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Big Revolution - Death to adtech?

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Welcome to Monday's Big Revolution. You'll notice there's no 'big tweet' today, and there wasn't yest
 
May 14 · Issue #78 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Monday’s Big Revolution. You’ll notice there’s no ‘big tweet’ today, and there wasn’t yesterday. Honestly, you lot need to get better at tweeting so I have something to share in that section. 
Hopefully the quality of Twitter will increase today, but I’m not putting a rubbish tweet in there!
Martin

Big things you need to know today
- If you use PGP to encrypt your email, you’d best stop for now. Security researchers say they’ve uncovered a bug that can reveal emails in plain text – even emails encrypted in the past. 
- A Monday morning win for blockchain fans: HSBC says it has performed “the world’s first trade finance transaction using blockchain technology, a major step in boosting efficiency and reducing errors in the multi-trillion-dollar funding of international trade.”
- Donald Trump has given Chinese phone maker ZTE a reprieve that may save it from being wound up. A strange move perhaps, given that earlier this year the FBI warned phones by the likes of ZTE were a security hazard.
- Favstar, a popular service for tracking the popularity of tweets, is closing. The operators are blaming changes to Twitter’s API and a lack of communication from the company about future API access. The service will close on 19 June.
The big thought
Not 'the adtech dragon,' but close enough. Credit: Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
Death to adtech?
An interesting piece by Doc Searls over the weekend predicts that the introduction for GDPR could kill a vast number of adtech companies – businesses built on tracking and identifying people without permission.
Searls is optimistic about this, and believes it will lead to systems that let businesses understand their customers better than current systems.
I think most people can agree that the world will be a better place if products that track us without our permission, in ways we don’t understand, and storing the data who-knows-where, go away. But in the near term, GDPR is more likely to lead to a combination of adtech firms pulling out of the EU or adding ‘consent walls’ that let you opt into tracking if you choose.
Where will that lead us? Other parts of the world will likely continue as normal, while ad revenues in Europe fall and website operators there know less about their visitors. 
Some will see this as a sign of Europe putting its head in the sand about the way the modern internet works. Tracking is just the way free internet services are paid for, they’ll say. But I see it as Europe leading where others will eventually follow. 
If European tech companies are driven to create new business models that are both sustainable and ethical, and their popularity spreads worldwide, lawmakers elsewhere may not need to introduce GDPR-style laws to see permission-free tracking gradually die off. 
The EU’s approach will have won by default, and the adtech dragon slain.
One big read
The Digital Vigilantes Who Hack Back The Digital Vigilantes Who Hack Back
A look at how corporations are fighting back against hackers… by hacking them.
That’s all for today...
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