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Big Revolution - The big tech amnesty

Welcome to Friday's newsletter. Today I'm mostly sick of the drip-drip-drip of tech security scandals
March 22 · Issue #378 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s newsletter. Today I’m mostly sick of the drip-drip-drip of tech security scandals.
Martin at Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Apple’s new video service may not be very exciting. Recode reports it will be largely focused on helping other streaming services get more customers, and taking a cut. Apple’s own original content could well be little more than an expensive way to get people to pay attention to the offering. We’ll find out more next week.
  • Pinterest could go public as soon as next month. Bloomberg reports the company has accelerated its IPO plans.
  • Microsoft will reportedly launch a version of the Xbox One without a disc drive on May 7th. The console, focused on downloads, apparently has the very Microsoft name ‘Xbox One S All-Digital edition.’
The big thought
Security at Facebook has ben called into question. Credit: CMDR Shane on Unsplash
The big tech amnesty
We shouldn’t really be surprised at the latest Facebook data scandal. I mean, a new one comes along every week, right? The news that hundreds of millions of passwords were stored in plain text is particularly worrying as it wasn’t about unsavoury business practices, and instead caused by poor security among its developers.
Facebook’s data is its business – storing plain text passwords is akin to leaving the Crown Jewels behind an unlocked door. If someone finds out the door is unlocked, you’re in trouble.
The company says there’s no evidence the passwords were accessed outside Facebook, or that staff who had access to the misused them, but – well, it’s hard to trust Facebook these days, isn’t it? We may never have found out about this breach if Brian Krebs hadn’t gone public about it.
And yet most of us read stories like this and then go straight back to using Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. We care, but we don’t really care enough to change our ways.
It makes me wonder whether governments should just force companies big tech companies like Facebook to reveal all their worst practices in one go. “Before we introduce harsher regulation, let’s have an amnesty on all your bad behaviour – let it all out in one go so we can all start with a clean slate.”
That wouldn’t happen because it would be a magnet for civil lawsuits, but it would be interesting to see what would come out if it did. I’m willing to bet that for all the scrutiny of Facebook’s misdeeds, other tech companies have similar practices that would make us gasp with horror… if we ever found out about them.
One big read
Instagram Is Full of Conspiracy Theories and Extremism Instagram Is Full of Conspiracy Theories and Extremism
This might surprise you unless you move in the right (wrong?) circles…
“[Instagram] is likely where the next great battle against misinformation will be fought, and yet it has largely escaped scrutiny. Part of this is due to its reputation among older users, who generally use it to post personal photos, follow aspirational accounts, and keep in touch with friends. Many teenagers, however, use the platform differently—not only to connect with friends, but to explore their identity, and often to consume information about current events.”
One big tweet
When words don’t mean anything…
Jon Swaine
Facebook’s “newsroom”, which is not a newsroom, publishes a piece titled “Keeping Passwords Secure” about how it failed to keep passwords secure
3:37 PM - 21 Mar 2019
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow with your weekend big reads. See you then!
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