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HAT News Monthly, May: "The Internet as was, is, and shall be"

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HAT NEWS
MAY 2018

 
 
Dear *|FNAME|*,

Happy May Monthly update, characteristically arriving at your inbox in early June. 

The HAT is raising. It is time for us to take our latest year of progress, package it all up, and put it out into the world again.

On the eve of a fundraising launch it's customary to reflect on the 'what' and the 'why' of a thing. The HAT and HATDeX exist to right a big wrong. A online wrong, with ethical, economic, and practical sides to it. We explore them in our editorial below, which I hope you enjoy. 


Investment in the new crowdfunding round is being coordinated through our friends at Crowdcube and is open to everyone. Equity can be reserved for as little as £10, and you can learn more online at www.crowdcube.com/hatdex.

Stay tuned for more information over the month of June, and thanks for reading.

Yours sincerely,
Jonathan

The Internet, as it was, it is, and should be

5 June, 2018

Last year we reserved a bit of verbiage for Sir Tim Berners-Lee's waxing over the departure our society has taken from his vision in 1989 of the beginnings of the web. Nesta, Which?, and a long list of similarly-insightful organisations have repeated this claxon. The Internet is broken.

TBL undeniably injected interconnectivity with his invention, and arguments for it today sort of amount to whether or not the faster, cheaper communications from anyone to anyone we achieved is a good thing. If we're measuring just by how much we do it, the jury is officially back. The communications that are sent just today will probably be more than those sent in the whole of the year 1970. I bet your average teenager communicates more in an hour than my grandma and I literally ever have. 

But the advance hasn't been all net positive. The Internet boom has primarily come from organisations that were founded to make money using it, and while most of the time our alignment of incentives with them is pretty good, organisations' rapid advance means we ought to take a second to look around and see what's befallen us while we forged forward.

In 2018 that appraisal looks like we need to rebalance the scales.

If the Internet is a place where people go to willingly exchange stuff with one another using companies' products, we should look out for how clear and equitable are those exchanges, and that means looking at data ownership. 

In the relative utopia we imagine at the HAT, we like to imagine there was a new kind of advertising company. That ad company might have a user, who watches one of their online ads. At some point, this user might be given an account, that records their viewing history and whether they click, skip, or scrutinize their ads. 

This account doesn't have to be owned by the ad company, it could just be provided by them. It can be owned, instead, by the user. The advertiser could access this account when it comes time to deliver new ads, perhaps accessing this users' information to target material to them, without necessarily needing to control it.

Today that's not what happens. Today the ad platforms own the data, and because they do they stalk us to get more of it. At the minimum, we're proposing an alternative in which we can fully and properly walk away from an advertiser if we choose, and when we did so have it be like we were never there. At the most, our alternative might give us targeted ads and relative privacy at the same time.

This, and a dozen more examples are what we present in our vision for the Internet as it should be. This thing is ripe for change. We don't like being stalked. We don't like how much Zuckerberg seems to control us. We don't like that Netflix can't tell what shows we want to watch. In one way or another we feel like we are being preyed upon, and that is primarily because it is only the benevolence of companies that today protects us from web predators. 

The HAT's crowd campaign is a chance for us to give you and everyone around you the opportunity to join us in championing a new status quo - one where technical and legal data ownership is there to protect us alongside that corporate benevolence, and we are working now, as we ever have, to use that new status quo in the creation of a better model for the digital economy. 

You should join us, friends and supporters. Please think about it.

Let's change the Internet.

The Hub of All Things is a way to own your own personal data. It’s a microserver — a database, with a computer brain — that helps you store for yourself the information you give your calendars, social, media, and phone. Here, this video explains it better than we do.

The HAT started a few years ago in Cambridge, England, and now it’s raising a new round of financing from passionate Internet users like you. Invest online at www.crowdcube.com/hatdex for as little as £10.

CHANGE THE INTERNET

The HATDeX £500,000 Equity Crowd Raise

The HAT microserver, built by HATDeX, is a way to own your own data. With 1150 HATs created, over a dozen partners, & £3.2m worth of RCUK funding behind it, this innovation is on its way to changing the Internet, fixing the dominant issues with the digital economy for both businesses and consumers.

Invest online at www.crowdcube.com/hatdex and tell your friends about the HAT. Let's change the Internet.

Tweet the campaign link. Share the campaign on Facebook.

HAT'S MOVIN' PICTURES

The video announcing HAT to the world is live

We love the Internet. Look at what you can do today. But at what cost? Do you run your Internet, or does your Internet run you? 

THAT SYMPOSIUM LIFE

The Digital Personal Symposium, 31 May

Last week we were very proud to welcome Profs. Jon Crowcroft, John , and Irene Ng, all three of them Senior Fellows at Wolfson College Cambridge, to discuss issues surrounding our online identities and their nature of change. Big thank you to the corporate leadership, academic attendance, and audience participation that made the day a success and we'll see you next year. 

TAMING THE TECH TITANS

Geoff Vincent wraps his series for the HAT blog

Earlier in May, Geoff Vincent, a HAT community leader who's been writing a series exploring the nature of ongoing innovation, wrapped up his piece with "Data for All." Thanks Geoff for all your insights - we can't wait for more.

HATs IN THE AMAZON

AWS Startup Day and Activate

The HAT attended AWS Startup day in mid-May, timing it best we could to coincide the event with our announcement that as of this month we have officially been accredited by AWS Activate to issue free hosting and other credits to our HAT Accelerator startups. Reach out to Xiao Ma for more information if you want to get involved.

ACROSS THE BOARD

HAT Board Meetings

This month boasted a trio of HAT board events, including a whopping 22-person turnout for the HAT Community Foundation's quarterly Advisory Board meeting. Much rigorous conversation was enjoyed.

HAT GARDEN PARTY 

Party like it's 2018

This month the HAT was excited to announce and welcome friends (like you) to a Garden Party that will take place early July. It's a private affair for the community with partners and associate members of the Foundation. Join us for canapes, an open bar and music by Mike from the HATDeX team and his Broth4rs.

HAT INNOVATION DAY

Cambridge Startups workshop

In advance of the big fete, the HAT Accelerator and our entrepreneurial community will be leading an Innovation Day with many of the leading London, Warwick, and Cambridge investors and startup leadership attending the HAT Garden Party. Register your startup to attend.

WE JAMMIN

DCMS Design Jam in early May

Early May was the very successful DCMS Design Jam hosted by our friends at colleagues at Ctrl-Shift, which deserves a big shout-out. It was a great collection of insightful tech leadership, and presentations from Barclays, MyData, and thought leadership from Facebook and beyond went a long way. Excellent work, fam.

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