Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is Your Doctor's iPad Good For Your Health?

From the article: "Surgeons, doctors, nurses, residents, and other medical professionals all regularly use iPads on the job. The practice has inspired a cottage industry, health care innovation, and privacy concerns." Read more

Tech and the Digital Economy 2012: A Retrospective Roundup


Did the U.N. Internet Governance Summit Actually Accomplish Anything?

From the article: "The latest battle over the Internet ended in an éclat. On the final day of the World Conference on InternationalTelecommunications in Dubai, representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and several other countries walked out in protest of an attempt by countries such as Russia and Iran to extend governmental control over the Internet. Rather than reaching an accord, the world remains as divided on Internet governance as it was when the summit opened." Read more

White House Releases New National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding

From the article: "In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, our government not only needed to improve its counterterrorism intelligence, but also share information better, faster, and smarter. We found that our national security relies on our ability to share the right information, with the right people, at the right time – and we must “enlist all of our intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities,” as the National Security Strategy states.

On December 19, the President signed the National Strategy for Information Sharingand Safeguarding (NSISS). This new National Strategy is part of a policy continuum that includes Section 1016 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the 2007 National Strategy for Information Sharing, Executive Orders 13587 and 13388, the ISE Presidential Guidelines, and the National Security Strategy." Read more

The Benefits of a Big Tent: Opening Up Government in Developing Countries

From the report: "Bringing open data and open government under a single banner, Yu and Robinson argue, leads to conceptual muddling that ultimately impedes progress for both projects. They express a concern that superficial commitments to open data “can placate the public’s appetite for transparency.” Drawing on our experiences with the Kenya Open Data Initiative and the Open Government Partnership, we argue that this need not be the case for three reasons." Read more

Tech Forecasts for 2013

Platt, Peter. "6 Trends that Will Shape Digital in 2013." iMedia Connection, December 10, 2012.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

UN Telecom Treaty Approved Amid U.S. Web-Censorship Concerns

From the article: "An agreement to update 24-year-old United Nations telecommunications rules was approved against the opposition of countries including the U.S. and the U.K., whose officials walked out on the talks on concerns about Internet regulation and censorship.

The new pact includes measures that would give countries a right to access international telecommunications services and the ability to block spam, which delegations declining to sign the amended text argued would pave the way for government censorship and control over the Web." Read more 

The Emperor of All Identities

 From the article: "A few years after it was founded, Google adopted a list of guiding principles it titled, “Ten things we know to be true.” No. 4 was “Democracy on the Web works.”

That’s a worthy sentiment — though a bit surprising coming from the Web’s emperor.

For that, arguably, is what Google has become." Read more 

The Robotics Revolution

From the report: "Whether it is a report about the latest drone strike into Pakistanor an awesome web video of a cute robot dancing in the latest style, it seems like robots are taking over the world, figuratively if not yet literally. But within their growing appearance in the news is perhaps something bigger, a story that is reshaping the overall history of war and politics, and even humanity." Read more

The Future of Scientific Knowledge Discovery in Open Networked Environments

From the report: "Digital technologies and networks are now part of everyday work in the sciences, and have enhanced access to and use of scientific data, information, and literature significantly. They offer the promise of accelerating the discovery and communication of knowledge, both within the scientific community and in the broader society, as scientific data and information are made openly available online. The focus of this project was on computer-mediated or computational scientific knowledge discovery, taken broadly as any research processes enabled by digital computing technologies. Such technologies may include data mining, information retrieval and extraction, artificial intelligence, distributed grid computing, and others. These technological capabilities support computer-mediated knowledge discovery, which some believe is a new paradigm in the conduct of research. The emphasis was primarily on digitally networked data, rather than on the scientific, technical, and medical literature. The meeting also focused mostly on the advantages of knowledge discovery in open networked environments, although some of the disadvantages were raised as well." Read more

Code of EU Online Rights

From the article: "As part of the Digital Agenda for Europe actions, the Code of EU online rights compiles the basic set of rights existing in EU legislation and related to the digital environment. The objective of the Code is to find simple explanations of their legal rights and obligations, set out in a transparent and understandable way.

