Thursday, April 26, 2012

US Needs Top-Level Approval to Launch Cyberattacks

Lardner, Richard. "US Needs Top-Level Approval to Launch Cyberattacks." Bloomberg Businessweek, April 24, 2012.

From the article: "The United States would use cyber weapons against an adversary's computer networks only after officials at the highest levels of government approved of the operation because of the risks of collateral damage, a senior U.S. military official said Tuesday.

The director of intelligence at U.S. Cyber Command, Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, said that cyberattacks can do significant harm to a country's infrastructure and should never be carried out in a cavalier manner. Offensive cyber operations are difficult to conduct with precision to avoid unintended casualties and damage to unrelated systems, he said."  Read more

Meaningful Use Still a Challenge Despite Strides, Say Hospitals

Milliard, Mike. "Meaningful Use Still a Challenge Despite Strides, Say Hospitals." Healthcare IT News, April 24, 2012.

From the article: "Most hospitals and health systems report being well along in completing electronic health record implementation, but many still have doubts about their ability to meet new EHR standards, according to a new poll from KPMG.

Forty-eight percent of hospital and health system business leaders who participated in the survey said they were confident in their organization’s level of readiness to meet Stage 1
meaningful use requirements, say KPMG officials. Thirty-nine percent said they were somewhat confident, 3 percent said they were not confident at all, and 10 percent didn’t know what their level of readiness was.

The poll also found that nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of hospital and health system leaders said they are more than 50 percent of the way to completing EHR system adoption."

Get a link to the report

The Challenge of ‘Big Data’ for Data Protection

Kuner, Christopher, and Fred H. Cate, Christopher Millard, Dan Jerker B. Svantesson. "The Challenge of ‘Big Data’ for Data Protection." International Data Privacy Law, 2012 2: 47-49.

From the paper: "Data protection, like almost everything else in our lives, is challenged by the advent of ‘big data’. The Economist reports in its 2012 Outlook that the quantity of global digital data expanded from 130 exabytes in 2005 to 1,227 in 2010, and is predicted to rise to 7,910 exabytes in 2015... The importance of big data is not just a result of its size or how fast it is growing (about 60 per cent a year), but also the reality that the data come from an amazing array of sources. The Internet captures lots of data. Facebook alone has more than 800 million active users, more than half of whom log in every day, where they generate more than 900 million web pages and upload more than 250 million photos every day." Read more

Bring in the Nerds: Secrecy, National Security and the Creation of International Intellectual Property Law

Levine, David S., "Bring in the Nerds: Secrecy, National Security and the Creation of International Intellectual Property Law." (April 6, 2012). Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2012.

From abstract: "The negotiations of the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement has elevated intellectual property piracy to the level of national security concerns for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act and have therefore been conducted largely in secret. However, the level of actual secrecy has been tiered, with corporate interests enjoying far more access to negotiation information than the general public. At the same time, similar intellectual property issues have been negotiated in the relative transparency of Congress’ debate over the pending Stop Online Piracy Act/PROTECT IP Act, allowing for much greater public involvement. With national security concerns as the backdrop, the focus of this article is the use of national security arguments to prevent the public from accessing information about the creation of international intellectual property law and proposed ways to address the information failures existing in international intellectual property lawmaking and international lawmaking more generally." Read more

Why 'Big Data' Is Here To Stay

Webster, John. "Why 'Big Data' Is Here To Stay." CNET News, April 25, 2012.

From the opinion: "There is a tendency to see the big-data phenomenon as another turn of the hype cycle. Indeed, I've been told that a prominent marketing executive was overheard as saying, "Never has a term so vague meant so much to so many." Not long from now, big data will go the way of all technology hype cycles and become another chapter in computing history, following the ones on cloud, client/server, and the mainframe. But it will have spawned new computing systems -- ones that more closely think the way we do." Read more

Cyberattacks on Government Up 680 Percent

Sasso, Brendan. "Cyberattacks on Government Up 680 Percent." The Hill, April 25, 2012.

From the article: "Cyberattacks on the federal government soared 680 percent in five years, an official from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified Tuesday.

Gregory Wilshusen, director of information issues for the GAO, said federal agencies reported 42,887 cybersecurity "incidents" in 2011, compared with just 5,503 in 2006.

The incidents included malicious code, denial of service attacks and unauthorized access to systems.

He said foreign nations, terrorists, criminal groups and political activists were behind many of the attacks. " Read more

Lewis: Cybersecurity Legislation Must Address Critical Infrastructure

Bernhart Walker, Molly. "Lewis: Cybersecurity Legislation Must Address Critical Infrastructure." Fierce Government, April 25, 2012.

From the article: "Four cybersecurity bills are being considered on the Hill this week, but one cybersecurity expert warns that if passed, they wouldn't go far enough.

There has been much contention around whether agencies can or should regulate critical infrastructure, but if it doesn't happen "Congress will have failed," said James Lewis, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' technology and public policy program.

"There are some very useful bills in the House and they'll do some good things, but the ultimate test will be: Do you give the government more authority to mandate security at critical infrastructure facilities? If we don't do that this year, an attack is inevitable," said Lewis during an April 24 hearing of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on oversight, investigations and management." Read more

See also
Perera, David. "Four Cybersecurity Bills Set for House Consideration." Fierce Government, April 23, 2012.

The U.N., Internet Regulator?

Renda, Andrea. "The U.N., Internet Regulator?" The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2012.

