[AxisOfEasy] Ford CEO: Our Next Revenue Stream Is Monetizing Driver Data

Weekly Axis Of Easy #75

This week’s quote:  “Premature optimization is the root of all evil.” …by ????

Last Week’s Quote was  “Far Better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” …by Teddy Roosevelt.

THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted to the comments below.

The Prize: First person to post get their next domain or hosting renewal is on us.

In this issue:
  • China’s ZTE implementing Venezuela’s new “Fatherland” ID card
  • How expiring domains enable cybercrime
  • BGP Hijack causes major Google outage
  • The Tech Start-up Bubble is a derivative of the stock-market bubble
  • National facial recognition database to use loyalty points to ID shoppers
  • Ford CEO: Our next revenue stream is monetizing driver data
  • Learn from my mistakes: Don’t promote URLs you don’t fully control
  • Potential mail delivery suspension to Toronto

China’s ZTE implementing Venezuela’s new “Fatherland” ID card

10 years ago, Hugo Chavez visited China, and while there, the top executives at ZTE showed him how they were building a national smart card infrastructure that would facilitate widespread monitoring and tracking of all citizenry. That system, of course, was the precursor to China’s “Sesame Credit”, the social network that gamifies obedience to the State and becomes compulsory for all citizens in 2020.

And now, Venezuela, basking in the glory of socialism (inflation to exceed 1,000,000% this year while the citizenry are slaughtering zoo animals for food), will implement ZTE technology to create a national ID card in Venezuela called “carnet de la patria”, or “The Fatherland card”. Critics and human rights groups are worried that this will be a tool to control citizens and to allocate increasingly scarce resources to loyalists. “Venezuelans with the cards have more rights than those without”.

(Charles Hugh Smith also offers an excellent commentary on why other governments around the world find China’s Sesame Credit so attractive: https://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-implicit-desperation-of-chinas.html )

How expiring domains enable cybercrime

When you let a domain, you were once using in production, expire you can actually cause some damage by doing so. Brian Krebs describes how cybercrooks scoop up expired, once-used domains and stand up fake premium brand websites to  scam credit card info. My read on why they target expired sites in particular is to leverage the existing traffic and backlinks.

Our rule of thumb: If you’ve ever used a domain for anything related to your business, and you’re done using it as a separate name, then downgrade it to the lowest service level and simply redirect it (with a 301 redirect) to your main production domain.

BGP Hijack causes major Google outage

Back in June I warned that BGP leaks would become an emerging theme to worry about in the absence of widespread adaptation for some method of authenticating routing announcements. Since them Cloudflare suffered a brief BGP leak, we had one ourselves that lasted for 12 minutes originating out of Brazil, and last week, Google had /19 of their netspace hijacked and announced out of Nigeria. The ISP in question said it was inadvertent, but the point remains: at least one event this year was a deliberate name server hijack (Amazon Route 53 / MyEtherwallet) and this stuff isn’t going away anytime soon.


The Tech Start-up Bubble is a derivative of the stock-market bubble

Following on the theme of last week’s piece on how the tech start-up bubble is largely a Ponzi scheme, I came across an interesting data point (actually graphs of data points) that show how if you plot the number of VC funding deals that raise 100M or more and put that against a graph of the wider stock market, especially the Nasdaq, they track exactly. Big surprise. However I suspect this also holds true for bond issues, share buybacks (especially levered ones) et al.

National facial recognition database to use loyalty points to ID shoppers

I should have guessed that there are entire websites that track developments in the world of biometrics, and one I found here carried a story on how retail biometric systems are now advanced enough to conduct facial recognition on in-store shoppers in realtime. This technology can be used at self-checkouts to age-verify customers purchasing restricted items like tobacco or alcohol (and in places like China it could cross-reference that to update your citizen quality score). “What we’re seeing is immense hybridization going on in terms of payment, ticketing, identity all getting molded into one”.

Ford CEO: Our next revenue stream is monetizing driver data

Earlier this month Ford CEO Jim Hackett went on NPR’s “Freakonomics” podcast  to wax enthusiastically about Ford’s new revenue stream: monetizing the consumer data of Ford buyers and drivers, saying quite literally:

“We already know and have data on our customers. By the way, we protect this securely; they trust us. We know what people make. How do we know that? It’s because they borrow money from us. And when you ask somebody what they make, we know where they work, you know. We know if they’re married. We know how long they’ve lived in their house because these are all on the credit applications. We’ve never ever been challenged on how we use that. And that’s the leverage we got here with the data.”

Ok then. So that means someday when I get behind the wheel of my Taurus they’re going be able to send targeted ads to my GPS display based on my lease application data? I can hardly wait.

Learn from my mistakes: Don’t promote URLs you don’t fully control

So I managed to hose my own email for a few weeks when I inadvertently put a link into my .signature file flogging my book. But that link had a terrible reputation in external spam filters and that meant a lot of my email never made into my intended recipients mailbox, going into their spam filters instead. (If you were expecting an email from me these last few weeks which never arrived, check your spam folder or just hit me up again. It’s fixed now).

Find out how I shot myself in the foot and don’t do what I did:

Potential Mail Delivery Suspension To Toronto

A quick note that Canada Post is on strike and are contemplating suspending delivery into Toronto.  If you usually pay for your easyDNS services by cheque, we urge you to consider using a different payment method (i.e. keep a credit card on file) to avoid suspension of any services.

That’s it for this week.

P.S All of these stories, every week, all add up to the same thing: Get and read Aldous Huxley’s non-fiction follow-up to his seminal novel, written in 1956 Brave New World Revisited. I’m going to try to talk to the publisher about making an audiobook of this.

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