As foreseen in the Digital Agenda for Europe, this list of online rights and principles will be an important tool for inspiring trust and confidence among consumers and contribute to promote greater use of online services." Read more

Digital "To-Do" List: New Digital Priorities for 2013-2014

From the article: "The European Commission has today adopted seven new priorities for the digital economy and society. The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy, but this potential is currently held back by a patchy pan-European policy framework. Today's priorities follow a comprehensive policy review and place new emphasis on the most transformative elements of the original 2010 DigitalAgenda for Europe.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "2013 will be the busiest year yet for the Digital Agenda. My top priorities are to increase broadband investment and to maximise the digital sector's contribution to Europe's recovery." 

Full implementation of this updated Digital Agenda would increase European GDP by 5%, or 1500€ per person, over the next eight years, by increasing investment in ICT, improving eSkills levels in the labour force, enabling public sector innovation, and reforming the framework conditions for the internet economy. In terms of jobs, up to one million digital jobs risk going unfilled by 2015 without pan-European action while 1.2 million jobs could be created through infrastructure construction. This would rise to 3.8 million new jobs throughout the economy in the long term." Read more

2013 Forecast: Managing HIT and Patient Engagement on the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff

From the article: "Federal legislation, economic market realities and technology-supported patient-centered health care shape what 2013 will hold for health IT." Read more  

FTC Launches Probe of Data Broker Privacy Practices

From the article: "Last week's Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus briefing on data brokers and privacy must have left quite an impression on Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz, who opened a probe today to study the privacy practices of the data broker industry.

The agency issued orders to nine data brokerages to provide information to the FTC about how they collect and use data about consumers by Feb. 1. Acxiom, Corelogic, Datalogix, eBureau, ID Analytics, Intelius, Peekyou, Rapleaf and Record Future all received the 15-page order." Read more

Web of Failure: How China’s Internet Policies Have Doomed Chinese Soft Power

From the article: "When it comes to the web, China has continually struggled to choose between its impulse to control things as tightly as possible and its recognition of web platforms as a powerful way to broadcast its propaganda both at home and abroad. In the past few years, its apparent strategy has been to attempt to have its cake and eat it too: to broadcast its own message using all the Western web channels at its disposal while blocking those channels for domestic web users. Unfortunately for the government, having your cake and eating it is impossible, and this policy — if it is continued — will prove to be an utter failure." Read more

Cookies and Electronic Commerce: A Survey About Actual Knowledge of the Issues Concerning Privacy

From the report: "This paper discusses the issues concerning cookies and privacy and electronic commerce. After analysing the European and national legislation about protection of privacy and distance selling and electronic commerce, the attention is focused on consumers actual knowledge of cookies. The second part of the paper is a survey realized in 2010 in two high schools of Modena. The survey uncovers that the knowledge about cookies and related issues is superficial. The paper concludes that there are many instruments to protect consumers' privacy while they are surfing on or buying in the Internet. However there is the need to improve the effective knowledge of the so-called cyberconsumers about cookies and issues concerning privacy." Read more


Can Trade Policy Set Information Free?

From the report: "This policy brief examines how the US, the EU and Canada use trade policies to govern the Internet at home and across borders. The three trade giants use trade agreements to encourage e-commerce, reduce online barriers to trade, and to develop shared policies in a world where technology is rapidly changing and where governments compete to disseminate their regulatory approaches. Policymakers use export controls, trade bans or targeted sanctions to protect Internet users in other countries or to prevent officials of other countries from using Internet related technologies in ways that undermine the rights of individuals abroad. Finally, policymakers may use trade agreements to challenge other governments’ online rules and policies as trade barriers. We discuss how these policies, agreements, bans and strategies could affect Internet openness, Internet governance, and Internet freedom. We do not address telecommunications or e-commerce definitional issues." Read more

Crowds Are Not People, My Friend

From the article: "This assumption that crowds have some non-fragmented consciousness leads us to the false dichotomy we draw between physical and virtual crowds: one is dumb, the other is smart. But in both cases, we’re placing too much emphasis on the crowd as distinct from the people involved in it. …

This has real-world consequences. When police officers show up at a protest or political rally, they tend to think of the crowd in Le Bonian terms, McPhail told me. That can be dangerous. If the police assume the crowd is acting as one, it becomes easier for a handful of people to provoke a violent reaction from law enforcement — and vice versa. McPhail uses what he has learned from 40 years of studying groups of people to advise law enforcement on better, safer ways to deal with crowds. He told me that 150 years of records from Europe and the United States show violence happens at less than 15 percent of political gatherings. So he instructs officers to never respond categorically to a crowd. If one person is breaking the law, address that person in an unobtrusive way. “If you are blatant and violent, you affect people who weren’t doing anything, and that . . . turns them against you,” he said.

