April Fools 2019

EU’s ‘Turning It All Back’ Initiative To Embrace New, Old Tech

Get ready for a commodore — the old Commodore 64, that is, a mainstay of the home computing boom of the 1980s.

News from the European Union — specifically, the organization’s Committee of Turning It All Back — is that politicians and regulators from the EU’s member states have agreed on the broad outlines of prohibiting anything other than that old 8-bit machine when it comes to matters of digital commerce and privacy.

The official reason, as per reports today (April 1) out of Brussels? According to a unnamed source inside the European Commission, “consumer privacy is too precious a treasure to sacrifice on the altar of Big Tech. Who cares if there is a little more friction now.”

The ban of post-Commodore 64 personal computing technology would apply only to the EU. But as is the case with the body’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, the looming mandate is likely to have global impacts. Indeed, some city supervisors in San Francisco — who are considering a ban of facial recognition technology for official uses except in certain, individually approved cases — are reportedly mulling a proposal to triple the city’s spending on carbon paper as a first step of getting free of what one city supervisor called the “tyranny of unaccountable algorithms.”

According to another person familiar with the matter, the EU contingent is assembling a team of ex-military professionals, along with waste disposal specialists, to scour landfills around the world for Commodore 64 devices. The job will be done with not only the latest NATO-grade GPS technology, but data analysis backed by artificial intelligence to identify the most promising locations. As well, a staff will be dedicated to finding working-condition Commodore 64s on eBay and other online marketplaces — a move certain to result in a hefty payday for owners of those devices and the marketplaces that sell them.

There is also speculation that VCs are lining up to fund the production of new versions of this old tech once it is clear who holds the rights to that technology. “We’ll get there, eventually,” this unnamed European Commission said. “But it may a take a while to reverse the flow of destructive progress.”

This story was written as part of PYMNTS’ annual April Fools’ Day edition, all in the spirit of good fun. Any resemblance to real news is purely coincidental. We hope you enjoyed it.

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