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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

John Key: another day, another broken pledge…

28 February 2012 1 comment

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National’s hatchet-job on our state service continues – and appears to be getting worse.

Fresh from news that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade  about to sack 305 people; and 295 uniformed personnel are to be fired from the Defence Force,  we learn that Key’s government is about to fire at least 70 staff from Housing NZ,

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This is on top of Housing NZ recently announcing that it will no longer assist low-income families with social needs,

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Worse still, on top of the redundancies, is the planned closure of offices; and replacing front-line staff with an 0800 number Call Centre.

The sackings are a direct breach of Key’s promise to New Zealanders that the cutting of the  state sector would not impact on front-line staff – and indeed he has stated that front-line numbers would be strengthened,

It’s time to focus public spending on front-line services that make a real difference in people’s lives, rather than paper-shuffling and report-writing that does not

We are not going to reduce the number of front-line staff. Let me make this absolutely clear – under National the numbers of doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, police and other front-line staff will grow

In addition, we are not going to radically reorganise the structure of the state sector. Our focus will be on delivering services. Just as Labour has done, we will take opportunities to make changes to some agencies as part of the usual business of government. However, there will be no wholesale reorganisation or restructuring across the state sector… ” – John Key, 12 March 2008

John Key has broken every aspect of his own committments that he made to the nation, nearly four years ago, and which he has been repeating ad nauseum ever since.

Not only is his government sacking front line staff – but they are radically reorganising the state sector. Key’s most bizarre recent proposal was contracting out government services to Google. I kid you not: Rise of the Terminator Keybot!

A proposal to replace 1,000 full time soldiers in the Defence Force with “reservists”, who are “on call”, is a depletion of front-line personnel. This leaves NZ ill-equipped and ill-prepared to meet our international committments for U.N. peacekeeping duties, or local disaster relief operations.

Soldiers are front-line personnel. In fact, the term “front line” is a military term.

For those of us with fairly decent memories, we may recall the 1990s; when a Bolger and Shipley-led National governments cut the state sector until health, housing, social services, etc, were failing to meet the needs of ordinary New Zealanders.

At one stage Prime Minister Jenny Shipley was mooting moving or demolishing the Beehive Building so that an extension to the main Parliamentary Building could be undertaken. The cost to taxpayers was estimated to be in the region of $94 million (1997 dollars).

All whilst rentals for State houses were set at market prices; ex-psychiatric patients were living in public toilets; and on 3 April 1998, Southland dairy farmer Colin Morrison (42) died on a waiting list, awaiting a triple heart bypass surgery. His condition was listed as “life threatening” – but was still on a waiting list when he died.

And all during the 1990s, the wealth/income gap between the top 10%  and the rest of New Zealand widened further and further.

Sound familiar?

By 27 November, 1999, New Zealanders had had a gutsful and threw out the National government.

History is repeating.  The question is, how bad will it get this time?  Perhaps as bad as families living in caravans?

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Additional

‘Broken promise’ claim as frontline Defence jobs slashed

Review suggests more part-time soldiers

Families in caravans, cars as Housing NZ gets tough

Housing NZ proposal poses dangers for staff

HNZ: Housing New Zealand proposes changing how it delivers its services

2500 jobs cut, but only $20m saved

On Colin Morrison 1998)

Widow says little improvement seem

GP hits out at health reforms

Died waiting for by-pass

Word today on heart list

Anger on heart op delay

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Rise of the Terminator Keybot!

15 February 2012 7 comments

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Google – running parts or all of our Public Sector?!

Has our Dear Leader finally flipped out?!

If John Key is being serious, then they must be putting something in his drinking water and nanobots have slowly assimilated his fiscally-programmed  brain into the great Google Collective,

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All that’s missing is the laser-probe eyepiece and suitably villainous catch-phrases like,

You will be assimilated!

Resistance is futile!

and the ever-popular,

Ex-ter-mi-nate!!!