At the same time, knowing that virtual crowds are merely human helps us better predict when one is likely to be smart and when it’s likely to be stupid. Reddit can help someone understand a medical diagnosis just as easily as it can foster a men’s rights movement. Scientists, working as a virtual group, are capable of sharing diverse research to reach a consensus on climate change, but they’re also capable of passing down the received wisdom that crowds have minds. The group itself isn’t what matters. What matters is who they are, what they know and how they interact." Read more

EHRs May Turn Small Errors Into Big Ones

From the article: "As electronic health record systems become more interconnected, errors may propagate much farther than under old paper-based systems, a recent study suggested.

According to a review by the PennsylvaniaPatient Safety Authority, mistakes and near misses involving electronic health records were analogous to those made with paper-based records with one caveat: those made with EHRs tend to be amplified and can affect a larger group of people.

The Authority's study looked at 3,099 reports from Pennsylvania hospitals detailing 3,946 problems. More than 2,700 incidents involved near misses and 15 involved temporary harm to patients.

The study focused on incidents from 2004 to 2012 in which electronic health records were the root cause in the event, as opposed to being incidental.

Electronic health records are designed to be more efficient than paper-based records, but the two systems have one thing in common: they're developed and maintained by people. The most common source of problems identified in the study rested with data entry and, to a much lesser extent, with technical glitches.

Medication errors accounted for about 80% of the cases, or 2,516 reports. Many of the remainder involved lab tests." Read more

Monday, December 17, 2012

UN Internet Conference: The SOPA That Wasn’t

Milian, Mark. "UN Internet Conference: The SOPA That Wasn’t." Bloomberg Tech Blog, December 14, 2012. 

From the article: "For the past couple of weeks, Google and other Internet companies have protested a United Nations conference over concerns that a new treaty will lead to censorship of the Web. Despite their campaigns, they weren’t able to drum up the kind of widespread indignation that elevated the Stop Online Piracy Act to national prominence earlier this year, according to studies of online discussions commissioned by" Read more

The U.N. Isn’t Regulating the Internet–but Governments Still Exert Control

Talbot, David. "The U.N. Isn’t Regulating the Internet–but Governments Still Exert Control." MIT Technology Review, December 14, 2012. 

From the article: "Is the U.N. now somehow regulating the Internet now that its International Telecommunications Union—after a two week meeting in Dubai that centered largely on whether it should include the Internet in its telephone-centric regulations—has today declared the existence of a new global telecom treaty?

No. First, the United States, Canada, and many European nations declined to sign the new International Telecommunications Regulations.  Some 89 countries were in favor and 55 opposed or abstained.  If you go to the actual new wording of the regulations–which haven’t been changed since 1988–and search for “Internet” you find it mentioned in fairly bland language within a one-page nonbinding resolution." Read more

Number of Jailed Journalists Sets Global Record

From the report: "Imprisonment of journalists worldwide reached a record high in 2012, driven in part by the widespread use of charges of terrorism and other anti-state offenses against critical reporters and editors, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ identified 232 individuals behind bars on December 1, an increase of 53 over its 2011 tally." Read more

Thursday, December 13, 2012

U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap a Vast Database of Citizens

From the article: "The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans "reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information" may be." Read more

Slactivists or Activists?

From the report: "Social media have come to form an inherent part of most activist campaigns today. Yet, their potential to foster political participation and mobilization remains debated. While cyber-utopians insist on the positive contribution of social online-activism to participatory democracy, supporters of the "slactivism” argument dismiss it as a hedonist activity that carries little societal benefit. Our analysis of the Brazilian anti-corruption campaign Ficha Limpa picks up on this debate. We present original survey data concerning citizens’ use of social media and their offline participation in the context of this campaign. Using a binary logit model that estimates the relation between the use of different communication features supported by social media and contacting elected officials, we show that online activities involving relatively high transaction costs in terms of time and effort contribute more positively toward offline participation than simple single-click activities. Our findings indicate that the choice of appropriate social media formats may be a decisive element for the success of campaigners who seek to mobilize citizens via the Internet." Read more

