Opt out, if you can

You have until June 23, 2021 to opt-out of your NHS data being shared with researchers and companies outside of the national health service. Privacy campaigners have raised serious concerns about plans from NHS Digital, which will see the medical histories of more than 55 million patients in England imported into a new database, including mental and sexual health data, criminal records, and more sensitive information. Not included in the database will be patient’s full addresses, any images or videos from consultations, or legally restricted data such as IVF treatment or gender reassignment… More here.

It would be an understatement to say that this makes me uneasy and this feeling increased when I had to battle with my GP to protect my data (you can do so by sending this form to your GP). They seemed to be unaware of what was happening and when I explained it they suggested that it was not a problem and that it would be impossible to cover everyone if all patients asked for this. After a battle they agreed to confirm in writing that my data would not be shared, but having to opt out of something this important is out of order in my view because so many will be left opted in by default.

If you use Alexa, Echo, or many other Amazon devices, you have only 10 days until you’re opted in to an experiment that leaves your personal privacy and security hanging in the balance.

On June 8, the merchant, Web host, and entertainment behemoth will automatically enroll the devices in Amazon Sidewalk. The new wireless mesh service will share a small slice of your Internet bandwidth with neighboring Sidewalk-capable devices that don’t have connectivity. Sidewalk will also help your Amazon devices to a sliver of bandwidth from other Sidewalk users when you don’t have a connection… More here.

Fortunately Sidewalk is not available in the UK, but this is an opt out scheme again and one which will leave the majority opted in by default. We have reached a point where your own internet can be sliced off by a third party. My word…

We’re writing to provide an update on the availability of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels. We’ve been delighted by the response to last month’s announcement and it’s exciting to see the hundreds of new subscriptions and channels submitted from creators across the globe every day.

To ensure we are delivering the best experience for creators and listeners, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels will now launch in June. We will communicate further updates on availability, and best practices to help you prepare your subscriptions and channels, through this newsletter.

Not as imminently concerning, but potentially problematic in the long run. Podcasts are in a good place at the moment; they are becoming more popular, they are attracting big names and anyone can create one with minimal equipment. They run on advertising and that works for everyone, but here comes Apple looking to directly monetise the sector.

I don’t actually think this will work over a longer period because there will always be too many free podcasts for people to listen to and as such it has the potential to lower the audience numbers for the really good podcasts that are likely to go for subscriptions. I also do not like that a company doing as well as Apple wants to even contemplate this move, it pisses me off a little. Just let us have nice things and leave it to grow please.

In August 2002, Schlaff’s luck changed: He learned that a prisoner at Englewood named Scott Kimball knew about a murder plot. Schlaff and a colleague met with Kimball in a small interview room at the prison. Kimball was 36 at the time, a weathered, stocky man who wore a goatee and had a long scar in the center of his forehead. He shared a cell with Steve Ennis, a young drug dealer. Kimball claimed that Ennis had talked about recruiting someone to kill witnesses preparing to testify against him… More here.

And finally, something completely different. The Snitch is an excellent new article over at The Atavist Magazine which is well worth your time in my opinion. Enjoy.

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