Monday, January 30, 2012

The Coming Tech-led Boom

Mills, Mark P. and Julio M. Ottino. "The Coming Tech-led Boom." The Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2012. 

From the OpEd: "In January 1912, the United States emerged from a two-year recession. Nineteen more followed—along with a century of phenomenal economic growth. Americans in real terms are 700% wealthier today. In hindsight it seems obvious that emerging technologies circa 1912—electrification, telephony, the dawn of the automobile age, the invention of stainless steel and the radio amplifier—would foster such growth. Yet even knowledgeable contemporary observers failed to grasp their transformational power. In January 2012, we sit again on the cusp of three grand technological transformations with the potential to rival that of the past century. All find their epicenters in America: big data, smart manufacturing and the wireless revolution."  Read more


Friedman, Uri. "Birdbrained." Foreign Policy, January 27, 2012.

From the article:  "Outrage has predictably followed Twitter's announcement … that it has developed a system to block (or, as the company euphemistically puts it, "withhold") specific tweets in specific countries if they violate local law, while keeping the content available for the rest of the world…. so far, Twitter has not done a particularly good job of explaining how this week's changes will alter its process for removing content and why the company is willing to imperil its brand by implementing the new rules. In announcing the policy, Twitter explained that it will need to "enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression" as it grows. But what does "enter countries" mean for a website theoretically available from anywhere?"  Read more

See Also
January 26, 2012, "Tweets Still Must Flow", Twitter Blog.

Entrepreneurs Try to Fill Gap in Online Medical Help

ElBoghdady, Dina. "Entrepreneurs Try to Fill Gap in Online Medical Help." The Washington Post, January 29, 2012.

From the article: "Recognizing a need for innovation, the government has made some of its raw data available on, a central database where developers can get information for Web sites and apps. So far, the database includes everything from food safety recalls to fatality statistics, but the challenge remains the dearth of comparable information…But as health-care entrepreneurs harness the power of social media, they are unlocking other information. And many are making money not through the traditional advertising model, but instead are getting revenue from drug companies, doctors and hospitals…Here are some players who have jumped into the race to innovate…" Read more

See Also
Health.Data.Gov. "Health Data Community."2012.

The Dangers of Sharing

Morozov, Evgeny. "The Dangers of Sharing." The New York Times, January 27, 2012.

From the article: "Today, however, the "death of privacy" is more like death by a thousand cuts: information leaks out slowly and invisibly, and so routinely that we’re hardly shocked when it does…in "I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy," by Lori Andrews, a law professor and bioethicist…She ventures far beyond the social networks of her subtitle to consider the ramifications of search engines, data mining, targeted "behavioral" advertising and other technologies. Likewise, she covers a range of issues beyond privacy, including discrimination in the workplace and free speech in schoolsshe proposes a rather odd solution of her own: the global adoption of a "social network constitution" that could become "a touchstone, an expression of fundamental values, that we should use to judge the activities of social networks and their citizens." Read more

See Also

FBI to Build Social Network Spy App

Savvas, Antony. "FBI to Build Social Network Spy App." ComputerWorld-UK, January 28, 2012.

From the article: "The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is planning to develop an application that can track the public's postings to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, in order to aid how it predicts and reacts to criminal behavior, including public disorder and terrorism…. The bureau said the system it wants must be able to automatically search "publicly available" material from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites for keywords of interest. FBI agents would be alerted if the searches come up with evidence of "breaking events, incidents, and emerging threats." 

Agents would have the ability to display any information on a map, and they could then add other layers of information, including past incidents and locations of important buildings like embassies and military installations." Read more

See Also
Federal Business Opportunities. "Social Media Application." Last modified January 20, 2012. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do We Need Doctors Or Algorithms?

Vinod Khosla; Khosla Ventures, TechCrunch, Jan. 10, 2012

From the article: “…the best solution was to get rid of doctors and teachers and let your computers do the work, 24/7 and with consistent quality…. The history of symptoms, illnesses, and test results could be accessed, processed, and assessed by a computer to see any correlation or trends with the patient’s past. You are the one providing the doctor with the symptoms anyway after all! Any follow-up hunts for clues could again be done with mobile devices. The prescriptions—along with the medical records—could relocate to electronic and digital methods, saving paper, reducing bureaucracy, and easing the healing process. If 90% of the time the doctor knows exactly the right kind of diagnosis from these very few and superficial inputs (we haven’t even considered genetics yet!), does it really require 10+ years of intense education for every diagnostician?"  Read more

Counterterror, Emergency Response Centers Not Sharing Information

G.W. Schulz, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Jan. 24, 2012

From the article: "Dozens of high-tech command centers built or beefed up throughout the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to promote better information sharing and disaster preparation have struggled to do just that.

