Lizard Squad ruins gamers Christmas ritual

A group of hackers going by the name of Lizard Squad managed to ruin gaming fun over Christmas after taking down both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live services for several hours.

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The group of hackers who have since stopped cyber attacking Microsoft and Sony.

Much online connectivity remains down at the time of this writing.

Lizard Squad explained that the reason for their hack was not only for a few laughs, but also to show the gaming public how unable both Sony and Microsoft in particular are in their online gaming network service and security.

Lizard Squad claim the hack is to force Sony and Microsoft to improve their security.

Internet billionaire Kim Dotcom offered Lizard Squad free lifetime memberships to controversial Mega Upload as part of negotiations to restore online functionality to gamers, and while Lizard Squad claim to have stopped their attacks, many gamers particularly in European and Oceania regions are still unable to play online at all.

As of 10pm this evening no online functionality for PS4 is active.

For gamers this Christmas, the hack by Lizard Squad is both untimely and irritating. Hot selling games like The Crew are now unplayable until the networks are restored.

John Key romps home as National dominate 2014 election night

The 2014 election is over, and John Key remains the Prime Minister of New Zealand for another three years.

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Labour suffered their second worst defeat in the parties history, and were absolutely spanked by National as the votes sat at National 48.1% and Labour a very low 24.7% by the end of the night.

Make no mistake about it, with all the mass surveillance and Dirty Politics controversies that were aimed to bring down the National Party during this campaign, John Key was voted into his third successive term as Prime Minister of New Zealand in the most convincing fashion in the recent history of politics.

There are two things that stand out after last night.

The first is that you cannot buy your way into politics. After so much talk in the public mainstream media and through Twitter, Kim Dotcom remained almost silent as the votes came in, and the internet billionaire lost more than his millions last night as the much talked about Internet Mana Party went down in a fireball before the night was even halfway over.

Dotcom apologised to Hone Harawira, but was clearly a broken man as he stormed out of the function at Internet Mana headquarters.

So much for the big “moment of truth event”, and that was the moment which many will believe handed the control back to National in the election race. Kim Dotcom bombed, he couldn’t offer any evidence to overthrow Key, and for such a hyped event, that too was a factor in last nights results for the Internet Mana Party.

The second thing that stood out was that the majority of the New Zealand public, as shown by the votes, clearly prefer John Key and the National Party as the way forward for this country.

Back in 2011, John Key and his National Party won by a comfortable margin, and nobody predicted that last nights election three years later would be as convincing a win for National as in 2011. But what transpired was actually a step up from 2011, and National absolutely romped home to gain a third successive term in a row.

Much debate will be had today and over the coming weeks surrounding the pre voting numbers, and the money that the National Party threw into their campaign versus Labour.

But the question needs to be asked, where did it all go wrong for Labour in election 2014?

The answer too many will be that the policies Labour and Cunliffe pushed were actually too risky on a financial level.

David Cunliffe, in the eyes of many and also in the eyes of this blog, is a brilliant leader. He did a fantastic job for Labour in the campaign, and up until a few days ago, was a real challenger to overthrow Key’s government and return Labour to the top of New Zealand politics.

If the votes are going to indicate anything, it is that the New Zealand public went to the booths yesterday thinking that the direction their country is going in is actually not to bad, while being not perfect, but less riskier than the well intended policies that the Labour Party were offering.

It was a fascinating election last night, which included the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party outvoting the Act Party.

There will be much debate still to be had, but the Labour Party are in total destruction this morning.

John Key is the preferred Prime Minister of New Zealand as voted by the ones who matter most, the people of New Zealand.

The result cannot be argued against, but the National Party do need to address the surveillance and Dirty Politics issues in their next term in some way.

David Bennett: Dirty Politics and Spy Accusations will not impact National in Saturdays election

David Bennett, Hamilton East MP for the National Party believes that the 2014 campaign getting tight is to be expected as Saturdays general election draws near.

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Following last nights final leaders debate, Bennett has backed up most public opinion by agreeing that it was a very scrappy affair. Bennett believes that having a debate restricted to only half an hour is not enough time to make any meaningful type of ground.

“Both of them were probably a bit at each other.”

National see their economic policy being the big factor should they win the election on Saturday.

National cannot do anything in the social sphere unless they have strong economics, with no rash spending promises, coupled with New Zealand being one of the best in the western world in terms of growth rate.

National promise that they will have a budget surplus, and have said that the economy is New Zealand’s biggest issue.

According to Bennett, as Hamilton East MP, economic growth is the big pressing issue for the city.

