Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: All your Trade are belong to us

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  • Aaron Dick,

    Because we tend to go online in the privacy of our own homes, or offices, we automatically think that what we do online is somehow private, when it so often is not. We create this illusion, understandably, that as we need to use various passwords etc to get into places, what we are doing is somehow secure.

    I don't konw if this very human response will ever change, but it is defintiely woirth bearing in mind .

    One of the papers I did in my Teaching Diploma discussed just this sort of thing. Getting students to realise that the internet is a public space (and also how to research without copypaste and wikipedia) is something we were told to work on all the time.

    So, maybe just maybe, people will begin to change.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Well, that's probably true, but the next time this happens it might not be high-minded anarchists who get your name and address. And of course, if they share a cell or someone stands over them, they might end up parting with those docs anyway... the point is, that's a red herring. The police asked for a lot, and they got it, and then they had to share it. It's sheer chance whether or not the end-recipients are going to be good citizens when entrusted with the results of a police fishing trip.

    Which suggests that rather than trying to restrict what evidence the police can pass on - and compromising people's chance of a fair trial by doing so - we should be discouraging the police from embarking on such wide-ranging fishing trips in the first place.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Getting students to realise that the internet is a public space (and also how to research without copypaste and wikipedia) is something we were told to work on all the time.

    One of my uni lecturers has announced that using Wikipedia as a reference means you will automatically fail the assigment. On the one hand: kind of harsh. On the other: I can see where he's coming from.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    we automatically think that what we do online is somehow private, when it so often is not.

    I tend to assume the opposite actually, and act as if everything I'm doing or saying is at risk of being read and compiled. The internet for me is like being in front of a large window. Unless you're an exhibitionist with nothing to lose, you should be careful about what you expose.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    One of my uni lecturers has announced that using Wikipedia as a reference means you will automatically fail the assigment. On the one hand: kind of harsh. On the other: I can see where he's coming from.

    Considering that any Wikipedia article worth its salt contains references to other articles you can get to very easily, I see his point. A little initiative goes a long way. (Plus: who uses references to *any* encyclopedia, even the old-school ones, in university assignments? Shouldn't we be thinking more deeply than that?)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    One of my uni lecturers has announced that using Wikipedia as a reference means you will automatically fail the assigment.

    Yes, too harsh--and possibly counter-productive. A better strategy is to tell students that it cannot be the sole source, and needs to be set alongside other sources.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Suze Vermeer,

    The Listener's been going downhilll since the women took over. Sorry, sisters, but you can't deny it's gone all girly. Lifestyle, excellence in education, mortgage headaches, health issues of the middle-class worried well, homes and gardens, cosmetic surgery ... Not to mention a firm heft toward the comfy conservative side of the political middle line.

    Yeah, Jane Clifton is a great writer and I love her skewering the pompous and bloated on either political side and the fringe, but she starts from a Tory place in her assumptions (e.g. that all Kiwis want a tax cut and that buy-back of rail is a noble but silly idea). Mind you, how else could you live with Murray McCully?
    Isn't editor Pamela Stirling's husband a secondary school headmaster? Maybe that's why the Listener bores us with endless NCEA stories.
    And do we really need blow-by- blow accounts of other columnists' misadventures in house renovation?

    Brian Easton and Diana Wichtel only goodies left now you've gone Russell. Oh and also Guy Somerset's arts and books good.

    Gave up my sub some time ago, but still read it in supermarkets and at friends', which I guess makes me one of their high readership statistics. Circulation is the key measure, not readership, which can only be an estimate. Readership always cited when circulation gone south.

    I believe Listener's tardiness in getting stuff online is to make us buy the hard copy.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    The Viacom / Google story ought to give us pause for thought on what MED and associated ministries might be planning to give away on your behalf. This ACTA thing is looking worse than the Copyright Amendment Act. At least the latter was passed by Parliament.

    ACTA negotiations are taking place in secrecy where our governments are working on behalf of overseas corporates against you tye consumer. No doubt robbery will be pleased until one of his budding artists is pulled aside and asked to explain a disk full of samples...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    In case I wasn't clear enough, here is a snippet from TFA I linked to:

    Included are suggestions that copyright owners be given information about infringers “including their identities, means of production and distribution and relevant third parties”, presumably so the owners can pursue further action against them or keep watch on their future activities.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Mind you, how else could you live with Murray McCully?

    Suze: You were doing OK until you went there. I don't know - or much care - who Cate Brett's husband/de facto/CUP-cake/partner/frak-buddy/friend with benefits/whatever is, or what s/he does for a living. The__Sunday Star Times__ is a tabloid in all but format, and Brett is hardly a poster girl of women in media.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    we should be discouraging the police from embarking on such wide-ranging fishing trips in the first place.

    It's a tough balance to strike. How far is too far when seeking trading records? Two degrees doesn't sound unreasonable, and clearly a judge thought it was acceptable, but when you're talking about a web of interconnected people it adds up bloody fast.
    If each of the seven had traded with 20 others, that's 140 new people dragged in. If each of those 140 had traded with 20 others, it's suddenly 2800 people. Even if there's 10% overlap in trades within the group it's still in the vicinity of 2500 accounts to investigate. Suddenly a blanket two degrees of investigation looks overly broad, but until the information has been gathered it's impossible to tell.

    I suspect that the police had never done record gathering on that scale before, so had no idea that it was going to result in such a volume of information. Once they've got it they can hardly give it back, too, so being in possession of it they had to hand it over during discovery. Hopefully it's a lesson learned and in future they'll be a bit more discerning, but if they got useful information from a reasonable percentage of the secondary trade records it could become another tool to be utilised on a regular basis.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm with Danielle, you're welcome to use an encyclopaedia to do basic preliminary research on a topic at any level, but it's not a good enough source for tertiary research in its own right, unless the subjects are encyclopaedias themselves.