A decade later, federal auditors found that two networks – one heavily focused on law enforcement and the other on emergency management – are often unaware of what the other is doing and in the process might be missing critical opportunities to improve efficiency. “Some fusion centers are all-crimes oriented and do not consider emergency operations centers as partners in their operations,” according to a new report [PDF] from the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general. “Many emergency operations center officials view fusion centers as solely law enforcement entities and either do not see a need or do not know how to effectively coordinate with them.”  Read more

See Also
Relationships Between Fusion Centers and Emergency Operations Centers
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Dec. 6, 2011

Facebook Changes Everything

Bruno Aziza, Forbes, Jan. 19, 2012

From the article: "Facebook is expected to reach 1 billion users this summer and the company is assumed to be getting ready for a $100B IPO…. To be more specific, I think what we’ve witnessed over the last 10 years is “disintermediation.”  The music industry went from selling physical albums, to selling tracks, to selling subscriptions. The book industry went from a world where publishers selected content they felt was “fit to print,” to a sea of self-published authors who can reach audiences without ever physically printing their manuscript and make millions (any author published in the ‘old era’ as I’ve been, knows that this new method sounds better!)."  Read more

Public Alerts Now on Google Maps

Steve Hakusa, The Offical blog, Jan. 25, 2012

From the blog: "Today marks the launch of a new Google Crisis Response project: Google Public Alerts, a platform designed to bring you relevant emergency alerts when and where you’re searching for them. If a major weather event is headed for your area, you might go online to search for the information you need: What’s happening? Where and when will it strike? How severe will it be? What resources are available to help? With today’s launch of Public Alerts on Google Maps, relevant weather, public safety, and earthquake alerts from US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey (USGS) will be accessible when you search on Google Maps. For instance, at the time of this post, “Flood Indiana” triggers an alert for a Flood Warning in Northern Indiana."  Read more

See Also

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are Our Brains Being Boggled by Google? Study Says Humans Now Use the Internet As Our Main 'Memory' - Instead of Our Heads

Rob Waugh,, Jan. 25, 2012

From the article: "The Internet is becoming our main source of memory instead of our own brains, a study has concluded. In the age of Google, our minds are adapting so that we are experts at knowing where to find information even though we don’t recall what it is. The researchers found that when we want to know something we use the Internet as an ‘external memory’ just as computers use an external hard drive. Nowadays we are so reliant on our smart phones and laptops that we go into ‘withdrawal when we can’t find out something immediately’. In their paper, the researchers say that we now have access to the Internet 24 hours a day meaning we are 'seldom offline unless by choice' and it is 'hard to remember how we found information before the Internet became a ubiquitous presence in our lives'."  Read more

See Also
Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips
Betsy Sparrow; Columbia University, Jenny Liu; University of Wisconsin - Madison, and Daniel M. Wegner; Harvard University, AAAS, July 14, 2011

Geographies of the World's Knowledge

Dr. Corrine M. Flick, Convoco, and Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Edition 2011

From the report: "The sum of the world’s knowledge is always expanding, doubling every few years. While remarkable, this prompts important questions: Where is this knowledge being created? Who has access to it? How is it being distributed? And most importantly: How does our ability to access and produce codified knowledge change due to advances in information and communication technologies?... We approach this exciting and complex topic through ten visualisations – each one a snapshot highlighting a distinct dimension of the global distribution of knowledge…. We ultimately hope to show that although information can now be produced almost anywhere, we should never assume that information is produced everywhere. Much of the world remains, both literally and figuratively, absent from the global map of knowledge." Read more

Tablet and E-book Reader Ownership Nearly Double Over the Holiday Gift-Giving Period

Lee Rainie, Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, Jan. 23, 2012

From the report: "The share of adults in the United States who own tablet computers nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January and the same surge in growth also applied to e-book readers, which also jumped from 10% to 19% over the same time period. The number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January." Read more

The Employment Effects of Advances in Internet and Wireless Technology: Evaluating the Transitions from 2G to 3G and from 3G to 4G

Robert J. Shapiro; Sonecon, LLC, and Kevin A. Hassett; American Enterprise Institute, NDN, January 2012

