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October 2017

Personal Data has been Hollywood's rising star over the last few years. But will the introduction of Europe's new General Data Protection Regulations steal the spotlight?
I had a bit of a migraine this weekend, so I spent the better part of the last two days on the couch watching Narcos and a few period costume dramas on Netflix. As I scrolled through the recommendations deciding what to watch, I smiled to myself thinking of how confusing my behaviours must appear to the algorithms used by Netflix. My tastes vary from watching FBI agents in 1970s Columbia, to Miss Elinor Dashwood in rural Georgian England. Me Before You is apparently a 95% match to my preferences, despite being a film I have no desire to see. On the other hand, Blackfish, the whale documentary I've seen three times, is only a 54% match. Of course, Netflix only knows what my online behaviour reflects. And while it may not be perfect, when my behaviour is combined with my personal data, Netflix recommendations are fairly accurate most of the time. The advancement in behavioural analytics is big business in the world of media consumption - and it's only getting bigger.

I don't usually come across phrases such as "total wastoid" and "please don't make us call your mom" in letters written by lawyers...
Earlier this summer, Chicago-based Danny and Doug Marks of the Emporium Arcade Bar organised a popup bar inspired by Netflix's original series, Stranger Things. Named after the show's spooky alternate reality, the "Upside Down" became extremely popular, as people would regularly queue out the door to sip themed cocktails while surrounded by TV-studio quality props. Although the popup was initially planned to stay open for only six weeks, the success of the venture led its organisers to consider extending its run.

Earlier this month, Representative Frederica Wilson of Florida reported that President Trump made insensitive, off piste comments over the phone to the widow of a soldier recently killed in Niger. According to Wilson, Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband "knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt." Trump flatly denied such comments. President Trump's Chief of Staff, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, rushed to Trump's defense. Kelly called Congresswoman Wilson an "empty barrel," and noted he was "stunned" over alleged comments she made "grandstanding about her own actions in Congress" at a building dedication ceremony honouring slain FBI agents.

Reviews are powerful marketing tools. From making dinner reservations to buying a new pair of shoes, I very rarely part with my hard-earned cash before checking out the ratings and comments online. I also follow quite a few restaurants, designers, photographers, and fitness bloggers on Facebook, and often see people leave reviews there, too. But what can a business actually do with those comments? And if you leave a review on a company's Facebook page, what are your rights over what you’ve written?