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Dateline: 12 January 2000 Early Edition
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The AOL, Time Warner Deal - What's It Mean For NZ?
So, the world's largest entertainment and content producer has merged with the world's largest ISP -- so what?

Given the paucity of wideband (hi-speed) Internet connectivity here in New Zealand, this probably means very little for us in the short-term -- which is a shame because this deal offers to significantly change the face of the Net.

Of course the deal came as little surprise to those in the industry who have been using this word "convergence" for quite some time now. It has been obvious that the Net and conventional broadcasting and other media were bound to become very tightly linked at some stage.

Even here in New Zealand we almost saw this happen when IHUG and SkyTV came very close to doing a similar deal. Unfortunately it appears that either the cultural or visionary differences between those two parties was just a little too wide -- but I'm pretty sure we'll see something very similar happen here before the year is done.

One similar potential deal that springs to mind within New Zealand would be the prospect of Telecom (XTRA) buying TVNZ if the government decided to sell it.

Possible? Probable? Already being scoped?

My lips are sealed!

Heads-Up: A New World-Beating Product From NZ?
The recent incident in which a hacker stole some 300,000 credit card numbers and details from a US-based e-commerce site should raise a few warning bells for banks, card-holders and vendors alike. The current system is woefully inadequate for preventing fraud and if you ask around you'll probably be very surprised at just how many people you know who've found unexpected and unlawful charges appearing on their credit card statements as a result of such transactions.

It's a piece of cake to find programs on the Net that will automatically create valid credit card numbers. Armed with these numbers, fraudsters can easily visit a number of online stores and try to buy merchandise or services using a range of different dates until they find one that matches the expiry date for that card number. Once they've got this far then the world is their oyster!

It seems that these stolen card numbers are often used to buy "intangibles" such as software or access to porn sites so there's no easy way to track the offender -- and as soon as one card is canceled they just use another.

I have it on good authority that a solution to this problem may soon be available from an NZ source and, if this is the case, it could become one of the most valuable hi-tech developments ever to come out of this country. Let's hope the government gets its finger out and honours its election promise to foster hi-tech start-ups, it would be a shame to see the developers forced take their idea to the USA instead.


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