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Brislen on Tech

Paul Brislen, Editor. 01 June 2018, 5:07 pm

Getting Data Protection Right

See what I did there? I'm so very pleased with myself.

It's great to see the EU law around data protection cause such a commotion.

Forget the barrage of "hey, we've updated our T&C" emails you've just received, underneath all the marketing madness you've received a boon: your privacy is now in your hands.

Well, it's in my hands because I'm an EU citizen and you lot, frankly, are colonials. But I digress.

What the EU legislation does is ensure that individuals are in charge of their own data. Should a company collect your data, you're entitled to know what they do with it. Should they lose it, they have to let you know. Should they gather data on you from another source, you can ask to see it. Should they gather data on you and store it in another country, you can again find out where it is.

This puts a huge amount of emphasis on keeping your data safe and given how much data we generate simply by existing online, this is a very good thing indeed.

Because our IT companies have been too cavalier with our data for too long. The number of shocking data breaches has grown rapidly and appallingly and many of them try not to share with the group. "Who, us? Hacked? Pish!" they say, shortly after they threaten to sue the reporters and shortly before they are in turn sued by millions of customers.

New Zealand is not part of the EU and so we have to go our own way. Thankfully we have a very sensible, albeit outdated, law in place currently and the round of submissions on a new bill should strongly support the need for yet more protection for the little fella, and that's not a bad thing.

Because try as we might to get clear of the privacy quagmire, more and more companies are learning about the online world and are gathering our data. It's high time they took good care of it.

Techblog - GDPR: fun for all the family

Techblog - The GDPR and the .nz domain name space

ZDNet - Facebook gets month-long ban in Papua New Guinea

The Register - USA needs law 'a lot like GDPR' - says Salesforce supremo Marc Benioff





We've talked  a lot about New Zealand's woeful Research and Development rates. R&D is in our DNA but sadly not in our GDP and we lag well behind even the average score.

The new government has proposed an R&D tax credit that will help companies pay for R&D but only if they spend a certain amount each year (currently suggested to be $100,000) and only if they conduct certain activities (forget about market position research, or UX development work, they're not covered).

I've been supportive of the move because I see private company R&D as the area where New Zealand has lagged. The government has put its hand deep into its public sector pockets (that's your pocket and mine) but the private sector has hardly bothered to show up.

This credit aims to help address that.

But what it won't do is help start-ups and small business users get into R&D and that, frankly, is a missed opportunity. Worse, the way the tax credit is currently structured, we run the risk of shutting small business and start-up businesses out of the R&D area entirely because the new tax credits are in place of the start-up grants offered by Callaghan Innovation.

The decisions aren't made yet. Nothing is cast in stone. So we still have time to adjust the regime before it's launched and before it runs the risk of driving R&D among start ups and small businesses off a cliff.

Oh and if you want to see how other countries do it, check out the links within Nat Torkington's piece below. The UK offers 100% tax credits - something we might like to consider if we're to do more than just catch up. 

Techblog - Proposed Changes to NZ's R&D Incentives (the story SO GOOD not one, not two but three publications cross posted it)

The Spin Off - 'If you do R&D, we plan to support it': Megan Woods defends the new tax incentive

Newsroom - Budget 2018: $1bn earmarked for R&D


Player one: ready to shop

I am not one of nature's shoppers.

From an early age I learned to sigh and drag my heels and mooch from shop to shop. My mother was so proud.

Lately, shopping without my mother, I'd have my daughters to contend with. While trying on trousers I'd get the curtain RIPPED back and "HERE DAD, TRY THIS SHIRT WITH THE FLOWER ON IT IT'S CHOICE" thrust at me as I hopped around trying not to embarrass myself.

These days I have the internet and while I'm now charged GST (huzzah) on most purchases, the vast bulk of my shopping is done online from the comfort of my own home.

I'm typing this on a new Microsoft curvy keyboard because my old one rattled a lot and was so full of crumbs it had a food value. Now it's all sleek and slim and gorgeous (although not quite the same) and I was doubly happy I didn't need to set foot in a shop: just order it and wait for delivery.

Many things I buy online come from overseas and not least of which is from Amazon which isn't in a rain forest so they should probably change the name.

The new Amazon is in Australia and at first they were all like Yay! and Woohoo! and Choice! and now are all Boo! and Hiss! and That's not cricket! Because the web elves at Amazon now block Australians from shopping on the parent website (Amazon USA) and instead insist they shop on the Amazon Australia site.


Because Australia now charges GST on goods purchased online and so Amazon is enforcing local shopping on the local site as a way to control this.

We can expect to see that here soon once they work out where New Zealand is and start punting goods to us from the Aussie site.

So expect to pay more for All Black jerseys (this is a joke) and less for hats with corks hanging from them (also a joke) and have access to far fewer items (this is no joke) which can only be good for Alibaba.

The Age - Amazon to block its US website for Aussie shoppers over new GST rules

ZDNet - Amazon to block Aussies from global marketplace


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