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Tech news with a HAT perspective

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Tech News This Week 

Do we trust techies to be builders irl? Toronto has just announced that a major stretch of prime waterfront real estate will be developed by none other than Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs. Every technophile's dream – a real life smart city. But tech bros haven't always been great at building their campuses to integrate with neighbouring communities, or shift reliance away from cars. They're actually kind of poster kids for gentrification and sky rocketing rents… but what the hell, lets see how Alphabet does on a government budget…

Power to the people… Consumer group Which? have shouted down the Data Protection Bill (currently being debated in Parliament to bring the Data Protection Act up to speed with GDPR) saying it doesn't do enough to support consumers. They want third party organisations – like themselves – to be able to seek direct compensation for individuals hit by data breaches. The Open Rights Group are also campaigning for this, asking for the gov to adopt Article 80(2) to the GDPR – an optional power.

Big Tech vs. Congress… 1 November is looming. That's the date set for Facebook, Twitter and Google are set to start their testimonies in front of the Senate and House. What fun. All the dirty laundry featuring such key words as Trump, political ads, troll farms, Internet Research Agency and Russia, will start airing its putrid stench. Not that it hasn't been doing just that already… 

Be Cautious...

Good news for stalkers… We all knew ads track us, and follow us round the internet whinging for us to buy stuff, but it turns out AdTech can do a whole lot more than that. Research from the University of Washington suggests that for $1000, any old Joe can buy a tracking ad targeted at one individual, follow their locations AND see what apps they're using. Yes, your ex knows you're on Tinder 3 hours a day.

Killer zombie smart toasters… The next generation of botnet hacks takes the IoT cybersecurity threat up a notch. Oh and it's called IoT Reaper, just in time for Halloween. Instead of guessing at and exploiting weak device passwords, this new threat actively exploits code weaknesses. The nightmarish hackable house is actually pretty real.

Impress Your Friends... 

Everyone's talking about media… Pouring billions into content creation is the new vogue of the tech giants (Facebook with Buzzfeed, Apple with Spielberg) – maybe they're finally bored with their gadgets?? Take a pair of articles with a creative take on where things are at, in financial terms, and where things could go, with blockchain… I mean what else this is 2017 right.

Geek Out On...

What is it with drones? Love them? Hate them? Whatever you think about them, they seem to be the perfect little microcosm for some of the issues plaguing tech at the moment: they do cool stuff, but they also cause chaos and enable crime. What's a government to do? 

And Finally...

When it goes right… Alphabet has rolled out the inexplicably named Project Loon over Puerto Rico, helping to restore cell coverage and basic internet connection to the regions affected by Hurricane Maria with bizarre looking clear balloons, and a partnership with AT&T. 

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-Chief 

HAT News...

Viva La RevolutionClaim Your Data – the campaign empowering individuals to demand their data back from the companies that hold it – is now live and kicking. Check out the website, subscribe to the mailing list, and be prepared to storm the digital gates and get started on the barricades.

Cracking America... In December, Irene is taking the HAT on tour once again, and running events in Boston and New York. We'll be talking about the great and glorious user – asking who owns them, who protects them, and what they're worth. Going to be a good'un, so get booked up on Eventbrite to secure a spot!

HAT wins at the NextGen awards! Last night Jonathan and Anna accepted the NextGen Digital Challenges award in Network Innovations on behalf of HAT, and enjoyed a fabulous dinner and awards ceremony in the process. And the awards themselves are the prettiest digital innovation awards you ever did see. 

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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