MADHATTERs – Issue 1: 16 Nov 2016


MADHATTERs is born! Our new baby, the weekly magazine on tech news but with a HAT perspective, launches today – when we go public with HATs

We’re totally biased – towards personal data/digital empowerment, greater control, privacy, security, confidentiality and freedom.

But we are pro-innovation, pro-economy; yes, some problems are complex, loads of tensions and we need innovation!

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This week on the HAT

HATs are out……

A total of 500 HATs go out to the world today as HATDeX kicks off its awareness campaign. There aren’t many services on it yet. The HATDeX team’s been busy working hard to build the platform over the last six months. For non-techies, that means putting in place all the plumbing. Not the water-out-of-tap plumbing, but the type that’ll let us grab data into our own HATs. So we can view, exchange, cool bits. All with a few clicks. Yeah, it’s actually quite A LOT of plumbing.

So that’s a bit meh…but it means that HATs now actually exist! For real!

Can’t remember what the HAT is? See the new

HATDeX also released its HAT in business website today. Especially pertinent if you’re an organisation concerned about the General Data Protection Regulation coming to effect in May 2018. Find out how it affects you.

So … we’re now ready to tell the world what the HAT is. Get their HATs on, you know. Just to show off a bit, what it can do. Not got yours yet? Go to Want to keep in touch with what we’re up to with the HAT? Follow HATDeX’s notifications. Want to know what HATDeX is building next? Here are their product plans.

So what can you do with your HAT at this early stage? Play around with NotablesHere’s a guide.

Noteworthy Notables

Read our Chief Economist’s musings on building the HAT and Notables.

What’s the HAT community saying on Notables? See Notables chatter.

Quick Take on Tech News

Wearables. You might have heard; sales for wearables like Fitbit, Apple Watch etc. seem to be cooling. See the IDC report here. Honestly, we aren’t surprised. Except for tracking, these smart watches and trackers do very little else. We think it’ll be much more useful if the tracker data can be combined with our calendar and to-do list, and tell us that we’re not going to reach 10k steps today. Then ping us to say, you need to get exercising in the mornings? We can’t wait for wearables data to come into the HAT, so that applications with these data combinations can happen.

shutterstock_462376195-1024x580And the buzz is about…Facebook letting companies use targeted ads that exclude certain race or ethnic groups. This report from proPublica two weeks ago accused Facebook of making the ad tool available on their site.  So now it’s pulling the tool. But seriously, targeting is almost standard practice for every advertising and marketing company since the 1960s. Marketing 101 teaches businesses how to segment, target and position. Direct mail and catalogue companies, even high street retailers, have been creating targeted ads for 50 years. The issue here of course, is not the targeting; it’s whether the ad discriminates between racial groups. Imagine how murky the difference is between targeting, personalising and discriminating. Even Google’s ad targeting algorithms aren’t spared.

More buzz…This week’s big news: Google and Facebook taking action against fake newsVery interesting from a platform economic perspective. On the Internet, no one knows, or cares, if you’re a dog. No one polices fake news. Then again, you probably won’t have a way to know they exist, since they have limited reach. Google and Facebook are purveyors of news, fake or otherwise. So they assume the role of funding the public good, which is policing. But this raises further questions: why are they the ones to decide what needs policing, for the good of the community?  They are not elected representatives, so who polices THEM? And how should we deal with their social powers?

Let’s focus on progress..

For American HATTERs disappointed with Trump’s win, we recommend this Scientific American article that reminds us of progress and that this, too, shall pass…

Be cautious about…

Free apps. Check that they don’t collect your data in the background. Data brokerage businesses are ramping up; lots of news about personal data being sold to third parties for ad targeting. So make sure you know what your free apps are up to.

Facebook quizzes, apps, surveys, polls. Some are great; they genuinely give useful information in return for data. But some are dodgy; they want to grab all your photos, status updates and personal details. So keep track of what you’re giving away!

Seen some dodgy services on Facebook or elsewhere? Report them here in the comments below. We’re keeping a list!

Impress your friends with…

Virtual Reality movies. Are they coming our way? Imax Secures $50 Million to Create 25 VR Projects.

Geek out on…

Quicksilver. Is he really fast? Or is he warping time? Maybe Quicksilver Doesn’t Have Super-Speed



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