    But the problem is not that Wikipedia is an inferior encyclopaedia, I think we've moved past that. Roy Rosenzweig has a bunch of interesting thing to say about it in this here article.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    So Suze, it's 'gone all girly', but two of the four remaining columnists you like are actually women? My brain hurts.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    And do we really need blow-by- blow accounts of other columnists' misadventures in house renovation?

    It's all the whining about building consents & councils that gets me. Masybe I've been lucky, but all my dealings with city & district councils have been amicable & efficient, Wgtn City COuncil building consent people were particularly fantastic, sitting down with me & my plans & getting them into shape so that my consent sailed through the process like an Americas Cup winner.

    Don't get me started on architects though.

    But I wonder at people who regale others with, and seem to exclusively have, bad experiences... I really do wonder where the problem lies.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Wgtn City COuncil building consent people were particularly fantastic

    And on the flip side... Kapiti Coast District council were fantastic in helping me oppose a heinous development in our street. (The developer may well be whining about them though).

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Matthew: they could start with one degree (suspects' contacts) and make a second request to pursue others that seem worthwhile.

    Apropos citing Wikipedia - I'd be showing my students a page (edited 5 minutes before class) showing that, say, I had discovered New Zealand at the bottom of my sock drawer earlier this morning.

    Any reference to a web-based resource ought to have a timestamp.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    I'm with Danielle, you're welcome to use an encyclopaedia to do basic preliminary research on a topic at any level, but it's not a good enough source for tertiary research in its own right,

    and i'm with both of you.

    anyone who quotes wikipedia as their primary source deserves to be mocked roundly and marked out of academia.

    it's like providing "all the stuff i found on google" as your font of wisdom.

    arial, 12 pint.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    But I wonder at people who regale others with, and seem to exclusively have, bad experiences... I really do wonder where the problem lies.

    <Joanne Black-esque rant> It took 2.5 years to get our consent for building our house. It took four weeks to build. And it was a *Lockwood*. Hardly some johnny-come-lately crapola building firm. And I never raised my voice once to the council people, even when they gave our builder *wildly* conflicting rules to follow with each submission. Even when they charged us $20,000 more than we initially thought. Even when they continued to come over unannounced and inspect our house long after it had been supposedly signed off by every human being in Waitakere City. Seriously, I will never build a house again. It was utterly horrid. </Joanne Black-esque rant>

    I don't think she should have a weekly column about this issue, though. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Wow - I thought the Lockwood people sorted all that for you?

    it took me about 4 days to get a building consent for a car deck, but about 18 months to build it... which was down to the architect getting some measurements wrong, the slope providing an additional engineering challenge & the fact the builder missed his window of opportunity & had to take another job in the meantime.

    But the council were terrific!

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    so being in possession of it they had to hand it over during discovery.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but if documents or WHY are deemed not relevant to evidence they do not have to be revealed for discovery and are therefore deemed inadmissible?
    Had this route been followed irrelevant information could have been rightfully withheld.

    I suspect that the police had never done record gathering on that scale before, so had no idea that it was going to result in such a volume of information.

    This I find hard to believe. It is not uncommon for the prosecution to bury relevant information in piles of irrelevant material.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    anyone who quotes wikipedia as their primary source deserves to be mocked roundly and marked out of academia.

    Pretty much, yeah, I just think the automatic fail is going a tad far.
    But no-one should even be thinking about footnoting with Wikipedia, and especially not for history, seeing as 90% of the history articles are taken from the last out-of-copyright edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (approx. 1911) and are thus wrong, wrong, wrong.

    If you want something really shocking, I've had third-year papers with lab sessions on How To Use Databases. People are reaching the last year of their degree without working out how to use journal databases. It makes me cry.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I suspect that the police had never done record gathering on that scale before, so had no idea that it was going to result in such a volume of information. Once they've got it they can hardly give it back, too, so being in possession of it they had to hand it over during discovery. Hopefully it's a lesson learned and in future they'll be a bit more discerning, but if they got useful information from a reasonable percentage of the secondary trade records it could become another tool to be utilised on a regular basis.

    Wise words. I also hope they learn from the experience.

    I'd strongly debate that it was a "fishing expedition" -- they've sought information on people with a direct trading link to the suspects, and in some cases those people have provided evidence.

    But you'd think they could use public trading records to narrow the field before they execute their warrant for names and addresses.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The email that Russell quoted from Trade Me said that:

    There is no suggestion that you were in any way related to these events last year, apart from being one of 3000 who traded with someone that was a suspect in this investigation.

    So that would indicate that the 3000 is one degree of separation from the suspects. That's an astoundingly high figure, assuming that it's only those that are facing trial that are 'suspects'.

    I wonder if they've included not just everyone who bought/sold, but anyone who asked a question on an auction.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I wouldn't normally spam, but since we're talking about web 2.0 and online research, it seems fair to mention the Firefox extension Zotero. Anyone who has had to use Endnote as a bibliographic manager (which is seriously like being transported back to 1995) will appreciate the need for something better. I've only used it for two days, but on that basis would recommend it thoroughly.

    It's a non-profit venture of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. It's so pretty and slick that I spent quite a while wondering what the business model was...

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I wouldn't normally spam, but since we're talking about web 2.0 and online research, it seems fair to mention the Firefox extension Zotero.

    Hear, hear. (Or read, read, I suppose). It's one of those things, as the cliche goes, which makes you wonder how you used to operate without it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

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