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19 June Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 86

The question of the decade: Who can own data in a Data Economy?

The Internet today has grown into its own digital nation. More things than we'd like to admit have moved from offline to online. Grocery shopping, talking to our friends, dating, tracking our fitness and googling "Why isn't 11 pronounced "Onety One". This digital nation has formed their own citizens through the amount of data generated from clicks, likes, lists to watch, shop and browse. Our digital selves are the citizens and whoever has power over them, has power over this Internet nation. 

Consent-based data protection laws give individuals the right to make choices about the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information. However, this right falls short of ownership rights for a simple reason. You can’t have rights over something you can’t isolate. And when our data is sitting in a company, it’s very hard to to isolate our data from other people’s data or the company’s own data. Irene blogged about this last week. This is the reason you can’t say I own water at my back garden. Water flows from a place to another. Same with air. Same with data. Without boundaries, it is impossible to ascribe rights. So we are left with just laws about collection, use and disclosure. However, you can own a bottle of water (and have rights to the water within). A canister of air (oxygen) and rights to the use of that oxygen. And of course, a HAT microserver for your data, So putting boundaries around your data makes it possible to give you more fundamental ownership rights. And then you can dictate what to do with it. Of course, just receiving that data back from big companies, does not make it useful to us. If we start being able to control and make sense of that data that we acquire, then we can compete with others on who really has the power over our data. Consumers tend not to know how valuable their personal data points actually are. And with the exceptions of things like your name or birth date, data points hold little value by themselves. It is only once they are combined with other data that they propose a value. Irene blogged about this last week about how personal data can be currency in itself, not something of value.

This battle for economic power will move into the step step when individuals have better data than other firms which is possible through private AI in our HATs (Random note: London was named "The AI Growth Capital of Europe" 🎉) and private analytics. When we have our own data and all the rights within our microserver, our digital persona will be more precious to new apps because our data is far more accurate and valuable. And for the new apps, we can count on the HAT Accelerator!

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The Doghouse

Oh Google.. Their new facial recognition patent will stalk your social media using an image search system that incorporates information from social networks — potentially including Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, online blogs, and more — to help identify who people are. Upon finding a match, the system will present its best guess about the identity of the person and could even provide information such as occupation etc...The patent does not provide many use cases but describes how the system could help a user to share a group photo with friends by identifying everyone in it. Other potential use cases include identifying untagged photos on social media or photos found in your online dating apps. Ehh.. Ok.. But it gets better! Imagine this on wearables, such as Google Glass. Goodbye privacy on all levels! Thankfully, Google Glass was discontinued and developers are prohibited from developing Glass apps that use facial recognition to identify people. Well, for now at least..

Cue backlash on ethics and privacy ... 

On the Horizon

In the wake of last night's super Mars, our future home (when this heat finally gets to us).. NASA has created a multi-year contest to design a 3D-printable Mars habitat using on-planet materials. There are five winners of the contestants that had to design their proposed habitat using architectural tools - they used a Building Information Modeling software that would require these things to be functional structures designed down to a particular level of detail. With the cash they won, these winners are set to build scale models next year.

The habitats had to have at least a 1000 square feet of space, enough for 4 people to live for a whole year, along with room for the machinery and everything else needed to, you know, live on Mars. Another criteria is that they must be largely assembled autonomously, so that humans can occupy them as soon as they arrive. They were judged on completeness, layout, 3D-printing viability and aesthetics.

Have a look at the videos of the five winners.

Kahn-Yates was my favourite! Quite astonishing.

Be Careful

Hacker group SamSam (Find definition here - I root for number 2 😂) created a ransomware that is making them (or him/her - nobody knows) $300,000 a month and it is getting more sophisticated. Obviously, nobody knows who they are yet but they are able to hack and blackmail entire cities! They succeeded in blackmailing hospitals by crippling an Indiana hospital's access to patient histories and appointment schedules. Also hacked into 90% of computers at the Department of Public works in Atlanta, which made them inaccessible and years of dash cam video captured by police were lost. SamSam doesn't start encrypting files as soon as it is inside the network, which makes it really hard to detect. It is now on its third version. It encrypts files late at night when victims won't be at work to monitor their network in real time. Ransom notes and bitcoin payment websites, all hosted on the Tor network, have been unique to each victim and if the encryption process is detected, it self-destructs and leaves little evidence to be analysed. It all sounds like a bad movie. Except that it's true.

 Comic of the Week
HAT News

Help us train our AI. Zena Wood needs some sample data for an algorithm that analyses your location data and generates "common places" and other geographical clusters for the Smart HAT Engine (SHE). The algorithm needs to be trained and we would like to ask you to donate your location data to train the new tool. Have a look at the DataBuyer offer! And here is how to accept it: 1. Log in to your HAT Web App on the browser 2. Click "Databuyer" on the navigation menu 3. Find the offer "Share your location to help our Data Scientists train their algorithms" 4. Accept it. 

Dolla bills y'all. You can still invest in the HAT (and you should - it's great). Our round is closing end of August! Or earlier.

Mad science abounds. The HATLAB is coming. Nobody knows what it is yet, but it's exciting.

HAT App Android. Version one is here and we are still looking for more testers. Hit me up if you are interested! All the brownie points to you! 

Jonathan Holtby, Community Manager

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