From the report: "Continuing investments to upgrade the wireless broadband Internet infrastructure, including the transitions from 2G to 3G wireless technologies, and now from 3G to 4G, had produced cascades of innovation. Based on previous advances, the current transition to 4G technologies is likely to spur significant new job creation and growth which could help the American economy restore gains in incomes and business investment. New econometric analysis set forth in this study shows that the investments and innovation entailed in the transition from 2G to 3G wireless technologies and Internet infrastructure spurred the creation of some 1,585,000 new jobs from April 2007 to June 2011. The investments being undertaken today to upgrade wireless network and Internet technologies from 3G to 4G hold comparable promise for job creation. This analysis estimates that under the current transition, every 10 percent increase in the adoption of 3G and 4G wireless technologies could add more than 231,000 new jobs to the U.S. economy in less than a year."  Read more

Europe Weighs Tough Law on Online Privacy

Somini Sengupta, The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2012

From the article: "Europe is considering a sweeping new law that would force Internet companies like and Facebook to obtain explicit consent from consumers about the use of their personal data, delete that data forever at the consumer’s request and face fines for failing to comply…The regulation would compel Web sites to tell consumers why their data is being collected and retain it for only as long as necessary. If data is stolen, sites would have to notify regulators within 24 hours. It also offers consumers the right to transport their data from one service to another — to deactivate a Facebook account, for example, and take one’s trove of pictures and posts and contacts to Google Plus."  Read more

See Also
Commission Proposes a Comprehensive Reform of Data Protection Rules to Increase Users' Control of Their Data and to Cut Costs for Businesses
European Commission, Jan. 25, 2012

Digital Fuel of the 21st Century: Innovation through Open Data and the Network Effect

Vivek Kundra;, Harvard Kennedy School, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Fall 2011

From the report: "In the information economy, data is power and we face a choice between democratizing it and holding on to it for an asymmetrical advantage…. If this data isn't sliced, diced and cubed to separate signal from noise, it can be useless. But, when made available to the public and combined with the network effect—defined by Reed's Law,4 which asserts that the utility of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network—society has the potential to drive massive social, political and economic change…. In today's world, open data leveraged by networks is the fuel that powers important decisions at each level of society—from government, to business, to community, to households—but it is also a product of our every activity at every level of our existence."  Read more

YouTube Statistics

Some stats:

  • 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day
  • Over 3 billion videos are viewed a day
  • Users upload the equivalent of 240,000 full-length films every week
  • More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localized in 25 countries across 43 languages
  • YouTube's demographic is broad: 18-54 years old
  • YouTube reached over 700 billion playbacks in 2010
  • 800M unique users visit YouTube each month" Read more

The Cost of Free Culture

Robert Levine, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 25, 2012

From the article: "Amid controversy over attempts to thwart online piracy, a Google lawyer proposes reforms to a system that satisfies no one…William Patry, a prolific and respected legal scholar who is now Google's senior copyright counsel, takes such a dim view of efforts to protect intellectual property that he seems somewhat uncomfortable with the very idea of a commercial market for creative work. Mr. Patry argues that different kinds of work should get different kinds of protection. He suggests that creators be required to register their copyrights after a certain amount of time in order to maintain them—a good idea, given that under current law even works as minor as family photos receive automatic legal protection. At the same time, he recommends a "use-it-or-lose-it" provision under which rights to out-of-print works would revert to their creators." Read more

See Also
How to Fix Copyright
William Patry, December 2011

Should Google Take the Crazy Out Of the Internet?

Dan Mitchell, CNN Money, Jan. 24, 2012

From the article:  "There is a lot of garbage and nonsense on the Internet. There will always be a lot of garbage and nonsense on the Internet. And, thanks to our understandable wish to clean up garbage when we see it, there will always be misguided calls to do something about it…Evgeny Morozov believes that Google and other search engines should slap warning labels on links to such ideas. The Internet has evolved, he laments at Slate, "with no or little quality control." Read more

The 3-D Printing Pirates Who Could Render SOPA Meaningless

Kit Eaton, Fast Company, Jan. 24, 2012

From the article: "What will happen in terms of IP rights and piracy when 3-D printed objects become commonplace? Pirate Bay has labeled these 3-D objects "physibles," "data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical," and suggests that in the near future it's files of physibles that'll be the hottest pirated data online, in the same way music, movies, and TV shows are nowadays. That's because the file for a physible is effectively the recipe for making the final object--which could quite possibly be a handbag, a mug, or ultimately something as complex as a sneaker." Read more

Another Shade of Blue Button

John D. Halamka, Life as a Healthcare CIO, Jan. 23, 2012

From the blog:  "The Blue Button idea is simple - a large visible button on payer, provider, lab, or pharmacy websites enables patients to download their records in plain text…. In effect, it serves as a web-based single sign application that retains patient context and enables clinicians to view data from any EHR that adheres to the Magic button implementation guide…. having a kind of Blue Button that enables clinicians to view each other's records with patient consent is truly magic for those who use it." Read more

