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Steve's ITK: Asleep at the wheel

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Steve's ITK

November 25 · Issue #5 · View online
Steve's In The Know: Everything I published recently, commentary you won't find elsewhere, write-ups of events I attended or spoke at, and industry rumours.

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Britain's increasingly dystopian future
Opening thought: A good time to bury privacy
Trump’s U.S. election victory and the continuing Brexit clusterfuck is undoubtedly a good time to bury bad news. But it’s also proving to be the perfect time to bury our privacy.
This week the UK parliament, with barely a whimper, passed the Investigatory Powers Bill. This means it is now a formality that the so-called ‘Snooper’s Charter’ will become law by the end of the year. In other words, mass surveillance is now the UK’s legal modus operandi.
As my colleague over at TechCrunch Natasha Lomas writes:
The legislation creates a legal framework authorizing state actors to hack into devices, networks and services, including in bulk; maintain large databases of personal information on U.K. citizens, including individuals suspected of no crime; and force companies to decrypt data on request — effectively placing limits on the use of end-to-end encryption.
It also requires communications service providers to maintain an ongoing log of all digital services their users connect to for a full year — accessible not only to spy and law enforcement agencies, but a wide range of government agencies too. No warrant is needed for access.
That last bit caught even me by surprise: Internet (and other digital communications) history will soon be legally accessible by not only law enforcement, such as the police or Security Service, but also other government agencies including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Food Standards Agency (FSA), and Department for Transport!
The passing of the Bill not only reflects poorly on the official opposition Labour party, which, as is too common these days, provided almost no effective opposition, but also finds the UK’s free press (ha!) asleep at the wheel.
The ease at which the Investigatory Powers Bill was passed should be cause for national scandal but instead is already in danger of being assigned to a footnote in Britain’s increasingly dystopian future.
CTA: Sign this UK government petition asking for the act to be repealed.
Things I wrote this week
Beyond Nokia: A love story
Listen to Nested CEO on reluctant founders, fundraising, and why you shouldn’t do a startup
Monsanto-owned The Climate Corporation acquires Estonia’s VitalFields
Mobile SDK management platform SafeDK raises $3.5M
German online wealth management platform Cashboard scores €3M Series A
The SaaS Co. closes €800K seed funding to develop AI-driven sales assistant
Closing thought: Lawyer-to-COO
Do lawyers make good startup operators? I have absolutely no idea. However, if the recent career move of Danvers Baillieu, the corporate lawyer-turned-COO, is anything to go by then the answer must be yes.
Back in 2012, Baillieu quit his job at plush law firm Pinsent Masons to become COO of Privax, the company behind VPN HideMyAss!, which was acquired by AVG last year for $40-60 million. And now I understand he’s on the move again. 
This time the destination is Nick Halstead’s new startup Cognitive Logic. The two worked together when Baillieu represented Halstead’s previous company DataSift, which is similar to how he landed the gig at Privax, also a former client.
Talking of former clients, Baillieu’s LinkedIn sees him name check other well-known early stage tech companies that he represented during his former days as a lawyer, including Huddle, KashFlow, GoSquared, and Citysocialising.
However, one name conspicuous by its absence is my old startup Beepl, whom Baillieu helped close its first and only VC round. The less said about that the better 😅
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