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Big Revolution - European chill

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Welcome to the start of another week in the world of Big Revolution.  – Martin
 
June 25 · Issue #120 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to the start of another week in the world of Big Revolution. 
Martin

Big things you need to know today
- The UK tax authority has been accused of creating “biometric ID cards by the back door.” Civil rights group Big Brother Watch says HMRC is forcing people to create biometric passwords with their voices when they call its helplines. Others, like the HSBC bank, use the same system, but Big Brother Watch says because HMRC is a government body this crosses a line.
- Sphero, the company that make spherical robot toys like the Star Wars BB-8, has bought a crowdfunded music tech company. Specdrums is “a company that makes rings that produce music through taps on different colors,” according to The Verge. Does this mean we can expect rolling, musical robots in the future?
The big thought
Where's Reddit's big fightback agains the EU 'meme law?'
European chill
Generally, I’m not kept awake by the lack of giant global tech companies based in Europe. Venture capitalists may find it frustrating, and there are obvious risks for the future if China and the USA dominate the technology landscape, but on a day-to-day basis, it’s no big issue. 
However, one place that the lack of European tech giants is evident can be seen in the tech industry’s reaction to the EU Copyright Directive currently making its way towards becoming law. As a recap, this would force platform operators to block copyright infringement, potentially leading to the end of meme culture. It would also force aggregators and social platforms to get licenses from news sites to create snippets of articles when you share them.
If this was a US law, you’d see Reddit and other platforms blocking all images for a day and replacing them with a request to call your political representatives. 
But no – this is a European law, and the main social platforms are all based in the US. If their reaction to GDPR is anything to go by, they’ll ignore it until it’s law. Some might even sacrifice their European offerings rather than go to the trouble of complying (Instapaper still isn’t available in the EU, a month on!).
Political action from big tech companies helped shift the net neutrality debate and postponed the eventual victory for greedy ISPs by several years.
Where is the outrage at the Copyright Directive? It’s muted, to say the least, and that really highlights how significant the actions of big tech platforms can be in these debates. And with that in mind, a few more homegrown giants would definitely help.
One big read
Amazon, the Brand Buster
How Amazon has grown a significant business through its own brands. And what does this mean for the future of the e-commerce giant? It certainly raises antitrust concerns.
One big tweet
Dieter Bohn
Good evening this is a reminder that Apple could do a Good Thing for the World by offering fully end-to-end encrypted iMessage on Android and has chosen not to.

In case you, you know, hadn't thought about that in awhile.
3:53 AM - 25 Jun 2018
Good idea, but not a chance (even though, long ago, they said they would do something like this).
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow. Please help spread the word about Big Revolution – share this link with a friend, or on social media.
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