Social Networking Popular Across Globe

From the report: "Social networking has spread around the world with remarkable speed. In countries such as Britain, the United States, Russia, the Czech Republic and Spain, about half of all adults now use Facebook and similar websites. These sites are also popular in many lower-income nations, where, once people have access to the internet, they tend to use it for social networking. Meanwhile, cell phones have become nearly ubiquitous throughout much of the world, and people are using them in a variety of ways, including texting and taking pictures. Smart phones are also increasingly common – roughly half in Britain, the U.S., and Japan have one. Globally, most smart phone users say they visit social networking sites on their phone, while many get job, consumer, and political information." Read more

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Broadband Solution to Fiscal Crises

From the article: "After Congress and the White House close the gap between the Democratic and Republican approaches to the “fiscal cliff”, there is another gap that they need to bridge: the gap between how the worlds of technology and government approach the future. 

In the world of tech, the imperative is to deliver goods and services faster, cheaper and better.  In the current policy debate, the government is trying to figure out how to raise more money while also cutting the level of service.  If government were a business, this would be a strategy to expand margin. That’s not bad, but shrinking margins are usually lagging indicators of problems with the top line. For government, the analogy is that if the economy were growing steadily and strongly, then even without recession-inducing tax increases, spending could be more durably directed to commonly desired goals." Read more

Moving from Access to Use of the Information Infrastructure: A Multi-Level Socio-Technical Framework

Racherla, Pradeep and Munir Mandviwalla. "Moving from Access to Use of the Information Infrastructure: A Multi-Level Socio-Technical Framework." Social Science Research Network, December 9, 2012. 

From the report: "‘Universal access’ (UA) to the Internet and the associated information infrastructure has become an important economic and societal goal. However, UA initiatives tend to focus on issues such as physical access and geographical ubiquity, and measure adoption through penetration rates. In this paper, we apply an interpretive case study approach to analyze the Philadelphia wireless initiative to provide insights into the nature of UA and extend this concept to also consider Universal Use (UU). UU is important because simply providing access does not guarantee use. UU is presented as a conceptual goal that starts with the challenge of physical access but which necessarily also leads to considerations of use. The results show that the human and technological elements underlying individual access and use are deeply embedded within various institutional elements and collectives that enable but also constrain meaningful use. We integrate our findings into a multi-level framework that shows how access and use are influenced by both micro and macro factors. This framework provides new insights into the study of the information infrastructure, digital divide, and public policy." Read more

Finding the Best of the Imperfect Alternatives for Privacy, Health IT, and Cybersecurity

From the report: "This article is part of a Wisconsin Law Review symposium in honor of the work of Neil Komesar, and particularly his book “Imperfect Alternatives: Choosing Institutions in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.” I used this as the main text in 2003 for one of the first law school courses on “The Law of Cybersecurity,” even though the book doesn’t even mention cybersecurity. The reason was that it was the best single vehicle I had found to prepare students to think critically about comparative institutional analysis, such as how to create institutions that better foster cybersecurity." Read more

Internet Censorship Circumvention Technology Use in Human Rights Organizations: An Exploratory Analysis

From the report: "Using an organizational informatics approach, this study explores the implications of human rights organizations’ use of censorship circumvention technologies. Through qualitative analyses of data collected through in-depth interviews, the research examines the factors influencing the use of circumvention technologies and the organizational effects of their use. The outcomes include a revised model of censorship circumvention technology use as well as a new model situating human rights organizations and their audiences in bidirectional information flows. The research provides recommendations for practice as well as insight for organizational informatics and information systems security research in the areas of protective technologies, awareness, detection, and physical security." Read more

Lack of Data Analysis Worrisome

According to a report published on Tuesday by IDC, the market research firm, a large ‘big data gap’ is opening up between the rapidly expanding digital universe – a measure of all the digital data created, replicated and consumed in a single year. That data holds potential analytic value that could have major business, health and societal impact. Only 0.4 per cent of that data are actually being analysed.
See also

Social Media a Healthcare Data Gold Mine

Dembosky, April. "Social Media a Healthcare Data Gold Mine." The Financial Times, December 11, 2012.  
From the article: "Healthcare companies are loathe to tread into such sensitive territory, but they are keenly aware of the goldmine of health data stored in people’s social media accounts…

Pharmaceutical companies already analyse social media sites to track reports of side-effects of their drugs. That data can help correct formulas more quickly than waiting for the results of years-long clinical trials; it can also be used to set prices and test marketing slogans.

