Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Modeling the Adoption of Innovations in the Presence of Geographic and Media Influences

From the abstract: "While there is a large body of work examining the effects of social network structure on innovation adoption, models to date have lacked considerations of real geography or mass media. In this article, we show these features are crucial to making more accurate predictions of a social contagion and technology adoption at a city-to-city scale. Using data from the adoption of the popular micro-blogging platform, Twitter, we present a model of adoption on a network that places friendships in real geographic space and exposes individuals to mass media influence. We show that homophily both amongst individuals with similar propensities to adopt a technology and geographic location is critical to reproducing features of real spatiotemporal adoption. Furthermore, we estimate that mass media was responsible for increasing Twitter's user base two to four fold. To reflect this strength, we extend traditional contagion models to include an endogenous mass media agent that responds to those adopting an innovation as well as influencing agents to adopt themselves." Read more

Can the U.S. Government Hack Health Care?

From the article: “The federal government may be on the way to a successful hacking of health-care, and the path may lead straight through your cell phone.
On Dec. 6, the federal government launched the month-long Healthy Apps challenge to encourage the creation of new mobile applications that can help people make healthy lifestyle choices. By shifting the health-care debate to the level of the mobile device and encouraging people to think in terms of lightweight apps instead of massive spending programs, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is helping to shrink the scope of the seemingly intractable health-care debate facing the country.” Read more

See Also
Part of USDA.gov

Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles: The Confluence of Privacy, Technology, and Law

From the summary: "Technology has advanced considerably since the framers established the constitutional parameters for searches and seizures in the Fourth Amendment. What were ink quills and parchment are now cell phones and the Internet. It is undeniable that these advances in technology threaten to diminish privacy. Law enforcement’s use of cell phones and GPS devices to track an individual’s movements brings into sharp relief the challenge of reconciling technology, privacy, and law….

This report will briefly survey Fourth Amendment law as it pertains to the government’s tracking programs. It will then summarize federal electronic surveillance statutes and the case law surrounding cell phone location tracking. Next, the report will describe the GPS-vehicle tracking cases and review the pending Supreme Court GPS tracking case, United States v. Jones. Finally, the report will summarize the geolocation and electronic surveillance legislation introduced in the 112th Congress." Read more

Commercial Spectrum: Plans and Actions to Meet Future Needs, Including Continued Use of Auctions

From the report: "Since 1994, FCC has used competitive bidding, or auctions, to assign licenses to commercial entities for their use of spectrum; however, its authority to use auctions expires on September 30, 2012. 

Among other things, GAO examined the extent to which FCC has made spectrum available for new commercial uses and the time taken to do so, experts’ and stakeholders’ views on FCC’s plans and recent actions to meet future spectrum needs, and experts’ and stakeholders’ views on the continued use of auctions to assign spectrum. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed FCC’s plans, notices, and orders; reviewed six instances in which FCC made spectrum available for new commercial uses; and surveyed 30 experts and 79 industry stakeholders about their views on FCC’s efforts to make spectrum available for new uses, its plans and actions to meet future needs, and its continued use of auctions (the survey had a 68 percent response rate)." Read more

Friday, December 16, 2011

Benefits and Limitations of Industry Self-Regulation for Online Behavioral Advertising

From the abstract: "Self-regulation, in all its myriad permutations, is a vital part of today’s global economy. Diverse industries, such as health care, higher education, fashion, advertising, mining, marine fishing, professional sports, and nuclear power, have used self-regulatory processes to govern industry practices. The private sector relies on self-regulation to address a range of issues, from establishing industry standards, to developing and applying codes of professional ethics, to ensuring consumer confidence. Despite its widespread use, some policymakers are skeptical of the efficacy of self-regulation when it comes to protecting consumer privacy online. This report seeks to address that skepticism by explaining how self-regulation works and why it is essential to protecting consumer privacy in online behavioral advertising." Read more

Protecting Privacy From Aerial Surveillance: Recommendations for Government Use of Drone Aircraft

From the report: "Unmanned aircraft carrying cameras raise the prospect of a significant new avenue for the sur­veillance of American life. Many Americans have heard of these aircraft, commonly called drones, because of their use overseas in places like Afghanistan and Yemen.1 But drones are coming to America. Their deployment has so far been held up by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over safety concerns, but that agency is under strong industry and Congressional pressure to pave the way for domestic deployment. Meanwhile, the technology is quickly becoming cheaper and more powerful, interest in deploying drones among police departments is increasing, and our privacy laws are not strong enough to ensure that the new technology will be used responsibly and consistently with democratic values.

