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Big Revolution - You've been scored

Welcome to Thursday's newsletter, and there's plenty to share today... — Martin from Big Revolution
May 30 · Issue #432 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Thursday’s newsletter, and there’s plenty to share today…
— Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Google Maps will soon show speed limits and speed camera locations in more than 40 countries. Android users will also be able to report mobile speed cameras for all users to benefit from. Google’s Waze already offers these features.
  • Amazon is rolling out the ability to ask Alexa to delete your recent voice command recordings. The privacy-focused move comes as the company announces a new Echo Show with a 5.5-inch screen.
  • Twitter is adding the ability to add up to three guests to your live video streams. The feature first appeared recently on the separate Periscope app.
  • Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund is expanding around the world. The fund that has supported new ideas to help the European news industry innovate over the past four years has launched its first ‘challenge’ in North America. Other parts of the world will follow soon.
Sharpen up your marketing copy
The big thought
Being barred could have bigger consequences in the future. Credit: Alexandre Godreau on Unsplash
You’ve been scored
As often seems to be the case, a couple of news stories popped up yesterday that, viewed together, point to a disturbing trend.
Firstly Uber announced it will deactivate the accounts of passengers who maintain a below-average score. Secondly, a company that operates software to help bars and nightclubs in the US check IDs of patrons is offering up its database as a kind of nationwide blacklist of people banned from bars.
Imagine getting just a little too drunk one night and later finding out you were not just banned from the bar you were at, but from every bar in the country. And after you annoyed your Uber driver on the way home, you find out you’re banned from Uber worldwide, too.
A case that extreme is unlikely to happen based on these systems as they are, but the potential is there, and it shows how our behaviour will increasingly be logged and scored. Insurance is once application of this data, but there are plenty of others — some fairer than others.
Being banned by Uber might not seem like too bad a punishment, but that’s until you need a taxi in a town where Uber has all but wiped out the competition, and getting a rival taxi is near impossible.
You only have to look to China for how far this can go. The social credit system being developed there aims to keep citizens’ behaviour in check by imposing sanctions on those who behave poorly and offering perks to those who behave well.
In a culture that puts common good above individual rights, like China, this makes some sense — even if we in the West may often view it as pure authoritarianism. But there’s no reason why we won’t see similar systems creep into American or European life.
A certain kind of mindset and political viewpoint would love to keep us all in check this way. They wouldn’t even need to be a nefarious dictator. For example, a ‘traditional family values’ politician may win votes on a platform that enforces those values through behaviour scoring.
There’s nothing to worry about too much here yet, but a future in which we’re scored for everything, and pay big for past mistakes that would otherwise have been quickly forgotten, may creep up on us before we know it.
One big read
Donald Trump’s Wikipedia page: inside the brutal, petty battles over the president’s entry. Donald Trump’s Wikipedia page: inside the brutal, petty battles over the president’s entry.
A look at a Wikipedia warzone.
One big tweet
Not all of Apple’s efforts to convince the world it doesn’t have an App Store monopoly stand up to scrutiny…
Owen Williams ⚡
wow, so much browser competition on iOS...

*checks notes*

....where every browser is forced to use Apple’s rendering engine AND the default browser can’t be changed
7:23 AM - 30 May 2019
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow for Friday’s edition. In the meantime, if you have any feedback on this newsletter, you can hit ‘reply’ to this email to get in touch.
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