this is a specific topic that we would love thoughts on as part of the member meetups.
INTERNET ISSUES PROGRAMME-WIDE
State of the Internet
As we highlighted in our last update, we are progressing with our new repository for information about the Internet in New Zealand. We’ve entered a relationship with WikiNZ to have them assist us in rendering a whole pile of basic core metrics about the Internet in New Zealand in a useable, accessible format
This will be a component of the InternetNZ website, and will be a new home for any and all of the publicly available, creative-commons allowed data about the Internet in New Zealand that we can get our hands on. WikiNZ will host that data, and pour it into their beautiful charts; we will build a site that can host those charts and provide a space for our commentary and analysis of what we see.
Our goal is to make this new repository the new home for data about the Internet in New Zealand. This data will be a vital source of information for the work we do at InternetNZ, to help us be informed and credible in what we work towards. But it will also be a resource for the New Zealand Internet Community, both through us hosting that data and analysis of it, and also through building it into the WikiNZ ecosystem. It’s our goal that this data will be available, accessible and usable for as many purposes as possible, and that indeed many new uses will be found. You can expect to hear heaps more about all this in the very near future!
APRICOT 2015/16 --> ICANN Accountability
As mentioned above, Jordan was at the APRICOT event in March prepping for our hosting in 2016. As part of the set of events at APRICOT, an organisation called APTLD meets. APTLD is the Asia Pacific Top Level Domains association, a federation of ccTLD managers such as InternetNZ.
On the agenda was a discussion about the transition of stewardship of the Internet's DNS from the U.S. government to the Internet community. The same topic was discussed as part of APNIC's discussion sat APRICOT.
This is important territory for us. The transition of stewardship and the ability of the USG to keep ICANN on the straight and narrow gives us an assurance that ICANN will be held accountable for its performance as IANA operator. IANA - the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority - is actually a set of functions that includes deciding on the delegations of new top level domains into the global DNS, and processing changes to existing managers. Making sure the top level of the Internet operates right, and that .nz points to .nz, is vital to our management.
There's lots of work going on - thousands of hours of time spent in conversations and document drafting - to deliver a transition plan. Crucially, ICANN's accountability as an organisation is also on the table. Jordan serves as one of the rapporteurs for the Accountability working group that's developing plans for the post-NTIA world. So in the discussions at APRICOT he was able to bring some of those debates to life with first-hand information about what's going on. And with face to face meetings scheduled at the end of the month to finalise accountability & transition proposals for community consultations in April, Jordan will be able to participate informed by the debates at APRICOT - and by those on the topic at our members' meetups this month.
It's all linked with our role as a non-governmental, multistakeholder organisation managing the .nz ccTLD on behalf of the New Zealand public. What we are basically trying to manage is the same model globally. The perspectives we bring and the voice we have will help make that more achievable as a goal. That's good for the Internet, and good for New Zealand - because the last thing we or the country needs is for the Internet's future development to get bogged down in government-owned international treaty organisations, where decisions get made based on who is allied with whom instead of on what works best.
Every year InternetNZ gives away money to a bunch of different people and organisations to improve the Internet and our use of it. We do it because our vision is for a better world through a better Internet. And to achieve that vision, we recognise that we are in a position where we can help make others make it a reality.
This year we have already announced the results of community grants funding rounds for conference attendance and community projects and we are pleased to announce new community grants which have just been awarded: a second conference attendance round and a special funding round to help the Internet and its uses in Canterbury.
Community grants recipients for these rounds include:
Canterbury projects community grant:
- Addington.net Computer Centre: $3,000. Funding for IT support for Addington.net - a community computing centre established in 2001 as a practical solution to help bridge the digital divide and to bring free/low cost computer access to a community suffering the effects of low income and low skill levels.
- Technology Workshops (Frabriko Ltd): $3,500. Suite of pre-installed laptops for delivering technology workshops to low decile schools and communities.
- Computer Science Field Guide and Unplugged website (University of Canterbury): $20,000. Funding to enable them to vastly improve the Computer Science Field Guide (and include more emphasis on internet technologies), to make the Unplugged website more useful for educators, and having a subsidised service available for Canterbury schools to introduce these subjects into their mainstream programme.
- Greater Christchurch School's Network: $47,500. Funding to employ someone with experience to manage the establishing of a low cost leasing option for families over a three year period and also provide financial backing for project
- Code Club Aotearoa: $20,000. Expand Code Club Aotearoa (a network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for kiwi kids aged 8 -12), particularly to rural areas and lower-decile urban areas.