See Also

Google Widens Its Tracks

Julia Angwin, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 25, 2012

From the article: "In a move that could make it harder for Google users to remain anonymous, Google Inc. said it would start combining nearly all the information it has on its users. This could mean, for instance, that when users search via Google, the company will use their activities on sister sites like Gmail and YouTube to influence those users' search results. Google hasn't done that before. Google traditionally hasn't had the same amount of personal data about its users, and has kept much of its personal data separate. But as Facebook gears up for its planned initial public offering this spring, Google has amped up the competition." Read more (subscription may be required)

See Also
Google Announces Privacy Changes Across Products; Users Can’t Opt Out
Cecilia Kang, The Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2012

Could the Internet Ever Be Destroyed?

From the article: "The raging battle over SOPA and PIPA, the proposed anti-piracy laws, is looking more and more likely to end in favor of Internet freedom — but it won't be the last battle of its kind. Although, ethereal as it is, the Internet seems destined to survive in some form or another, experts warn that there are many threats to its status quo existence, and there is much about it that could be ruined or lost." Read more

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Online Portal Adoption Lower Than Expected in Study of Older Patients

Dan Bowman, Fierce Health IT, Jan. 20, 2012

From the article: “Researchers have called the effectiveness of web-based interventions in healthcare into question on the heels of a study showing limited use of such features by patients, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Health Communication…. They added that rather than continuing to throw money at the creation of technology-based interventions, funding instead should be reallocated at programs geared toward understanding the best ways the Internet can be used to provide more tangible and immediate results." Read more

See Also
Journal of Health Communication, Volume 17, Issue 1, 2012

Ex-U.S. Spy Chief Says May Take Crisis for New Cyber Law

Tabassum Zakaria, Reuters, Jan. 23, 2012

From the article: "U.S. intelligence agencies have unique capabilities that can help protect American companies from cyber espionage and attack, but it will probably take a crisis to change laws to allow that type of cooperation, a former spy chief said on Monday. "Until we have a banking collapse or electric power goes off in the middle of a snowstorm for eight weeks, or something of that magnitude, we're likely just to talk about it and not do much," Mike McConnell, former director of national intelligence, said." Read more

As Smartphones Get Smarter, You May Get Healthier: How mHealth Can Bring Cheaper Health Care To All

Adam Bluestein, Fast Company, Jan. 9, 2012

From the article: "Leveraging the wonders of a device that's fast becoming ubiquitous--two in three people worldwide own a cell phone--a new generation of startups is building apps and add-ons that make your handheld work like high-end medical equipment. Except it's cheaper, sleeker, and a lot more versatile. …Whether these tools actually make us any healthier, however, will depend on how we use them. Given the ability to record our snacks, thoughts, naps, movements, and more, "we will be overwhelmed with data," warns John Moore, a lead researcher in the New Media Medicine group at the MIT Media Lab." Read more

A Healthy Information Diet: The Case for Conscious Consumption

Maria Popova; Brain Pickings, The Atlantic, Jan, 23, 2012

From the review: “I was thrilled for the release of Clay Johnson's The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption -- an intelligent manifesto for optimizing the 11 hours we spend consuming information on any given day (a number that, for some of us, might be frighteningly higher) in a way that serves our intellectual, creative, and psychological well-being. Johnson -- best known for directing Sunlight Labs at government transparency operation Sunlight Foundation -- draws a parallel between the industrialization of food, which at once allowed for ever-greater efficiency and reined in an obesity epidemic, and the industrialization of information, arguing that blaming the abundance of information itself is as absurd as blaming the abundance of food for obesity.” Read more

See Also
The Information Diet - The Case for Conscious Consumption
Clay A. Johnson

Justices Say GPS Tracker Violated Privacy Rights

Adam Liptak, The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2012

From the article: “The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously ruled that the police violated the Constitution when they placed a Global Positioning System tracking device on a suspect’s car and monitored its movements for 28 days. But the justices divided 5-to-4 on the rationale for the decision, with the majority saying that the problem was the placement of the device on private property. That ruling avoided many difficult questions, including how to treat information gathered from devices installed by the manufacturer and how to treat information held by third parties like cellphone companies.” Read more

See Also
United States v. Jones
Supreme Court of the United States, October Term, 2011

What Does the Supreme Court GPS Ruling Mean for Privacy?
Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 23, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

ECRI to Hospitals: If You’re Not Tweeting, You’re Bleeding (Opportunities)

David Pearson, CMIO, Jan. 19, 2012

From the article: "More than 1,000 hospitals have embraced online social networking. It’s as much for them as for the 4,700 or so that have avoided the resource that ECRI Institute has released a new risk analysis, "Social Media in Healthcare," and made it available for free downloading.  The implication: Adopters need to be aware of the risks they face while abstainers should consider the benefits they’re missing out on….The organization said that, in using social media to meet consumer demand, hospitals must create and enforce social media plans that define how engaged the organization will be, who its audience will be and who will be responsible for managing social media outlets. They should also establish policies and procedures for managing risks related to privacy, reputation management and employment issues." Read more

See Also
Social Media in Healthcare (registration may be required)
Healthcare Risk Control, ECRI Institute, November 2011

Why Doesn’t Washington Understand the Internet?