From the opinion: "Mayan prophecy predicts that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, but Internet users should be more worried about what will happen just a few weeks before. The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) meets in Dubai Dec. 3-14 to consider proposals that would grant authority for Internet governance to the United Nations and impose new regulations on Web traffic. If adopted, these proposals could upend the Web as we know it, undermining it as an engine for growth and dynamism for the world….More transparency and accountability for private organizations, rather than more governmental control, can help the Internet continue to grow as a resource for the whole world. More geographically balanced governance can easily co-exist with a free Internet. It would also help unmask those governments that dress their desire to limit free speech as a plea for global governance." Read more

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Neelie Kroes: Investing In Our Digital Future

Neelie Kroes. "Investing In Our Digital Future." (speech, COSAC Conference of National Parliaments, Copenhagen, Denmark, April 24, 2012).

From the speech: "These days, no political discussion can ignore the economy. It's the dominant topic in Brussels and in your national capitals.

I am convinced that the time for endless discussion is over; we need action. We should stop debating the importance of growth: but identify and support the things that can deliver it.

My message is simple: to think about the future economy, you must take account of the digital revolution. 

In short, the Internet is changing our economy, changing our opportunities, and changing our world.

The facts are stark. The European digital Internet economy is already bigger than Belgium’s national economy and growing faster than the Chinese economy. Already worth hundreds of billions of euros, in a few years, it could reach over 5% of EU GDP. In some Member States it's already higher. And by 2016, online spending could account for over one retail euro in ten. 

And no wonder. Just look at what the Internet offers, and how it boosts our economy. Studies show that investment in ICT capital is among the most productive there is. It enables new ways of doing business, new ways to power productivity, new ways to innovate. 

It creates five jobs for every two it displaces. It helps small companies double growth and exports. And, where broadband goes, growth follows: increasing broadband penetration by 10 percentage points translates as 1 to 1.5% on GDP.

Increasingly, people realise that doing things online can save them time, money and hassle. Ever greater numbers are using an ever wider range of services. And they are increasingly willing to pay for them. " Read more

Understanding the Mechanics of Online Collective Action Using 'Big Data'

Hale, Scott A and Helen Zerlina  Margetts. "Understanding the Mechanics of Online Collective Action Using 'Big Data'." March 22, 2012.

From the abstract: "Now that so much of collective action takes place online, web-generated data can further understanding of the mechanics of Internet-based mobilization. This 'big data' offers social science researchers the potential for new forms of analysis, using real-time transactional data based on entire populations, rather than sample-based surveys of what people think they did or might do. This paper uses a 'big data' approach to track the growth of over 8,000 petitions to the UK Government on the No. 10 Downing Street website for two years, analyzing the rate of growth per day and testing the hypothesis that the distribution of daily change will be leptokurtic (rather than normal) as previous research on agenda setting would suggest. This hypothesis is confirmed, suggesting that Internet-based mobilization is characterized by tipping points (or punctuated equilibria) and explaining some of the volatility in online collective action. We find also that most successful petitions grow quickly and that the number of signatures a petition receives on its first day is the most significant factor explaining the overall number of signatures a petition receives during its lifetime. These findings could have implications for the strategies of those initiating petitions and the design of web sites with the aim of maximizing citizen engagement with policy issues." Read more

Information, Community, and Action: How Nonprofit Organizations Use Social Media

Lovejoy, Kristen and Gregory D. Saxon. "Information, Community, and Action: How Nonprofit Organizations Use Social Media." Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol. 17, No. 3, 337-353, 2012.

From  the abstract:  "The rapid diffusion of ‘microblogging’ services such as Twitter is ushering in a new era of possibilities for organizations to communicate with and engage their core stakeholders and the general public. To enhance understanding of the communicative functions microblogging serves for organizations, this study examines the Twitter utilization practices of the 100 largest nonprofit organizations in the United States. The analysis reveals there are three key functions of microblogging updates — ‘information,’ ‘community,’ and ‘action.’ Though the informational use of microblogging is extensive, nonprofit organizations are better at using Twitter to strategically engage their stakeholders via dialogic and community-building practices than they have been with traditional websites. The adoption of social media appears to have engendered new paradigms of public engagement." Read more

Internet Choice of Law Governance

Little, Laura E. "Internet Choice of Law Governance." China Private International Law Forum, 2012; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper, April 23, 2012.

From the abstract: "As society and legal institutions have become more accustomed to internet communications and transactions, some legal thinkers urge that existing approaches to governance developed outside the internet context are well suited for resolving internet choice of law issues. In this essay, Professor Little argues against this position, observing that internet disputes continue to pose unique choice of law problems and to call for special focus on developing appropriate governance rules. Professor Little finds evidence of this need for special focus in several phenomena, including: (1) the continuing tendency of courts to pursue unilateral decision-making despite multi-jurisdictional interests or global effects of internet disputes; and (2) the legal and cultural clashes that arise in disputes implicating freedom of expression. The internet plays a crucial role in developing new cultural and creative forms, such as fan fiction, mashups, scanlations, and various forms of humor. This raises the stakes of identifying appropriate regulatory forms for internet communication. Special study of internet choice of law problems has the potential to provide the United States with insight into other countries’ methods of crediting human dignity in regulating hate speech and defamation as well as to create greater understanding among nations."

Read more

Knowing More About Privacy Makes Users Share Less With Facebook and Google

Siegel + Gale. "Knowing More About Privacy Makes Users Share Less With Facebook and Google." Siegel + Gale website, April 24, 2012.

From the press release: "Is the personal information you supply to websites really private? And how are your online activities tracked and stored, and used to serve up information to you and marketers? In a March 2012 SimplicityLab survey of more than 400 respondents, we examined how well users understand the implications of Google and Facebook privacy policies.

Our primary goal was to evaluate users’ ability to understand the factual information conveyed in the communication. We also wanted to determine users’ perceptions of online privacy.

