Can the big five please stop being so damn big? Thanks
15 Mar 2019
When three become one, privacy becomes… none.
This week has been mostly about how Mark Zuckerberg wants to merge together all three of his ‘let’s have a private conversation now’ apps. So that’s Facebook Messenger, Instagram messenger, and Whatsapp. He says this is all in the name of privacy and took about 3200 words to explain it “very clearly” in his blog. I mean I think this will just work because a) Facebook have really managed to cultivate trusting relationship with their users, and b) merging those three things just like, sorta makes sense you know? Yes, except points a) and b) are both very, very untrue…
Big tech: abort, abort, abort
Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to break up the big five (or six if you include Apple). Great idea but this is like breaking up, I don’t know… Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. It would benefit everyone but just how do we do it? Warren wasn’t great on the details but this seems to be a cross-party issue because Ted Cruz actually agrees with her
Tech heads: be more human. Humanists: be more tech.
21 top universities in the US have joined forces to make the Public Interest Technology University Network. This initiative will unite students of computer science and social science to help us use tech for good, not evil (interesting idea, never heard of it before). It’s like they all turned around and said:
“Ah yes, software engineers and other technologists don’t seem to know much about the socio-political landscape, even though they are doing a lot to shape it. Lawyers seem to know nothing about tech, yet tech keeps like, breaking the law. Why don’t we fix that?”
Face to face at the airport
So the US government are finally giving up and just saying, “how can we be more scary?” US Customs and Border Protection are ruthlessly rushing into implementing their fancy shiny new “biometric entry-exit system”. Key parts to this:
- The documents explaining how this system will work explicitly state that partnering airlines can use the system in any way they want - woo somewhere else where there is a lack of regulation, how original.
- We are still hazy on what they do with the data they will collect, and how long they store it (the current line on storage is “up to 14 days”)
- Facial recognition technology is still fairly unreliable and gets things wrong all the time, even in a racist way. I always thought US borders weren’t racist enough, actually yeah…
Peppa Pig, but without the ads
Parents in the US may finally have more control over their children’s internet privacy with this new bill. Currently if your under 13, companies aren’t allowed to collect data about you without explicit consent from your guardian. These senators want to extend that to 15. They also want to make it so you can literally delete any data about your child, with great ease. Cool idea, can we have it for adults too?