Rebecca MacKinnon, The Washington Post, Jan. 20, 2012

From the article:  “Washington is waking up to the new reality: Politics as usual is not compatible with the Internet age, especially when it comes to laws and regulations governing the Web. And the Internet’s key players — along with millions of passionate users who have tended to view Washington as disconnected from their lives — are realizing that they can’t ignore what happens on Capitol Hill. Both sides must now face the long-simmering culture clash between Washington and the Internet, with implications that go far beyond a temporary Wikipedia blackout.” Read more

Friday, January 20, 2012

Can 'Year of the Hack' Spur Better Threat Info Sharing?

William Jackson, Government Computer News, Jan. 17, 2012

From the article: "A panel of industry executives is calling for a new, intelligence-driven model of cybersecurity based on improved information gathering, sharing and analysis to counter advanced threats. But effective collaboration and information sharing often is more a dream than a reality. The main challenges to more effective cooperation, according to members of the Security for Business Innovation Council, are two-fold: A lack of ability to integrate and evaluate data within organizations, and a reluctance to share information between organizations, especially with government." Read more

IPv6 Internet Protocol to Launch in June — Finally

 Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence, Jan. 20, 2012

From the article: "We’ve run out of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, so major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world are participating in World IPv6 Launch to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services by June 6, 2012…. World IPv6 Launch represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6. As the successor to the current Internet Protocol, IPv4, IPv6 is critical to the Internet’s continued growth as a platform for innovation and economic development." Read more

See Also

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Halt the Silicon Valley Histrionics

John Gapper, Financial Times, Jan. 18, 2012

From the opinion: "Silicon Valley damages itself with its persistent scaremongering over efforts to crack down on piracy. By refusing to engage in a serious effort to prevent it – instead of equating copyright enforcement with censorship, or with “breaking the internet" – it undermines its credibility…The blackouts were a dramatic gesture but curbing piracy does not "destroy the internet as we know it." It would be wiser for Silicon Valley to cut the histrionics and help to fashion a decent law." Read more (registration may be required)

The False Ideals of the Web

Jaron Lanier, The New York Times, Jan. 18, 2012

From the OP-ED: "There is, however, an outdated brand of digital orthodoxy that ought to be retired. In this worldview, the Internet is a never-ending battle of good guys who love freedom against bad guys like old-fashioned Hollywood media moguls. The bad guys want to strengthen copyright law, and make it impossible to post anonymously copied videos and storiesOur melodrama is driven by a vision of an open Internet that has already been distorted, though not by the old industries that fear piracyThis belief in "free" information is blocking future potential paths for the InternetTo my friends in the "open" Internet movement, I have to ask: what did you think would happen? We in Silicon Valley undermined copyright to make commerce become more about services instead of content — more about our code instead of their files. The inevitable endgame was always that we would lose control of our own personal content, our own files. We haven’t just weakened Hollywood and old-fashioned publishers. We’ve weakened ourselves." Read more

Health Care Is Next Frontier for Big Data

Ben Rooney, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 19, 2012

From the article: "Big Data—the ability to collect, process and interpret massive amounts of information—is one of today's most important technological drivers. While companies see it as a way of detecting weak market signals, one of the biggest potential areas of application for society is health care. Historically, health care has been delivered by one doctor looking at one patient with only the information the doctor has at that time. But how much better if the doctor had access to information about thousands, or even tens of thousands, of people? Acquiring medical data has, historically, been problematic. It is wrapped in layers of regulations and stringent safeguards and is expensive to collect… A huge upside of technology has been its democratization, giving ordinary access to information and tools that had previously been the preserve of the few. Industry after industry has seen the creative destruction wreaked upon it as Internet technologies pull down walls." Read more

