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Fatcats fed by smartphones

31 October Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 98
Where the data goes
We talk pretty regularly about the intertwined data economy, and more loudly about how we simply and plainly do not understand how data creates value in the digital economy today. Not really. The more we dig, the more it seems we have it somewhat figured out in an advertising model (or Facebook and Google do, anyways), but the rest of it is a mess.

(I say somewhat figured out. Data points in digital advertising are still mostly worth just fractions of a penny, and CTRs are in the pits.)

An article in the FT covering research done at Oxford University this week took a look at how data flows from the apps we use into the wider data economy. Their conclusion? There are only 9 major companies across the world at the top of the pyramid, and data from our most popular apps all flows to them. (see this week's comic)

That is the result so far of the busine world’s endless search for value in the interesting and difficult resource that is data. 

Facebook and Google receive data from the greatest number of applications, shocker. Facebook can receive your information from 408,155 different applications, including Candy Crush, Spotify, and the Tinder family. Alphabet (Goog) can receive from a whopping 848,373 apps, including the above, plus PayPal and BBC Weather (nooooo BBC why). Other top level hoarders included Oracle, Appsflyer, and comScore.

"Users cannot easily control who their apps share data with, or the fact that only 'two or possibly three super-dominant companies...sit at the top of the data pyramid,' was, I thought a particularly choice quote. 'There are no easily accessible settings or widgets to switch this off.'
 
Preach.

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The doghouse


Everyone is apparently in the doghouse this week, as McAfee published a report declaring the average business to be hosting around 14 improperly configured infrastructure instances, exposing roughly 1 in 20 AWS storage buckets wide open to the public Internet. Apparently pretty much everyone is bad at data security.
 
Facebook's fine came in for the Cambridge Analytica debaucle that set off a thousand klaxons. They're being billed £500,000 for it because it took place in April, and GDPR took effect in May. (That's the maximum amount). A tweet I read calculated the value of our privacy at that amount as just £0.50 per affected citizen. Sounds about right really :eyeroll:.

Google paid Andy Rubin USD $90m to leave the company after being accused of coercing oral sex out of an employee with whom he was having an affair. They paid him - not the other way around.
 
Trump can't stop telling the Russians and Chinese America's state secrets. Apparently Americans only care about infosec infractions when they're committed by women.

The future


Despite all that cloud negativity, it's still the future of IBM. The largest tech acquisition in history took place this Sunday, as IBM announced it is buying RedHat for $34 billion in cash and debt. Huge news.
 
We shouldn't be working this hard (and definitely shouldn't be bragging about it).

Stocks are going a bit mad. It may just be normal corrections?
 

Champions


Finally, Tim Cook hates spying on users, apparently. Word is a "chorus" of voices is warning that data itself is being weaponised (I mean, hurrah but let's put a bit of lung power into it if there are), to which the Apple CEO's name was added this week in an attack on the 'data industrial complex' that TechCrunch called 'blistering'. I'm desperately trying to avoid the cynical view that Apple mainly sold things that weren't worth over a thousand pounds a unit they might be part of that complex - or that they ARE and just desperately want to look like they're not - but it's nice to highlight a FAMGA saying stopit. Keep up the good work, Tim.

Comic of the week
Ok fine, it's not a comic. But it's still pretty interesting...

HAT News

Malayse. Live in Malaysia? HAT Triune Startups Partnership in downtown Kuala Lumpur is kicking off on the 13 November. Ping me for details

CADE. The conference with stunning views of Venice is returning in 2019. Looking into corporate packages and talks on the future of the service economy.

We almost have clothes. New partners are coming who make data look pretty for a living. Get in touch if you do eCommerce and care about personalisation.

Namaste,

Jonathan Holtby, Community Manager

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