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Tech Team

Is Estonia run like a tech company? [Quartz]

Estonia is often praised as the digital darling of the EU. Most government services are offered online 24/7 and are secured by blockchain technology. Processes like medical prescriptions, taxes and car-buying are all done online. Estonians expect that their government, like the private sector, is constantly innovating. That innovation goes beyond rolling out new technology. Kersti Kaljulaid, the President of Estonia, explains it’s also in the process of bringing business, citizens and government together. Check out her great piece in Quartz describing why and how Estonia went all-in on digital and what other public-private partnerships can learn from their success.

Could blockchain solve Facebook’s privacy problems? [The Verge]

This week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that he is “potentially interested” in using blockchain as a way to give users the ability to pick and choose which apps to allow access to their data while also limiting the amount of data shared. However, there are also potential drawbacks – decentralised access to Facebook would mean that if a massive data breach occurred (like Cambridge Analytica) those third-party apps that violated privacy rules could still run freely, and recourse would be much more difficult. As usual, there’s no easy or perfect solution.

Kids laying down social media rules on their parents [The Atlantic]

Teens and tweens are waking up to the reality that they have a virtual identity before they can even conceptualise consent. Whether it’s the school or sports club posting activities including their details online or their parents uploading embarrassing pictures of them as toddlers, kids are realizing a chunk of their life is already public before they even learn to navigate social media. Today, these kids don’t have many paths for redress other than pleading with their parents to approve each picture of them before they put it up. When these Instagram babies become adults, this debate could heat up. With a rapidly evolving privacy landscape, our definition of digital rights could be very different by then.

😄⬆📈📜⛓⚖ – Don’t get it? Well, neither do judges [The Verge]

Since their launch in Japan in the late 90s, emoji have become so popular they are changing how we communicate to the point that more and more winky faces are showing up as evidence in court. According to US law professor Eric Goldman, between 2004 and 2019 there has been an exponential rise in emoji and emoticon references in US court opinions. Given their ambiguity, their proliferation could certainly become an issue in the future. What’s more, the emoji-mania only seems to be getting bigger and bigger especially in places such as Queensland (Australia) where drivers will soon be able to add an emoji to their license plates. No eggplants or peaches allowed, sorry.

In case you haven’t had enough…

Meet the brain Macron tasked with turning France into an AI leader [Wired]

Can Big Tech be fixed? CDT CEO Nuala O’Connor is “long-term optimistic.” [Recode]

Women built the tech industry. Then they were pushed out. [Washington Post]

Google exec reorganizes policy shop as global threats loom [Axios]

Mark Zuckerberg explains why an ad-free Facebook isn’t as simple as it sounds [Recode]

The rise of the WeWorking class [New York Times]