“The link with Auckland is crucial and that is the Waikato Expressway. That is a $2.4 billion project, of which $1.1 billion is to be spent next year on the Hamilton and Huntly bypasses. The Greens have said they won’t do that, New Zealand First won’t do it either, and Labour sort of said a reluctant yes to so effectively under an opposition you will not have that project happen.”

Bennett believes that without this growth under an opposition led government, the result would be a catastrophe for the city of Hamilton.

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With all the talk about foreign investment that has taken place during this election, David Bennett said that it isn’t so much about economic growth but more efficiency.  Bennett believes that in terms of structure, foreign investment will have a big impact on the economy.

“In the end we are a trading company, and we are not going to be competitive by raising the minimum wage to levels we cannot support. The minimum wage is going up each year, it is possible to reach the $16 mark but it will be staged.”

A big point that this blog was keen to ask Bennett about during our interview was Kim Dotcom and the recent allegations of NSA spy bases and mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

Bennett, like the majority of the National Party, was quick to say that both Dirty Politics and this weeks claims of mass surveillance have been overblown and have no relevancy on most New Zealanders.

Bennett believes that Kim Dotcom has had a negative impact on New Zealand politics.

“I think he has upset a lot of ordinary New Zealanders. They don’t like his style, they don’t like what he stands for, they don’t like the fact that he is trying to influence New Zealand politics. The same with Dirty Politics, that book would have done nothing for your life, the thing is that the choice between Labour or National will have an effect on your daily life. Not Dirty Politics.”

When asked about Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, and allegations of mass surveillance in New Zealand.

“It is not relevant to anyones life. They are making a lot of assumptions, accusations, and comments but that can happen at any time. We have spy agencies, countries do, if you didn’t you would be silly, but they don’t have mass surveillance of New Zealanders. These guys are trying to make something out of nothing, where as a government will have to protect its people, and they are trying to join two points together that cannot be joined.”

Bennett believes that these accusations will not effect Nationals chances in Saturdays election.

“Project Speargun tapped into New Zealand internet cables” – Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald has called New Zealand prime minister John Key a liar as the election week drama continues for National.

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The NSA Bases and surveillance situation has become a problem for the National Party, and Key today was quoted as saying that Edward Snowden “may well be right” after yesterday strongly denying any of the claims made by the American journalist that New Zealanders data is accessible through a system called XKeyscore.

Snowden also claimed that there are two NSA bases in the country.

In an interview with Duncan Garner this afternoon, friend of Snowden and fellow journalist Glenn Greenwald has called John Key a liar and has accused the Prime Minister of knowingly lying to the NZ Public.

Greenwald claims that the first phase of mass surveillance with the GCSB and NSA has already happened.

The first phase included tapping into New Zealand internet cables. Phase 2 was going to implement metadata probes. It was given a name called “Project Speargun”, and it taps into data and communication.

During the interview, Garner asked Greenwald if Project Speargun was only meant to hone in on New Zealanders who were under focus for criminal activity, Greenwald responded by saying every human being has something to hide.

Greenwald went on to say that the quantity of data collected was in the billions.

“I am not going to say that every single email is stored in XKeystore data.”

John Key comes out defiant over NSA claims

Prime Minister Key has once again heavily denied speculation that New Zealanders are under mass surveillance, but Edward Snowden’s claims haven’t helped National’s image as the election draws nearer.

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John Key came out fighting in the media this morning, saying the claims that Kiwi’s living in New Zealand are under mass surveillance are purely “rhetoric”, and talk of NSA bases in New Zealand was strongly and actively denied by our countries Prime Minister.

According to Key, neither Edward Snowden nor Glenn Greenwald have offered any evidence to their claims.

According to the National Party, the controversial GCSB does not allow for mass surveillance in New Zealand, but Key has already said that there are databases in New Zealand that intelligence agencies have access to. The government say that information can only be accessed if there is a “person of interest”, like rebel fighters or criminals carrying out activity on these shores.

Over 50% of the nation who voted on the NZ Herald website today said they didn’t believe that they were under mass surveillance.

Kim Dotcom has already called John Key a liar, the Labour Leader and main opposition to the Prime Minister says there is evidence of this in an email.

Unfortunately for Key, many people are already saying they don’t believe his claims over either Dotcom or any of his statements surrounding the GCSB that go back over a year now.

Another thing to keep in mind is that despite what Key has said today, and despite what Snowden is claiming, in 2014 we live in an age of terrorism and increasing criminal activity which is being fed on an ever increasing platform through online means.

If there are NSA bases in New Zealand and surveillance is indeed taking place, can it be argued that it is simply only for the protection for everybody? Probably not, and that is a topic for another day, but Key’s claims are certainly hard to believe for a lot of reasons.

This has been a blunder filled campaign for Key and his national party, and it isn’t getting better.