What we found was that users lack a clear understanding of Google and Facebook

privacy basics, and they are frustrated and concerned. Among the key findings:
Users understand banks and government agencies better than Google and Facebook
  • Google and Facebook don’t fully explain what information is collected and how it’s stored and shared
  • Many users are frustrated with how little they know about their privacy online and what little they can do to control it
  • Users plan to reduce the amount of information they share with Facebook and Google"
Read more

See also
Knowing More About Privacy Makes Users Share Less With Facebook and Google, a report prepared by Siegel + Gale, New York, New York, March 2012.

People Power 2.0

Pollack, John. "People Power 2.0." Technology Review, May/June, 2012.

From the article: "The war against Qaddafi was fought with global brains, NATO brawn, and Libyan blood. But it took brains and blood to get the brawn. On February 18, three days into the protests that would swell into the successful revolt against the regime, Libya went offline. Internet and cell-phone access was cut or unreliable for the duration, and people used whatever limited connections they could….The world's nodes and networks are multiplying and growing denser: a third of the world's population is online, and 45 percent of those people are under 25. Cell-phone penetration in the developing world reached 79 percent in 2011. Cisco estimates that by 2015, more people in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East will have mobile Internet access than have electricity at home. Across much of the world, this new information power sits uncomfortably upon archaic layers of corrupt or inefficient governance. 

In today's world, as the U.S. Army Field Manual for Operations notes, "information has become as important as lethal action in determining the outcome of operations." Read more

Forcing Forgetfulness: Data Privacy, Free Speech, and the 'Right to Be Forgotten'

Walker, Robert Kirk. "Forcing Forgetfulness: Data Privacy, Free Speech, and the 'Right to Be Forgotten." March 18, 2012.

From the abstract: "Information posted to the Internet is never truly forgotten. While the persistence of data offers benefits, it also carries substantial risks to a data subject if their personal information is used out of context or in ways that are harmful to his or her person’s reputation. The potential for harm is especially dire when personal information is disclosed without a subject’s consent. In response to these risks, European policymakers have proposed the legislative recognition of a “right to be forgotten” that provides individuals with a legal mechanism to compel the removal of personal data from electronic repositories. This right has been defined as, “the right of individuals to have their data no longer processed and deleted when they are no longer needed for legitimate purposes.

In this essay, I put forward the claim that only a limited form of the right to be forgotten is compatible with U.S. constitutional law. This form — a right to delete voluntarily submitted data — has only limited utility against the myriad privacy issues raised by networked technologies with limitless digital memories. It is, nevertheless, an essential component of a properly balanced regulatory portfolio. As such, this right should be legislatively enacted on the federal level as an implied-in-law covenant in contracts between data processors and personal data disclosers." Read more

Experience a World Where Everything Intelligently Connects: The Connected Life

Experience a World Where Everything Intelligently Connects: The Connected Life, a report prepared by Groupe Speciale Mobile, London,England, February 2012.

From the report: "Over the course of just a few decades, mobile has become one of the largest and most significant platforms in history, with six billion connections and transforming the way we communicate and access information, entertainment and the  Internet as a whole.

But a new wave of connectivity is on the horizon. In the future, everyone and everything around us that might benefit from a wireless connection will, in fact, have one. We will see connected cars, buildings, medical monitors, TVs, game consoles and a whole range of connected consumer electronics and household appliances. Many of these will be connected wirelessly and intelligently, communicating and interacting with each other." Read more

Aspen Institute Releases New IDEA Project Report on Governing the Flow and Use of Data in a Single Global Digital Economy

The Aspen Institute. "Aspen Institute Releases New IDEA Project Report on Governing the Flow and Use of Data in a Single Global Digital Economy."  The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2012.

From the press release: "Today the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program released a new report of the International Digital Economy Accords (IDEA) Project titled, Toward a Single Global Digital Economy: The First Report of the Aspen Institute IDEA Project. The report addresses the challenges and critical steps forward for establishing a fair, effective, and empowering multi-stakeholder system for governing the flow and use of data in a single global digital economy…. Among the key components of the report:

The Aspen IDEA Common Statement: a clear statement of an ideal Internet culture with respect to the seamless global transfer of information and exchange of digital goods and services.

The Aspen IDEA Principles: a series of guidelines that strengthen the Internet infrastructure and promote free trade in the Internet ecosystem; enhance the international free flow of information; and promote a trusted environment for the Internet. The principles supplement the work developed at other forums, including the June 2011 government-sponsored work at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The importance of multistakeholder Internet governance. The most plausible Internet governance plan is not purely intergovernmental, but rather includes both government and nongovernmental agents. Internet governance by multistakeholder entities acknowledges the principle of inclusion, the importance of having the participation of all interests--companies, civil society, and governments--in the policy-making process."  Read more

See also
Toward a Single Global Digital Economy: The First Report of the Aspen Institute IDEA Project, prepared by The Aspen Institute, Washington, DC, 2012.

If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move

Mims, Christopher. "If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move." Technology Review, April 20, 2012.

From the article: "Location services company Navizon has a new system, called Navizon I.T.S., that could allow tracking of visitors in malls, museums, offices, factories, secured areas and just about any other indoor space. It could be used to examine patterns of foot traffic in retail spaces, assure that a museum is empty of visitors at closing time, or even to pinpoint the location of any individual registered with the system. But let's set all that aside for a minute while we freak out about the privacy implications.

Most of us leave Wi-Fi on by default, in part because our phones chastise us when we don't. (Triangulation by Wi-Fi hotspots is important for making location services more accurate.) But you probably didn't realize that, using proprietary new "nodes" from Navizon, any device with an active Wi-Fi radio can be seen by a system like Navizon's." Read more

Measuring the Broadband Bonus in Thirty OECD Countries

Greenstein, Shane and Ryan McDevitt. "Measuring the Broadband Bonus in Thirty OECD Countries." OECD Digital Economy Papers No. 197, OECD Publishing, April 19, 2012.

