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Screaming into the void

9 October Subscribe
Tech news with a HAT perspective 
Issue 89
Californiaaaa, californiaaaa, here we co-ome
link!
Years into this business, the emotional response to issues of data regulation and privacy are pretty commonly, and sadly, "feh". Especially after GDPR, the sentiment is that this isn't about privacy - that we the people don't care about being private, and that regulation is never going to be the way we make real change.

Except today, because Tuesday. The NY Times last week put out a lovely profile of the story of the Silicon Valleyers who put their Data Protection law on the ballot, introducing the US' first state-side legislation to protect Internet users' data. 
 
It's a gripping thrill-ride, including fanciful tales of legal research, Silicon Valley billboards, law professors at UC Berkeley, and trips to Washington, but it's also an important story for calling out Alphabet's spend on lobbyists (which is more than any other corporation in America) and identifying the shift that has taken US tech from the white knights to the black cats of the corporate underworld - a role that used to be reserved just for Monsanto and Exxon Mobil.

Tech companies, social activists, your children and mine are going to be the people who will ultimately  change the Internet, but regulation and lawsuits are taking place every day (see the bit about Google below). They advance our awareness and educate us on data security and privacy and make the eventuality of personal data control that much more likely. So let's not let up.
 
Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The Doghouse

A lawsuit in the valley will be putting its regulations to test against the recent allegations that Google has been cheating, telling users it is turning off location tracking, and then tracking them all the same. The story broke that the search monolith's apps were collecting data even with "Location History" and guess what? They were. They'll now test it under a class action lawsuit (that one guesses most humans in America would be able to join, frankly, should they so choose). "No electronic tracking device is allowed to determine the location or movement of a person against their wishes," according to the law.

On the Horizon

A team of four women in Saudi Arabia have won a hackathon to make the Hajj a bit safer, with an app that translates the Arabic signs around Mecca without an Internet connection (somehow). 2,400 people were killed in a stampene in 2015 during the pilgrimage, which will be attended by an estimated 1.5m people this week.
 
Amazon, Alphabet, and Apple will work to remove some of the boundaries between patients and their own health record and health insurance data, according to the WSJ. The commitment is part of an initiative launched by the Trump administration to curb healthcare spending.

And Google is looking at trying for search in China again, somehow getting around the issues around search censorship. Sundar Pichai's argument, against the objections of many of its staff, is that "a filtered search result is better for a Chinese citizen than no search result at all." I can't see that argument flying far with them, Mr. Pichai, but good luck with it. You certainly can't ignore the full 1/5th of the world's population tht live in China, can you really, so something's gotta give.

 Comic of the Week

c/o katedewhirst.com
HAT News
 
HATLAB. Research and Innovation has a new name - many grants, corporate innovation projects, and new ideas are being tested on the HAT, and last week it was confirmed that these projects would be brought under a new consolidated group known as the HATLAB. Expect a launch event in early October.

Bored? The HATDeX Board met Friday for their Q3 session. Plans were ratified, and then ribs were eaten.

All aboard. There have been some staff reshufflings taking place to make space for growing initiatives. More details to come, but for now welcome to Jennifer Wong, who will be taking on a new Administrative role at the HATDeX.

Till next week,

Jonathan Holtby, Community Manager

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