Published at 15/03/2021

Last Week in Tech 6

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Camera surveillance of today

We are now aware just how much are we surveilled in the real life. A security cameras startup, Verkada, was hacked*. Despite what they assured their customers of, they had “extensive” access to private customer cameras. The footage from inside prisons, schools, police departments is now on the internet. Some of the footage was published online - few clips even went viral. To make matters worse, some of the cameras use facial recognition technology. Hackers were able to categorise people appearing on videos.

This is yet another hack showing our dystopian, hyperconnected, future. Our future, where everything is connected to the internet, and thus being able to be hacked. Our future where we blindly trust corporations without thinking about it.

Furthermore, it seems as if this hack will not reverse the movement towards complete “IoT-sation” of our lives. The best we can do is to not feed the beast.

  • Hacked is a big word here. In fact what happened is that a hacktivist group members came across login credentials for a “Super Admin” account. Having these privileges meant they were able to access customer cameras live around the world.

Zapier expanding into no-code platforms

In their first acquisition deal, Zapier, a no-code automation platform, [has acquired Makerpad.](has acquired Makerpad.) Makerpad is an education platform about low, and no-code tools.

As a side note, it turns out the transaction happened because of… this thread started by Makerpad’s CEO.

It seems that the transaction makes sense from Zapier’s point of view. That’s because they will drive a significant number of new leads from the acquired site.

If there’s one thing that does not make sense, it’s that this will primarily attract micro and small business owners. That is not that valuable in this case, since Zapier recently made its offer more attractive to bigger businesses.

Substack and journalism

Sarah T. Roberts is warning us about potential threats of “Substack journalism.” One of them, as she argues is the lack of editorial oversight. The truth is, the extensive editorial control over content may be a good thing. Fact-checking makes sure no doubtful claims are made. This is essential in the post-truth era.

On the other hand, it does allow for content creators to be independent. This allows for free circulation of ideas, and views. One of Dr. Roberts’s arguments is that journalism is one of the few failsafes against “anti-democratic maneuvers.” This is wishful thinking, at best. All around the world, there are news outlets, which traditionally side with one political option. We all know how Fox defended Trump up until his late presidency, and how they attack Democrats. We all know CNN is more pro-Democrat. News outlets are (generally speaking) not independent. They represent the interests of their shareholders. We always expect businesses to act in the best interestest of their shareholders. The case is no different here.

We are yet to see the long-term effects of the popularity of such solutions. The time will tell what influence will the paid newsletters have.

Audio Spaces

Spaces, Twitter’s answer to Clubhouse will launch globally by next month. It does not seem company led by Jack Dorsey intends to monetise this new feature in a direct way.

Even though all Android and iOS users will be able to listen in, only select iOS users will be able to create new rooms.

Personally, I expect the introduction of the new feature to receive negative feedback - mainly from “hardcore” Twitter users. You see, Twitter is, and always has been, about getting to the point. It was always about focus. The platform’s point is to convey information as fast as possible, and not about making it more Instagramey or more Clubhousey. It could be, that the social medium is looking to attract new users above everything else, too.