Public health officials are also interested in social media data as a source of information on disease outbreaks." Read more 

Hacking the Human Brain: The Next Domain of Warfare

From the article: "This new battlespace is not just about influencing hearts and minds with people seeking information. It’s about involuntarily penetrating, shaping, and coercing the mind in the ultimate realization of Clausewitz’s definition of war: compelling an adversary to submit to one’s will. And the most powerful tool in this war is brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies, which connect the human brain to devices.

Current BCI work ranges from researchers compiling and interfacing neural data such as in the Human Conectome Project to work by scientists hardening the human brain against rubber hose cryptanalysis to technologists connecting the brain to robotic systems. While these groups are streamlining the BCI for either security or humanitarian purposes, the reality is that misapplication of such research and technology has significant implications for the future of warfare." Read more

Making Dollars and Sense of the Open Data Economy

From the article: "Over the past several years, I’ve been writing about how government data is moving into the marketplaces, underpinning ideas, products and services. Open government data and application programming interfaces to distribute it, more commonly known as APIs, increasingly look like fundamental public infrastructure for digital government in the 21st century.

What I’m looking for now is more examples of startups and businesses that have been created using open data or that would not be able to continue operations without it. If big data is a strategic resource, it’s important to understand how and where organizations are using it for public good, civic utility and economic benefit." Read more 

U.S. Government Will Launch a Dynamic Airwave-Sharing Scheme

From the article: "Aiming to boost wireless bandwidth and innovation, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is poised to recommend the biggest regulatory change in decades: one that allows a newly available chunk of wireless spectrum to be leased by different companies at different times and places, rather than being auctioned off to one high bidder…. Cisco Systems estimates that mobile data traffic will grow by a factor of 18 by 2016, and Bell Labs predicts it will increase by a factor of 25. Many more airwaves could eventually be shared with the help of cognitive radios, which sense available frequencies and shift between them." Read more

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Smartphone Use: Good for Healthcare

Electronic tools, including smartphones, can help patients, but the adoption of apps for healthcare is still lagging, according to a new report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

At a Dec. 10 report-release briefing, Janet Marchabroda, chair of the Health IT Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said smartphones have changed every aspect of American life, including the way Americans shop, travel and manage their finances. "If we could apply that use of smartphones to healthcare, great things would result, she said.

Barriers on the consumer side often include lack of awareness that the apps are out there, and more innovation is still needed in the marketplace.

See also

Most Children's Apps Are Failing on Privacy, FTC Finds

From the article: "Most mobile applications aimed at children collect information – including device IDs, location data and phone numbers – without their parents' permission, according to a Federal Trade Commission report released Monday.

The FTC is also launching investigations to see whether some of these app companies are acting in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa) or the Federal Trade Commission Act." Read more

See also 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Post Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present

From the report: "If you wanted to sum up the past decade of the news ecosystem in a single phrase, it might be this: Everybody suddenly got a lot more freedom. The newsmakers, the advertisers, the startups, and, especially, the people formerly known as the audience have all been given new freedom to communicate, narrowly and broadly, outside the old strictures of the broadcast and publishing models. The past 15 years have seen an explosion of new tools and techniques, and, more importantly, new assumptions and expectations, and these changes have wrecked the old clarity." Read more

Cyber Early Warning Deal Collapses After Russia Balks

From the article: "An accord involving the United States, Russia and other countries requiring that each nation provide advance warning of government cyber operations that might otherwise spark unintentional conflict collapsed on Friday after Russia dissented, U.S. officials said.

The 57-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe failed to reach the unanimous consensus needed to adopt the resolution. It was aimed at building trust and open communication to avoid cyberwar." Read more

Are We Making a Better World with Icts? Reflections on a Future Agenda for the is Field

From the report: "Dramatic changes in context have occurred over the last 25 years for those of us working in the information systems (IS) field, with ICTs becoming pervasive in many areas of human activity and in all countries of the world. It is ironic that the success of ICTs has led to concerns that the distinct research contribution of the IS field could become lost and that the field itself may decline. The literature over the last decade or so has offered different and sometimes opposing suggestions as to how the field should respond to these concerns. In this paper, I discuss these debates and I use the discussion as a basis for putting forward a skeleton future agenda for the IS field as a whole. This agenda emphasises the need for a focus on ethical goals, increased use of critical approaches, welcoming other disciplines with open arms, widening our field of study to many non-traditional settings and rejecting a dominant methodological paradigm." Read more

Increasing Control Over Release of Information Leads People To Divulge More Online, Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find

"Increasing Control Over Release of Information Leads People To Divulge More Online, Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find." Carnegie Mellon University, November 26, 2012.

