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Big Revolution - Foolishly chasing revolutions

Welcome to Tuesday's newsletter. Today I'm wishing that sometimes we'd all just slow down a bit... –
March 12 · Issue #369 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s newsletter. Today I’m wishing that sometimes we’d all just slow down a bit…
– Martin at Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Facebook caused a stir by taking down ads calling for the company to be broken up. The ads, for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, were reinstated after outcry why Facebook decided it didn’t want to impede “robust debate.”
  • From tomorrow, it will be illegal to fly a drone within three miles of an airport in the UK. The rule change follows supposed (but still unconfirmed) drone sightings that disrupted pre-Christmas travel at Gatwick airport.
The big thought
Credit: Skyler Smith on Unsplash
Credit: Skyler Smith on Unsplash
Foolishly chasing revolutions
Documents uncovered by BuzzFeed News reveal that the US government plans to introduce face recognition technology at 20 American airports.
The tech will be used for identity verification of international travelers (including Americans) following an executive order from the president in 2017.
And now it seems authorities are rushing into deploying it in time for the 2021 deadline. This is despite the fact that facial recognition rates in law enforcement are incredibly low, and the law in many countries – including the US – simply isn’t set up to deal with the privacy implications.
Facial recognition is another technology like autonomous vehicles that many assume is far more advanced than it really is. And so people rush into making plans around it way before it’s ready. As I’ve said before in this newsletter, I’m sceptical that Chinese facial recognition is as good as the government there claims it is. It’s far more likely to be as bad as anywhere else, but presented as infallible so as to be a crime deterrent.
If the facial recognition tech used by airports is as poor as similar implementations elsewhere, it will lead to the wrong people being identified as criminals and at the very facing a delay to their journey, if not worse.
The BuzzFeed report depicts a rush to introduce a technology way ahead of it being ready for use at such scale.
I can’t help but feel the rapid transformations (the big revolutions!) of internet adoption and the smartphone have conditioned us to believe that every major new technology will develop just as quickly. It won’t. It’s far more sensible for us to sit back and wait for things to mature than constantly chasing the next big thing.
One big read
Tim Berners-Lee on 30 years of the web: 'If we dream a little, we can get the web we want'
Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web has changed the world. As it turns 30 years old, what does he think of his creation now?
One big tweet
Curious what Twitter’s new beta app looks like in action? Click through below to see an animation…
Matt Navarra
Here’s what Twitter’s new twttr app looks like when reading a conversation thread
That’s all for today...
See you in you inbox again tomorrow!
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