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The Sundar-ing

12 December Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 92
10 people walk into a bar and none of them can agree about regulating big tech
In addition to publishing their podcast of Irene being a badass on digital empowerment, the Financial Times have been pretty upfront about the (now somewhat obvious) horse-quackery we're finding in the tech regulation landscape.
 
In May, they published a piece called "Europe is Reining in Big Tech" to amuse your bouche for the main course of GDPR, and in it, the author Hannah Kuchler called to the fore a focus group that was trying to tackle data and privacy protection online.

A pollster tries to parallelise data protection regulation to the 1910 Highway Code that first regulated automobiles, and calls out one side of the parallel as the most dangerous technologies ever invented for everyday use.

"Betsy," says the article, "fears security breaches. And no one has time to read all the terms and conditions. But no one can agree on whether the government should be making some rules."

It seems in America, Zuckerberg is a huckster, but the government is full of frauds, and when pressed, Ms. Betsy retreats. To listen to the piece, the majority of us feel companies should be prohibited from intrusive collection, but no-one understands how to actually see that happen. Especially in a world where one is faithless in one's government.

One thing is sure - transparency matters, so if there’s anything governments can do, perhaps they should just ask for all data contracts on the Internet to be made transparent so that we can actually see who is giving what to whom. After all, we learnt a lot from what was going on behind the scene when GDPR came along. More please. 
 
Facebook's stock is still worth less than it was a year ago - something has happened or is happening.

So maybe it's just that the government's broken too.

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The dog house

Advertising technology firms came under fire by Brave, the Open Rights Group, and UCL this week as complaints were filed with European data protection authorities against Google and their rivals. Now, Brave has a pretty vested interested in seeing the adtech world get knocked around a bit, but this is still a really interesting bollocking.

Personal data needs to be "protected against unauthorised or unlawful processing" and under the Brave suit, all of the information we give publishers (which, spoiler alert, is a lot of friggin' data) isn't being protected as such when they ship it around to brands bidding for our eyeballs.
 
The full complaint is bold, and awesome, and well-worth a read. It will be very interesting to see where it goes.

Cool things


The iPhone iPhoned again this week. Ben Evans thinks this is revenue optimisation and he's really smart so it probably is. Everything was really about the Watch though, which is now smaller and better and has an EKG in it. Apparently wearables still are a thing.
 
You can now make a name for yourself teaching AI to name things inclusively - Google has a competition for it. We're in a glorious era.
 
More smart people are talking about a decentralised Internet.

And do you like AI? How about Money? Shanghai (as a city!) put together a $14.6 billion (with a buh) USD investment fund for AI development. All is right with the world.
 

On the Horizon


The Executive Director of a group called OpenPrivacy in Canada published a really interesting Twitter rant on Saturday, in which she says that "any technology which relies on the existence of, or attempts to create a, global, unique identity is oppressive by design." It's an exploration of the end cases of computer security, and in her argument she calls out the "identity" space as "gross and intellectually lazy." She's worth a follow and it's worth a read.

Have you heard about the anti-College movement in the Valley? It is best summarised in this quote, from a Hacker Noon submission: "College is dying. I’m not referring to the institutions — those will probably survive for a few more decades. I’m referring to the paradigm." The replacement, apparently, will be to design your own education.

On that note, see you next week.

Comic of the Week
thanks to xkcd.com. again. Last week it wasn't relevant, I just liked it. Now it's SO relevant I'm reposting it.

HAT News
 
Wait for the DROP. Dynamic, real-time, on-demand personalisation is a thing. It's going to create a ThingSpace, where you can put HAT data that doesn't go into a HAT. Confused? Me too! Hurray for research!

Daaaarts. We havin' a paaaaaarty. A very informal not at all important but probably still fun paaaaarty. 1 October, 4:00pm at Flight Club in Shoreditch. RSVP and throw pointy things with our innovation leads.

Till next time,

Jonathan Holtby, Community Manager

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