In short, all the pieces appear to be lining up for the eventual introduction of routine aerial sur­veillance in American life—a development that would profoundly change the character of public life in the United States. We need a system of rules to ensure that we can enjoy the benefits of this technology without bringing us a large step closer to a “surveillance society” in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by the authorities." Read more

See Also
Jim Barnett, CNN 

Future Media Outlook 2012

From the summary: "Six megatrends will have a pervasive impact in the near future:
  • Smart Data: In an increasingly noisy world, we’ll have to sift, filter and be smarter about what matters.
  • People Platforms: Beyond “true personalization,” they will be socially driven platforms made of algorithms from personal and associated data that people design and tailor themselves.
  • Content Integrity: Pervasive mobile devices, sprawling networks, clouds ,and multi-layered platforms have made it more difficult to detect and address our digital vulnerabilities, drawing us to trusted content sources.
  • Nimble Media: Media is evolving from a set of fixed commodities into an energetic, pervasive medium that allows people to navigate across platforms and through different content narratives.
  • 6th Sense: Extraordinary innovations in mixed reality will change the way we see, hear, taste, touch, smell and make sense of the world — giving us a new and powerful 6th sense.
  • Collaboration: We will harness the power of many in an increasingly conversational and participatory world." Read more

Mandates Can't Alter Facts

Paul Vixie, Danny McPherson, Dan Kaminsky, David Dagon & Steve Crocker, The Hill's Congress Blog, Dec. 14, 2011

From the opinion: “the debate over what we as a society ought to do about online piracy and infringement has gone into the weeds – so much so that bills now pending before both houses of the US Congress (S. 968, PIPA; and H.R. 3261, SOPA) seek to compel American Internet Service Providers to alter fundamentally the way their connected customers access the Domain Name System…This type of mandated filtering is not an American innovation. Strong governments around the world use DNS filtering to signal their displeasure over all kinds of things they don’t like, whether it be untaxed online gambling, or pornography, or political dissent….America does need protection for our artists and investors who create works of value. But America also deserves well-reasoned laws that do more good than harm.” Read more

U.S., European Union Officials Ink Long-Awaited Passenger Data Deal

From the article: “U.S. and European Union officials on Wednesday signed an anti-terrorism accord that renews a 2007 agreement to exchange fliers' personal data, despite objections from some EU members who say the deal is excessively invasive despite added data protections. The pact took years to negotiate because of European members' privacy concerns. The data at issue--passenger name records--encompasses an array of information that people register with travel agencies and airlines to book flights, including names, itineraries, phone numbers, payment methods and credit card numbers. The new policy limits the purposes of reviewing the records to detecting, pre-empting and investigating criminal offenses, according to European Union Council officials. They added it contains a "robust data protection regime," including the stipulation that personal information "be masked out"--rendered illegible to most users, after six months. After five years, passenger records will be relocated to a "dormant database" with additional controls. The information, however, will remain accessible to authorities for 15 years for investigations into terrorist activity and 10 years for international crime probes." Read more

European Commission Press Release

Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Governments

From the report: “The Arab Spring of 2011, which saw regimes toppled by protesters organized via Twitter and Facebook, was heralded in much of the world as signifying a new era in which information technology alters the balance of power in favor of the repressed. However, within the world’s many remaining authoritarian regimes it was undoubtedly viewed very differently. For those governments, the Arab Spring likely underscored the perils of failing to exercise sufficient control of digital communications and highlighted the need to redouble their efforts to increase the monitoring of their citizenry. Technology trends are making such monitoring easier to perform. … Plummeting digital storage costs will soon make it possible for authoritarian regimes to not only monitor known dissidents, but to also store the complete set of digital data associated with everyone within their borders. These enormous databases of captured information will create what amounts to a surveillance time machine, enabling state security services to retroactively eavesdrop on people in the months and years before they were designated as surveillance targets. This will fundamentally change the dynamics of dissent, insurgency and revolution.” Read more

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Announcing the Release of the Blueprint for a Secure Cyber Future

Secretary Janet Napolitano, The Department of Homeland Security, Dec. 12, 2011

From the blog announcement:  "Today, I’m proud to announce the release of the Blueprint for a Secure Cyber Future: The Cybersecurity Strategy for the Homeland Security Enterprise. The Blueprint calls for a coordinated effort across the homeland security community to respond to evolving cyber threats. This strategy provides a framework for a cyberspace that enables innovation and prosperity, advances our economic interests, and national security, and integrates privacy and civil liberties protections into the Department’s cybersecurity activities. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and each of us has a role to play. In today’s interconnected world, emerging cyber threats require the engagement of our entire society including government and law enforcement, the private sector, and members of the public. In preparing this strategy, the Department benefited from the constructive engagement of representatives from state and local governments, industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, and many dedicated individuals from across the country." Read more

See Also
The Cybersecurity Strategy for the Homeland Security Enterprise

As Doctors Use More Devices, Potential for Distraction Grows

From the article: "Hospitals and doctors’ offices, hoping to curb medical error, have invested heavily to put computers, smartphones and other devices into the hands of medical staff for instant access to patient data, drug information and case studies. 

