TimeMachiner. Tech, culture, nostalgia. By Aaron Crocco
The Stream
Benn Jordan Reveals the Streaming Music Grift
December 3, 2021

Benn Jordan, known for writing music under the name The Flashbulb, has uploaded a 20-minute video to YouTube in which he goes over how he's been scammed. And not by some ordinary person, but by a reputable NYT reporter. At first, this video seems quite long for viewing. But Jordan goes into many details on how New York Times reporter Ian Urbina has allegedly scammed him. Jordan says he was solicited to write original music in exchange for potential exposure.

We know exactly what exposure is worth: zero.

The video is a full takedown of Urbina's position wherein he allegedly solicited artists to write music, dangled promotion as the reward, then used the contract & copyright to earn all the money. It's a fascinating exposure of the way streaming music and contracts can work against an artist. Benn Jordan and other artists put work and love into creating music for Urbina's project. They get nothing in royalties. It's a pretty crappy way to treat people.

You can view the video here to see the full story of how this grift

Future Android Phones May Get Always On Camera
December 2, 2021

No thanks. I don't know how else to respond to this announcement by Qualcomm where they showed off the newest version of their Snapdragon Generation 8 processors. This chip supports an always on camera. The Snapdragon is the heart of nearly every Android phone on the market, not to mention many electronics out there. Mark Hachman over at PC World has more details about this privacy invasion.

Essentially, it will be able to automatically unlock your phone, but also notice when someone may be peering over your shoulder and alert you...

Qualcomm also showed off a video where a cook propped up his smartphone against a mixer, then periodically crouched down to unlock his phone and turn on the screen — and showed that the recipe that he was using. The phone can also hide sensitive notifications when someone else may be looking at it, too.

PC World

While I get what Qualcomm is trying to accomplish here, I can see the multitude of privacy issues with this setup. Even if Qualcomm down the road insists everything is processed locally. Even if Qualcomm says the data is secure without the ability for software to access it. Even with any assurance they may put out there. Without a way to turn the camera off, this is a non-starter for me (and I'm sure for others).

Apple had to do a lot of heavy lifting with getting people comfortable with Face ID. I personally trust it because everything is done in-house without one company making the chip, another the hardware, another the app that has unfettered access to the Secure Enclave, etc.

Does Qualcomm make good chips? Absolutely. They've basically cornered the non-Apple market. Only one major manufacturer has peeled away and that is Google who now makes their own Tensor chips. But think of this Snapdragon chip in a Facebook Meta Portal device. Meta is strongly motivated to take every shred of input possible. A camera that never shuts off is like catnip for them. Amazon, while not as bad as Meta, thrives on user data. It's easy to imagine a scenario where they want this technology inside their own Show devices.

If Qualcomm or a phone manufacturer is looking to avoid a PR debacle, they will need to also do tons of heavy lifting (like Apple) that takes years of trust-building and a track record of proving the technology is safe. Right now, I don't believe any Android phone manufacturer who tries to pitch this as secure.

UK Says Meta Must Sell Giphy
December 1, 2021

It was only a matter of time before antitrust investigations landed on a negative ruling for Facebook Meta.

The independent CMA panel reviewing the merger has concluded that Facebook would be able to increase its already significant market power in relation to other social media platforms by:

- denying or limiting other platforms’ access to Giphy GIFs, driving more traffic to Facebook-owned sites – Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – which already account for 73% of user time spent on social media in the UK.

- changing the terms of access by, for example, requiring TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat to provide more user data in order to access Giphy GIFs.

CMA Press Release

That second point of the ruling is quite a stinging conclusion for Meta. The UK government knows Meta is in the business of sucking up every iota of users' personal information and anything they can hook into on the web and in apps. Meta can leverage Giphy's value by requiring personal information from company's users in order to get Giphy access.

In ruling that they must sell Giphy, the CMA is putting the first dent into Meta's business. What remains to be seen is whether this ruling is actually enforced. Further, would Meta only sell their UK stake of Giphy or the whole thing altogether? One thing is for sure: Facebook has never backed down from a fight. Orders are more of a suggestion to them. They will not go quietly.

What did you think of this issue?

Photo of Aaron Crocco with his Delorean
TimeMachiner is written and produced by Aaron Crocco
In the past, I wrote some books. Now, I’m putting my words down here.

My goal is to bring curious readers like you a great mix of tech, culture, and nostalgia direct to your inbox. I hope you enjoyed today's issue.

🙌🏻 ❤️ You can help me keep TimeMachiner sustainable by purchasing a Time Traveler membership.


My amazing members help keep the lights on. Plus they get some cool benefits. Why not join them?

Thank you for reading and sharing.



❌🕵🏻‍♂️TimeMachiner is sent with NO spy tracking. I respect your privacy.

📩 If you have something to say, simply reply to this email.

custom twitter instagram 
Unsubscribe   |   Manage your subscription   |   View online

Manage your membership

📥 Did a fantastic friend forward this issue to you? Get TimeMachiner in your own inbox. Subscribe here.