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The FTC is Having a Moment — Even Though it Hasn’t Done Anything Yet:
That fine against Facebook for data mishandling and privacy trampling hasn’t happened yet, but $3-5 billion is the number estimated in the company’s quarterly earnings report. Some think $5 billion won’t even phase Facebook. Even if so, that’s not Facebook’s only concern. Its shares are roller-coastering on news that it and Amazon are under the FTC’s authority in determining whether the companies are running afoul of U.S. antitrust laws. According to the WSJ, the DOJ has dibs on investigating Alphabet/Google and Apple for antitrust, which means of course that Google’s, Apple’s, and Amazon’s share prices are in flux as well.
Though all this smacks of of high schoolers divvying up their science project duties, Fred Vogelstein and Nitasha Tiku at Wired explain why The New Antitrust Scrutiny Should Worry Silicon Valley. Namely, the EU has been active in this area and the U.S. playing aggressive catch-up may well have election-cycle value. It’s worth noting that Microsoft, with its own storied antitrust history, doesn’t seem to be one of the topics in this particular science, er, antitrust project.
Happy Bday GDPR:
It’s just over a year since the EU enacted the GDPR. Here’s some of the fallout:
UK thinktank BounceX (whose motto is “Market to People, not Cookies”) finds that “UK consumers feel positively about GDPR and generally trust companies to use their data correctly,” but “Despite this positive sentiment surrounding GDPR, consumers haven’t noticed much of a change in their online experience or behaviors.” Also, “Consumers aged 18-34 are both more aware of and more receptive to GDPR than those 44+.”
Snow Software’s survey revealed that while some feel more protected, others still feel vulnerable, and EVERYONE hates the flurry of pop-ups and opt-ins thirsty for consent before you can continue.
Thinktank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) thinks that some time around its second birthday the GDPR should be evaluated to see where it has worked and where it could use improvement.
Different Browsers, Different Tasks: Do you have different email addresses you use for different things? Work, personal, commercial interactions (so the spam they send you after goes only to a specified account)? Then this browser compartmentalization (in the name of privacy) advice is going to make perfect sense to you and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t thought of it sooner.
Different Representatives, Different Messages: If you’ve ever noticed that Marketing and Legal can say entirely different things on the same subject, you’ll appreciate that “[j]ust one day before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a shareholder meeting that he wants to build a ‘privacy-focused social platform,’ the company’s lawyer argued that privacy doesn’t actually exist on Facebook.”
Before long, insurance companies may use Google Street View images of your home to decide how to rate your auto insurance.
“[A]round 14 million applicants for nonimmigrant visas and some 700,000 applicants for immigrant visas” to visit the United states will now be required to list “five years’ worth of phone numbers, email addresses, and social media handles as part of the application process.” Yes , this is onerous and awful. And yes, it could have been worse: just two years ago, peoples’ account passwords were in play as well.
Finally, to conclude this tech policy discussion on a somewhat higher note, researchers are developing a tool called Claudette to automatically detect and warn you about unfair clauses in online terms of service. Will this be just as annoying and ignored as all the GDPR pop-ups
When was the last time you considered the words “insightful, thoughtful, vulnerable, and important,” and “Paris Hilton” in the same breath? Watch Ms. Hilton and others describe the pitfalls of fame on social media in American Meme.
Also be sure to catch The Weekly on FX, which is essentially the NYT’s The Daily in a longer video format. Episode 1 tackles the issue that while school choice is good, unregulated private schools running amok are bad — in this particular case, in ways that give Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman a run for their (considerable, poorly spent) money.
Read: Available Thursday, Afropean: Notes from Black Europe, by Johny Pits.
[A]n on-the-ground documentary of areas where Europeans of African descent are juggling their multiple allegiances and forging new identities. Here is an alternative map of the continent, taking the reader to places like Cova Da Moura, the Cape Verdean shantytown on the outskirts of Lisbon with its own underground economy, and Rinkeby, the area of Stockholm that is eighty percent Muslim. Johny Pitts visits the former Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, where West African students are still making the most of Cold War ties with the USSR, and Clichy Sous Bois in Paris, which gave birth to the 2005 riots, all the while presenting Afropeans as lead actors in their own story.
