John Naughton: Google Street View’s ability to calculate car accident risks is digital tech writ large | John Naughton

A new study suggests that machine-learning software, used in conjunction with Street View, can provide more accurate insurance premiums

Google Street View is one of the wonders of the contemporary world. It’s a product of the arrogance, ambition, chutzpah and unconscionable wealth of a single corporation that decided it would photograph every street in the world and put the images online. When it was first announced, I was sceptical that it would amount to much – images of prominent streets in large towns and cities in western countries, perhaps, but nothing much more than that. And then one day I was wondering how to find my way to a friend’s cottage located in a remote rural area, looked it up on Google Maps, saw the Street View icon and clicked on it – and found myself virtually driving down the narrowest country lane you can imagine.

Street View was a product of Google’s conviction that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission, an assumption apparently confirmed by the fact that most jurisdictions seemed to accept the photographic coup as a fait accompli. There was pushback in a few European countries, notably Germany and Austria, with citizens demanding that their properties be blurred out; there was also a row in 2010 when it was revealed that Google had for a time collected and stored data from unencrypted domestic wifi routers. But broadly speaking, the company got away with its coup.

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Owen Jones: Owen Jones meets Extinction Rebellion: ‘We’re the planet’s fire alarm’ – video

For the last ten days Extinction Rebellion has blocked roads, railways and bridges in a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience. Now that the period of action has wound down, Owen Jones asks some of the organisers what they have achieved, what they’re planning next and whether it’s capitalism itself that they should be protesting against

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Owen Jones: In the Brexit era, Britain is more Mr Bean than James Bond | Owen Jones

If there’s any film character Tory Brexiteers identify with it’s tool of empire Bond. In reality, they’re more slapstick than sexy

We spend far too much time getting down about the state of the country – the whole international laughing-stock, spinning manically out of control and generally going nowhere thing is pretty draining. Yet hardly any effort is spent crudely shoehorning in film references to explain our political plight. This is a real shame, because for the Tory Brexiteers who valiantly yelled “Charge!”, then promptly led us off a cliff, the story of the past three years has fundamentally been a clash between self-perception and reality.

Our macho superhero will gloriously defend a country whose government has wet itself while everyone else was watching

Related: P&O sues over £33m Eurotunnel payout in Brexit ferry fiasco

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Owen Jones: How to stop climate change? Nationalise the oil companies | Owen Jones

Extinction Rebellion got the ball rolling, but more radical action is now necessary if humanity is to survive

If only the Daily Express was right. That is not a sentence I ever expected to type. “Extinction Rebellion protests have WORKED as MPs succumb to calls for change”, bellowed the rightwing rag. Alas, the government has not capitulated to demands to declare a climate emergency, let alone to decarbonise the British economy by 2025. But Extinction Rebellion has retaught a lesson every generation must learn: that civil disobedience works. Amid the spluttering of obnoxious news presenters, it has forced the existential threat of climate change on to the airwaves and into newsprint.

But as this phase of protest winds down, the demands must radicalise. With capitalism itself rightly being challenged, the focus must shift to the fossil fuel companies and the banks. As long as they remain under private ownership on a global scale, humanity’s future will be threatened.

(June 14, 1911) Standard Oil broken up

Related: ExxonMobil faces EU parliament ban after no show at climate hearing

Related: The Extinction Rebellion scorecard: what did it achieve?

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