From the abstract: "This paper provides estimates of the economic value created by broadband Internet using measures of new gross domestic product and consumer surplus. The study finds that the economic value created in 30 OECD countries correlates roughly with the overall size of their broadband economies. In addition, price and quality data from the United States suggest that widespread adoption of broadband Internet has occurred without a dramatic decline in prices, which reflects an unobserved increase in broadband quality that conventional government statistics do not capture." Read more

China Escalates Crackdown On Internet Amid Scandal

Chao, Loretta and Josh Chin. "China Escalates Crackdown On Internet Amid Scandal." The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2012.

From the article: "China has stepped up its campaign to clamp down on the Internet, which has emerged as a virtual town square for exchanging information about the Bo Xilai scandal and the nation's biggest political upheaval in years. 

The popular Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo on Tuesday deleted the accounts of several users, including that of Li Delin, a senior editor of the Chinese business magazine Capital Week, whose March 19 post helped fuel rumors of a coup in Beijing. The service announced the move to many of its more than 300 million user accounts, thereby turning it into a public lesson in the consequences of rumor mongering." Read more


EU Privacy Chief Warns of Internet Spying Threat

Davenport, Claire. "EU Privacy Chief Warns of Internet Spying Threat." Reuters, August 24, 2012.

From the article: "Several governments in the developed world have been pushing for multilateral agreements to ban trademark theft on consumer goods and medicines, as have websites such as MegaUploads and PirateBay, which provide free film and music downloads.

But lawmakers say these agreements could give companies such as internet providers unprecedented access to subscribers' online activity, raising privacy concerns." Read more

See also
Baker, Jennifer. "European Data Protection Official Criticizes ACTA Treaty." PCWorld, April 24, 2012.

Serf and Turf: Crowdturfing for Fun and Profit

Wang, Gang, Christo Wilson, Xiaohan Zhao, Yibo Zhu, Manish Mohanlal, Haitao Zheng and Ben Y. Zhao."Serf and Turf: Crowdturfing for Fun and Profit."  Paper presented at the World Wide Web 2012 Conference, Lyon, France, April 16-20, 2012.

From the abstract:  "Popular Internet services in recent years have shown that remarkable things can be achieved by harnessing the power of the masses using crowd-sourcing systems. However, crowd-sourcing systems can also pose a real challenge to existing security mechanisms deployed to protect Internet services. Many of these security techniques rely on the assumption that malicious activity is generated automatically by automated programs. Thus they would perform poorly or be easily bypassed when attacks are generated by real users working in a crowd-sourcing system. Through measurements, we have found surprising evidence showing that not only do malicious crowd-sourcing systems exist, but they are rapidly growing in both user base and total revenue. We describe in this paper a significant effort to study and understand these crowdturfing systems in today’s Internet. We use detailed crawls to extract data about the size and operational structure of these crowdturfing systems. We analyze details of campaigns offered and performed in these sites, and evaluate their end-to-end effectiveness by running active, benign campaigns of our own. Finally, we study and compare the source of workers on crowdturfing sites in different countries. Our results suggest that campaigns on these systems are highly effective at reaching users, and their continuing growth poses a concrete threat to online communities both in the US and elsewhere." Read more

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Health Gaming and the Power of Social

Zambsky, Lisa. "Health Gaming and the Power of Social," iHealthBeat, April 23, 2012.

From the article: "As the gaming industry has grown, so, too, has an interest in harnessing the power of play to help consumers improve their health. Finding entertaining ways of getting people to eat a healthier diet, exercise more or keep track of and treat chronic illness is becoming big business. …Although games have been designed around a wide range of illnesses and conditions, the three areas in medicine getting the most attention today, Ferguson said, are childhood obesity, diabetes, and helping seniors maintain and improve their mobility. Games to treat other medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, cancer and injuries also are starting to work their way into the therapeutic process….Many companies, both new and established, have recently entered the market with health-related games that incorporate a social component, whereby people collaborate, compete and support one another in reaching a specific goal. In addition to startups, employers and health insurers have worked to capitalize on this popular trend….Although there is a lot of research currently under way in the area of health games, the general consensus seems to be that a deeper knowledge about their benefits and limitations, as well as what makes" Read more

Monday, April 23, 2012

Big Data Age Puts Privacy in Question as Information Becomes Currency

Krotoski, Aleks. "Big Data Age Puts Privacy in Question as Information Becomes Currency," in a special report, Battle for the Internet, The Guardian, April 22, 2012.

From the article: "The second decade of the 21st century is epitomised by Big Data. From the status updates, friendship connections and preferences generated by Facebook and Twitter to search strings on Google, locations on mobile phones and purchasing history on store cards, this is data that's too big to compute easily, yet is so rich that it is being used by institutions in the public and private sectors to identify what people want before they are even aware they want it.

The most important thing for data holders in the Big Data age is the kind of information they have access to. Facebook's projected $100bn value is based on the data it offers people who want to exploit its social graph. Its holdings include more than 800m records about who's in a user's social circle, relationship information, likes, dislikes, public and private messages and even physiological characteristics.

Fundamentally, privacy means the same thing in an era of Big Data as it always has, but the capacity of machines to capture, store, process, synthesise and analyse details about everyone has forced new boundaries. It is unlikely that people will stop sharing data in exchange for services that are viewed as valuable.