From the press release: "When perceiving they have more control over their personal information, people increase their willingness to disclose sensitive information that allows them to be personally identified, according to a study done by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. 

The study investigated how people respond when given control over their personal information, allowing them to choose how much to reveal about themselves. CMU researchers Laura Brandimarte, Alessandro Acquisti and George Loewenstein found that users given more privacy controls share more sensitive information with larger, and possibly riskier, audiences." Read more

See also

Thursday, December 6, 2012

House Approves Resolution to Keep Internet Control Out of UN Hands

From the article: "The House on Wednesday unanimously passed a Senate resolution introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) that calls on the U.S. government to oppose United Nations control of the Internet.

The 397-0 vote is meant to send a signal to countries meeting at a U.N. conference on telecommunications this week." Read more

ONC to Roll Out Plan for Consumer Connection to Health Information

From the article: "The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) will soon release the draft version of its consumer engagement plan with details on how patients can get more connected with their own healthcare. A 45-day period of public comment will allow interested parties to give feedback on the plan." Read more

Computerized Health Records Breed Digital Discontent For Some Doctors

From the article: "Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system." Read more

U.N. Report Reveals International Protocol for Tracking People Online

From the article: "In the shadowy world of electronic surveillance, tactics used by law enforcement agencies are rarely revealed. But now an international protocol about how to best monitor and track people online has been disclosed for the first time—offering a unique insight into covert police methodology.

Buried in a recent 158-page U.N. report on how terrorists use the Internet is the so-called “protocol of a systematic approach.” The protocol, which was authored by an elite Italian special operations unit called the Raggruppamento, is significant because it has been implemented by authorities across the world, according to the United Nations." Read more

See also 

Why Data is the Key to Better Medicine — and Maybe a Cure for Cancer

Harris, Derrick, "Why Data is the Key to Better Medicine — and Maybe a Cure for Cancer." GigaOm, November 27, 2012. 

From the article: "The health care industry might have embraced the big data movement with open arms, but embracing it with open data probably would be more effective. Hospital organizations, researchers and the tech companies serving them have lots of great ideas — and have achieved some great results, too — but, ultimately, efforts to use big data to transform the industry will only be as good as the data these stakeholders have to work with. Right now, that isn’t always everything they need." Read more

Policy Debates in the Internet Age

From the article: "If targeted messaging becomes an important force in policy debates, the impact will depend on which groups are being targeted. As both sides seek to reach beyond their base to swing voters in contested congressional districts, this may even give our leaders a newfound incentive to work together toward shared solutions.

While many activists like to hear the kind of tough rhetoric that leaves little room for compromise, a politician usually gets more support from swing voters with pragmatic proposals that actually can get things done." Read more

Toward an International Law of the Internet

From the report: "This Article presents the first and only analysis of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as it applies to new technologies and uses this analysis to develop the foundation for an “international law of the Internet.” Although Article 19 does not guarantee a right to the “Internet” per se, it explicitly protects the technologies of connection and access to information, and it limits states’ ability to burden content originating abroad. The principles derived from Article 19 provide an important normative reorientation on individual rights for both domestic and international Internet governance debates." Read more

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Internet’s Future Depends on Maintaining Its Free Spirit

From the article: "Perhaps the most profound observation made about the early Internet was that it was unlikely to spread across the globe. And yet, slowly at first, and faster with the advent of the World Wide Web, the Internet has found purchase on every continent–even Antarctica. This penetration is a consequence of the independent decisions made by hundreds of thousands of Internet operators whose business models range from nonprofit to for-profit to government operated and every other variation you can imagine.

