MADHATTERs – Issue 7: 3 Jan 2017

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MADHATTERs – the weekly magazine on tech news with a HAT perspective

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Alert Us. If you come across any interesting new developments in personal data or relevant tech news, please post a Notable with your HAT.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 MADHATTERS!

 

The Year That Was…

Couldn’t wait for 2016 to end? Can’t blame you – it seemed like a never-ending stream of bad news. But it was not all doom and gloom, as this list of 99 reasons 2016 was a good year shows.

And Is To Come…

So, what to expect for 2017? Here’s what your social media news feed could look like if the worst case scenarios came true, according to Bloomberg’s pessimist guide to the year.

This week on the HAT

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…as the song goes, and we’re feeling good that it’s the new year! But what a year 2016 has been for the HAT. A year of embracing the challenge of turning concept into reality. As we enter 2017, we have an actual HAT platform ready for scaling and gaining market traction. Follow our 2016 journey in this review and find out what’s in store ahead.

Save the date…and have your say on the uses (and abuses) of personal data, the Digital Person, freedom, identity, security and innovation at the inaugural Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium. From 15 March to 5 April at Wolfson College, Cambridge. More details here.

HAT research. If you’re keen about ongoing research on the HAT and the HAT Living Labs, follow us on ResearchGate.

Noteworthy Notables

Bring your quotes onto Notables, as we hit the last week of our favourite quotable quote challenge for that £5 Amazon voucher! The winning quote will be announced in next week’s MADHATTERS.

Quick Take on Tech News

Facebook was naughty – or so the European Commission claims. According to the EC, Facebook lied when it said it could not (technically) merge its user data with WhatsApp’s when acquiring the chat platform in 2014.  Yet in Aug 2016, WhatsApp announced it would be linking its user phone numbers with Facebook user identities. Wha….? Facebook has until end-Jan to respond, or it could face a huge fine. The EC might just be miffed that Facebook has pulled a fast one but it’s one to watch, MadHATTERs. Cos if there’s a fine, it could be the first on the manipulation of users’ data. And there’s an entire market out there of companies specialising in linking user identities across datasets. Hmm…

The Snooper’s Charter saga continues. The EU’s highest court has said that “General and indiscriminate retention” of emails and personal communication is illegal. Whoops…That basically means the UK’s new surveillance law can be challenged. So we suppose the government does have to clarify why it snoops, rather than just saying ‘that’s what we have to do’. Oversight isn’t a bad thing and the EU’s basically rapped the UK’s knuckles on this one.

Alexa could solve a murder. So an Alexa owner in Arkansas committed murder but Amazon is refusing to share (eavesdropping?) data that Alexa gathered without a binding court order. Aunt Sally who was given Alexa this Christmas has the best question:”Why is Alexa eavesdropping on me?” But Aunt Sally, how else do you think it knows when you call it?  Penny…Drops… This case poses two real conundrums. First, the trade-offs we’re prepared to make for convenience; and second, the role of trust. Amazon clearly knows a lot, but they want your trust, which is why they hope they can win it by taking the moral high ground on your behalf. Are you convinced? Apple did the same in the Apple vs FBI case earlier last year. Here’s what two HATDeX founders have to say about that debacle published in Scientific American.

Feeling abusive? A new study has found that we unconsciously try to wreck our phones when it’s nearly time for an upgrade. Aren’t we all glad that personal HATs are cloud-based and not physical?!

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re an anything…Walter Isaacson wants to fix the broken Internet by fixing inherent anonymity. Wait, didn’t someone say anonymity was the solution to privacy? So now anonymity is toxic as well…We think the Internet should take a page from the physical world. I mean, we behave well physically in public (well, some of us) because we’re not anonymous, but we can still be private. The solution needs to be about identity, but not at the cost of privacy. We think we have a solution –  the HAT! We should be interacting online with our HATs. Private, but not anonymous. But of course you’d expect us to say that. When you have a hammer everything else is a nail and all that…

Be Cautious About…

Your security info. Turns out that 2016 was quite a year for some of the biggest data breaches in history. WIRED has rounded up some of the year’s biggest hacks, and tells us how to stay safe in 2017.

Impress Your Friends With…

Channelling your inner Picasso through some AR (augmented reality) help. The SketchAR app promises to make drawing easy for everyone.

Geek Out On…

The return of Deckard. As well as replicants and Ryan Gosling’s Officer K in this first trailer for Blade Runner 2049. Oct 2017 can’t arrive soon enough…

And Finally…

You can now get a robot to handwrite your thank you notes. No one will ever know you didn’t write it…

 

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