GCSB stops Spark from using Huawei for 5G

The GCSB is stopping Spark from using Huawei equipment for their new 5G cellphone network. They won’t give reasons, saying they are classified.

There are concerns that a Chinese owned company be involved in communications infrastructure – but some also have concerns about US technology companies with allegations of CIA back doors.

RNZ: Reasons to block Spark’s 5G rollout ‘classified’

The Minister responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) said the reasons why a Chinese tech company won’t be involved in the rollout of 5G technology here are classified.

The GCSB has turned down Spark’s proposed use of Huawei equipment in its new network because it would raise significant national security risks.

Andrew Little said he was briefed on the decision on Monday but cannot divulge what the risks might be.

“Spark notified the GCSB two or three months ago, GCSB has carried out an assessment on the technology that Spark proposes to introduce and has assessed that technology as posing a national security risk. That assessment was notified to Spark today.”

“Spark have indicated they will have a close look at the reasons for GCSB’s assessment then if Spark wishes to continue with their proposal they then have the option of working with the GCSB on looking at mitigation of [those risks].”

Mr Little said the 5G technology was more sophisticated than older network technology and was not currently in use in New Zealand.

“The principal difference between 5G technology and the conventional 4G and 3G technology is that the conventional technology has an infrastructure core and then peripheral technology such as cellphone towers and the like and they can, in effect, be kept separate but you cannot do that with 5G technology.”

“Every component of 5G technology, every component of the network is integrated and therefore access to one component can lead to access to the entire network.”

He said the GCSB decision was not a complete deal-breaker for Spark’s rollout of 5G.

“Spark has said they are committed to rolling out 5G by the end of 2020, there’s no reason why they can’t stick to that timetable. They have known that they’d have to go through this process… it’s underway and there’s still work to do.”

Electronically monitoring the kids

Over the last few years it became a thing to justify giving children a mobile phone so parents could be at their beck and call, and theoretically so parents could keep tabs on what their children did and where they were.

This takes it to another level:

What’s next? Drone technology like this?

Mini Flipping Quadcopter 

Now you can show off your crazy pilot skills, even if you don’t really have any!

It also features headless flight mode, and return to home functions.

Remote controlled dronekids with a return to home button?

Things have already changed somewhat from the age that I grew up in. On non-school days, and after school, we roamed. We often didn’t say where we were going because we didn’t know, we just followed our whims, all over the 50 acre home property, and around a much bigger neighbourhood. We mostly kept clear of the Clutha River apart from crossing the bridge.

We managed to turn up for meal times, it was an instinct I guess.

I remember my mother getting a bit worried once. I would have been about 6, my sister 8, and we had been at one of my sister’s friend’s house, with an arrangement that we would walk home a couple of kilometres. But Mum got worried when we didn’t turn up (maybe at mealtime). She drove up the road and no sign of us. It turned out we had taken a  ‘short-cut’ going cross country. Maybe we wanted to pass by our neighbour’s cherry trees, I can’t remember – it would have been my sister’s fault. In the end no harm done.

Now kids venture away from home far less, and when they do, do parents really want electronic monitoring? At least I guess they aren’t ankle bracelets.

But is it really smart watching?

Broadband prices rising

The Commerce Commision has decided to raise the price of wholesale copper charges. This will mean landline and broadband prices will go up. Spark have announced increases from February.

NZ Herald: Spark hikes prices after ComCom copper ruling

Spark will lift prices for some broadband and landline plans from February as a result of the Commerce Commission’s decision to increase wholesale copper line charges.

Home landline customers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will pay $3.50 per month more, while ADSL/VDSL broadband customers are facing a $5 monthly increase.

On Tuesday, the commission announced that the wholesale price for access to Chorus’ copper network would be raised to $41.69 per month.

The regulator came to the final figure, $3 higher than expected, after it conducted a more rigorous process to find the price than the initial pricing principle review, which relied on international benchmarks.

Spark said the new Chorus charges, which took effect yesterday, were almost $8 per month higher for broadband services and $7 higher for landline voice services.

Bummer. Might be time to ditch the landline.

Boycott bolshiness

There was criticism of over-reaction on Twitter about the threat to boycott Spark after Whale Oil promoted them as sponsors of their Decade of Dirt party. Whale Oil later toned down their claims. See Sparks fly after Whale Oil sponsorship claim.

There’s been a number of examples of boycott vigilantism on Twitter, which began with a worth protest about radio coverage of Roast Busters which turned into an overplayed obsession.

The boycott bas-wagon revved up over the canning of Campbell Live, with campaigning to keep boycotting 3 news over a loss of Current Affairs on TV.

What the vigilantes didn’t seem to figure out was that beating 3 News into submission would further reduce news and current affairs.

This was pointed out yesterday in a tweet by producer @AngusGillies with a message image.

3NewsBoycottThere has also been a post about this at The Standard – The TV3 boycott – where Antony Robins recognises the problem…

But boycotts are a two-edged sword. As well as sending a message to those in power they can also damage the innocent workers. Boycotts are on a spectrum that ends in “internet lynch mobs”.

But the first comment

Your logic of “don’t act because there is collateral damage” applies to every civic action.

Consumer boycott has the power of a strike.

If journalists are having the conversation you describe, imagine the conversations the Board members are having.

And, if TV3 fails again, perhaps out of it will come a different kind of investigative media hybrid altogether.

Perhaps instead there will be a further and far more substantial reduction in news and current affairs if TV3 goes broke. That seems more likely.

