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👍 Enforce It!
Twitter are suing Elon | GDPR wouldn’t work even if you could enforce it | It’s time for… ‘meat’
Hello, I am writing this issue on a plane because I am a woman of the world (I’m going to Italy to get drunk with lesbians).
This week was good! finally 👍. Why? I’m not sure these reasons are enough, but let’s see:
Shocking: Elon Musk doesn’t want to buy Twitter anymore
Little bit random from me: gonna rant about why GDPR DOESN’T WORK.
Also quite random: how is that whole lab grown meat thing coming along?
👏 Well, well, well… what a surprise
Elon Musk is backing out of the Twitter deal, so now Twitter are suing him. But why is he backing out? It’s not a complicated answer: it’s because he has the personality of a pig’s anus. I don’t see much point in me attempting to impress you with all the details I know about this story. Everyone else on the internet is already doing that:
Motherboard has observed that Elon’s tweets are perfect evidence against him in court.
Charlie Warzel has compared Elon to a raging Facebook boomer; someone who is incredibly online but doesn’t know anything about internet culture.
Casey Newton hits the nail on the head when he points out that Elon’s reason for wanting to buy twitter in the first place (bots) is now the reason he’s backing out. In fact, it was clear that he was about to back out a month ago for this bullshit reason.
I have nothing else to say about this. I would rather elevate and amplify the work of much more successful writers than me than think of more creative ways to shit all over Musk. Sorry.
🕵️ It’s been four years and GDPR has not made the internet any better
Access Now have just released a report which calls for the EU to fix the GDPR. They’re saying that while it’s a great regulation, it has been enforced poorly — and regulations without enforcement are just a SILLY waste of time. I touched on this last week when covering the digital services act.
In case you’ve forgotten, the GDPR is the thing that makes websites do this:
It’s great actually, it ensures that I rage-quit my browser at least twice a week, thus avoid reading what was probably just clickbait anyway. Thank you, intrusive cookie banners, for reminding me that I hate the internet.
So, this Access Now report is mostly about how much enforcement has to go through the Irish regulator, because most Big Tech firms are established there. This means response times are slow, because too much pressure is put on one regulator.
Reading through this report has reminded me of everything I hate about the GDPR and ‘data privacy’ in general. There are just so many problems that really cannot be solved with the GDPR alone, even if it is enforced properly. Here is a smattering of reasons:
☝️ Firstly, even if cookie notices worked on a technical level, they still wouldn’t like… ‘work’. I’m saying this because I used to work for a stupid, over-funded, data privacy start up, and this was almost all I used to think about. A privacy notice will intrude on the content of a website or block it entirely until you interact with it — it asks you roughly something like ‘hey do you consent to being subject to tracking?’ or ‘would you like personalised ads?’ or even just says ‘ these are your choices’. BUT:
In many cases this banner functionally does nothing — it’s just there so that companies can look like they are doing the absolute bare minimum to be compliant. Even if you tell it that you don’t want cookies, you will still get them.
Even if point one was not true, all these banners seem to be built around the idea that users must ‘consent’ to being tracked, but are not even legitimate consent mechanisms. Forcing me to look through a list of advertising partners and unchecking boxes does not feel like consent; reading stupid legal drivel does not feel like consent; just clicking any old button to make the blasted banner go away does not feel like consent.
✌️ Secondly, the way GDPR is enforced pushes too much responsibility onto individuals. And guess what? Individuals do not care. Individuals just want to browse, play games, and chat to their friends. The internet is supposed to be fun and easy. Literally why would anyone bother with scrutinising this enough to even make a complaint with their national regulator? Just a thought: maybe companies, websites, and platforms shouldn’t centre their business models around monetising data?? Maybe they should consider building actual products, instead of just deciding that consumer attention is a product. Unfortunately, this is what the internet has become — and the GDPR is trying to protect us from it, but it is failing because, as mentioned, no one cares.
🤟 Thirdly, keeping data ‘private’ is completely at odds with how the internet works. Data privacy is a strange and misleading term — if you truly wanted to hide ‘your data’ (whatever that is) from outside actors you’d surely just delete it? In the context of the web, the data that you want to keep ‘private’ is probably data that should never have existed in the first place. ‘Data privacy’ is therefore a surreal activity that we engage in begrudgingly, by trudging deep into our privacy settings and asking Google to please for the love of god stop keeping track of our ‘most visited’ places. The very point of the internet is to send data back and forth — the word ‘privacy’ really doesn’t apply. When you’re at home you keep the door closed and draw the curtains while you’re getting changed; that’s privacy. The internet is not your home; it is not a private space that you control; it’s an open space full of idiots trying to have fun.
GDPR is just a plaster on a system that desperately needs to be overhauled; in some ways, the fact that it exists kind of indicates that regulators believe the current state web monetisation is fine. Even if we could enforce it, I doubt very much would change.
🍖 Meat to please you
The future is… lab-grown meat. Extracting meat from living, breathing organisms is DUMB. You have to have farmland, you have to feed the animals, you have to KILL the animals (messy). Not only that, but you are also restricted by what is available to you in the animal kingdom.
If you’re going to cultivate meat in a lab, why limit yourself to beef, chicken, lamb, or whatever might be present in a Tesco frozen lasagne? You can literally invent new meat. Me? I’m all for this. The meat industry is cruel and bad for the environment, and I am very bored of eating ‘steak’ (grow up).
Good news: there is a cultivated meat company called Vow who have created a new kind of meat that they call Morsel. Apparently it somehow tastes like chicken, beef brisket, and seafood all at once. This is ridiculous, and I would like to try it. I disagree with types of meat having their own brand names, but I love the idea of getting lost in ludicrous ‘new meat’ ideas:
What about ‘dripping fin bites’: crunchy little biscuits that taste roughly of beef fat and also raw tuna
Or maybe ‘muddle mince’: meat that is so stringy, it’s basically just tangled protien-heavy spaghetti. The taste really doesn’t matter.
Then there’s ‘always broth’, which I guess would be meat that is permanently in a liquid state.
Anyway… the thing about lab-grown meat is, it’s still extremely expensive and nowhere near scaling up. Morsel will only be available in a fancy restaurant in Singapore. Sorry!
📝 FYI: Newspeak House are taking applications
Newspeak House is a community of political technologists in London, and they are currently accepting applications for their next cohort of residents! Read more about how to apply here, or spread this around your networks — there will definitely be someone you know who will be interested in this. I’ve been a member of Newspeak House for quite a while now, and I would describe the vibe as:
A great place to work, and tell people what you’re working on, and then get immediate helpful feedback
A place for extremely stimulating conversations about everything you care about
Also… great for BBQs. This part has nothing to do with your professional life but it’s still a great thing to think about.
Right that’s it — I’m off to the pool to be gay now. Bye!