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Big Revolution - Christmas travel woes, 2018-style

Welcome to Friday's Big Revolution. A reminder that this is the last edition until 7 January... unles
December 21 · Issue #299 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution. A reminder that this is the last edition until 7 January… unless you’re a member, in which case, I’ll regular (but not daily, no-one needs that over Christmas and New Year!) full editions during the next two weeks, plus normal weekend editions, too. You can become a member here.

Big things you need to know today
  • Facebook is developing a cryptocurrency to allow people send money over WhatsApp, Bloomberg reports. The stablecoin will reportedly be initially focused on the Indian remittances market.
The big thought
A drone (probably not exactly like the Gatwick ones). Credit: asoggetti on Unsplash
Christmas travel woes, 2018-style
On the surface, the Gatwick drones story was a standard ‘Christmas travel woes’ story with a modern tech twist. That’s largely how the media reported it – flights cancelled, passengers stranded, officials trying to resolve the situation…. all the usual factors were there.
But below the surface, and much harder to report on, were the less standard questions. The things that made this such a weird event. Where were the drones coming from? Who was operating them, and why? If you don’t publicise a motive for doing this, what’s the point? It’s like something from a movie.
In the absence of any pranksters being caught or environmentalists claiming responsibility, we for now have to face up to the fact that there’s a chance we’ll never know who did it.
And now they’ve done it once, they – or someone else – could try it again. Airports can do more in terms of installing tech to alert them to nearby drones, and the government can update the law to reflect what happened. But criminals with the right technical skills won’t be put off by such things.
It’s easy to see this week’s event as a proof of concept. A test to show you can close an airport for more than a day with some drones and the right tactics. And now they’ve proved it, it’s easy to imagine 'they’ (whoever they are) will do it again. Happy Christmas, air travel industry.
One big read
The NYT’s Facebook Investigation Didn’t Prove Quite What Everyone Seems to Think The NYT’s Facebook Investigation Didn’t Prove Quite What Everyone Seems to Think
Analysis of the reaction to the New York Times’ article about Facebook’s data partnerships this week. While some of the perceived privacy breaches were overblown, it’s clear Facebook is struggling to express the truth – partly because a vocal portion of the public has lost its trust in the company.
One big tweet
When Trump learned to tweet…
Mathew Ingram
Strong candidate for quote of the year
4:08 PM - 20 Dec 2018
That’s all for today...
If you’re a member, I’ll see you back in your inbox for the usual weekend big reads tomorrow. If not, have a great Christmas and New Year (if you celebrate such things) and I’ll be back with you on 7 January.
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