Look, I’m no Luddite – I’m all in favour of latest technology (within bounds of reason, cost, and a good dollop of common sense). But the nanobots in Key’s head have scrambled his neural hard-wiring if he thinks that handing over our public service (or great gobs of it) to multinational corporations like Google is anything remotely approaching a sane idea.

For one thing; has anyone ever actually tried to phone a living, breathing carbon-based life-form at Google?

Good luck to that  – even the “humans” there are probably androids.

Now imagine trying to phone the Ministry of Education or NZQA to query Little Johnny or Janey’s NCEA results, and the system is now fully automated? I hope you have a few hours to spare…

But more important: information. Government departments, various Crown entities, and quangos deal mostly in information. Whether IRD, Police, WINZ, etc – the State has voluminous quantities of information on all of us.

Every single man, woman, and child in this country has already been  filed, stamped, indexed, catalogued,  vetted, surveilled, and numbered.  1984 has come and gone – and we are now part of the system.

For John Key to suggest –  in broad daylight for all to hear – that this information should now be privatised and handed over to Google, et al,  is mind-boggling and beyond belief.

(When I first heard snippets of this item on Radio NZ, I thought I was hearing the tail-end of a publicity-piece for a new science fiction/drama radio series. It was only when I checked online that I discovered the awful, frightening truth of what our Dear Leader was calmly suggesting.)

Quite simply; this is not a good idea.

It is a very bad idea. In fact, it ranks right up there with the Square Wheel; using leeches to cure Black Plague in the middles ages; and having ACT in government.

Google deals in information.  It is Google’s  core business, as finance is to banks;  oil is to oil companies; and big busty blondes are to Playboy Enterprises.

“Out-sourcing” our public service to Google would be tantamount to handing over your 18 year old daughter to Hugh Hefner, so he can “look after her“.

This is the same international conglomerate that two years ago admitted to  illegally collecting private data without permission, in more than thirty countries.  Google admitted that cars sent to take photos for its Street View mapping service also carried Internet eavesdropping gear.

Jennifer Stoddart, Canada’s Commissioner of Privacy, said,

Some of the captured information was very sensitive, such as a list that provided the names of people suffering from certain medical conditions, along with their telephone numbers and addresses. It is likely thousands of Canadians were affected.”

Google’s Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research,  finally admitted  May 14 2010, that,

A number of external regulators have inspected the data. It’s clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire e-mails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords.”

In other words, they were ‘caught with their pants down around their ankles’, collecting data they had no right to gather. As a  representative of Consumer Watchdog said,

Once again, Google has demonstrated a lack of concern for privacy. Its computer engineers run amok, push the envelope and gather whatever data they can until their fingers are caught in the cookie jar.”

In 2005, the online magazine Cnet, stated,

The fear, of course, is that hackers, zealous government investigators, or even a Google insider who falls short of the company’s ethics standards could abuse that information. Google, some worry, is amassing a tempting record of personal information, and the onus is on the Mountain View, Calif., company to keep that information under wraps.

The same article outlined the considerable information that Google was collecting on those using it’s services,

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What Google knows about you  may be considerably more than you might feel comfortable about.

For our government to allow a corporation, such as Google, access to our personal information is opening new doors to data-sharing that few of us would have considered feasible only a decade ago. But now, our Prime Minister is openly touting the idea.

On top of handing over our private information to IT corporations is another risk; that of becoming so “wedded” to a provider, that it becomes difficult – it not near-impossible – to de-couple that connection.  Our reliance on Google to run our government IT may become so pervasive, that no other option for information-processing is easily accomplishable. Or possible.

For most households, Google’s ease-of-use makes it the search-engine of choice.

Internet users exercise a deliberate measure of choice in using Google.

That “choice” becomes non-existent if John Key willingly hands over our information to this internet colossus.

My message to John Key: this is a dumb idea. Google ‘dumb’.

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Additional

Google faces probes over privacy issues

Google balances privacy, reach

What Google knows about you

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