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Big Revolution - What's up, WhatsApp?

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May 15 · Issue #420 · View online
Big Revolution
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Big things you need to know today
  • Time to update your computer. A newly announced vulnerability in all of Intel’s processors since 2011 mean you should check for an operating system update, whichever OS you’re using. Meanwhile, if for some reason you’re still using Windows XP, Vista, or 7, Microsoft has an update to save you from another nasty exploit.
  • San Francisco has banned the use of facial recognition tech by the police and other agencies. “Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who sponsored the bill, said that it sent a particularly strong message to the nation, coming from a city transformed by tech,” the New York Times reports.
  • Want a top-class phone for less cash? The new OnePlus 7 Pro is getting glowing reviews with only minor complaints.
The big thought
Credit: Rachit Tank on Unsplash
What’s up, WhatsApp?
For years, I’ve hoped that a wider public interest in cybersecurity was just around the corner. After all, tech companies will only prioritise consumer security if it’s something consumers engage with.
If media coverage is anything to go by, it seems that’s finally starting to happen. The WhatsApp hack has received massive media coverage in the UK. It was even top story on the BBC’s Six O'Clock News. People are very interested in a threat to the popular messaging app’s security, it seems.
And yet, if you step back, it wasn’t a huge threat for most people. Only a handful of people worldwide were targeted by the vulnerability. Given the company at the centre of the controversy, the targets were likely to be the kinds of people who would know that nation states were interested in snooping on their activities.
With that in mind, the media coverage around this issue has been disproportionate — as long as you update WhatsApp, you’ll be fine. And yet, I can’t help but feel that the upside is at least people were interested this time.
All to often, major security risks to consumers barely register a flicker of interest with the public, even if they get some mainstream media coverage. If that’s changing, it can only be a good thing.
One big read
Why I (Still) Love Tech: In Defense of a Difficult Industry Why I (Still) Love Tech: In Defense of a Difficult Industry
A bittersweet essay reflecting on a pivotal time for the tech revolution 
One big tweet
Face recognition is just a high-profile tip of the iceberg.
Steven Sinofsky
A debate about face recognition is entirely misplaced serving as anti-tech rhetoric.

Rather it is fundamentally about liberty and freedom of movement w/o presumption of guilt. We're on the verge of a surveillance state. W/ or w/o face recognition a loss of liberty is happening.
12:49 AM - 15 May 2019
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow with more. See you in your inbox then.
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