So We're All in Agreement

Evgeny Morozov, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 18, 2012

From the review: "Standards play a consequential role in nearly every aspect of our lives, from the quality of our food to the octane of our gasoline. They introduce predictability into our chaotic existence, sparing us unnecessary hassle, obviating routine decisions and allowing us to get on with life. It's surprising that we don't reflect on them more often…. Lawrence Busch, a sociologist at Michigan State University, has produced a stimulating account of how and why we create standards. "Standards: Recipes for Reality" is not a technical study of particular standards but an eclectic, philosophical attempt to examine how standards "are used, spoken of, employed, designed, put into common practice." Read more

See Also
Lawrence Busch, Center for the Study of Standards in Society in the Department of Sociology, Michigan State University and Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics, Lancaster University, U.K, November 2011

Real Time Charitable Giving

Aaron Smith, Pew Internet & American Life Project, Jan. 12, 2012

From the summary: "Charitable donations from mobile phones have grown more common in recent years. Two thirds (64%) of American adults now use text messaging, and 9% have texted a charitable donation from their mobile phone.

And these text donors are emerging as a new cohort of charitable givers. The first-ever, in-depth study on mobile donors—which analyzed the “Text to Haiti” campaign after the 2010 earthquake—finds that these contributions were often spur-of-the-moment decisions that spread virally through friend networks. Three quarters of these donors (73%) contributed using their phones on the same day they heard about the campaign, and a similar number (76%) say that they typically make text message donations without conducting much in-depth research beforehand." Read more

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

GAO: Health IT Contractor Lags

John Pulley, Nextgov, Jan. 17, 2012

From the article: "A major U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contractor has fallen behind in its efforts to promote electronic health records, concluded the General Accountability Office in a Jan. 13 report. The contractor, the not-for-profit National Quality Foundation, or NQF, failed to deliver five of eight projects related to electronic health records activity on time, according to the report, "Health Care Quality Measurement: HHS Should Address Contractor Performance and Plan for Needed Measures." Read more

See Also
Health Care Quality Measurement: HHS Should Address Contractor Performance and Plan for Needed Measures
United States Government Accountability Office, January 2012

Rethinking Information Diversity in Networks

Eytan Bakshy, Facebook Data, Jan. 17, 2012

From the summary: "Some claim that social networks act like echo chambers in which people only consume and share information from likeminded close friends, stifling the spread of diverse information. Our study paints a different picture of the world. Instead, we found that even though people are more likely to consume and share information that comes from close contacts that they interact with frequently (like discussing a photo from last night’s party), the vast majority of information comes from contacts that they interact with infrequently.  These distant contacts are also more likely to share novel information, demonstrating that social networks can act as a powerful medium for sharing new ideas, highlighting new products and discussing current events. The research suggests that Facebook isn’t the echo chamber that some might expect – online social networks actually increase the spread of novel information and diverse viewpoints." Read more

Internet Governance at a Crossroads

Joe Waz, Altura West LLC and Phil Weiser, Huffington Post, Jan. 15, 2012

From the opinion: "Why is the Internet so extraordinarily successful? Your first answer may be "brilliant engineering," and that's obviously true. Your second answer may be "it's open, it's global, it's interconnected." Also correct. But perhaps the least understood or appreciated factor in the Internet's growth and success is its amazing capacity for self-governance, and its ability to resist the traditional tools of government regulation….From many quarters, there is pressure to inject more "government" into the Internet. We think the better course is for governments to understand, and cooperate with, the so-called "multistakeholder organizations" that have grown up organically with the Internet." Read more

See Also
Michael Geist; University of Ottawa, Ottawa Citizen, Jan. 17, 2012

Bitter About Your Life? Blame Facebook

Tom Jacobs, Miller-McCune, Jan. 11, 2012

From the article: "New research suggests heavy Facebook users are more likely to believe other people have happier lives…A newly published study suggests the phenomenally popular social networking site may be skewing the way users perceive their lives. It finds those carefully selected photos of cheerful, contented people cumulatively convey a self-esteem-shattering message: Our lives are fantastic! What’s wrong with you?" Read more

See Also
“They Are Happier and Having Better Lives than I Am”: The Impact of Using Facebook on Perceptions of Others' Lives
Hui-Tzu Grace Chou, Ph.D., and Nicholas Edge, B.S., Department of Behavioral Science, Utah Valley University, Dec. 14, 2011

China to Expand Registration Rules for Microblog Users

Don Durfee, Ken Wills, Ron Popeski, and Michael Martina, Reuters, Jan. 18, 2012

From the article: "China will expand real-name registration for microblog users, the government's propaganda and information arm said on Wednesday, in its latest step to better control China's wildly popular Twitter-like websites. Officials acknowledge that microblogs are useful as an outlet for critical public opinion, but have repeatedly accused them of spreading what they call unfounded rumors and vulgarities. They have issued warnings that online content must be acceptable to the ruling Communist Party." Read more

