Recently

Bill Gates accidentally makes the case to regulate the hell out of platform companies

It’s very tricky for platforms… these are winner-take-all markets. It really is winner-take-all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G to company M.

Bill Gates

My hope is after reading Ben Thompson’s Aggregation Theory I will be better equipped to answer the question I have. Ok, so how best to approach the tech industry in a way that promotes competition when the network effect is so strong?

June 2019

Facebook will pay you to let it track what you do on your phone

The app will monitor which apps are installed on a person’s phone, the time spent using those apps, the country you’re in, and additional app data

The Verge

… you don’t say

June 2019

The web the world needs can be ours again, if we want it

By creating a Firefox account you can increase convenience while decreasing your exposure to some harmful parts of the web. An account unlocks the full potential of tools like Lockwise, which securely manages passwords, and Monitor, a service that notifies you when your email has been part of a known data breach.

We’re offering privacy protections by default as you navigate the web because the business model of the web is broken, with more and more intrusive personal surveillance becoming the norm. While we hope that people’s digital rights and freedoms will ultimately be guaranteed, we’re here to help in the interim.

Chris Beard, CEO of Mozilla

I like that Mozilla has put in effort to diverse their offerings and become less dependent on the money from Google for default search. The idea of privacy as a product is red hot right now, while most feel opportunistic I would say this is very much inline with what Mozilla has always strived for.

June 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says photos of travelers were taken in a data breach

Washington Post

CBP said copies of “license plate images and traveler images collected by CBP” had been transferred to the subcontractor’s company network, violating the agency’s security and privacy rules. The subcontractor’s network was then attacked and breached. No CBP systems were compromised, the agency said.

Trusted with a back door because they need it to keep us safe?

June 2019

Podcasts are coming

Podcasts as an industry is going to experience same defining change sooner rather than later.

Spotify begins testing curated podcast playlists

The bigger goal of these tests is to improve podcast discoverability, an issue that plagues the industry.

The podcast industry expected to create $1 billion in annual revenue by 2021

the industry generated an estimated $479.1 million in revenue in 2018 and is expected to produce more than $1 billion by 2021, according to a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC

😳 that’s quite a bit of growth !!!!!

June 2019

Comcast broke law 445,000 times in scheme to inflate bills, judge finds

When we talk about regulation for tech, maybe we should review net neutrality for ISP’s ?🤷🏻‍♂️

King County Superior Court Judge Timothy Bradshaw found that “Comcast violated the Consumer Protection Act more than 445,000 times when it charged tens of thousands of Washingtonians for its Service Protection Plan without their consent,” 

ArsTechnica

Maine lawmakers have passed a bill that will prevent internet providers from selling consumers’ private internet data to advertisers.

The state’s senate unanimously passed the bill 35-0 on Thursday following an earlier vote by state representatives 96-45 in favor of the bill.

Maine passes law preventing ISPs from selling browsing data without consent

June 2019

Open Source Licenses and AWS

Lack of leadership in open source results in source-available licenses

Amazon’s behavior toward open source is self-interested and rational. Amazon is playing by the rules of what software licenses allow. But these behaviors and their undesirable results could be curbed if industry associations created standard open-source licenses that allowed authors of open-source software to express a simple concept:

“I do not want my open-source code run as a commercial service.”

It will be interesting to see how open source licensing evolves over the next couple years with the ever increasing grow of cloud services. 🤔

June 2019

Congress drops proposal to ban the IRS from competing with Turbotax

Follow up from a previous post on blocking the IRS from creating a free tax filing option to compete with Intuit.

Lawmakers are planning to drop a proposal to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from offering a free online tax-filing option, Politico and Pro Publica report. The provision was included in the Taxpayer First Act, which passed the House in April but has not passed the Senate. It was backed by the makers of private tax preparation software, including Intuit (makers of TurboTax) and H&R Block.

ArsTechnica

June 2019

Spotify’s new library design emphasizes podcast discovery

The new design places bolded headings for “music” and “podcasts” on the app’s library page that offer a much quicker way for people to find episodes of podcasts they subscribe to or might be interested in. Spotify users currently have to sift through six categories at the top of their library page to find a dedicated podcast section. 

The Verge

I wonder if the average Spotify user knows what podcasts are right out of the gate. Are they more likely to explore them now that they are front and center? There is a lot to be said for having podcasts as a default, think Apple’s podcast player on iOS, but it is certainly welcomed to have podcasts as a first class citizen on a popular platform like Spotify.

May 2019

It’s fine

I’ve had a growing number of articles in my feed that illustrate the constant behavior of telecommunication companies. As you can imagine it’s not the good kind.

AT&T promised 7,000 new jobs to get tax break—it cut 23,000 jobs instead

Charter squeezes more money out of Internet users with new cancellation policy

Ajit Pai-proposed upgrade to 25Mbps starts paying off for rural ISPs – but it’ll take a decade. 😂

Best of all, the FCC’s chairman doesn’t seem interested in keeping them honest.

Ajit Pai refuses to investigate Frontier’s horrible telecom service

May 2019