Big Data offers undeniable opportunities, but requires a delicate balance between the right to knowledge and the right of the individual. Privacy norms will demand that new systems of trust be built into technology design." Read more

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Effect of Health Information Technology on Quality in U.S. Hospitals

The Effect of Health Information Technology on Quality in U.S. Hospitals, a report prepared by Changes in Healthcare Financing & Organization (HCFO), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Vol. XV, No. 3: April 2012.

From the abstract: "Mistakes in the clinical setting are responsible for an estimated $17 billion of direct costs annually to the health care system. Proponents of health information technology (HIT) believe tools like electronic health records (EHRs) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) could help reduce these errors and related costs by improving communication between providers and encouraging the implementation of standard guidelines and decision-support tools.In a HCFO-funded study, Jeffrey McCullough, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, and colleagues measured the quality and cost effects of clinical information technology, specifically EHR and CPOE systems. Findings from the study suggest that the effect of HIT adoption depends on context – meaning the hospital setting. While the potential for HIT to improve clinical quality is well documented, the benefits of widespread adoption remain uncertain." Read more

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Human Rights and Technology Sales: How Corporations Can Avoid Assisting Repressive Regimes

Cohn, Cindy, and Trevor Timm, and Jillian C. York. "Human Rights and Technology Sales: How Corporations Can Avoid Assisting Repressive Regimes," a report prepared by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, April 2012.

From the report: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that it's time for technology companies, especially those selling surveillance and filtering equipment, to step up and ensure that they aren’t assisting foreign governments in committing human rights violations against their own people...EFF proposes companies navigate these difficult issues by adopting a robust Know Your Customer program, similar to the one outlined in the current U.S. export controls or a program similar to that required by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for other purposes.

Putting the focus on user and potential (or actual) use of the technology for human rights abuses by government—rather than on the capabilities of the technology itself—presents a more direct path to stopping human rights abuses, and one with fewer collateral risks." Read more

Tim Berners-Lee: Demand Your Data From Google and Facebook

Katz, Ian. "Tim Berners-Lee: Demand Your Data From Google and Facebook." The Guardian, April 18, 2012.

From the article: "Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the world wide web, has urged internet users to demand their personal data from online giants such as Google and Facebook to usher in a new era of highly personalised computer services "with tremendous potential to help humanity"…. In an interview with the Guardian, Berners-Lee said: "My computer has a great understanding of my state of fitness, of the things I'm eating, of the places I'm at. My phone understands from being in my pocket how much exercise I've been getting and how many stairs I've been walking up and so on."

Exploiting such data could provide hugely useful services to individuals, he said, but only if their computers had access to personal data held about them by web companies." ." Read more

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Introducing the Innovator's Patent Agreement

"Introducing the Innovator's Patent Agreement,"Twitter Blog, April 17, 2012.

From the blog: "One of the great things about Twitter is working with so many talented folks who dream up and build incredible products day in and day out. Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of these inventions. However, we also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future; we sometimes worry that they may be used to impede the innovation of others. For that reason, we are publishing a draft of the Innovator’s Patent Agreement, which we informally call the “IPA”.

The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What’s more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended."
Read more

See also
"Inventor's Patent Agreement (IPA), Version 0.95," Github, April 17, 2012.

Crowdfunding: Fleecing the American Masses

Griffin, Zachary, "Crowdfunding: Fleecing the American Masses" (March 14, 2012). Case Western Reserve Journal of Law, Technology & the Internet, Forthcoming.

From abstract: “As our economy continues to sputter along like a beat-up station wagon, politicians in Washington are searching for new ways to boost its prospects. Many, including President Barack Obama, are looking to spur small business growth as a solution to our economic woes. However, such growth is stymied by the lack of capital available to small businesses. As Representative McHenry stated, “lending to job creators and entrepreneurs remains dismal, [and] we must find new and modern means for capital formation to ignite our sputtering economy.” Such “ignition” will come from crowdfunding, or at least politicians seem to think so.

Crowdfunding is a means of capital formation that connects entrepreneurs with investors over the Internet. Entrepreneurs can post their business plans on crowdfunding websites, and anybody connected to the Internet can contribute, or invest, in these companies. However, there is catch; investors are limited in the types of returns they can receive from their capital contributions. Currently, investors cannot receive any form of security, because “crowdfunding does not mesh with federal securities regulation[s].” The Securities Act of 1933 makes it illegal to offer or sell any security unless the issuer has complied with the registration requirements under section 5 of the Act or has met a registration exemption. “Entrepreneurs seeking debt or equity financing through crowdfunding will often be selling [unregistered] securities,” as compliance with the registration process is too expensive for most entrepreneurs and the Act’s exemptions do not fit with the crowdfunding model. As such, there is a tremendous push in Washington to create a new exemption for securities issued through crowdfunding.” Read more

Battles Over Digital Copyright (SOPA and ACTA) and the Rise of “Exo-Politics”

Nelson, Michael, R. "Battles Over Digital Copyright (SOPA and ACTA) and the Rise of  “Exo-Politics.” The European Institute, April 2012.

From the article: "Controversy over legislation in the U.S., Europe and Canada to protect online copyright has mobilized a wave of new players from the user community who deploy the Internet in new ways to influence the political debate. This phenomenon -- characterized by street protests organized via social media, online petitions, viral videos and other "hacktivism" techniques -- is being called "exo-politics" (i.e. outside politics as usual). It may presage a significant change in the political power equation." Read more

No Internet For Me, Thanks

Zickuhr, Kathryn and Aaron Smith, "No Internet for Me, Thanks," a report prepared by the Internet & American Life Project, Pew Research Center, April 13, 2012.

