Splainer

Monday, February 1 2021


Dive In

The fact is that an interconnected ecosystem of companies and data brokers, of purveyors of fake news and peddlers of division, of trackers and hucksters just looking to make a quick buck, is more present in our lives than it has ever been… As I’ve said before, 'If we accept as normal and unavoidable that everything in our lives can be aggregated and sold, then we lose so much more than data. We lose the freedom to be human.'

That’s from a blistering speech made by Apple CEO Tim Cook who unveiled a new tool to control your iPhone’s data privacy called App Tracking Transparency (ATT)—which will force every iOS app that wants to “track” a user to explicitly get their permission. And while he never said the word ‘Facebook’, there was no doubt as to who was the unnamed Voldemort in the room. As Wired explains, this wasn’t a speech. This was a battle cry to kick off the imminent clash of the two tech titans.

Big Story

The campaign to criminalise comedy

TLDR: Two comedians are on the dock for making jokes. Actually scratch that. Munawar Faruqui is in jail for jokes he did not make. And Kunal Kamra is being hauled up for contempt for a series of tweets criticising the Supreme Court. And they both point to a new escalation. It isn’t that a person is being punished for crossing the line. Rather, ‘the line’ has become a fluid lakshman rekha, redrawn at will to target individuals at will.

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Arnab’s forensic audit woes
  • UAE throws open the doors to citizenship for foreigners
  • A fascinating study on our genetic ancestry
  • A four-year old NRI genius

 

Smart & Curious

  • Why endangered Singapore street food has UNESCO status
  • Evolution of the Indian ‘drawing room.’
  • A great explainer on ‘period flu’
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