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Big Revolution - The pain and the gain

The big day is here – Friday!... and also GDPR day. More on that below. Welcome to today's Big Revolu
May 25 · Issue #89 · View online
Big Revolution
The big day is here – Friday!… and also GDPR day. More on that below. Welcome to today’s Big Revolution.

Big things you need to know today
Credit: Andres Urena on Unsplash
- Scary stuff for Amazon Echo users: An Arizona couple say their device recorded a private conversation and emailed it to one of their contacts. Amazon says it was caused by an unlikely chain of events. It seems the users probably had their Echo’s volume turned down, so missed the confirmation requests.
- Hardware is hard: Android creator Andy Rubin’s company Essential has reportedly cancelled its second smartphone and is considering selling itself off.
- Netflix briefly topped Disney in market value yesterday. Now that’s what I call a sign of the times.
- Remember StumbleUpon? Once a hot property in social media, it’s now shut down. “One of StumbleUpon’s greatest strengths was its simplicity, offering up content with a single click. But Camp notes in his post that its simplicity was ultimately its detriment in the ever-changing online world.”
- The mass of scooters flooding San Francisco streets in recent weeks face a reckoning. City authorities have banned them from the first week of June. They will decide which operators (if any) can return to service later that month. It’s like GDPR for scooters.
The big thought
The LA Times, as viewed from Europe today.
The pain and the gain
After two years of build-up and a frenzy of last-minute, panicked activity over the past week, GDPR has finally taken effect.
There will be millions of websites out there that don’t comply with the new rules. Maybe their operators have abandoned them, don’t manage them full-time, haven’t thought their responsibilities, or have a niggling thought at the back of their head that they really should get around to thinking about it at some point.
But as the sun rises on this new data protection regime, it’s interesting to see how some online service operators have changed. 
Some have gates that stop you doing anything until you’ve accepted new settings. Visit an Oath website like Engadget or TechCrunch, and you’ll get an opportunity – if you click through enough options – to opt in or out of tracking by over 100 different adtech providers.
Some apps take a similar approach – I couldn’t use Twitter’s Android app today until I’d confirmed my privacy settings.
And then there’s the nuclear option. Some American newspaper sites are currently inaccessible from the EU. Given EU citizens are covered by GDPR no matter where in the world they are, how long before someone flies over to L.A. and reports the L.A. Times for non-compliance? Some apps like have banned EU users, too.
And finally, there’s the nuclear obliteration option of shutting down completely. Klout’s shutdown was said to be expedited by GDPR. 
Some will say that this pain simply isn’t worth it, that it shows a lack of understanding of the internet economy, and that it will kill many small businesses who can’t comply.
There’s some truth in those arguments (although it’s likely regulators will go much easier of small businesses than large, as long as they’ve shown some willingness to deal with the issues at hand), but really, this is all long overdue. In a world of data breaches and increasingly opaque, automated data processing techniques, it just isn’t fair or sustainable to keep users in the dark about what’s happening to information about them.
We should end up with a better internet. The short-term pain is worth the long-term gain. 
One big read
How you can design end to end on a Chromebook How you can design end to end on a Chromebook
It’s pretty impressive that you can work as a professional designer with a Chromebook. I reckon you’ll still hit a wall of functionality (or at least convenience and speed) sometimes, but it’s good to see what’s possible these days.
One big tweet
Twitter was a much calmer place 10 years ago…
Andy Baio
Want to see what your Twitter timeline would've looked like 10 years ago today, if you followed all the same people you do now?
6:10 PM - 24 May 2018
That’s all for today...
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