From the overview: "When the Pew Internet Project first began writing about the role of the internet in American life in 2000, there were stark differences between those who were using the internet and those who were not. Today, differences in internet access still exist among different demographic groups, especially when it comes to access to high-speed broadband at home. Among the main findings about the state of digital access:

One in five American adults does not use the internet. Senior citizens, those who prefer to take our interviews in Spanish rather than English, adults with less than a high school education, and those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year are the least likely adults to have internet access." Read more

They can’t all be SOPA: Are webizens ready to fight with nuance?

From the opinion: It’s hard to be a web user these days, especially since the government has gotten so interested in what we’re doing online. Bills and proposed regulations that target web activity and user data are popping up all the time, and it’s hard to keep track of what any of this actually means. It gets even worse when we can’t figure out who — if anyone — is actually on our side, and when compromise has to take the place of all-out war.

Occasionally, things are easy, like SOPA. It was a ridiculous bill for the myriad reasons cited between its rise to prominence in October 2011 and its eventual shelving in January 2012. It would have led to absurd lawsuits and would have proved to be an incredible burden for many web service providers. But that bill clearly targeted web users’ favorite web sites and the users themselves — if you were in one of those two camps, it was easy to pick a side.

I admit I have been somewhat taken aback, however, by the outrage over the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA — namely, the allegations that it’s little more than SOPA 2.0. As I explained in a post yesterday, although the bill does mention intellectual property, it doesn’t aim to target illegal downloading. It targets actual breaches of corporate networks in an attempt to steal files, and that’s a good thing. Read more

U.S., China Tout Progress Over IP

Chau, Loretta. "U.S., China Tout Progress Over IP." The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2012

From the article: "U.S. and Chinese officials touted recent progress in intellectual-property protection in China and called for continued efforts, even as U.S. and Chinese companies engage in high-profile battles over famous names such as iPad and Michael Jordan. U.S. officials continued to complain that high piracy rates in China are cutting into profits for rights owners, despite recent efforts by the Chinese government to crack down on Internet and software piracy.

On Thursday the U.S. called for greater cooperation by China with intellectual-property agencies in other countries as well as more consistent enforcement…. Chinese officials at the event, part of which was open to reporters, asked critics to be "objective" and to recognize the differences between the U.S. and China. "Equality and respect…are the basis for cooperation," said Chong Quan, assistant minister at China's Commerce Ministry. "China and the U.S. have different cultural and historical traditions. We are in different stages of economic development." Read more

Privacy Groups Unimpressed With Cybersecurity Bill Changes

From the article: "Changes to a House cybersecurity bill have failed to win over the bill's critics, who warn that it could undermine online privacy.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) would tear down legal barriers that discourage companies from sharing information about cyberattacks, but privacy groups warn the legislation could lead companies to hand over personal user information to spy agencies.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), Free Press and other groups are leading a week of protests against the legislation.

The House is expected to vote on the bill next week." Read More

The Future of Money: Smartphone Swiping in the Mobile Age

Smith, Aaron, and Lee Rainie. "The Future of Money: Smartphone Swiping in the Mobile Age,"  prepared by the Internet & American Life Project, Pew Research Center, April 17, 2012.

From the overview: “As adoption of advanced mobile devices such as smartphones has exploded in recent years, consumers have grown increasingly comfortable using their phones to transfer money, purchase goods, and engage in other types of financial transactions.

Recent Pew Internet surveys find that one in ten Americans have used their cell phone to make a charitable contribution by text message, that more than one-third of smartphone owners have used their phones to do online banking services like paying bills or checking a balance, and that 46% of apps users have purchased an app using a mobile device. Research from comScore has found that 38% of smartphone owners have used their cell phone to make a purchase of some kind, with digital goods (such as music, e-books or movies), clothing and accessories, tickets and daily deals leading the way as the most popular mobile retail categories.” 
Read more

Crowd-Sourcing Expands Power of Brain Research

From the article: "Scientists working to understand the biology of brain function — and especially those using brain imaging, a blunt tool — have been badly stalled. But the new work, involving more than 200 scientists, lays out a strategy for breaking the logjam. The findings appear in a series of papers published online Sunday in the journal Nature Genetics.

“What’s really new here is this movement toward crowd-sourcing brain research,” said Paul Thompson, a professor of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and senior author of one of the papers…..“It means sharing your data, pooling everything,” Dr. Thompson said, “and this is not usually how scientists work.” Read more

Many Doctors Don't Take Social Media Beyond Marketing

Terry, Ken. "Many Doctors Don't Take Social Media Beyond Marketing."  Informationweek, April 10, 2012.

From the article: “Healthcare organizations in the United States should learn from their peers abroad and expand the use of social media beyond marketing functions, suggests a new report from technology consulting firm CSC.

Around the world, CSC researchers found, healthcare has been less proactive than other industries in embracing social media. Within the healthcare sector, hospitals are furthest ahead in using this new method of engaging with consumers. ….Within the United States, large, urban, academic, and pediatric hospitals are leading the way in social media. For example, 42% of U.S. hospitals with 400 or more beds use social media, compared to 15% of facilities with fewer than 70 beds. Among major teaching hospitals, 58% have adopted social media vs. 16% of nonteaching hospitals, the report says."  Read more

See also
"Should Healthcare Organizations Use Social Media? A Global Update," a report prepared by Computer Sciences Corporation, March 2012.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Doctor Will See You-If You're Quick

From the article: "In an age when surgeons use robots and medicine is growing increasingly technological, time turns out to be one of the doctor’s most precious gifts to patients. Just showing up in the hospital room or calling a patient at home a couple of times during the week after an office visit can make a big difference in how patients feel, says UC Davis’s Richard Kravitz. With a few small gestures, even a fraught relationship can be smoothed out. After that, he says, “You and the patient are bonded forever.” Read more

Most Wikipedia Entries About Companies Contain Factual Errors, Study Finds

From the article: “Sixty percent of Wikipedia articles about companies contain factual errors, according to research published recently in the Public Relations Society of America's (PRSA) scholarly publication, Public Relations Journal. Findings from the research will help establish a baseline of understanding for how public relations professionals work with Wikipedia editors to achieve accuracy in their clients' entries…. Only 35 percent of respondents were able to engage with Wikipedia, either by using its "Talk" pages to converse with editors or through direct editing of a client's entry. Respondents indicated this figure is low partly because some fear media backlash over making edits to clients' entries. Respondents also expressed a certain level of uncertainty regarding how to properly edit Wikipedia entries.” Read more

See also
DiStaso, Marcia, W. “Measuring Public Relations Wikipedia Engagement: How Bright is the Rule? Public Relations Society of America 6 (2012).

