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Screaming into the void

9 October Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 95
Why we resist
This was a week in which I had to weigh the pros and cons of leading with "China is spying on all of us through grains of rice hidden inside our computers" or "50 million 500 thousand people had their personal data stolen from TWO OF THE BIGGEST TECH COMPANIES IN THE WORLD and no one gives a isht anymore" and I'm sorry, but there's going to be a bit of yelling.
 
On the 4th of October, Bloomberg Businessweek (I think they broke the story) reported that Chinese spies broached IP firewalls and your personal privacy by installing a rice-sized microchip in devices sold by more than 30 US companies, including Apple and Amazon.
 
Amazon discovered the microchips, which are about the size of a grain of rice, in its due diligence of an acquisition target who had previously sold devices with the chips in them to the Department of Defense for use in their data centers, the CIA for use in Drone Operations, and literal onboard network of ships in the US Navy.

And then the most-blargh-of-appendices to the Facebook Data Breach story from last week was that Google has also been affected by the same style of breach as its blue-r brother had been.
 
When we don't pay attention to the bad behaviour of big companies - either because we don't care ("data. SO BORING. ugh.") or because who honestly has the dog-gamn energy anymore, I can protest the downfall of society or rampant tech monstrosity but SERIOUSLY BOTH ARE YOU KIDDING ME *rampant yelling* - they start doing really ugly, shameful things. This week (today, even!) Google suffered a data breach and they literally had a conversation in the company somewhere where they decided that shuttering the breached product and telling nobody it even happened was a better PR strategy than coming clean and going to the authorities. 500,000 peoples' information.

We need to keep getting mad, and loud, and irritated about this sort of thing if we want it to change. I am the first to acknowledge when stuff is so crappy it doesn't feel like righteous is even worth it anymore, but then when we don't react they literally sweep it under the rug.
 
Go out, buy better alternatives, attend maker festivals and tech-for-good launches, and support the HAT. Because goodness help us if you don't apparently.
 
Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The dog house

This morning or last night or something Google was exposed as having tried to cover up a 500,000 user security breach from the same sort of assault that got Facebook, and then promptly shuttered Google+ for good so we wouldn't notice. Thank guys, appreciate it.

And are you sick of the Kavanaugh hearing yet? These women are. They're upset about Facebook Executive Joel Kaplan standing beside the beleagoured new Supreme Court Justice. It's a wonderful, wonderful image.

The future


The future of teleconferencing has come, from the company whose Founder literally has a piece of tape covering the webcam on his own Laptop. Facebook released the Portal this week. It's essentially a stand-up tablet.

Come over here for a moment. There is a Festival performed in concert with the Maker Assembly and Maintain Our Heritage that happened last week that celebrates critical discussion about the meaning, politics, history, and future of "maker culture". If this is the first time you are thinking about such culture I will not blame you but it is amazing and you should take a peak. The excellent Laura James presides, and the blog flowing from their first major go at it is a dissertation not to miss.

Also holy sweet Beelzebub but Amazon is going to make a loooooot of money.

Oh yeah, and the Internet is pretty much just streaming services at this point.

Tech for good


I don't give them a pass for it, but thank you Facebook for opening up your deep learning framework. PyTorch 1.0 is now available in preview, and you can integrate it with GCloud, AWS, and Azure.

Comic of the Week

Instead of a comic this week, we get this fun infographic tweeted by the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones. Do you even blockchain?


HAT News
 
Gotta get them air miles. The HAT is decentralised again, with team members in Kuala Lumpur and all over. Safe travels all. 

Padoq is getting ready. You been looking forward to the future of privacy-preserving community management? We have. Padoq entered private beta this month.

Christmas is coming. Mark your calendars for the 19 December, we'll shinding in London. 

Till next time,

Jonathan Holtby, Community Manager

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