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Rise up, Sheeple

14 August Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 112


The DCMS published its formal outlook on Data Portability in November and Ctrl Shift, who coordinated the report started publicising it this week, which makes it timely for this op ed. To us, It is the most progressive personal data policy paper in UK publication. (That may also make it the most progressive personal data policy paper in the world).

A coupl'a interesting tidbits. It calls out "Data Mobility" nicely as the safe and efficient flow of personal data - so no privacy hangups and a healthy productivity and economics focus. It also includes dollars analysis, in which it says benefits to the tune of a £27.8 billion UK GDP increase might be found were we to embrace a little more data sharing. Timely, as we're looking to shave off a good amount shortly by throwing ourselves into the channel. It also neat summarised data portability for us. It's just "the ability for individuals to access their personal data and potentially for it to be used in multiple applications."

The challenges to data mobility today are that as an economy we (1) can't figure out standard data infrastructure and tech, (2) don't have deep data understanding as consumers, (3) need strong, adaptive, and fast-moving regulation, and that's hard, (4) demand (and find lacking, to date) great services and applications, and (5) are facing a status quo with some real power. 

A quote in the report sums up the way through that whole quagmire. "Data Portability isn’t the issue, it’s what can be done with the data at the other end that matters." Of the 'above things we strugglin' to figure out', it feels to me like the lack of services and applications to really take advantage of the shift is our first best challenge. We're working on it. You should be too.

Ultimately, we are proud to have, with this short (211 page) shout, a clarion call for how "personal data mobility can be a vital stimulus for the next major stage of growth in the digital economy." But "activity in the market is far from coherent and investment is patchy." We are working on it. 

But for now the door is wide open. We can lead the world into the technology of the future. Will we?

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The present

The fight is on in California. A powerful nonprofit called Common Sense Media is mobilizing under Jim Steier, an advocate of digital reform, around a "digital dividend" that would pay users of Big Tech products a share of their earnings. Interesting.

FedEx is taking on Amazon through small main street retailers (who are still the vast majority of retail sold, remember).

Fake people! omfg so weird.

We gotta figure out how to take on fake news - the Economist says so (and see the Doghouse). Just throwing in a podcast here for fun.

The future

We are in "an epochal transformation through which the marks of a digital culture (data and data relations) crowd out the immediate reality of personal experience, experiential knowledge and situated interaction." If you can get through that sentence, there's a report from MIT calling out the data age as the future (I mean, we agree, but you don't have to be all byzantine about it).

Google's gonna figure out how to solve it though. (To be fair, I should be so blythe. They have done a lot of work to report on how they actually can).

OpenAI can auto-generate a bunch of text (that makes sense) but won't tell anyone how because fraud.

The doghouse

For months last year, Parliamentarians in a British committee investigated political disinformation on social platforms. Their conclusion singled out Facebook as having acted in bad faith as threats to democracy were levelled against them, and it came to the conclusion that antitrust action and a probe into data abuse were called for. It's horrid, and it's an exceptional window into our time. They'll be teaching it in history class centuries from now as a snapshot of our time.

Oh, and they've been leaking more data.

The Aussies were hacked! Now maybe they'll encrypt stuff.

HAT News

Nice Ads! A very warm welcome to new partners Good-Loop! Let's build the future of Advertising.

Exciting times. We have had some very interesting recent conversations with hosting providers, financial infrastructure companies, and banks, and we have a board meeting Thursday. 


Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager

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