But a meeting of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), taking place in Dubai this week, threatens to stifle further Internet expansion and innovation." Read more

Opinion: ITU Meeting 'No Threat to Free Speech'

From the article: "It is our chance to chart a globally-agreed roadmap to connect the unconnected, while ensuring there is investment to create the infrastructure needed for the exponential growth in voice, video and data traffic….As the neutral convener of the conference and in an effort to engage opinion worldwide, ITU has encouraged all its membership (including over 700 private-sector entities), as well as civil society organizations and the press and public at large, to contribute their views. Much of the conference itself is webcast. WCIT is not a "closed-door" event. In fact, compared with other intergovernmental meetings of such importance, WCIT is as open as it possibly can be." Read more

Google's Media Campaign Against the UN Slapped Down

From the article: "Google has been a forerunner and one of the most outspoken companies in protecting the right to freedom of information and expression.  That is laudable and earned the company respect around the globe.  What is less admirable is the hyperbole that it has been spewing about the freedom and future of the Internet being in jeopardy at United Nations’ (UN) meetings being held in Dubai December 3-14.  Not only did Google’s position turn out to be ill-informed, it appears to be self-serving." Read more

Trust And Information Sharing Key In Tight Fiscal Times

From the article: "Secure information sharing is another important and complex issue for federal agencies, he said. There is often a tension between local islands of network use and the enterprise, Wennergren said. He describes these issues as a "polarity" about information sharing between the different professional communities in an organization. Instead of viewing the situation as one about information security, he prefers to call it a "secure relationship."

The challenge is that many government agencies polarize themselves because they see many technology issues as a single problem, rather than a conflict between different mission needs within the organization, he said." Read more

The Value of Reputation in an Online Freelance Marketplace

From the paper: "Online freelance marketplaces are websites that match buyers of electronically deliverable services with freelancers. While freelancing has grown in recent years, it faces the classic ‘information asymmetry’ problem – buyers face uncertainty over seller quality. Typically, these markets use reputation systems to alleviate this issue, but the effectiveness of these systems is open to debate. We present a dynamic structural framework to estimate the returns to seller reputations in freelance sites. In our model, each period, a buyer decides whether to choose a bid from her current set of bids, cancel the auction, or wait for more bids. In the process, she trades-off sellers’ price, reputation, other attributes, and the costs of waiting and canceling. Our framework addresses ‘dynamic selection’, which can lead to underestimation of reputation, through two types of persistent unobserved heterogeneities – in bid arrival-rates and buyers’ unobserved preference for bids. We apply our framework to data from a leading freelance firm. We find that buyers are forward-looking, that they place significant weight on seller reputation, and that not controlling for dynamics and selection can bias reputation estimates. Using counterfactual simulations, we infer the dollar value of seller reputations and provide guidelines to managers of freelance firms." Read more

Social Media Use Exploded in 2012, Led by Pinterest

Mlot, Stephanie. "Social Media Use Exploded in 2012, Led by Pinterest." PC Magazine, December 3, 2012. 

From the article: "Consumers spend more time on social networks than any other site — about 20 percent via a PC, and 30 percent using a mobile device, Nielsen's Social Media Report revealed.

Still not impressed? The report also tips a 37 percent increase in the total time spent on social media in the U.S., reaching 121 billion minutes in July, compared to 88 billion in summer 2011.

The ultimate social network, Facebook, remains the most-visited in the U.S., and earned the title of most popular Web brand in the U.S. this year. It reached 152.2 million PC visitors, 78.4 million app users, and 74.3 million mobile Web surfers. That dwarfs social sites in all categories (see graphic below), beating No. 2 Blogger by more than 93.7 million PC users. In the mobile app race, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, and Pinterest carry the top five spots." Read more

See also
"The State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012." Nielsen, 2012.

Rise of the Datavores: How UK Businesses Analyse and Use Online Data

From the report: "The internet economy is growing, and so is the amount of data that it generates. Are UK businesses making the most of this data to innovate and grow? Or are they missing out on the opportunities of online data?

A business survey by Nesta shows how a small but significant group of UK companies - the datavores - are making sophisticated use of data to drive business decisions.

This paper illustrates both the opportunities and challenges that online data presents for UK businesses." Read more

Syrian Internet Outage Raises Question “Could It Happen Here?”

From the article: "If a country has more than 40 companies providing Internet infrastructure at its international border, it is categorized as “resistant,” meaning that it would be difficult if not impossible under whatever circumstances for anyone to order a coordinated takedown of the Internet. There are simply too many moving parts to make it a realistic worry. The good news is that much of the world is in this category, including the U.S., Canada, most of Europe and Russia." Read more