Brake the Internet Pirates

The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 18, 2012

From the opinion: "The e-vangelists seem to believe that anybody is entitled to access to any content at any time at no cost—open source. Their real ideological objection is to the concept of copyright itself, and they oppose any legal regime that values original creative work. The offline analogue is Occupy Wall Street. Information and content may want to be free, or not, but that's for their owners to decide… The Internet has been a tremendous engine for commercial and democratic exchange, but that makes it all the more important to police the abusers who hijack its architecture." Read more

See Also
'SOPA': Internet Piracy Bills in Congress Threaten Core Values
Leslie Harris, Center for Democracy and Technology, ABC News, Dec. 8, 2011

SOPA Will Have Grave Effects On The Health Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Americans
Lee Graczyk; RxRights, techdirt, Nov. 16, 2011

Wikipedia, Google Go Black to Protest SOPA

Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 18, 2012

From the article: "Wikipedia and other popular websites converted their homepages into virtual protest banners early Wednesday as part of an effort to stop Internet piracy legislation that is being considered by the U.S. Congress. The protest was joined, too, by search giant Google Inc., which didn't shut down its site, but around midnight covered most of the logo on its U.S. homepage with a black box, and added a link asking users to tell Congress "please don't censor the web." Craigslist Inc., the popular classifieds site, also put up a black homepage that offered information about the laws and scolded "corporate paymasters" to "keep those clammy hands off the Internet!" Read more

See Also
Wikipedia Blackout Lets In Some Light
Sarah Maslin, The New York Times, Jan. 18, 2012

What is SOPA?
Mike Zaplar and Kim Hart, Politico, Jan. 12, 2012

Governmental Data Mining and its Alternatives

Tal Zarsky, University of Haifa, Penn State Law Review, Vol. 116, No. 2, 2011

From the abstract: "Governments face new and serious risks when striving to protect their citizens. Data mining has captured the imagination as a tool which can potentially close the intelligence gap constantly deepening between governments and their targets. The reaction to the data mining of personal information by governmental entities came to life in a flurry of reports, discussions, and academic papers. The general notion in these sources is that of fear and even awe. As this discourse unfolds, something is still missing. An important methodological step must be part of every one of these inquires mentioned above - the adequate consideration of alternatives. This article is devoted to bringing this step to the attention of academics and policymakers." Read more

Biobanks as a Tissue and Information Semi-Commons: Balancing Interests for Personalized Medicine, Tissue Donors and the Public Health

Ken Gatter, Oregon Health & Science University - Department of Pathology; Willamette University - College of Law, Jan. 12, 2012

From the abstract: "Personalized medicine’s promise is tantalizing. Match a patient’s specific genetic characteristics with a specific therapeutic intervention and people will be treated more effectively and with fewer side effects. It is the future of medicine, and medical centers, pharmaceutical companies and others are heavily investing in the promise. Critical to realizing this promise is patient tissue and the information derived from patient tissue. Tissue information is essential for research and for routine clinical care in personalized medicine. The most valuable tissue, whether in the research or clinical setting, includes treatment and outcomes information. Tissue also increases in value as it becomes part of a larger collection and benefits increase with collection size. The most valuable tissue collections have large sample numbers, which allow greater statistically power. Unlike tissue repositories in the past, biobanks are more than archived remnants of excised human tissue. They are organized, searchable, data rich entities that, like commercial banks, make lending decisions to qualified researchers or organizations." Read more

Internet Freedom and the Digital Earthquake of 2011

Michael H. Posner, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, Jan. 17, 2012

From the speech: "This past year has highlighted the promise and the peril of the Internet as a transformative tool both for human expression and for repression. So I would like to look back at the lessons learned from the digital earthquake of 2011, and offer a few thoughts on the way forward…. The Arab Awakening has been like a geopolitical earthquake sending aftershocks rumbling around the world. Repressive regimes trembled at the power of people connected, and redoubled their attempts to crack down. They did it by jailing bloggers, hijacking Facebook pages, and, in the case of Iran, requiring cybercaf├ęs to install surveillance cameras. They managed to buy sophisticated technologies to sniff out digital dissidents and silence them.

Meanwhile, some governments are trying to impose national and international restrictions that would cripple the exercise of human rights online. They are using terms like, quote, “information security” and “internet management” to try to justify repression. We must protect the free flow of information and also the integrity of the network." Read more

See Also
State of the Net Conference
Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus

Do You Really Need a Password You Can Barely Remember?