Listen: Anatomy of Next from The Founders Fund. I’m not going to spoil it for you, just dive in.
Gear Grind: You can’t wear AirPods or other wireless ear buds while being active. They’ll fall out, they don’t feel good under a helmet, and when you’re skiing or running or riding a bike it’s not great to stuff your ears with a device that prevents you from hearing what’s actually around you. All this is solved by the AfterShokz Trekz Air bone conduction headphones, recommended to me by a friend who’s a hardcore cyclist and skier. They’re light, sit in front of rather than in your ears, have good sound, and you can hear people talk and other nearby sound. You’re welcome!
(Want to see all the Inbox 5K Gear commentary? Here you go.)
Support: The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) recently issued a report predicting that due to human practices a million or more species, many of which have survived for millions of years, will become extinct within decades. The first place I thought of upon learning this was Colombia. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet, second only to Brazil. Yet, the country is understandably motivated to make use of, exploit, and perhaps ultimately destroy the natural resources it enjoys. “The Nature Conservancy works with governments at all levels, companies from all sectors and civil society to conserve [Colombia’s myriad plant and animal habitats], and demonstrate how infrastructure and production are not threats but allies in maintaining their good health.” Donate here.
(Want to see all the Inbox 5K “Support” recommendations? Here you go.)
Sustain: There are many ways to become an active citizen through your wardrobe and reduce your fashion industry waste footprint, but here’s a good one: can you commit to buying no new clothes for three months? (You can buy secondhand clothes, but not new; you don’t have to buy any!) If so, why not take part in Slow Fashion Season?
If 10,000 people participate, we will save up to 360 million liters of water and prevent 1,4 million kilograms of CO2 being emitted. Also, textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of clean water globally, only after agriculture. Then there is the enormous waste creation (148 million tons by 2030) and land use (115 million hectares by 2030), and we haven’t even started on labour conditions yet...
(Want to see all the Inbox 5K “Sustain” recommendations? Here you go.)
Imbibe/Ingest: Here’s a pairing for you.
First, Akua Kelp Jerky:
A delicious, nutrient dense, high-protein vegan snack made with regeneratively ocean-farmed kelp from the pristine waters of Maine, U.S., as well as top quality shiitake mushrooms, and superfoods like nori, turmeric, spirulina, and more.
I’m personally partial to the Rosemary & Maple BBQ, which has a “my horse took a right at Abilene and headed for the coast” vibe. But you should make up your own mind, and their variety pack will help you do so.
Second, because I’ve never been one to shy from pairing ocean flavors with a spicy red, pop open The Pundit from Tenet Wines:
The color is deep ruby with garnet highlights. Raspberry jam and citrus with soy and earthy undertone aromas are complemented by a brambly, subtle meaty character. A smooth mouthfeel glides into a long silky finish with flavors of juicy blueberry, hints of tobacco and subtle gamey undertones.
90% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 4% Mourvèdre, 2% Viognier (co-fermented with Syrah).
(Want to see all the Inbox 5K Imbibe/Ingest recommendations? Here you go.)
If you’re in Southern California this Thursday 6/6, I’ll be at UCLA speaking at the California Lawyers Association’s 2019 IP and the Internet Conference. Mike Masnick is keynoting, and the roster features Tyler Ochoa and many other tech law luminaries. I’d love to see you there.
Speaking of Mike, I was his guest recently on the Techdirt Podcast, where we pondered how to help voters elect tech policy-savvy lawmakers, and what incentives might encourage lawmakers to make sound tech policy decisions.
Finally, I recently interviewed Brian Hofer on Triangulation. Brian drafted the ordinance that bans San Francisco city agencies from using facial recognition technology, and works to ensure transparency in use of surveillance technology throughout the Bay Area. We had a fascinating, informative discussion I think you’ll enjoy.
Inbox 5K Notes:
Endorsements, suggestions, and recommendations in Inbox 5K are unpaid unless indicated otherwise. I highlight and recommend things I like or find useful, in hope you might feel the same. Sometimes I’ll mention a company, product or service offered by a friend, acquaintance, or family; rest assured they’re not paying me or haven’t asked for placement here unless I tell you that’s the case.
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