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14 August Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 102
When design deceive..

This week’s catchphrase is “deceptive design”. Originating from in 2010, we have all experienced it. A user interface that tells you to buy now, with only 3 left (clearly not verifiable), a website telling you that they will not hold your email but actually they do. LinkedIn got sued in 2015 for doing that, by the way. Websites that make it easy to subscribe but hard to cancel; Dark patterns website even have a hall of shame for these practices.

This week, the Norwegian Consumer Council and seven other European organisations have filed GDPR complaints, arguing that Google is guilty of deceptive design practices to acquire personal data. The group is challenging the goog’s legal basis for processing extensive personal data. The report argues “that consumers are deceived into being tracked when they use Google services. This happens through a variety of techniques, including withholding or hiding information, deceptive design practices, and bundling of services. We argue that these practices are unethical, and that they in our opinion are in breach of European data protection legislation because they fail to fulfill the conditions for lawful data processing.”

For some of us, deceptive design is unethical, illegal and needs to be policed. For others who have spent much time on consumer behaviours, the human person’s selective attention, distortion and retention to information makes the boundary between trickery and marketing rather subjective. 

That said, GDPR is clearly opening up a whole new avenue for complaints and suits from organisations that feel the need to take collective action on behalf of their members or their citizens. GDPR activism - a new source of Robin Hood revenue?

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The Doghouse

So unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you probably already know that UK parliament evoked a rarely used legal power to seize internal Facebook documents and will be conducting an inquiry next week to hold Zuckerberg to account when he repeatedly refused to answer MPs’ questions. Expect some grandstanding with super heroism claims of protecting society during the hearing. Facebook as political fodder served up on a silver platter. Britain trying its best to keep being “the empire” and the world’s moral police. We need a screenwriter.

The present

There's poo on MacDonalds' touchscreens. We're not saying anything anymore.

The future

We have landed on Mars! Again. Well, not us.... the Insight probe. Check out the first photos sent back and a nice talk by Mari Foroutan about living on Mars.

Comic of the week


HAT News

The team is sprinting this weekend at HAT central with a very full house. On the agenda are major partner projects, some re-engineering of the data exchange, putting in payment systems, drink, eat and overall merry making culminating in more merry making on Sunday for the Christmas party in Cambridge. Let me know if you’d like to drop by.

Leila Trilby, still on double duty

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