But like many cures, this solution has come with an unintended side effect: doctors and nurses can be focused on the screen and not the patient, even during moments of critical care. And they are not always doing work; examples include a neurosurgeon making personal calls during an operation, a nurse checking airfares during surgery and a poll showing that half of technicians running bypass machines had admitted texting during a procedure. 

This phenomenon has set off an intensifying discussion at hospitals and medical schools about a problem perhaps best described as “distracted doctoring.” In response, some hospitals have begun limiting the use of devices in critical settings, while schools have started reminding medical students to focus on patients instead of gadgets, even as the students are being given more devices." Read more

Feds Scrutinizing Carrier IQ

From the article: “The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating allegations that Carrier IQ software is being used by operators to track cell phone activity without user permission…the use of dynamically configurable analytics software such as CarrierIQ itself poses some questions into what information should legitimately be collected by carriers. For example, while your carrier has access to location (via cell towers) and non-HTTPS browsing history on account of providing you wireless service, they typically do not receive this information when you're using your home WiFi. Furthermore, in no case would they normally get access to secure HTTPs browsing activity and precise GPS location.” Read more

SOPA: Washington vs. The Web

Zach Carter, Huffingtonpost, Dec. 14, 2011
From the article: "SOPA would imbue the federal government with broad powers to shut down whole web domains on the basis that it believes them to be associated with piracy -- without a trial or even a traditional hearing. It would provide Hollywood with powerful new legal tools to stifle transactions with websites whose existence worries the movie industry.  The bill's supporters, which also include major record labels, trial lawyers and pharmaceutical giants, call SOPA a robust effort to curb piracy of American goods online. Opponents, however, have castigated it as an unparalleled attack on free speech online. Civil liberties advocates say SOPA would give the U.S. government the same censorship tools used in China. Those in the technology sector warn that the bill creates enormous new barriers to entry for web startups, threatening innovation and job creation.  Farther afield, librarians say that under the letter of the proposed anti-piracy law, they could be jailed for simply doing their jobs." Read more

See Also
Scott Cleland, Forbes

KLAS: Cloud Computing Must Mature For Providers to Adopt

From the article: “Market researcher KLAS spoke with 97 providers to develop a general sense of healthcare professionals’ perceptions of cloud computing and found that those utilizing other technologies were skeptical of web-based data storage even though 58 percent said that they were considering cloud systems….Despite skepticism, 71 percent of KLAS’ respondents said that they were currently using or have definite plans to use cloud-computing technologies for various services that include emailing, image archiving and general storage. Of the 55 percent that said they were currently using cloud-computing capabilities, 23 percent were using it for deploying EHRs.” Read more

Regulation of Transborder Data Flows Under Data Protection and Privacy Law

From the abstract: "Transborder data flows have become increasingly important in economic, political, and social terms over the 30 years since the adoption, in 1980, of the OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data. A fundamental change in the business and technological environment for data processing is also taking place, driven by developments such as the increased globalization of the world economy; the growing economic importance of data processing; the ubiquity of data transfers over the Internet; greater direct involvement of individuals in transborder data flows; the changing role of geography; and growing risks to the privacy of individuals. Despite these fundamental changes in the data processing landscape, and the growth in the regulation of transborder data flows in numerous countries, there has been little attempt so far to conduct a systematic inventory of such regulation at a global level; to examine the policies underlying it; and to consider whether those policies need to be re-evaluated. This study is designed to describe the present status of transborder data flow regulation, and to provoke reflection about its aims, operation, and effectiveness, now and in the future.” Read more

Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology Should Be Truly Meaningful

From the article: "Without the transparency that’s required to measure whether the money is being used for the purpose Congress intended, the Meaningful Use program could end up wasting billions of taxpayer dollars. ...The government has no way of verifying that the physicians who claim to have met the Meaningful Use criteria are actually using health information technology in any meaningful way….While the HITECH Act has encouraged greater competition in the EHR marketplace, the current lax standards for verifying Meaningful Use could lead to enormous disparities between what physicians and hospitals are able to do with their EHRs and their actual ability to improve patient care." Read more

