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Big Revolution - My secret love of 'creepy' tracking

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Hello and welcome to today's Big Revolution. There's a 4-day weekend coming up in the UK, but tomorro
 
March 29 · Issue #32 · View online
Big Revolution
Hello and welcome to today’s Big Revolution. There’s a 4-day weekend coming up in the UK, but tomorrow will be a full edition. Monday’s will likely be more weekend-y, but it’s likely to be quiet on the news front anyway.
Martin

Big things you need to know today
Credit: Facebook
- Facebook has unveiled updated privacy and personal data controls. While this is well-timed as a response to recent events, it’s actually been planned for months (and indeed it was announced back in January this year). It’s part of the company’s preparations for the EU’s tough new data protection rules, just two months from launch.
- Embarrassingly, yesterday also brought news that Facebook has been saving videos some users created in the app but then discarded. As they were never saved or shared, there’s no reason they should still be stored. The company says it’s investigating.
- Meanwhile, Facebook will stop letting advertisers use third-party targeting on its platform. This appears to be directly related to improving Facebook’s ‘optics’ after recent news. Recode: “The thinking is that Facebook has less control over where and how these firms collect their data, which makes using it more of a risk. Apparently it’s not important enough to Facebook’s revenue stream to deal with a potential headache if something goes wrong.
- Mark Zuckerberg can relax at least a little, though. Axios reports that Donald Trump is far more interested in taking Jeff Bezos and Amazon down a peg or ten, and Facebook isn’t on his radar.
- In the latest setback to Uber’s self-driving vehicle plans, the head of Uber Freight is leaving. Lior Ron joined the company after it acquired his autonomous truck tech firm Otto. Otto’s other cofounder? Anthony Levandowski who left after becoming the centre of a legal dispute with rival Waymo. Uber says it remains “fully invested in and excited about the future of Uber Freight.”
- You won’t hear much from Julian Assange for a while. The Ecuadorian embassy in London has cut off his internet connection, accusing him of interfering with international relations. 
The big thought
Part of my route around Downtown Austin, Texas, one day in March 2016
My secret love of ‘creepy’ tracking
A much-shared Guardian article yesterday lists (some of) the many things you might not realise Google knows about you. It’s pretty eyepopping, even if you’re generally aware of the mass of information the company collects.
But I have a confession: I have a secret soft spot for the location history Google keeps. Go to Google Maps and select 'My Timeline.’ If you’ve been letting Google log your location, you’ll have a detailed record of everywhere you’ve been.
You can dive in and check where you were, at what time, on any day. It’ll even show a best guess at your mode of transport when you move between locations.
When it comes to me, Google has nine years of this information. Back in 2009, I started using a now defunct service called Google Latitude. It allowed you to share your real-time location with other users. At the time, this was a fun experiment for early adopters, rather than a terrifying privacy concern. That data was eventually rolled into Google+ location sharing, and then eventually moved to Google Maps where it lives today. 
The quality of the data is really poor when you go back nine years, but in 2018, it’s generally pretty damn accurate. I’ve even got into the habit of going through and correcting the errors it makes! 'I wasn’t driving then, I was in a taxi!’, 'I wasn’t in Starbucks on Tuesday lunchtime, I was in the supermarket next door!’ 
I know I’m essentially training this surveillance tool to be better at surveilling me, but the map and personal data logging nerd in me can’t help it. Let’s hope I never regret it.
(Disclosure: I’m currently a part-time contractor for Google’s DNI Innovation Fund).
One big read
A Cyberattack Hobbles Atlanta, and Security Experts Shudder A Cyberattack Hobbles Atlanta, and Security Experts Shudder
What happens when a cyber attack hits a major city administration like Atlanta? Sadly, I can only imagine we’ll see a lot more of this in the future.
One big tweet
#Easy #To #Relate #To #This #One
Ashley Mayer
Watching someone you know trying to become an Instagram influencer is a very modern kind of pain.
5:57 PM - 28 Mar 2018
That’s all for today...
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