Welcome to #TechAways, where our talented tech team – full of voracious readers – introduces you to our selection of the top stories we’ve read each week. We’re here to help you keep up with the hottest developments in the tech world and their implications for Europe.
This will be the last edition of 2017, and we’d like to wish happy holidays to all our loyal #TechAways readers! We’ve been delighted to have you along for the ride as we share new tech ideas and how they might impact our work here in Brussels.
This is but the beginning. We look forward to sharing all things tech with you in 2018.
Was 2017 a turning point for big tech? [New York Times]
Whether you’re a Brussels policy-maker or lobbyist or a fake news junkie following a US special election, 2017 was a massive year for tech. The big platforms have been blamed for undermining the media, creating echo chambers, being channels of hate, enabling rampant sexism – the list goes on. Farhad Manjoo thinks this year was a tipping point. Why? Because employees of big tech firms are asking for change (think the fight against harassment and lack of diversity) and lawmakers are paying (full) attention to tech (we don’t have to update you there 😉 ). Check out his piece to end the year looking back on the highs and lows of 2017.
A 2017 tech performance review [Bloomberg]
As 2017 comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on performances: how did the big tech giants do? Take Facebook, the company is projected to boost sales by 46% and double net income. Great, isn’t it? Bloomberg View’s columnist Leonid Bershidsky disagrees: 2017 was bad for Facebook and 2018 will be even worse. Why? Three looming threats can eventually downsize the company and change its business model. Low taxation, problematic advertising, and unethical targeting have put Facebook in the spotlight of regulators. As he says, “the social networks’ carefree years of unregulated, untaxed growth are coming to an end”. Not the best season’s greetings
The city of love is at war! The mayor of Paris is demanding that five holiday rental websites such as Airbnb take hundreds of apartments off their lists because of owners who didn’t respect the city’s registration requirements. According to Agence France-Presse, Paris registered only 11,000 apartments – less than a fifth of total accommodations listed on the sites. The actions in Paris could pave the way for more regulation in other cities around the Europe.
The Raise of the CryptoKitties! [TechRepublic]
Wonder what CryptoKitties are? Your virtual fluffy fortune! CryptoKitties is a virtual trading game based on the Ethereum blockchain network where the players collect and trade ‘digital cats’ – a digital currency used for payments on the Ethereum platform. What’s the fuzz? A kitty can cost up to $110,000! Unlike traditional collectibles, you can breed two CryptoKitties to create a brand-new, genetically unique offspring. Think Pokémon, but the cats aren’t fighting, and it costs real money to get a hold of the rare ones. While they may be digital cat-ready, experts still wonder – are blockchain technologies scalable enough to be used in real enterprise contexts?
Netflix, I thought we were friends [Washington Post]
It must have been a rough day for the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince daily for the past 18 days when Netflix asked “who hurt you” on Twitter. People were outraged and surprised that Netflix collected and used this kind of data for communication purposes. Yet, it is far more surprising to see that people are still unaware of the amount of data collecting technology companies do. This is not the first campaign of this kind – Spotify ran a very similar one last year. Is it time to relax and have a laugh about this or time to worry about our viewing habits being on blast in 2018?
In case you haven’t had enough
F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality Rules [New York Times]
We could fund a universal basic income with the data we give away to Facebook and Google [The Next Web]
The First Women in Tech Didn’t Leave—Men Pushed Them Out [Wall Street Journal]
Former Facebook executive has sworn off social media because he doesn’t want to be “programmed” [Quartz]
Why Companies Should Prepare for More Data Breach Lawsuits [Wall Street Journal]
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