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12 September Subscribe


Tech news with a HAT perspective

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Tech News This Week 

So it’s the worst data breach in history. It’s so bad that all of 0 (read my lips – zero) executives have been fired, and the hiccup has been described with a measly ‘disappointing’. Yeah there’s the 143m social security numbers floating around in the ether, or the $1.8m worth of shares sold before notifying the public, but in some ways the most jaw-dropping, tear-your-hair-out, run-crying-from-the-room thing is the utter lack of accountability. GDPR would see Equifax hit with unprecedented fines, before any class action. So freakin' over these bulshit dinosaur models.
Boss snooping through your emails? Well that’s a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. ECHR judges voted 11 to 6 in favour of an engineer who was fired for using his work Yahoo account to send personal messages. It’s the digital equivalent of riffling through your mail, or through the little love notes in your drawer that you send to office mates, and try telling someone that’s not a breach of privacy.
And while we’re on the topic... Facebook has also just been slammed with a €1.2m fine in Spain, for collecting users’ personal data without telling them how it would be used. That’s peanuts for Facebook, but GDPR will change the playing field (and the size of the bill) – will it affect how the Internet big wigs treat our data? We shall see...
And the Bitcoin rumour mill rolls round... China is reportedly preparing to ban Bitcoin exchanges, taking further measures to limit the use of what might be considered a threat to traditional currency by the government and central bank. That said, it could all be bogus. You never know with crypto. 

Be Cautious...

What does your network blueprint look like? A program called Little Snitch can tell you. It maps out all the IP addresses your computer connects with across the world. Be prepared for some pretty weird (and slightly spooky) insights. We didn’t say it wouldn’t be scary.
So who’s using all that data you’re spinning? Privacy International have come up with a handy (read: unsettling) list of ways in which your data is being used by shadowy institutions with designs on, well, total mind control, what else? We say, make ‘em pay for it. 

Impress Your Friends... 

Groceries from the data supermarket... At the hipster mecca that is the popup stores of London’s Old Street Station, there’s a new kid on the block, trading in (no, not Bitcoin) – personal data! It’s a creative marketing stunt, and it gets us thinking about spending and valuing personal data (and the potential invasiveness). The clincher is how much you control you have over what you hand over. Viva la data state. 

Geek Out On...

When the devs need a time out... Colouring books encouraging mindfulness and peace have appeared in just about every theme conceivable. Even computer science principals. This downloadable colouring book is designed as a learning resource for different kinds of data structures and algorithms. Get the crayons. 

And Finally...

CERN’s art scene... Set up in 2011, a program creatively named Art @ CERN sets up artists in residence at the Large Hadron Collider, who produce artwork in conversation with the scientists working there. Two London-based artists will be included in the line-up this year. Art + physics can only mean good things, right??

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-Chief 

HAT News...

All of the hangouts. Are you lonely? HCF and some of our research community are going to be sitting down to discuss Personalisation (with a capital P) in preparation of a Grant proposal submission to the EPSRC. We'll be at the Craft Beer Company from 6:00pm on the 28 September, come say hi (and RSVP if you like).  

And that's not all. The next Tea Party will be October's, dedicated to fundraising for early-stage startups. Mark it in your calendars, it will be 27 October near Farringdon in London. 

Home sweet home. For the first time in a long time, the whole HAT team, minus a straggler (me!), are home in England again. The squad is sprinting at HAT Central in Cambridge until Friday. 

Advice is what we crave. The second HCF Advisory Board meeting has been scheduled. Members, add it to your calendar: 27 October, 12:30pm to 3:30pm, with lunch.

Joining – still cool. If you've been reading for months but don't know what else you can do to support the HAT, HCF has a pitch for you – become a part of our organisation. We have formal memberships available now, which you can apply for at Members support, vote on, and contribute to the debate around privacy-preserving data exchange should function. Have your say.

Jonathan Holtby, Community Manager
Alert Us. Any relevant tech news or interesting new developments in personal data you'd like to share with the HAT community? Drop us a line here.

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