Going American on Privacy

From the opinion: “ …the E.U.’s stringent mindset has resulted in a determination by Brussels that U.S. privacy regulation is “inadequate,” and thus companies are prohibited from transferring personal information from Europe to the United States (even concerning their own employees) unless significant bureaucratic hurdles can be jumped. Perhaps even more ominous, there is a move afoot in Europe to shun U.S.-based providers of Cloud computing services because alleged U.S. weakness on privacy and exaggerated concerns about the PATRIOT Act make America too unsafe for the personal information of Europeans.

This view is wrong, and ultimately self-defeating for Europe, whose consumers and businesses could miss out on the full promise of Internet innovation and digital efficiencies. We could even see the rise of transatlantic digital skirmishes where U.S. Clouds are deemed unsafe (German and other regulators on the Continent have said precisely that), and where U.S. Internet companies have to curtail their business practices and offerings to satisfy European data protection authorities who do not like “Like” buttons and other information-sharing features of social media.” Read more

Selling You on Facebook

Angwin, Julia, and Jeremy Singer-Vine. “Selling You on Facebook.” The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2012.

From the article: "Not so long ago, there was a familiar product called software. It was sold in stores, in shrink-wrapped boxes. When you bought it, all that you gave away was your credit card number or a stack of bills.

Now there are "apps"—stylish, discrete chunks of software that live online or in your smartphone. To "buy" an app, all you have to do is click a button. Sometimes they cost a few dollars, but many apps are free, at least in monetary terms. You often pay in another way. Apps are gateways, and when you buy an app, there is a strong chance that you are supplying its developers with one of the most coveted commodities in today's economy: personal data.

Some of the most widely used apps on Facebook—the games, quizzes and sharing services that define the social-networking site and give it such appeal—are gathering volumes of personal information." Read more

The New Ambiguity of “Open Government”

From the abstract: “Open government” used to carry a hard political edge: it referred to politically sensitive disclosures of government information. The phrase was first used in the 1950s, in the debates leading up to passage of the Freedom of Information Act. But over the last few years, that traditional meaning has blurred, and has shifted toward technology.

Open technologies involve sharing data over the Internet, and all kinds of governments can use them, for all kinds of reasons. Recent public policies have stretched the label “open government” to reach any public sector use of these technologies. Thus, “open government data” might refer to data that makes the government as a whole more open (that is, more accountable to the public), but might equally well refer to politically neutral public sector disclosures that are easy to reuse, but that may have nothing to do with public accountability. Today a regime can call itself “open” if it builds the right kind of web site — even if it does not become more accountable. This shift in vocabulary makes it harder for policymakers and activists to articulate clear priorities and make cogent demands.

This essay proposes a more useful way for participants on all sides to frame the debate: We separate the politics of open government from the technologies of open data. Technology can make public information more adaptable, empowering third parties to contribute in exciting new ways across many aspects of civic life. But technological enhancements will not resolve debates about the best priorities for civic life, and enhancements to government services are no substitute for public accountability.” Read more

The Global information Technology Report 2012, Living in a Hyperconnected World

From the Abstract : “Over the past decade, The Global Information Technology Report series, has become the most comprehensive and respected international assessment of the preparedness of economies to leverage the networked economy. This research provides a unique platform for public-private dialogue on best policies and for determining what actions will further national ICT readiness and innovation potential.

Through the evolved methodological framework of the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), The Global Information Technology Report 2012 measures the extent to which 142 economies take advantage of ICT and other new technologies to increase their growth and well-being. This year, Sweden tops the rankings, followed by Singapore and Finland.

Under the theme Living in a Hyperconnected World, the report features expert contributions that explore the causes and consequences of living in an environment where the Internet is accessible and immediate, where people and businesses can communicate instantly, and where machines are interconnected."
Read more

See also
The Global Information Technology Report 2012 Data Platform, prepared by the World Economic Forum (Geneva, 2012)

FDA Tangles With Wireless Medical-App Makers

From the article: "An onslaught of mobile health technology has forced an arranged marriage between smartphone app makers and the Food and Drug Administration — because someone had to regulate them. There’s just one problem: Many of the tech wizards aren’t used to FDA supervision. And now, both sides are struggling to figure out how to live with each other.

Last year, the FDA suggested some ground rules: If you make an app that claims to diagnose or treat a medical condition, then you need to show that it’s safe and effective before you sell it, just as other medical-device makers do.

That seemed reasonable enough to the traditional medical-device industry, which is well-versed in the ways of the FDA. But the requirements — data on effectiveness, possibly clinical trials — have gobsmacked some software developers who are used to working in the fast-paced, relatively unregulated wilds of the Internet." Read more

Gartner Says Worldwide Media Tablets Sales to Reach 119 Million Units in 2012

"Gartner Says Worldwide Media Tablets Sales to Reach 119 Million Units in 2012. Gartner Research. April 10, 2012."

