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Dear Tech Santa, here's my Christmas wish list

Paul Brislen, Editor. 16 December 2019, 5:05 am

Dear Tech Santa,

I know you're busy but there are a few things coming up next year that I want to be ready for and I wonder if you can help. I've made a list and I've checked it twice as per the agreed protocol. It's quite long so I'm just going to jump right in.

I know lots of people say they've got nothing to hide and so they don't really worry about privacy issues but I wonder if they're actually getting the full picture. Typically when we talk about privacy breaches we automatically assume someone's stealing our credit card numbers or photos that celebrities would rather they not have, but of course that's just the entertaining end of town.

I don't have anything to hide either but I do have things I like to keep to myself. My bank account number, my mother's maiden name, my home address, my children's current physical location and that's just off the top of my head.

I guess what I'm asking for here Santa is a regime built around informed consent so when we do click on that funny Facebook quiz to find out which Disney Princess we're most like, we don't end up giving away more than we intend. Informed consent is number one on my list.

Number two should be easy because it's something we already have. In New Zealand we pride ourselves on an easy going and affable approach to democracy. We chose a new government every three years or so. We're all proportional now so we get two votes and everyone's pretty involved in it. When we get a government we like them to make laws and do right by us but lately we've seen a lot of sneakiness and underhanded activities going on in other democracies around the world.

Any chance you can deliver us a better way to stop that kind of nonsense happening here? I'd really appreciate it. Rudolph will like it as well - there's a biscuit tin in there he can rummage around in if he's good.

I like kit and so number three has to be a shiny new cellphone network. Possibly two or, if you're feeling keen, three. Having three companies fight to earn our love and affection has been a bit good in terms of forcing them to compete and encouraging them to roll out their network coverage to all corners of the country, so I'd really like it if we could get that going as well. Have a chat with Kris Faafoi if you need to - he's got a bunch of spectrum that would help and might have a few ideas on getting service to rural and remote New Zealand as well as to the CBDs.

Which brings me to number four: a regional economic development plan. Is there anything in your sack that will encourage tech start ups and the more established companies to set up shop in regional New Zealand instead of just sticking to the big cities? I know it's tough, but there's a lifestyle to be had for employers and employees alike in the regions that mean you're more likely to have jobs for longer if you set up in Havelock North instead of Ponsonby. Plus the beach is nicer.

Fifth on my list is one you'll be familiar with because I ask for this every year. It's an education and training platform that encourages and enables kids to get stuck in to what we used to call ICT but these days is probably STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths). I reckon we've got enough lawyers and accountants and managers to last for a while - how about we give the rest of the digital sector a bit of love? I'm not just talking about the teachers and curriculum here - I'm also talking about the parents and whānau who don't realise how good a career choice ICT is.


That's probably enough for now, Santa. I'll have the second half of my list later in the week.


You can expect the milk and cookies to be in the usual place, by the ONT near the front of the house.


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