MADHATTERS Weekly – Issue 10: 24 Jan 2017



Tech news with a HAT perspective

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Tech News this week

It’s my party…who invited you? It’s going to become easier to hide in the dark web, which is tightening its anonymity tools for improved online privacy. Tor Project’s Nick Matthewson says this will lead to more secure and private encryption systems online. We really think that conflating privacy and anonymity is not the entire answer… It can be for some cases, but it also stirs up a whole lot of other issues, which is that the darknet will become darker, hiding all sorts…Could we have privacy but not be anonymous please? That’s why the HAT is creating a data infrastructure on personal data exchanges where you can be private, but not anonymous. Go have your say…

Personal data for sale. We’ve said it again and again – there’s a huge market out there selling and reselling our data but would anyone listen? It seems Which? did – they went undercover to check out 14 companies selling data. Big shout-out to investigative journalism! What did they find? Apparently our data has been sold for as little as 4p! Not sure whether to be appalled or insulted? The point we are always trying to make is: if there is any selling of data going on, we want to be in control of it. Really.

Time for some activism…MADHATTERs, here’s something you can do – check with your organisation how they will be GDPR compliant, especially your HR department. How are they giving data back to you? And if you work for a university, how are they giving data back to their students? This should trigger a flurry of panic attacks and you should then say….Fret not; the Information Commissioner’s Office will soon be publishing some guidance. Ask them to review this ‘essential reading’ to help plan what they need to address in the next 12 months. And oh…maybe they want to integrate the data they have on you with your HAT… then contact our Community Manager who will help sort them out!

Oracle is in the news…for being sued by the US Dept of Labor over discriminatory hiring practices. The DOL says the software giant is paying its white male staff more, and prefers Asian Indian applicants; it’s been accused of offering referral bonuses for its Asian workforce to recruit other Asians. Oracle has denied the allegations, saying that it ‘values diversity and inclusion’. But this is the latest of a series of federal lawsuits against tech giants on their hiring practices. Says something about their take on diversity…

Good news…robots won’t be killing us. So says a group of elite scientists, who claims that public fear of AI posing a threat to humanity is “not always based on fact”. Instead, they say, AI will be key in augmenting human performance. Try telling that to the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which is fighting to ban fully autonomous weapons…

Be Cautious About…

How I look sooooo cute with an anime makeover…The Meitu app promises to turn your selfies into an anime character. But it’s accessing a shed load of your personal data! And it may not be the only app that does this. So always check the permissions requested by apps, especially free ones. Remember what we said about free lunches…And keep your tip-offs coming, HATTERs! We have to name and shame!

Nasty emojis. What do a white flag, a zero and a rainbow emoji have in common? Combined with a VS16 character in a text message, they could crash some IoS mobile devices. Make sure you’re using the latest IoS version and delete all dodgy texts.

Impress Your Friends With…

The new Pixar universe reality. A new Disney video has just confirmed that all Pixar films are connected in the same universe. Bone up on the Pixar Theory with this timeline that Digital Spy has put together.

Geek Out On…

Flying taxis…I sci-fi kid you not! Airbus promises to prototype a self-flying ‘small urban transport’ by end-2017. Bye bye, rush hour traffic…

And Finally…

Fitness on demand. It’s January, and you’re thinking of getting that gym membership. Think again; there’s a growing trend of people swapping them for online streaming workouts and fitness subscription services. Flexibility beyond the yoga studio…what’s not to like?



HAT News

A new blogpost to clarify what HATDeX has built, and to explain the new data infrastructure for personal data exchanges. Let us have your thoughts – comment or ask questions!

The HAT team are sprinting this week, with a 48hr special session at HAT Central in Barton. Send us your funions and caffeine!

A new HAT conversation is coming: About what features we build, what topics we cover in this newsletter, and the special chats we host on Twitter, Facebook, and privately just for you, our MadHATTERs. Like to take part? Let our Community Manager Jonathan Holtby know if you’re interested; drop him a line at

Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions on how to make your HAT better, share them with us on our new Ideas page. This is an incredibly important way for us to communicate better with the most important people on the HAT: YOU!

On the HAT R & D side of things, we’re holding a meeting on Who Owns your Data? Responsible Innovation and the HAT Data Exchange Infrastructure for the Internet. Researchers keen to join in the conversation should come along on Feb 7sign up for your place now!



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