Did you know you can solve your problems with Cryptocurrency?

6 min read

Georgia Iacovou

31 May 2019

Normal money Zucks, become a Libra

Facebook are doing this thing where they ‘pivot to privacy’. Some of us think they should have been doing privacy already thus making a pivot unnecessary. Others think that this could be the start of some really encouraging changes. I don’t know where this piece of news sits on that scale.

Your friendly neighbourhood technocrat, Mark Zuckerberg, has realised that providing free products without doing advertising will… not make any money. Haha, woops, better invent a cryptocurrency, I guess!

Illustration of a scale and GlobalCoin

So, ‘Libra’ is the project code name for Facebook’s own cryptocurrency, which they seem to be calling GlobalCoin. An ambitious title, but I guess you get to be this ambitious if you’re friggin Facebook. The point of GlobalCoin is to easily allow payments internally via Facebook’s platforms (whatsapp, messenger, etc), to anyone from anyone. Simply convert your IRL money into GlobalCoin and ride the wave of ‘disrupting mainstream finance’.

Pumping convenience into paying each other money is a good idea, and people like it (just look at Monzo). But for the last decade and a half all Facebook have been doing is finding ways to make connecting with each other ‘more convenient’. What we’ve gotten out of that is a place to learn about your cousin’s best friend’s new baby, and a terrifying amount of power centralised in Mark Zuckerberg’s sweaty, pasty hands. Do we really want to add a cryptocurrency to this mess?

Critics say that Facebook have done little to earn our trust in the realm of data privacy, so it will be hard for anyone to trust them with financial information. I agree with this in theory, but in reality (where we all unfortunately have to live), we do trust Facebook with our data — otherwise we would never have gotten here. And that’s why this is probably going to work. Looking forward to watching it unfold and inevitably spill everywhere like many smashed bottles of extra virgin olive oil in a busy supermarket aisle. Just an oddly specific nightmare I have sometimes…

Bose give up entirely and just flat out spy on their customer’s

Bose are a company that make really high quality head phones for your listening pleasure. These headphones are genuinely the ones I’ve heard my friends talk about the most — they are basically never not on Shad’s (our designer) head.

Hilariously, Bose have been using their headphones to SPY on us; what a world. It’s funny, when writing stuff like this, I always try to limit my use of alarmist language. But there is no other word to use to describe what they’re doing. The Bose Connect app, which you apparently ‘need’ to use Bose headphones, sits neatly on your device and takes not of the following things:

The app also takes your email, name, and headphone’s serial number. Those bits of information are just about the only things that are collected with the user’s consent. Everything else is collected without permission, and that is what spying is. That much overlapping information about users is extremely valuable, so naturally Bose have been selling this to Segment.io, who specialise in the dark and mysterious art of data mining, obviously.

There was a lawsuit filed against Bose about this but a judge threw it out in April, because they said, verbatim, “this doesn’t really count as eavesdropping”. That makes sense, seeing as the justice system have a special skill for grossly mishandling this sort of thing.

Guys, your headphones are already super expensive. Do you really need to do this? Shakes head in disappointment. What we’ve learned:

  1. Anything that comes with it’s own app is just designed to funnel your data into whoever or whatever will turn that data into money
  2. Your headphones can and will be used to predict who you will vote for next
  3. Bose sucks, boycott Bose

Just… let’s put ‘adtech’ in the bin

Yuk, adtech. Technology that makes ads BETTER. Do we really need to make ads better? Does anyone even like ads?

When I see an advert I close the website. No joke. Sam Ballard, designer and illustrator

Right so that’s a no. That’s also not the right question. Whether or not people like ads is besides the point; the point is, ads work. That’s how Quantcast have become a bloated, data-hungry, behemoth. Well, luckily, they are finally under investigation by the Irish Data Protection Commission, who are the top finger-waggers of data privacy in Europe.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just think about any time an annoying banner has blocked your path to delicious website content. those banners are a really great way of getting you to ‘consent’ to tracking technologies which help advertisers tell you what to buy.

Quantcast makes these banners for a living. They’re tracking technologies currently sit on around 100 million websites. That means they are in charge of online advertising and knowing who you are. Which is weird, because you may have never heard of Quantcast until now. Wow, that’s real shady. If this investigation goes well, this could change the face of online advertising.

Ugh I wish there was a button that made you shut up — oh wait

So now when you catch a ride with Uber, you can let the driver know that you don’t feel like chatting with the press of a button. Lot’s of people are up in arms about this, saying that it dehumanises the drivers. Yes, it does. If you’re a dick about it.

Gif of Start Stop button

Here are just some reasons why you might want a quiet ride:

Here are some reasons why you may want to request a quiet ride via the app instead of asking out loud:

Please remember, internet users, that there are terrible disrespectful people everywhere, and they probably make the already putrid experience of working in a gig economy even worse by abusing features such as this ‘be quiet’ button. It’s really hard to police those lot. So while you’re busy complaining about them, you might be forgetting the people who actually need features like this. We’re all just humans here; it’s very possible that Uber drivers don’t always feel like chatting. Maybe they should get a button too?

the author

Georgia Iacovou

Content Writer