David H doesn’t car if the whole channel is lost:

“would cost journalists (workers!) jobs and thus weaken the media.”

Workers?? Jonolists like Gower, Obrien and Sabin? Ass kissing, Key loving, Labour hating, Make it up Jonolists. And the production teams that know they are spreading hate and bullshit? Yep I am really sad for this lot.

Does he only want journalists that serve up what he approves of?

Draco T Bastard

In war there is collateral damage and make no mistake, we are at war. It’s a war for control of our government and our lives and the journalists at TV3 are on the wrong side. It’s a war of if that control should be by us through our elected representatives or by the corporations through the government owned by them with us manipulated through the MSM.

Should we be afraid that a few people may lose their jobs? No.

But we also need to be working on other fronts to ensure that power is taken from the corporations and returned to the people, that we get a true public service TV and that our society shifts from the me, me, me type that the Fourth Labour government brought in in the 1980s and return to being a society about all of us.

But DTB wants it under the control of a government further to the left of Mana (remember them?)


Like the new version of Milo, Cadbury’s palm oil chocolate, and cheaper eggs coming from caged hens we have to stamp this out.


Having such a fucked out MSM actually also drives viewers to places like the Standard, for people hungry for real news and discussion. So although TV3 may not be benefiting, it does create other opportunities and appetite for alternative news.

“Real news and discussion” at the Standard? Little news, much discussion, but under the direction and control of draconian overlords who don’t tolerate input from outside their narrow collective.

Maybe they can get Labour to put forward a policy to state fund The Standard as a great new way forward for news and discussion.

That could come with a requirement to rename The Standard to Pravda. Or perhaps Ivestia might be more appropriate.

Sparks fly after Whale Oil sponsorship claim

Whale Oil has been pushing their promotion of tickets for tonight’s ‘Decade of Dirt’ event, including sending out spam emails (it looks like they have been em,ail harvesting).

Today they sparked a twitter storm after claiming that Spark were sponsoring the event.

And The Standard was also fired up:


Many reactions ensured, including:

Marvellous Bearded Git

I’ve got $5k worth of Spark shares-I’m selling then in the next half hour….in fact I’ve sold them now during the time it takes to edit a post!

The Twitter troops got rarked up with various threats to Spark for providing for the devil blog.

Spark scrambled, and eventually tweeted:

Hi Twitter, we’ve had a lot to read through today about an apparent WhaleOil sponsorship. Thanks for being upfront with us. 1/3
We give phones to a range of groups/media, part of promoting our tech. We don’t back the editorial stance of any outlet, including WO. 2/3
WO’s site may have overstated our involvement in their event. WO got two phones, no other support. We’ve asked WO to make this clear. 3/3

And presumably at Spark’s request the post has been adjusted -n if you can notice amongst all the other sponsors’ messages.


But look at what you have to do to try and win a Galaxy.

People who are at the Decade of Dirt party tonight and become Ground Crew reporters* go into the draw to win this fine looking phone valued at $699.

What do you have to do to win this phone from Spark?

1.  Attend the Decade of Dirt party

2. Report what goes on throughout the evening with snippets of text and/or photos

3. Tweet your reports to @whaleoildod, or email to whaleoildod@gmail.com

4. An editor will review your entries.  If they pass the censor and aren’t dull or repetitive, your entry will make it onto Whaleoil.  From 5 pm, a “Live Blog” post will be running until 10 or 11 pm.

5. Before you take photos of other people, please ask for their permission.  Tell them you are a Ground Crew Reporter for Whaleoil.


– You must have at least TWO entries accepted and published on Whaleoil to be in the draw.  It’s not the number of entries you send, it’s the number of entries that are published by Whaleoil that count.  Therefore, make good content.  Unique content.  Content of interest to people who are not there.  You are a reporter.

– One entry in the draw for every report that is published to the Whaleoil Live Blog.

– Winner will be drawn by Spanish Bride after we blindfold her and spin her around a bit. (No, not really, but we won’t tell her we’ll use a spreadsheet and the RANDOM() function).  Winner will be announced before the weekend in a post on Whaleoil.

– Whaleoil does not control the process of getting the prize to you.   As such we can’t guarantee specific delivery dates or other performance standards.   Take it as it comes.

As far as I’m concerned Spark can give free product to whoever they like. I think these entry conditions are more newsworthy.

So only ‘ground crew’ who successfully get  two reports past the Whale Oil censors go in the draw.

This looks like message control overdrive – when it comes to contributors. Those who write WO promotional material get away with any bullshit the think they can get away with.

Pete the chief censor/banner explained in a ‘Featured Comment’:

All that Spark have done is handed us a couple of phones to use a prizes. They do this with every other media outlet. It’s nothing special for us – we’re just one of the media organisations Spark supports because we have a huge audience, and a lot of that audience are either Spark customers or potential Spark customers.

Once again the Twitter terrorists are trying to bully companies.

The shouldn’t have said “Sponsored by Spark” and included a Spark logo then

I mean, they are boycotting TV3 for cancelling a show for bad ratings. These people are seriously in need of a reality check.

Why has nobody piled in on Snapdragon Bar for hosting the event? I would have thought that was another way to go. Perhaps create a protest line so nobody can enter?

What is it with these people that they can not allow others to go about their normal daily business without trying to cause damage and friction?

Personally, I don’t hear them. But the problem is they protest against so much, they get tied into knots.

He must have heard something. Especially from Spark for misrepresenting them.