Thursday, 26 August 2010

The afternoon's weeping

Item the first: the Tobacco Inquisition at the University of Otago's Wellington School of Medicine now want to censor the internet to get rid of YouTube videos friendly to tobacco companies.
Lead researcher Lucy Elkin said that while tobacco companies denied advertising on the internet, the significant brand presence on YouTube was consistent with indirect marketing activity by tobacco companies or their proxies.

"The internet is ideal for tobacco marketing, being largely unregulated and viewed by millions of people world-wide every day," she said.

The study also found that while YouTube provides for the removal of material it defines as offensive, it does not currently consider pro-tobacco content as grounds for removal of specific video clips.

However, public and health organisations could request that YouTube removes pro-tobacco videos containing material considered offensive under present rules, Elkin said.

Governments could also implement the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control requirements on controlling tobacco marketing on the internet.

But Thomson said in New Zealand, the government had shown it was not willing to put the legal resources to deal with examples of indirect tobacco marketing.
I need to start smoking cigars again.

Go to YouTube. Put "Smoking" into the search bar. You get:
  1. Smoking lettuce
  2. quit smoking
  3. a 1951 Goofy No Smoking cartoon
  4. a Sonic the Hedgehog no-smoking video
  5. Short video of smoking celebrities
  6. Smoking tire (cars)
  7. A Star Wars anti-smoking PSA
  8. Another anti-smoking video
  9. ...
It goes on and on, probably 10:1 anti versus pro smoking. Clearly YouTube is a propagandist for Big Tobacco and is in desperate need of censorship.

Who is funding Otago to do this stuff? Ah. The Health Research Council of New Zealand. Nice. I'll have to remember to try paying somebody cash under the table to take back the part I paid for that study.

Item the second: a Belgian paying about $NZ 110/month for the third fastest broadband package, capped at a maximum of 30 MBps, downloaded 2.6 TB of data over a month and his ISP is cool with that. I'm paying $110 NZ per month for broadband plus phone for their fastest package, currently delivering 7 MBps to the exchange but less than 2MBps for overseas connections, that caps out at 20 GB/month of traffic. Nothing to be done about it, and no particular policy moves can fix it. It's a small remote market problem. But I still weep.


  1. EC.

    I think we should go for a a couple of beers and cigars tomorrow!!!

  2. I worry more about where the next assault will come from when/if they get their way - Random sunblock tests on sunny days seems like a good pitch.

    You may want to check out Slingshot for their $120/pm all you can eat deal.
    Maybe the 3 strikes is a National policy solution to speed up broadband.

    I really enjoy the blog - thanks!


  3. @Paul: I'll wait 'till summer so outdoors at staff club isn't irritating.

    @Anon: The problem at home is far less the cap on usage and far more the speed. I can't complain too much though - it was 300 kbps just two years ago. And don't tell them about the sunblock tests.

  4. The TV3 news segment on the first item had me groaning and rolling my eyes. The best bit was when the guy said something to the effect of: "and you can't restrict the content on the internet except in places like China" as if we should follow their example.
    Also at the end when the journalist discovered that SHOCK HORROR there is a facebook fan page for Marlboro! Oh the humanity!