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No rights for the private

9 January Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 107
Consent means...consent?
In 2019 our privacy is going to be violated. It is a sad reality that we know this will happen but a reality nonetheless. We think this only because it has happened every year prior and will likely happen every year hence :(. What really gets to us though is that we’re so broken these days that proper consent and privacy may not even be possible. 
 
Imagine the most privacy-conscious and consent-conscientious of Internet users. Their reward for hard work is in fact less representation and rights for their digital self. The trackers that are tracking them are only the unregulated, barely-traceable ones; the cookie, content-management, and third-party unavoidable ones. That means if their rights are violated, not only is there little they can do, they may not even know about it. 

The less private (but better-represented) users of Facebook and Google, who don’t stay secret but can’t openly be grossly manipulated, are the recipients of at least pretend data rights like data deletion, switchability, settings selection, and the right to leave. 

GDPR has created one side effect. The more you are identifiable, the greater rights you are seen to have. The more apps can say that you are "anonymous" the greater they can trample on your privacy. 

With as complicated as the global technology infrastructure of the web has become, it is becoming clear that real data consent may be impossible. It requires understanding of what’s being consented to, and the way today’s apps are built that seems almost impossible. 

One of our doghouse stories today is about how weather apps are tracking and selling off our GPS location to a high-price market of acquirers. Where are we headed if we can’t even check if it’s raining responsibly? 

2019 is a blank slate of a year, so we’ve opted (as we often do) to devote our time in it to finding out, but increasingly as this decade closes out it feels like it’s nowhere good. Unless something changes. 

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The future


Hyundai has been working on a walking car for three years (for some reason).

Elon's starship lookin' good,

The future is listening. Apparently audio is going to be 'titanically important' (mostly because you can multitask consuming it?)

The doghouse


Weather apps are the new evil. The Guardian published journalism today accusing the weather channel of fueling an illicit data market
 

The present

 
CES is here, which is both exciting and a hot mess. Highlights to emerge I’m sure. 

A new chip design was unveiled by Intel for the next generation of computing. Moore’s law is still dead but these look very little and powerful.

Are smartphone purchases falling in China? (Is China just imploding generally)

HAT News

Covenantry. HAT is in Warwick with the HATLAB once a week now - come say hi if you're in the Midwest.

Cypriot. HAT Sprint in the Mediterranean time! We'll report more on our delicious food and wine next week ;)

Apps for unis. New HAT-based applications for researchers at the Uni of Cambridge and Exeter (and others) are in conversations. If you're collecting data for research comes inquire, see if it's for you! 
 
Yours,

Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager

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