Howdy my dear subscribers. Sometimes I think COVID-19 is to humans that WannaCry is to Windows XP. Anyway, on with the show...
This week was sort of okay I guess? 🤷🏻♀️; the wet-watery middle ground of my five point scale. Why?
- CES has brought some hilarious new technologies to the fore
- I'm allowed to tweet but the president of the US isn't — what a feeling.
- Let's all try and migrate away from WhatsApp. Again.
🚫 Jumping on the ban-wagon
Now that the private sector needs to suck up to Democrats instead of Republicans, they've all decided to finally ban Trump from their platforms. This has nothing to do with politics or solidarity — that stuff is messy. It just makes good business sense!
Key timeline facts for you to regurgitate to the poor people who do not subscribe to Horrific/Terrific:
- Trump used his platform to incite violence, and it worked very well
- Twitter spinelessly put Trump on mute for a pathetic 12 hours
- Facebook banned him for "at least two weeks", other platforms such as Twitch and Reddit also did some banning
- Twitter bans him for real, roughly four years too late
- Parler becomes the number 1 app on the Apple Store
- Google removes Parler from their Play Store (de-platforming a platform — now THAT'S power)
- Apple removes Parler from the app store
- AWS terminates Parler's account. But not before the people who stormed the Capitol were burned by Parler's insecure direct object reference.
- White supremacists are reminded that they are welcome to choke on my entire fat ass (this part is async; can go anywhere in the timeline...)
Let's also just take a moment to appreciate that Trump tried to ban TikTok months ago and failed, whereas TikTok banned Trump quickly and as a matter of routine; an afterthought on the CEO's todo list; a tedious little agenda item to tick off.
But wait: this much banning, going up the stack (or down the stack? I don't presume to know how stacks work) to web hosting sets a bit of a scary precedent. Sure it's all fine now, because we hate Trump and all the people who use Parler, but this does mean that if they so choose, these three companies (Apple, Google, Amazon) can banish you into oblivion.
WhatsApp 🔜 🗑
- Facebook have been collecting WhatsApp metadata since 2016. Because why would they buy a service if they cannot harvest data from it??
- The very key thing here is that WhatsApp are suddenly giving you a 'choice' to 'opt-out'. If you don't agree to continue to be treated like the raw material that you are, you will locked out on the 8th of February 2021. Pro-tip: it doesn't really count as a choice if one of the options is being kicked off the service.
- The changes in policy affect those with a WhatsApp business account... something to do with financial transactions, god I don't know. The important thing is that we seize the moment
- Signal are apparently working on a migration tool, but for now you can get people to join your Signal group by using a link — it's the easiest way, I've found
☝️ Hilarious fact: The end-to-end encryption that WhatsApp continually boast was only made possible by Signal's protocol. So literally the only good thing that WhatsApp had going for it (which is bare minimum anyway) was built by Signal.*
💆♀️ Non-hilarious opinion: in this era of technocratic late-stage capitalism, products are not built for people. People are plied into 'needing' the products that the system wants to build. And that's why tat like WhatsApp exists.
*Special shout out to Alix Dunn, who was the one who initially made me aware of this. I am helping Alix edit her ideas for her Substack The Relay which you should 100% also subscribe to — she's even cleverer than I am.
🚽 Finally, some technology that will eat my shit and like it
It was CES this week, which means if you can think of a stupid gadget or unnecessary piece of technology, it's probably already been announced. I found the following stood out in particular:
A wellness toilet that looks at your poo and then gives you recommendations on how to improve your life. Sounds like a fucking nightmare — why would you want to be overly coddled by a robot who has unsolicited opinions about your shit? Also (red flag) where would all this health data be going?
Hex Home, a wave-based security system. It can tell when people are moving around your house, because they disturb wifi waves. Sounds amazing. Should be used for VR/AR games, and not as yet another piece of surveillance tech to embed inside your home.
And then we have Cove, which is some sort of de-stressing device (not a vibrator). You... wear it and it... makes you less stressed. Because we all know, the one and only way to decrease stress in your life is by adding MORE technology — fact.
If it's not obvious yet, I thoroughly dislike smart devices. Perfectly well functioning objects do not need to be added to the IoT network. It never ends well. Case and point: even your genitals are not safe.
End note: thank you for reading all this stuff that I Googled for you and then arranged neatly in an email