From the news release: "Worldwide media tablet sales to end users are forecast to total 118.9 million units in 2012, a 98 percent increase from 2011 sales of 60 million units, according to Gartner, Inc.

Apple's iOS continues to be the dominant media tablet operating system (OS), as it is projected to account for 61.4 percent of worldwide media tablet sales to end users in 2012.

Despite the arrival of Microsoft-based devices to this market, and the expected international rollout of the Kindle Fire, Apple will continue to be the market leader through the forecast period." Read more

See also
“iPad and Beyond: The Future of the Tablet Market,” Special Report prepared by Gartner.

The Computing Trend that Will Change Everything

Koomey, Jonathan. “The Computing Trend that Will Change Everything.” Technology Review, April 9, 2012.

From the article: "The performance of computers has shown remarkable and steady growth, doubling every year and a half since the 1970s. What most folks don't know, however, is that the electrical efficiency of computing (the number of computations that can be completed per kilowatt-hour of electricity used) has also doubled every year and a half since the dawn of the computer age.

Laptops and mobile phones owe their existence to this trend, which has led to rapid reductions in the power consumed by battery-powered computing devices. The most important future effect is that the power needed to perform a task requiring a fixed number of computations will continue to fall by half every 1.5 years (or a factor of 100 every decade). As a result, even smaller and less power-intensive computing devices will proliferate, paving the way for new mobile computing and communications applications that vastly increase our ability to collect and use data in real time." Read more

See also
Koomey, Jonathan G., Stephen Berard, Marla Sanchez and Henry Wong. “Implications of Historical Trends in the Electrical Efficiency of Computing.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 33, (July-September 2011): 46-54.

U.S. Consumers Turn to Facebook, Twitter for Healthcare Answers

Mearian, Lucas. “U.S. Consumers Turn to Facebook, Twitter for Healthcare Answers.” Computerworld, April 17, 2012.
From the article: “A third of U.S. consumers now use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to seek medical information and track and share symptoms. They're also using the sites to vent about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans.

The survey of 1,040 U.S. consumers was put together by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and includes data from a separate survey of healthcare and pharmaceutical executives on how social media is used in their business strategies.

Not unexpectedly, young adults rely on social networks for healthcare information far more than older Americans. The survey found that more than 80% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 said they're likely to share health information through social media channels -- and nearly 90% said they would trust information found there.

By comparison, less than half (45%) of those surveyed between the ages of 45 and 64 said they're likely to share health information via social media.

The PwC report showed that four in 10 consumers have used social media to find health-related consumer reviews of treatments or doctors; one in three have sought information related to other patients' experiences with their disease; and one in four have posted comments about their health experience.” Read more

See also
Social Media “likes” Healthcare: From Marketing to Social Business prepared by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLP Health Research Institute, April 2012.

Web Freedom Faces Greatest Threat Ever, Warns Google's Sergey Brin

Katz, Ian. “The Web Freedom Faces Greatest Threat Ever, Warns Google's Sergey Brin.”
The Guardian, April 15, 2012.

From the article: “The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

In an interview with the Guardian, Brin warned there were "very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world". "I am more worried than I have been in the past," he said. "It's scary."

The threat to the freedom of the internet comes, he claims, from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry's attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of "restrictive" walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms.” Read more

See also
Battle of the Internet” Special Series prepared by The Guardian.

Measuring the Internet: the Data Challenge

Lehr, W., "Measuring the Internet: The Data Challenge", OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 194, OECD Publishing, April 13, 2012.

From the abstract: “This working paper reviews a number of the challenges and opportunities confronting analysts interested in measuring the Internet and its economic and social impacts. It identifies several additional challenges to the measurement issue, in addition to all of the normal problems one expects when measuring information and communication technologies (ICTs). These challenges are related to: the rapidly changing nature of the Internet, the need for more granular data in order to understand the complex nature of the Internet, and the phenomenon of big data and the resulting ability to measure almost anything.” Read more

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Rose-Colored View May Come Standard

Bilton, Nick. "A Rose-Colored View May Come Standard." The New York Times, April 4, 2012.

From the article: "Google on Wednesday offered a look at a previously secret project to develop Internet-connected glasses, staking out a lead position in a futuristic and fast-growing area known as wearable computing.

Google’s glasses are still in the prototype stage.
The glasses, which are still in a prototype stage, would place a small see-through display screen above a person’s eye that can show maps and other data. The wearer could use voice commands to, say, pull up directions or send a message to a friend.

…. A video released by Google, shot from the perspective of a glasses-wearer, showed how the glasses might work. A man wanders the streets of Manhattan, communicating with friends, seeing maps and other information, and snapping pictures. At the end he plays the ukulele for a friend over a video link." Read more

Consumer Reports Survey Confirms That We're Worried About Online Privacy

Quirk, Mary Beth. "Consumer Reports Survey Confirms That We're Worried About Online Privacy." The Consumerist, April 3, 2012.

From the article: "What with credit card companies being hacked, apps on smartphones that have you sign your life away before using them and new policies from social networks and search engines, there are a lot of reasons for consumers to be uncomfortable about the state of online privacy. That's exactly what a national survey by our smarter elder siblings at Consumer Reports found — most of us are pretty darned concerned.

According to a Consumer Reports press release, the national survey found that 71% of respondents said they were very concerned about companies selling or sharing their information about them without their permission. Another 65% of smartphone owners don't like that apps can access their contacts, photos, locations and other data without permission from them.

Other big concerns on the minds of the more than half of respondents: Advertisers going after kids with personalized ads based on their web-surfing data; companies keeping data even when it's not needed anymore and lastly, data about online activities and purchases being used to deny employment or affect their ability to get a loan." Read more