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Big Revolution - Checking in on checking in

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Hello from a train somewhere between Manchester and Leeds. Today I'm taking part in a panel debate th
 
April 17 · Issue #51 · View online
Big Revolution
Hello from a train somewhere between Manchester and Leeds. Today I’m taking part in a panel debate that takes the familiar ‘will A.I. take our jobs?’ question and applies it to the marketing industry.
As I prepare for that, here’s today’s Big Revolution…
Martin

Big things you need to know today
- The US and UK have warned that Russia may have compromised internet routing hardware. This could be used to spy on internet traffic or lay groundwork for attacks on infrastructure at a later date. No word on whether other nations are doing the same thing – it certainly seems likely that it happens to some degree.
- Want to keep your iPhone secure? The ‘GrayKey’ software that can break iOS encryption appears to brute force your passcode, so the latest security advice is to set a security code with a combination of letters and numbers. Time to leave that 4- or 6-number code behind.
- The French government is building its own encrypted messaging app, Reuters reports. It’s because they can’t guarantee the security of apps like WhatsApp and Telegram and don’t want government business being snooped on. Sensible, if you ask me.
- Oops: Russia blocked 1.8m Amazon Web Services IP addresses in an attempt to block the Telegram messaging service. The result? “Users reported many online games, mobile apps, and cryptocurrency services going dark over the course of the day.”
- Venture capital funds don’t need respectable names anymore. Quirky names are fine, if the launch of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Capital (pronounced ‘Shrug Capital’) is anything to go by.
The big thought
Foursquare's Swarm app
Checking in on checking in
Yesterday was the annual ’Foursquare Day.’ The popular view is that nobody ‘checks in’ anymore. In fact, some of us still compulsively check in almost everywhere.
Whenever I go anywhere, the first thing I do is pop open Foursquare’s Swarm app, and earn some 'coins’ by checking in. I compete for the top spot in the weekly leaderboard of all the people I’m friends with in the app, but the main reason I do it is for that little kick I get from earning points ('coins’ in Swarm parlance) for just going about my daily life.
In the current climate, the idea of voluntarily giving a technology company my precise location in return for a mostly pointless game must seem extremely stupid to a lot of people. 
But I look at it this way: your location is sucked up in the background by all manner of apps and adtech. You don’t know who’s got it or what they’re doing with it. Conversely, Foursquare’s Swarm app celebrates location sharing. It’s not a mysterious background process, it’s a core feature. It’s THE feature. 
If you want a handy diary of where you’ve been, if you want a fun game where you rack up a score just for getting out and about, if you want a dedicated app for sharing your location with a select group of friends… Swarm is there for you. 
If you want the best place recommendation engine out there (way better than Yelp), Foursquare is there for you. If you want the best place database out there, Foursquare is there for you.
Sure, Foursquare isn’t a charity, and it has a deep, powerful and valuable dataset focused on people’s location-going habits. But its privacy policy is clearer and more reassuring than many, and if you’re going to feed the marketing beast with your data, you may as well have fun with it. And Swarm is lots of fun, at least if you’re someone like me.
If I’m going to like giving my data to anyone, it’s companies that don’t make a mystery of the process, and give real value in return. Happy birthday, Foursquare.
One big read
Dan Scavino, the Secretary of Offense Dan Scavino, the Secretary of Offense
Here’s an interesting profile of Dan Scavino, “the inscrutable White House social media director, whose job is to help @realDonaldTrump stay unpresidential.”
One big tweet
Fair point, Drew. Stop complaining, start unfollowing…
drew olanoff
folks complaining about their timeline on twitter, remember you're the one who decided to follow the people you follow?
8:43 PM - 16 Apr 2018
That’s all for today...
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