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HAT News Monthly, November: Tech for Good

6 December Subscribe
Tech news, HAT slanted 
Issue 119

Wield scalpels, not cudgels

Soooo ze writing is on ze wall. There were two stories posted this week about regulation, one from the Economist detailing how Euro guv'ment is taking on the tech giants (that made the cover), and then Mark Zuckerberg put out an op-ed begging for oversight. (Help me, lord, for I cannot help myself).

TechCrunch carried the letter as a response to a few years of "black eyes and growing pains" (the letter was originally published in WaPo). Zuckerberg asks for increased scrutiny, over himself and his employees, into how they handle:

  • Harmful content – he wants overarching rules and benchmarks social apps can be measured by
  • Election integrity – he wants clear government definitions of what constitutes a political or issue ad
  • Privacy – he wants GDPR-style regulations globally that can impose sanctions on violators
  • Data portability – he wants users to be able to bring their info from one app to another
We're excited about all of that (I mean, obviously. The richness of 'please save me from myself' is just too good). But it's little number four that offers to We, the People our paths to glorious salvation. There is some trepidation though. Facebook is clearly asking government to do something and in so doing, kicking the can down the road. There is alas, a problem. Just because you trust your regulators, doesn’t mean they have the competency to know what to do. 

A call from number one for data portability is simultaneously both the beautiful headline of an enlightened tech leader (which I truly do believe him to be, rather than the Orwellian spinster we often portray him), and the single greatest endorsement from the old guard that a new guard might be coming. Vive la resistance, and may there be a peaceable transition.

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The future

What a world we live in. Not only is there a company mining minerals (one assumes) from the ground at the bottom of the sea, but they've been doing it long enough to be reported in the Economist for having financial difficulties.

The doghouse

Bezos' fancy-pants investigator thinks that the Saudis underwent a sophisticated spying takedown of Bezos - those dick-pics didn't just fall into their laps. 

Not a specific doghouse story, but *puts on quoting voice* "...modern programmatic advertising is a gigantic live data breach. Every day, everyone who uses the internet is having data about them spewed to ad tech servers, countless and unaccountable." So says the Economist (kinda).


The present

How Niantic came to be, from Google (they're the Pokemon Go (and soon Harry Potter something something) company).

HAT News

Welcome. New partners in Australia are trying to save journalism. Can data help? Find out this year on The Watchdogs *dun dun dun*.

Cypriot. Another - welcome Jungle Coders of Cyprus, nice to have you in the community.

Smart mob. I got to talk about the HAT on a podcast! Not sure when it comes out - you'll hear more about this from me when it does I bet (especially if it's good...).

Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager

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