Back on BBC News this morning and there were three meaty topics up for discussion: Combating fake news, the fallout from AirBnB’s success and dealing with big tech’s increasing control on data and the EU’s solution only serving to endanger individual’s privacy and consolidate big tech further.
Combating fake news
All the talk is of dealing with fake news by using more tech. That isn’t an easy problem to solve and even though huge amounts of it are removed some get through. Worse, big tech are nervous to deal with high profile politicians who increasingly seem to think acting responsibly is a nice to have.
A much better solution, in the same way a decade ago we learnt not to click on dodgy links in email, is to teach people how to identify it in the first place. The New York Times had a piece looking at the increasing amount of news literacy teaching happening at schools. Research by Stanford and discussed by the FT, found that while most people would say yes they can distinguish, the reality was most people were good at identifying true news but no matter the age or education, fake news was more difficult to identify.
It would be interesting to see how the performance changes for those who have been taught to identify it from a young age.
AirBnB Growth: Areas in the UK now haveone AirBnB for every four homes
The rise of AirBnB has changed the short stay world with many more properties being added and increasing the supply of rooms in cities. This success has brought short letting businesses into the platform as well.
The Guardian points out the imbalance in legal requirements between those short letting businesses and individuals letting out homes. No doubt there needs to be some common standards in place, but behind the story is really the lack of housing available generally. Stopping AirBnB is not the solution to this, building more property is.
EU trying to force Big Tech to share data
The FT discussed the EU’s new data sharing principles this week, which seek to reduce the power Big Tech companies hold on our data and use to build barriers to competition.
The EU is seeking to force Big Tech to share data like health and wellness data, which is a high value market. But this data is also highly sensitive so ensuring it stays secure is also an important factor.
In addition, privacy needs to be taken into account. If I share data with one of the Big Tech companies, I need to be in control of whether that data is shared with another.
GDPR sought to stop this sharing of data, but the end result has been more power being consolidated into the hands of companies like Google and Facebook. Google’s recent announcement that it is turning off cookies, merely serves to consolidate control of more data within Google itself.
Don’t misunderstand me, switching off cookies is the answer. It was a poorly implemented solution to a problem that never took account of privacy issues.
Today though, we need a more open standard that is independent of the large tech companies that is privacy aware.