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The Sundar-ing

12 December Subscribe


Tech news with a HAT perspective

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Tech News This Week 

Okay, deep breath... Privacy International has uncovered documents revealing that GCHQ collected potentially millions of people's social media data. It gets better. This information came from private companies' databases, and was allegedly shared back with other private companies and foreign governments. We keep saying this, and we'll say it some more: all of these issues root from the fact that our data exists in hundred of companies' databases, where we have no autonomy or control over it. So oooover.

Microsoft has a privacy battle of its own... The feds want Microsoft's data stored on foreign servers. On Monday, the Supreme Court granted a petition from the Department of Justice to review a case from last year, in which the court of appeals had agreed with Microsoft that US law enforcement cannot use traditional search warrants to seize emails of citizens of foreign countries that are located in data centers outside the US. Problems, problems... 

An Apple a day…  CB Insights have drawn up an in depth look at Apple's stake in the healthcare market. Grabbing more and more of our health data through Apple Watch, the Health App, a slew of acquisitions in the space, and dedicated research teams, Apple might have more information about our bodies than the NHS, or insurers. Are our own bodies being commercialised without us even taking any notice?

Enter Niido… the lovechild of Airbnb and some real estate developer called Newgard. Taking their threat to traditional hotels and serviced apartments a notch higher, Niido 'powered by Airbnb' gives both travellers and renters purpose built apartments in Florida, carrying Airbnb's brand cache. Take that, rental market. 

Be Cautious...

Bad news for Wifi… So researchers in Belgium broke WPA2 protocol this week. Internet stuffs assumed to be safely encrypted might not be if attackers exploit this weakness. It affects a number of operating systems, and while connections to secure websites are still safe, the weakness could still be used to pinch sensitive information in transit. The takeaway: always install those updates, and consider using a VPN or secure connection – having only one point of security has its risks.

When a facepalm doesn't cut it… default passwords are a bad idea if you're in the defence business. I mean duh. But that's what happened in Australia this week, when a significant hack hit a government contractor, compromising 30GB of defence programme data, including information on fighter planes and navy vessels. This exploited software had not be updated for 12 months, and representatives were using default passwords. No words 🤦‍♀️

Impress Your Friends... 

By betraying their privacy for pizza… researchers at Stanford used pizza to show how the privacy paradox works: people are happy to say that they are concerned about their digital privacy but don't always follow through on this in their actions. Turns out, students gleefully give away other people's email addresses for free pizza. Surprised? Not when pizza is involved… tastes like betrayal.

Geek Out On...

Want an AI mini-me? One journalist wrote about his experiences with 'Mini Mike', and the conversations he had with his robotic self. The more you message your 'self', the more the AI mirrors the way you talk, your words, your emoji repertoire. But does Replika store all that info too? Imagine an AI assistant built on the data in a HAT – completely private, no third party involved. 

And Finally...

PR is finally waking up to privacy… maybe. Rana Foroohar's FT series on big tech looks at different PR strategies among big tech. Funny, in the light of revelations this week from Privacy International (see above!) IBM's pledge not to turn over client data to government surveillance seems like great positioning – one lucky PR somewhere. Keyword there, however, is 'client', not 'user'. Also shows tech giants starting to use privacy issues to spar with each other... 

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-Chief    (Now on Twitter!)

HAT News

Getting fancy with data management… On Monday, Irene went and hung out at the Royal Society, who were having a big ol' chin wag about data management, use, and governance. And by chin wag, we obviously mean big ol' report. Read her Provocation on the discussion here.

HAT Innovation Hangouts… Founder? Interested in founding? Interested in HAT? Interested in funding? We've got a funding-orientated event taking place on 27 October in London. Hear from founders who've had successful raises, or are raising currently, and we'll cover some of the on-the-ground issues to expect.

Yours in HAT,

Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager
Alert Us. Any relevant tech news or interesting new developments in personal data you'd like to share with the HAT community? Drop us a line here.

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