Big Brother Is Watching You as Stores Seek Better Data: Retail

Ashley Lutz & Matt Townsend, Bloomberg Businessweek, Dec. 14, 2011

From the article: "Brick-and-mortar stores have long wanted to track consumers the way online merchants do and are starting to figure out how. They’re using security cameras to monitor shopping behavior and tracking mobile phones to divine which stores people visit ...For years retailers have deployed security cameras, largely to deter and catch shoplifters. Now some are using the cameras to watch how shoppers behave. ...While retailers are starting to understand the potential of security cameras as intelligence-gathering tools, it will take time for the technology to become widespread because loss- prevention managers rather than marketing types still have authority over the cameras." Read more

Law Enforcement Can Access Data Bank Without Doctors' Knowledge

From the article: "Physicians and other health professionals no longer will be notified if someone accesses information about them through the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) for an investigation, according to a federal rule that takes effect Dec. 23...Law enforcement agencies are authorized to see information on adverse actions against physicians such as medical board disciplinary actions and peer review sanctions. ...Health professionals who query the NPDB on themselves now are notified of anyone who requested information about them. Doctors can't control information sent to the NPDB, but they have the right to object to anything they believe is inaccurate." Read more

See Also
Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 226, Nov. 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

O.E.C.D. Calls on Members to Defend Internet Freedoms

Eric Pfanner, New York Times, Dec. 13, 2011

From the article: “the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Tuesday called on member countries to “promote and protect the global free flow of information” online. The O.E.C.D. , a group of 34 developed countries, urged policy makers to support investment in digital networks and to take a light touch on regulation, saying this was essential for promoting economic growth via the Internet…. The approval of the recommendations by the O.E.C.D. council builds on a communiqué issued at a meeting in June, when the broad outlines of the policy were drawn up. The guidelines are not binding, but are intended to work through the power of persuasion. Also, the Internet recommendations will from now on be included among the criteria for assessing candidates for membership in the O.E.C.D., which is based in Paris." Read more

See Also
OECD Council Recommendation on Principles for Internet Policy Making

A Holistic Framework to Improve the Uptake and Impact of eHealth Technologies

From the abstract: "Many eHealth technologies are not successful in realizing sustainable innovations in health care practices. One of the reasons for this is that the current development of eHealth technology often disregards the interdependencies between technology, human characteristics, and the socioeconomic environment, resulting in technology that has a low impact in health care practices. To overcome the hurdles with eHealth design and implementation, a new, holistic approach to the development of eHealth technologies is needed, one that takes into account the complexity of health care and the rituals and habits of patients and other stakeholders. The aim of this viewpoint paper is to improve the uptake and impact of eHealth technologies by advocating a holistic approach toward their development and eventual integration in the health sector." Read more

Stress Testing Health Information Management and Governance

From the article: "Evidence is mounting that current structures and methods for managing health information are under stress and not adequate for the digital era. Each week brings new reports signaling systemic deficits in information stewardship, integrity, and life cycle management. Anecdotal evidence from health care organizations underscores the need for new approaches to enterprise information management (IM)." Read more

Data Breaches Rise at U.S. Hospital: Mistakes and Unsecured Mobile Devices are Root of Problem

 From the report: "The Second Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by ID Experts found that despite increased compliance with HIPAA and the HITECH Act, healthcare data breaches are on the rise – eroding patient privacy, contributing to medical identity theft and costing the healthcare industry 6.5 billions annually." Read more

Towards a Cyber Security Strategy for Global Civil Society?

Ron Deibert, University of Toronto, Global Information Society Watch, 2011

From the report: “Cyberspace is at a watershed moment. Technological transformations have brought about an architectonic change in the communications ecosystem. Cyber crime has exploded to the point of becoming more than a nuisance, but a national security concern. There is a seriously escalating arms race in cyberspace as governments scale up capabilities in their armed forces to fight and win wars in this domain. Telecommunication companies, internet service providers (ISPs), and other private sector actors now actively police the internet. Pressures to regulate the global network of information and communications have never been greater. …Global civil society, now increasingly recognized as an important stakeholder in cyberspace governance, needs to step up to the challenge. A constitutive moment awaits. What is required is nothing less than a serious and comprehensive security strategy for cyberspace that addresses the very real threats that plague governments and corporations, addresses national and other security concerns in a forthright manner, while protecting and preserving open networks of information and communication." Read more

