Archive for April, 2013

Let’s say one coalition group bans certain kinds of protest, with disproportionate penalties for those involved, removes democratically elected regional representatives and refuses to reinstate full elections for the area, and proposes to allow our international spying agency to spy domestically, despite also having a domestic spying agency for that job, and then refuses to answer questions on the matter.

The other coalition group proposes to use some seed money to build houses which it will later recoup, and to set up a single-payer system to keep power prices down while still allowing generators to make a reasonable profit.

One of these coalitions could be forgiven for comparing the other to an authoritarian regime like the Soviet Union.

If you thought it was the first one, then you either have no idea about what being an authoritarian means, or you’re a National Party hack. (because at this stage, who’s even left in the Act or United Future parties, and does the Maori Party really ever want to go into coalition with National again?) I wouldn’t care to speculate between ignorance and malice, however.

The single payer model has been shown to work very well in cases where there is a captive market, like for power and healthcare, where consumers can only choose between providers, but have little choice about whether to buy or not. This is well-tested policy, which anyone who took an interest in politics as anything other than a points-scoring exercise should know. This is the first strong policy announcement by Labour and the Greens, and it was presented as a complementary approach with both parties adopting synergistic policies, and competing in a friendly manner for our vote.

Both parties’ job now is to keep following this precedent. Labour has finally realised it has room to its left, and the Greens have welcomed them to the club again. If Shearer can restrain himself from moving back right, and maintain genuine populism instead of the fake middle-of-the-road sort of nonsense we were seeing before, we could be looking at the beginning of a change in government.


A breach is not a leak

Posted: April 3, 2013 in media
Tags: , , ,

Much of the recent discussion of EQC’s privacy issues has a glaring semantic error which is colouring the story. Most notably, they mostly describe the two recent incidents as “leaks”. This is a very incorrect usage of this term. When you accidentally e-mail a file to the wrong recipient, and it contains private or personal information, what you have is a privacy breach.

When you deliberately e-mail a file with the intent of either revealing the information to a concerned party without official authorisation, or with the intent of creating publicity around an issue, that is a leak.

Privacy breaches require preventative action and are usually not a cause for individual censorship, unless there is good policy in place to prevent the breach, and can often be a matter of systems or workplace culture enabling human error. Leaks are more about the motivations and intent of the individual who performed the leak, and may not even be a bad thing overall, if done with care and for an overriding ethical reason that is not adequately weighted in official policy. For example, what the recipient of the most recent breach is threatening to do by releasing the information to media, that is actually a leak.