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Big Revolution - A complex so big, even Apple can't escape

Welcome to Thursday's Big 'data industrial complex' Revolution. – Martin
October 25 · Issue #242 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Thursday’s Big ‘data industrial complex’ Revolution.

Big things you need to know today
  • Donald Trump’s personal iPhone is tapped by Chinese and Russian spies, the New York Times reports. “Mr. Trump is supposed to swap out his two official phones every 30 days for new ones but rarely does, bristling at the inconvenience.”
  • Google wants to improve the security of Android devices. Manufacturers using Google’s version of the OS must now commit to providing security patches to users for at least two years.
  • Twitter has shown off another new conversation-focused feature it may introduce in the future. ’Ice breakers’ would help people start up new conversations with their followers.
  • Facebook is adding new lipsyncing features for licensed music. You’ll be able to pin a song to your profile Myspace-style, too. The news comes as TechCrunch reports that the company is building a TikTok clone called Lasso, to really tackle the market for people who like to mime their way to mobile pop stardom.
  • Google is making it easier to delete your search history. It will also be adding new privacy-focused controls to other products like Maps next year, The Verge reports.
The big thought
Tim Cook has acquaintances in high places.
A complex so big, even Apple can’t escape
Tim Cook must have seen an open goal when he spoke at the European Parliament building yesterday. Calling out the “data industrial complex,” he targeted Apple’s rivals like Google and Facebook:
“Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency,” warned Cook. “These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold.”
Apple (which, I should note, failed to launch its own ad network a few years ago) can clearly take the moral high ground. It doesn’t need your data – it just needs you to buy its expensive hardware. Once you’ve done that, the information Apple collects about you is minimal.
Cook’s speech will certainly have been food for thought for attendees at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (sounds like a fun bash). But while it’s hard to pick too many holes in his broad points, some of the criticism his talk has received shows how all-pervasive this “data industrial complex” (expect to see that phrase a lot in the future) really is.
Some pointed out that Apple takes many millions of dollars from Google to give it default search engine status on Apple hardware. Meanwhile, Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former security chief, highlighted Apple’s less-than idealistic record in China.
“Though Stamos said he agreed with ‘almost everything’ Cook said, in a series of tweets he called out Apple for blocking the ability to download VPN and encrypted messaging apps in China, which could provide ways to connect to the internet and send messages privately and without surveillance.”
So yes Tim, the 'data industrial complex’ is a powerful thing. But it’s so powerful that it’s such an integral part of the modern world that even you can’t escape it.
Avoiding mass data collection is going to take more than just buying iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.
One big read
When Sears Flourished, So Did Workers. At Amazon, It’s More Complicated. When Sears Flourished, So Did Workers. At Amazon, It’s More Complicated.
This article compares an American retail giant of yesteryear with one of today, and looks at how rank-and-file workers now get a much poorer deal from their employment.
One big tweet
Peter Rojas
It’s really nice when someone reaches out to you for advice and then follows up a few months later to let you know that your advice was helpful. I wish I had been better about that earlier in my career.
5:22 PM - 24 Oct 2018
A reminder that if you get important advice, it’s always good to feed back to the person who gave it to you later. And letting people know they gave bad advice can be useful, too :)
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow for another (hopefully) packed Big Revolution. Enjoy your day.
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