This week in data – 24th May

Uber’s dominance of the ride-sharing industry continues: the company has just announced its latest venture for trucking. Uber Freight works essentially in the same way was the normal Uber app – people looking for trucks to haul their goods can use the service to transport goods across the country.

The company explains how the new system works in a blog post, but it comes during a volatile time for the business. Just this month Uber reportedly faced scrutiny from Apple for reportedly tracking users even after they had downloaded their app.

Europe is getting serious about data regulation. According to consultancy group Oliver Wyman, firms in the FTSE 100 which don’t comply with new “General Data Protection Regulation” could end up facing fines of up to £5 billion a year.

The regulations affect businesses acquiring, retaining and using personal data, and they don’t come into effect until May 2018. Most of the rules relate to how consumers can ask why personal data is collected, how it’s used, and they can even ask businesses erase and stop processing their personal information.

Oliver Wyman issues a dire warning that most businesses aren’t prepared for the new rules: “With fines of up to four percent of global turnover, or €20 million on the table, non-compliance is simply not an option.”

In other news…

Twitter is on the move again, this time making some changes to the app’s privacy rules. Now, the service can store users’ data for a month to use for ad suggestions, instead of just 10 days. It’s also removed a “Do Not Track” feature designed to allow anyone to stop advertisers from tracking browser histories, but has now allowed users to have more control over their experience.

For instance, users can adjust how Twitter makes suggestions and puts less emphasis on “personalisation” of ad experiences.

Meanwhile, font sharing site DaFont has been hacked. According to ZDNet, poor password security was the culprit here: 98% of them were cracked. The site reports the issue was that DaFont’s passwords were protected using a particularly older algorithm that is now easy to bypass.

ZDNet even spoke to the alleged hacker, saying he perpetrated the hack “mainly just for the challenge [and] training my pentest skills.”

The incident shows yet again how any site – big or small – is a target for an attack, even if for no other reason than for a hacker to show off their skills.


The AFR issues a warning following the release of the Productivity Commission report into data usage: Australian governments and companies need to wake up. The report claims data has created a “kaleidoscope” of new business models that Australians are missing out on – and that businesses need to treat data as an asset.

Financial services group UBS says businesses using analytics and data will be on top of a “multi-decade boom” for technology stocks. The firm’s head of equity sales Clinton Wong told the AFR that being able to “manage, analyse and exploit” huge amounts of data will lead to significant growth.

Until next week.

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