Hi Everyone,

It’s becoming clear to me that in regions without unified leadership against COVID-19, safe restarts will not be possible. Places such as Vietnam and Taiwan, where we have offices, are keeping their citizens safe (and working), while others are not…

In this unfortunate time, Bitmark hopes to make a difference. Let me get you caught up with what’s new at Bitmark:

We teamed up with Girls in Tech to launch a new podcast series, Hope in Crisis, discussing how technology can help us rise from various crises in modern society, both in English and Chinese.

 

You can follow the series on the following platforms:

  1. SoundOn: https://reurl.cc/AqV4Vj
  2. Spotify: https://reurl.cc/NjvQ6k
  3. YouTube: https://lnkd.in/gnriUFZ
  4. Anchor: https://reurl.cc/Wd6W7D

 

  1. News anchor Catherine Lu’s Facebook English-language interview with Bitmark CEO Sean Moss-Pultz “美國怎麼了?台灣做對了什麼?(Part.1)” about our public health app Autonomy received over 330K views, 7.8K likes, 2.8K reshares, and about 300 comments. (English and Chinese)
  2. We have faced serious difficulty in launching Autonomy to App Stores. Coindesk covered our failed launch, asking what happens when the gatekeepers we trust have too much power?
  3. Bitmark and Blockchain Commons announced Charter, a new and open architecture for the next generation of social media projects:
    1. Charter reimagines social media to recover its initial promise, with new safeguards so that no single vendor one can steal it away. Its architecture ensures that every social-media participant has both autonomy and agency. As individuals we control and govern our own data, deciding for ourselves how online information is shared, used, and deleted. For social media, this means we have authority over not just a timeline of posts, but also our social graph of connections. Each individual now decides who reads our posts and what we see ourselves.
  4. We conducted a workshop with RadicalxChange on “Restoring Data Dignity in COVID-19” (English)

Other Media Coverage:

  1. Business Weekly “防疫新生活,隱私也不愁” (Taiwan minister Audrey Tang discusses Autonomy) (Chinese)
  2. Sean’s Op-Ed on DigiTimes “【Sean Moss-Pultz專欄】在台美國人對於全球防疫與公衛的數位剖析” (Chinese)
  3. INSIDE “【科技防疫】Bitmark 開發 Autonomy,提供 COVID-19 等健康預報” (Chinese)
  4. Popular Blockchain Writer Astro Hsu gave Autonomy his vote of approval “總統盃黑客松投票指南:假新聞、數位民主、個資隱私” (Chinese)
  5. Taiwan Today “Winners of Taiwan-US coronavirus Hackathon announced in Taipei” (English)
  6. iThome “臺美防疫松吸引7國逾50團隊參加,最終5大科技抗疫應用方案出爐” (Chinese)
  7. Coverage of our announcement to leave Facebook “【獨家專訪】停用臉書捍衛數據主權!台灣新創 Bitmark 開闢社交新時代” (Chinese)

If you enjoy this newsletter or our work, please help us by sharing it with a friend.


Meanwhile, here are some articles that caught my attention over the last month:

John Gruber on Apple’s failure with its App Store:

But more than anything I worry that this exemplifies where Apple has lost its way with the App Store. What exactly is the point of running a strict approval process for apps if not, first and foremost, to ensure that they’re good apps? An iPad email app that doesn’t support split-screen multitasking for five years is, by definition, not a good app.

I’d like to see all the vim, vigor, and vigilance Apple applies to making sure no app on the App Store is making a dime without Apple getting three cents applied instead to making sure there aren’t any scams or ripoffs, and that popular apps support good-citizen-of-the-platform features within a reasonable amount of time after those features are introduced in the OS. I don’t know exactly how long “reasonable” is, but five fucking years for split-screen support ain’t it.

If technology companies often don’t understand (or prioritize) security and privacy, why do we think governments do? From the New York Times:

Norway is one of many countries that rushed out apps to trace and monitor the coronavirus this spring, only to scramble to address serious complaints that soon arose over extensive user data-mining or poor security practices. Human rights groups and technologists have warned that the design of many apps put hundreds of millions of people at risk for stalking, scams, identity theft or oppressive government tracking — and could undermine trust in public health efforts. The problems have emerged just as some countries are poised to deploy even more intrusive technologies, including asking hundreds of thousands of workers to wear virus-tracking wristbands around the clock.

In fact, “the vast majority” of virus-tracing apps used by governments lack adequate security and ‘are easy for hackers’ to attack, according to a recent software analysis by Guardsquare, a mobile app security company.

The need for local communities and neighborhoods to have autonomy to make the right decisions during COVID, backed by data and science, not just opinion. From the New York Times:

Far from Denver, pushed up against the Utah border, Mesa County is known for its stunning flat-topped mountains and abundant outdoor activities. Residents are proud of their record so far on the coronavirus — just 55 known cases, and nearly all have already recovered — but some worry about the price the county has paid.

The largest country music festival in Colorado has been canceled. So has the Junior College Baseball World Series. Despite getting state permission to open some businesses ahead of the rest of Colorado, many in the county are struggling — and patience is thinning.

“Obviously we don’t want to let it get away from us, we don’t want to ruin a good thing, but did it really have to be this level of shutdown?” said Doug Simons, a third-generation owner of Enstrom Candies, which has five retail stores that have remained open as essential businesses.

“There was a real reluctance from our leaders to let things open back up, even though we had practically zero disease in our community,” he said. “I thought: ‘What the heck is going on? We don’t have any cases here and we’re being told to shut down like it’s New York City.’

See you next month. We’ll keep fighting for your #digitalrights.

Michael Nguyễn
Head of Operations, Bitmark
www.bitmark.com

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