Fitness apps – aren't they amazing? When they're not constantly badgering you to get off the sofa and resume that ‘New Year, New Me’ workout plan that didn't quite pan out (hey it's February now, who cares?), they're offering all sorts of advice on your diet (more kale, fewer crisps basically) and daily routines. Oh, and let's not forget, they can even unwittingly uncover military bases in a handy heatmap format!
This week it was discovered that the San Francisco-based fitness app Strava has been tracking the activity of military staff in bases around the world in data visualising heatmaps – not all that handy when you consider that the military isn’t that keen on people knowing where their staff are and where they’re moving.
Foolish Americans! You wouldn’t catch the UK government making those sorts of security-related slip-ups! Oh wait, maybe you would.
Okay now onto a thoroughly troubling story – this week Volkswagen has suspended its head of external relations. Why? Because it turns out he had known about experiments involving some pretty horrendous animal testing.
The company had initially distanced itself from 2015 reports of monkeys being locked in airtight chambers and exposed to Diesel fumes, but as it turns out, VW managers were told about the testing before and after it was carried out.
Nasty though it is, at least it’s distracted from the auto giant’s other diesel-related PR nightmare – “dieselgate”. Oh wait, no it hasn’t – everyone just has two reasons to avoid VW from now on. Wunderbar!
In less awful news, it looks as though Google can accurately predict how late your plane will be! Rejoice!
In addition to being able to tell you when and why your flight is delayed (two things we don’t think Ryanair has ever, ever been able tell us), Google Flights’ new feature now means it can accurately predict the next time you’re likely to be held up when you fly. It’s just like that movie Minority Report – except with less running around solving crimes in reverse and more sitting around counting ceiling tiles in departure lounges.
And finally, in a story that is most definitely funnier than national security concerns and animal cruelty, it looks as though one local MP is dragging himself and his constituents into the digital age – by launching his own social media platform!
Tory MP for West Suffolk and Culture Secretary Matt Hancock has become the first ever member of parliament to launch his own app – the imaginatively titled “Matt Hancock MP”, to help bring Hancock closer to his constituents.
Shockingly it hasn’t exactly been put to best use. You see, the app doesn’t require you to verify your identity in any discernible way, and as such, some ragamuffins (which we suspect may not even be constituents of his!) have taken to posting under the guise of other people – including Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and others.
And that’s before you start to notice issues with the name of the app itself – users have to get used to frequent notifications such as “Matt Hancock MP wants to access your photos” and the rather worrying “Matt Hancock MP has stopped working” – especially when you consider our hard-earned taxes pay his wages!
But bugs and abuse aside, it’s still spawned a fantastic new tech term – forget tweeting, Instagramming or Facebooking, 2018 is going to be all about Hancocking!