- Internet of Things Cycling Data Project (Fabriko Ltd): $15,000. Post-earthquake, cycling on Christchurch roads has been chaotic and dangerous. Project proposed is to initially prototype an Internet of Things (IoT) device that will gather both passive data (air quality, noise, terrain, location, time etc) and user activated data via way of a good or bad experience button attached to the handle bars of a bike, to gather data on cycling to help offset the low visibility of cyclists.
Conference attendance community grant:
- Jeffrey Lai: $800, eResearch NZ Conference. Presenting as a speaker at the conference around cutting-edge research into Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) implementations of IP-redirection schemes
- Aniket Mahanti (University of Auckland): $3,900, 9th International IEEE Workshop on Network Measurements. The workshop is co-located with IEEE Local Computer Networks (LCN) conference that will be held Oct 26-29, 2015. IEEE WNM is a premier venue for bringing active researchers in the area of network measurements. Aniket Mahanti will be attending the event and will co-chair the above workshop
- Huu Trung Truong: $776, eResearch NZ Conference. Will be presenting the outcome of his summer research project on Software Defined Networking (SDN), a trending technology for the Internet.
- Tanya Gray (Gather Workshop): $1,200, ULearn 2015. Tanya Gray will be attending the conference to run a 2-3 hour workshop which combines discussion of Internet-related issues and some basic web programming skills – a great opportunity to raise awareness with teachers who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend one of their workshops.
- Natalie Dudley: $4,800, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. The conference is one of the few opportunities to be in a space dominated by women leaders in technology, and to meet and share ideas on diversity in our industry. Natalie will be attending as a participant and primarily interested in focus on learning and education for women in technology, and focus on increasing diversity within technology and teaching people how to be allies.
- Adon Moskal: $3,000, Association of Internet Researchers Conference. Submitted a paper on the use of an online course delivery system, and if accepted, will also be presenting at the conference.
- Nicole Price: $2,500, 2015 No2 Bullying Conference. Submitted an abstract for a presentation role to talk about the research she has done around cyberbullying in shcools, as well as attend the conference to learn more around interventions and prevention work internationally.
- Mark Frater: $5,050, Broadband World Forum. The world's largest showcase of live (Network Function Virtualisation) NFV Proof of Concepts. Mark will be attending as an attendee to help build industrial awareness and confidence in NFV as a viable technology.
Grant recipients will provide reports over the coming year and we plan to feature their work in upcoming months on the website, so look out for more details to come on these exciting projects and events. InternetNZ are proud to support the Internet community in their work to promote the benefits and protect the potential of the Internet.
NetHui 2015: 8-10 July, Auckland, Sky City
NetHui 2015 is now less than four months away, make sure you have it in your calendar! The theme for this year is "The Internet is Everybody's Business". This is an inclusive theme that covers the importance of the Internet to all Kiwis. Be it a corporate money-making venture, or a not-for-profit trying to organise a campaign, to use of social networking or concerns around privacy or surveillance; the Internet is a part of everyone’s world and something we should all care about and can help shape the future of.
True to the open spirit of NetHui, it is an open theme which will act as a catalyst for discussions and events for the Internet Community to come together around to help shape the future of New Zealand's Internet,
The time to have your input and to think about getting involved is now. Please give us your ideas for topics and speakers here and watch out for the new website launching soon, where we will issue a call for expressions of interest to help shape the discussions sessions and other parts of the event. The NetHui community is the engine behind the event and we are looking forward to another thought provoking and energising event, for this fifth year of NetHui. We hope you will be a part of it!
For a list of organisations that InternetNZ partners with, please visit the Partnerships page on our website.
COMMUNICATION AND EVENTS
18 March: Dunedin members’ meet-up
19 March: Christchurch members’ meet-up
23 March: Seminar, Kiwis managing their online identity at Victoria University
24 March: Wellington members’ meet-up
Since the last update, InternetNZ has published the following press releases and blog posts:
Feb 2: Big milestone for dot-NZ
Feb 3: Round of applause for Sky TV
Feb 11: Safer internet forever
Feb 17: The content revolution
Feb 18: Launching the Internet research funding round
Feb 20: ICAAN 52 reflection
Feb 24: Spark submission proves copper confusion
Feb 25: Gigatown and regional use of the Internet for economic development
Feb 26: Supporting Internet research in New Zealand
Feb 26: APRICOT 2015 – it isn’t a fruit
Feb 27: Net neutrality now a little bit more neutral
27 Feb: WikiNZ and our new Internet data portal
Feb 27: .nz domain name changes – act now before your options expire
Mar 3: Legislating for E-Manners – Deficiencies and unintended consequences of the Harmful Digital Communications Bill
Mar 4: DNSSEC Validation at Spark NZ
Mar 5: Mass collection of Pacific data affects Kiwi holidaymakers
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