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Big Revolution - Planning for the worst

Welcome to Thursday's Big Revolution. Today we've got reaction to the EU's mega-fine against Google,
July 19 · Issue #144 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Thursday’s Big Revolution. Today we’ve got reaction to the EU’s mega-fine against Google, and lots more mighty-fine stuff with nothing to do with fines, too

Big things you need to know today
- Google will appeal its $5bn antitrust fine from the EU. Prior to the appeal, Google was given 90 days to stop giving its own Search and Chrome apps an unfair advantage in the Android ecosystem, among other rulings. In a blog post, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said: “Android has created more choice, not less.”
- Mark Zuckerberg gave a compelling podcast interview to Recode’s Kara Swisher. It’s well worth a listen, although Facebook’s PR department didn’t have a good day. The press made much of Zuckerberg’s comment on Holocaust denial. It forced him to issue a clarification later (he misspoke!), but that wasn’t enough to stop an eye-popping New York Daily News front page.
- Remember how Macedonian teenagers created fake news sites that influenced American politics? It turns out they weren’t working alone, and the operation had links to pro-Trump conservative America. It’s starting to feel like one day it will turn out that everything is one big inter-connected conspiracy.
- BuzzFeed has launched a dedicated website for its serious journalism. No more trying to find that important scoop among the ‘Do You Actually Know How Old These Celebrities Are?’ articles, you can just go to
- Samsung is reportedly set to launch a me-too smart speaker based on its me-too virtual assistant, Bixby, later this year. The same report says the company will release a foldable phone in 2019.
The big thought
Credit: Matt Artz on Unsplash
Planning for the worst
The New York Times quietly announced a positive new security measure yesterday. Its Lock & Key system will keep an eye on public dumps of stolen usernames and passwords, and if any match your New York Times login, they’ll let you know and make you change your password.
In other words, if you’re using the same password across multiple services (not advisable), this makes you that little bit safer.
It doesn’t sound like that much of a big deal on its own, but it made me think about how too much online security work is reactive, rather than preventative.
Just think about the recent story about fitness tracking company Polar. A flaw in the way they’d set up their service meant anyone could browse through the activity records of all Polar users, simply by adjusting the URL in their browser.
That’s the kind of flaw that shouldn’t make it past the earliest stages of development. How did no-one at Polar think about that potential problem? Software developers have lots of different priorities to juggle, but security should underpin them all. It’s in the best interests of users, and also the software publisher’s legal budget.
I’m generally an optimist, but when it comes to planning or developing anything involving the public, I always assume the worst outcome. It probably won’t happen, but at least you’ll be prepared if it does.
One big read
The EU’s Google Android antitrust decision falls prey to the nirvana fallacy The EU’s Google Android antitrust decision falls prey to the nirvana fallacy
It’s worth reading this critique of yesterday’s EU’s antitrust ruling against Google. “The Commission’s Android decision falls prey to the nirvana fallacy. It conjures a world in which Google offers its Android operating system on unrealistic terms, prohibits it from doing otherwise, and neglects the actual consequences of such a demand.”
One big tweet
…and here’s another viewpoint. Read this thread from rival search engine DuckDuckGo.
We welcome the EU cracking down on Google's anti-competitive search behavior. We have felt its effects first hand for many years and has led directly to us having less market share on Android vs iOS and in general mobile vs desktop. A couple examples...
1:40 PM - 18 Jul 2018
That’s all for today...
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