Robert McMillan, Wired, Jan. 12, 2012

From the article: "To researchers Cormac Herley and Paul C. van Oorschot, the computer industry’s non-stop campaign to force us to strengthen our passwords is misguided — demanding too much work from users for the benefits it delivers. In a new research paper, van Oorschot and Herley, a Microsoft researcher, say that IT pros often get things backward when it comes to instructing us on password security. That’s because password advice usually neglects the really scary and effective attacks. In other words, users get easy answers rather than the information they really need to hear." Read more

See Also
A Research Agenda Acknowledging the Persistence of Passwords
Cormac Herley and Paul van Oorschot, Microsoft Research, 2012

Google Launches Ad Campaign to Ease Privacy Concerns

Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 17, 2012

From the article: "Google Inc., under scrutiny from privacy watchdogs for changes it made to its search engine, is launching a splashy ad campaign designed to alleviate privacy concerns.Google is rolling out the Good to Know campaign in two dozen U.S. newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, and in public places such as the subways in New York and Washington to encourage people to protect themselves and their information on the Web. The campaign offers practical advice and tips, including how to manage what kind of data people share with Google and websites." Read more

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Good to Know
Google Privacy Center

3 Ways Social Media is Transforming the Doctor-patient Relationship

Chris Foster, Booz Allen Hamilton, Government Health IT, Jan. 17, 2012

From the article: "Much like other advances in health information technology (HIT) such as electronic health records and telemedicine, social media is changing how doctors and patients interact. Social media empowers patients to seek out information, make more informed decisions, and partner with their health care providers on managing their care. Historically, medical care has been primarily physician-centric — “take the doctor’s orders”; however, more recently, patients are playing an increasingly more active role in their treatment. At its very core, social media is a driver of a patient-centered model, promoting two-way continuous communication between supportive community networks, health care providers and patients through the most current, transparent, and immediate information available." Read more

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Doctor in Your Pocket

David B. Agus, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 14, 2012

From the Op-Ed: "It may sound far-fetched, but it is possible to live a long, disease-free life. Most of the conditions that kill us, including cancer and heart disease, could be prevented or delayed by a new way of looking at and treating health. The end of illness is near. Today, we mostly wait for the body to break before we treat it. When I picture what it will be like for my two children to stay in good health as independent adults in 10 or 20 years, I see a big shift from our current model. I see them being able to monitor and adjust their health in real time with the help of smartphones, wearable gadgets—perhaps like small, invisible stickers—to track the inner workings of their cells, and virtual replicas of their bodies that they will play much like videogames, allowing them to know exactly what they can do to optimize every aspect of their health." Read more

See Also
David B. Agus, M.D.

Microblogging Use in China Quadrupled in 2011: Think Tank

Melanie Lee and Jacqueline Wong, Reuters, Jan. 16, 2012

From the article: "Microblogging, or "Weibo" as it is known in China, allows users to send short messages of 140 characters or less to their followers. Twitter, the most popular microblogging platform in the world, is blocked by China's censors.The total number of Weibo users rose 296 percent to 249.9 million in 2011, data from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) showed, meaning nearly half of the Chinese Internet population used Weibo. CNNIC said in its report that by the end of December, there were 513 million Internet users in China, representing an Internet penetration rate of 38.3 percent." Read more

See Also
China Internet Network Information Center

Google, Facebook Fight Indian Censorship Demands

Amol Sharma, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 17, 2012

From the article: "Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. are fighting back against increasing censorship demands from the Indian government and courts, arguing that they aren't legally responsible for monitoring their websites and proactively removing user content that regulators deem objectionable….Some analysts and lawyers also say the Indian government is stepping up its enforcement of the Web at a time when public outrage over corruption and political dysfunction is spilling into blog posts, Facebook pages and Tweets….While India does block some websites outright, that generally hasn't been its censorship tactic of choice. Instead, authorities—often local police—have pressed Web firms to take down particular content. Under regulations India put in place last year, the companies are supposed to remove material in a range of categories—for example, anything "objectionable," "defamatory" or "blasphemous." Read more

"Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live," by Jeff Jarvis

Jeffrey Rosen, The Washington Post, Jan. 13, 2012

From the article: "According to Jeff Jarvis, defenders of self-exposure on the Internet need all the support they can get. "I have learned that the more we share, the more we benefit from what others share," he writes in "Public Parts."…For a so-called "open book," Jarvis is surprisingly selective in the personal details he reveals…There are many limits, however, to Jarvis’s willingness to lead a transparent life. He "won’t deny seeing porn" but refuses to share his browsing history…It turns out that Jarvis is not an advocate of principled transparency at all, but merely an advocate for his own career." Read more

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Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine