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3 June Subscribe
Tech news, HAT-slanted 
Issue 120

Moar regulations

Our technology companies are being forced to look out for our best interests.

New UK regulation will soon compel tech firms (thousands of em) to adhere to a standard of providing statutory 'duty of care' to their users, protecting them from online harms including terrorism and terrorist content, disinformation, and age-inappropriate material.

Last week we wrote that Mark Zuckerberg was asking for new regulation. (Regulate me. Regulate me pleeeeease -- still laughing about that). I suppose we're doing as we're told. Snapchat's Evan Spiegel put a nice warm spin on things, saying that "the more that companies can align with the government to do what’s right for customers, I think everyone will win.” Yeah we will. But the problem as we said last week is what if our Government is bad at this?

Duty of Care is an interesting concept - it leaves alot of the interpretation flexible to change, it empowers existing systems of enforcement and oversight, it solves many of the challenges surrounding "who watches the Watchmen" (it's the Watchmen) - but it still hides the fundamental flaw of regulatory solutions: we're conceding on the argument that companies are the arbiters of our basic rights.

Say it with me. I. Don't. Want. Zuckerberg. To. Decide. What's. Good for me.

I want to decide. I want Zuckerberg to take my decision and say "thank you very much, here's your newsfeed." I am modern human, hear me assert my basic rights and authority. I know we need him to do good work as well, but this is a thing that should really be up to the person.

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The present

Are digital products changing how we measure consumer well-being in modern economies? (Or, predicting the end of GDP one more time)

"We can still talk today about “digital markets” – still think of our economy as being divided into parts that are digital, and others that aren’t. But that won’t be true for much longer."

The always-excellent Projects by IF created a tool for monitoring and verifying cloud data cryptographically in the cloud, on tools like Amazon's S3.

The future

"Building new solar, wind, and storage is about to be cheaper than operating existing coal and gas power plants. That will change everything."

The doghouse

Ooooooh are we sure VPNs are all their hyped up to be?

Try as it might Google can't convene an ethics board. It wanted one that had eight people that would govern the company's development of AI, but internal rebellion and controversial comments scuppered the thing before it began. Their comment is that " the current environment, [this panel] can’t function as we wanted. So we’re [...] going back to the drawing board." Points for trying.

If you can't earn good publicity, you can always buy it. Facebook's partnering with the Telegraph to create and disseminate positive news stories. (Maybe their most brazen ugliness of absolute power abuse yet?)

Millions of records of Facebook data has also been found on publicly-accessible AWS servers, where it was stored by third-party applications with no oversight from the platform. (Is it the platform's responsibility what happens to your data when that data is accessed by third-parties? You're damn right it is -- under the current model where they hold all the cards it is at the very least)

Oh, and Amazon's listening to you through Alexa (whhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!)

HAT News

Welcome. More friendlies coming in - warm hellos to those having conversations about body dimensions in fashion retail, customization in eCommerce, autonomous decentralised agent-based software, and (more) social insurance.

Friendly contest. Our new friends Jungle Coders are hosting an EU-wide startup competition. First prize is free tech development and a trip to the Mediterranean. Get in.

HR (HAT Revelry). The warmest of welcomes to our second live application, Mark and Maven! (trumpets, fanfare). The future is now.

Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager

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