Francois Hollande going techie [Bloomberg]

Last week we noted the apparent aversion of Amber Rudd and Jean-Claude Juncker to tech. This week we’ve spotted a former leader’s new passion for it. Francois Hollande, ex-president of France, has re-invented himself as a start-up mentor at Station F, the mega-tech-campus that opened recently in central Paris. Even though Hollande doesn’t have the pro-tech image of his successor, Emmanuel Macron, he did offer tax breaks and incentives for research, worked to attract venture capitalists to France and started a programme to lure foreign tech talent. Appearances can be deceptive….

Tech Team

Is Facebook spinning out of control? [Financial Times]

Facebook’s reputation took a dive with revelations of Russia’s purchase of 3,000 political ads during the US election. Due to its set-up as a self-service platform, anyone with a credit card can buy ads without the need for direct contact with a Facebook employee. That makes the potential for misuse enormous. However, the issue is way bigger than Facebook. Many insurance companies, for example, are heavily investing in digitalisation – from underwriting to customer service to claims management – and they may well face similar problems in the future. It’s no wonder that lack of human oversight in critical processes is moving up policy-makers’ agendas.

Apps can kill our cities [Le Figaro]

Did you ever imagine that by using apps you might be endangering collective interest? That’s what the French National Commission on Computer Technology and Freedom (CNIL) explains in a white paper on the negative effects of digitising urban dwellers. Apps take advantage of the data that users agree (consciously or not) to give. The result? The entire organisation and planning of our cities is destroyed, the itineraries advised by Waze ruin traffic plans, Uber reintroduces cars in the streets when users should be opting for public transport, and accommodation policies are derailed by Airbnb. It’s clearly time that app developers became part of urban policy-making.

Using blockchain to cash-in on your genes [The Next Web]

A new platform designed by Zenome promises an opportunity to cash in on your genetic data. Would you like to contribute to science and monetise the information in one go? Utilising blockchain technology the platform will enable consumers to share their genetic data individually to science firms while storing it securely on peer-to-peer network. By allowing payments for data through a distributed ledger, the company plans to free genetic information for consumers to sell at their own discretion. Talk about a data privacy and ethics conflict.

GDPR D-Day looms large [Silicon Republic]

Any European player with a healthy news diet is by now well aware that GDPR D-Day is on 25 May 2018. What analysts, experts and media are now trying to find out is the impact on businesses. The “why” and “how” headlines just keep coming. One more is emerging in Brussels: how will the General Data Protection Regulation shake up the insurance business? Practitioners in the insurance industry now say that GDPR is their top business disrupter.

In case you haven’t had enough:

Twitter pulls Blackburn Senate ad deemed ‘inflammatory’ [POLITICO]

Catalonia’s technology startups are optimistic for the future [The Next Web]

Welcome to Corporate Adulthood, Facebook. It’s Awful. [Bloomberg]

Algorithms Have Already Gone Rogue [Wired]

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia[The Guardian]


#TechAways is brought to you by Cambre’s Technology Practice led by Victoria Mainand featuring François BarryZachery BishopAlex FilicevasAnne-Claude MartinSimos Piperidisand Teodora Raychinova.

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