See Also

Almost a Quarter of Persons Aged 16-74 in the EU27 Have Never Used the Internet

From the study: “For many people today it seems difficult to live without the internet, however a decreasing, but still non-negligible, part of the EU population has never used it. In the 27 EU Member States, almost three quarters of households had access to the internet in the first quarter of 2011, compared with almost half in the first quarter of 2006. The share of households with broadband internet connections more than doubled between 2006 and 2011, to reach 68% in 2011 compared with 30% in 2006. During the same During the same period, the share of individuals aged 16-74 in the EU27 who had never used the internet decreased from 42% to 24%." Read more

Access Contested: Security, Identity, and Resistance in Asian Cyberspace

From the Book Release: "Access Contested, the third volume from the OpenNet Initiative (a collaborative partnership of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and the SecDev Group in Ottawa), examines the interplay of national security, social and ethnic identity, and resistance in Asian cyberspace, offering in-depth accounts of national struggles against Internet controls as well as updated country reports.

The contributors examine such topics as Internet censorship in Thailand, the Malaysian blogosphere, surveillance and censorship around gender and sexuality in Malaysia, Internet governance in China, corporate social responsibility and freedom of expression in South Korea and India, cyberattacks on independent Burmese media, and distributed-denial-of-service attacks and other digital control measures across Asia." Read more

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Electronic Health Record Program Delivers Better Health, Lower Costs

From the press release: “Results of the pilot, which ultimately became the foundation of BCBSRI’s patient-centered medical home model, demonstrate clear value in using health information technology to improve quality of care.  Highlights of the pilot include the following:
  • Lower monthly healthcare costs that averaged between 17 and 33 percent less per member than those receiving care at non-participating practices
  • Improved healthcare quality, with a 44 percent median rate of improvement in family and children’s health, 35 percent in women’s care and 24 percent in internal medicine
  • Successful EHR implementations for 79 local physicians" 
    Read more 
See Also
The quality counts program of Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Richard Asinof, Providing Business News

Business Model Innovations in Health Care

From the abstract: "Health care is a fast evolving sector, where global trends shape industry architecture. Healthcare providers are starting to innovate their business models in order to
respond to new trends, which are also redrawing the industry architecture of the
sector. This article focuses on the recent changes regarding healthcare providers in
Belgium and discusses their drivers, characteristics and the effect they have on the
sector as a whole. The obtained empirical insights are explained by the constructs and
theory of business model innovation, where the activity system perspective (Amit &
Zott, 2010) proves to be particularly helpful in explaining the changes. The recent
business model innovations of Belgian healthcare providers reveal that incremental
innovations, such as within-discipline grouping, aim for conservative forms of value
gains such as cost reductions and efficiency and rely on strong forms of grouping,
such as mergers and acquisitions, to accomplish this. On the other hand, more radical
business model innovations, such as competitor-groupings, are incited using value
drivers like novelty and innovation potential, and these innovations are implemented
through more novel and less stringent governance mechanisms." Read report

Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions

From the report: “More than 50 statutes address various aspects of cybersecurity either directly or indirectly, but there is no overarching framework legislation in place. While revisions to most of those laws have been proposed over the past few years, no major cybersecurity legislation has been enacted since 2002.

Recent legislative proposals, including many bills introduced in the 111th and 112th Congresses, have focused largely on issues in ten broad areas: national strategy and the role of government, reform of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), protection of critical infrastructure (especially the electricity grid and the chemical industry), cross-sector coordination and information sharing, breaches resulting in theft or exposure of personal data such as financial information, cybercrime, privacy in the context of electronic commerce, international efforts, research and development, and the cybersecurity workforce.” Read report
Gov Info Security

Ten Facts About Mobile Broadband

From the report: “Mobile broadband is reshaping society, communications, and the global economy… In this report, I review ten facts about mobile broadband. I show how the mobile economy is reshaping the global landscape. Both in developed and emerging markets, there are major opportunities to create jobs, and create social and economic connections. With the mobile industry generating $1.3 trillion in revenues, it is important to understand how telephony is affecting the way people relate to one another.” Read report

Digital Agenda: Turning Government Data Into Gold

From the release: “The Commission has launched an Open Data Strategy for Europe, which is expected to deliver a EUR 40 billion boost to the EU's economy each year. Europe's public administrations are sitting on a goldmine of unrealised economic potential: the large volumes of information collected by numerous public authorities and services. Member States such as the United Kingdom and France are already demonstrating this value. The strategy to lift performance EU-wide is three-fold: firstly the Commission will lead by example, opening its vaults of information to the public for free through a new data portal. Secondly, a level playing field for open data across the EU will be established. Finally, these new measures are backed by the EUR 100 million which will be granted in 2011-2013 to fund research into improved data-handling technologies.” Read more

Europe's Information Society

Reuse of Public Data to Get Easier Under New EU Rules
David Meyer, ZD Net UK