MADHATTERS Weekly – Issue 13: 14 Feb 2017



Tech news with a HAT perspective

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Tech News This Week

Spies in the living room!? Smart TV producer Vizio has been collecting viewing data from over 11 million of its TVs without their users’ consent or knowledge. And selling the data to third parties. Now they have to cough up USD2.2 million to settle charges brought by the authorities. In this era of IoT, it pays to be vigilant. Check the settings for your smart TVs or streaming services and report them if you smell a rat…

Big brother teacher is coming to a school near you… Teachers in two UK schools are currently trialling the use of body cams. They say it’s to keep an eye on student behaviour and record positive learning. Really? Eyeballs can’t go far back enough…Are our physical lives starting to emulate our Internet lives? Ethics. Privacy. Please. No.

I now judge you … guilty or page not found…Those living in the UK who commit petty offences – like train fare evasion or unlicenced fishing – can soon confess to their crimes online in return for an ‘automated, standard penalty’. The UK’s Ministry of Justice is all systems go for ‘conviction by computer’. But are we looking at a world where my bot was more lenient than your bot?

The permission app to fix all…er… app permissions? Lately, we’ve been talking about invasive app permissions (see Issues 9 and 10). Now, Carnegie-Mellon University researchers have developed a mobile app to handle those annoying – but necessary – app permissions we have to deal with. Apparently, the Privacy Assistant app can tell the difference between app permissions for functionality and those that use your data for advertising or analytics. Somehow this is starting to feel like the viruses avoiding the anti-viruses all over again…

Data regulation is spreading…Europe may be in a tizzy over the GDPR coming into force next year, but other countries are hopping onto that bandwagon…Indonesia is proposing a bill on data and personal information protection. With around 132 million Internet users in 2016, they seem to want a piece of the action in the personal data economy…

Be Cautious About…

Border crossings. Travel to the US in the Trump era is becoming increasingly fraught, with tales of digital devices being seized and demands for social media account passwords. This WIRED article provides useful advice on how to safeguard your data privacy while travelling.

Impress Your Friends With…

This phone will self-destruct in 10 seconds…Scientists in Saudi Arabia have come up with cheap technology that can destroy the innards of a digital device quickly. Now you know how you can protect yourself from those drunken party photos going public…

Geek Out On…

Artwork. Lots of them. Now that New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has made all images of its 375,000-piece public-domain artwork collection freely accessible for academic and commercial use. A big yay for open access…

And Finally…

Uber knows your cheating heart…A cheating husband in France is suing the ride-hailing app for €45m. Seems a bug in its system inadvertently revealed his adulterous activities to his wife, whose phone he had used to connect to his Uber account…


Leila Trilby, Editor-in-Chief 




HAT News

Featured Story: User feedback sessions

Until end-Feb, the HAT is doing interviews with our community to get some new perspectives. Each session takes 15 minutes. Can you help? Hit reply and let me know.

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The community grows. Our group is expanding to include more digital economy researchers, startup founders, and privacy advocates. If you know one, forward them this email (use our Share buttons below). We’ll shower them with affection when they join up.

Listen twice, write once. I read every word of feedback you send back to us. See if that reply button works and let me know how we can improve.

Holla’ everyone. Till next time.

Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager

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2 thoughts on “MADHATTERS Weekly – Issue 13: 14 Feb 2017

    1. Harding! That’s great news – thanks for the support. I will send you an email so we can schedule it. Looking forward to speaking to you!

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