Friday, February 15, 2013

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

First Steps to Open Gov- Getting Your Ducts in a Row

From the article: "Modern versions of open government only work if the basic input, connectivity, can be taken for granted. We need electricity to light our homes and offices, and we need  cheap, abundant communications capacity to make open government function. The near-term payoff will be dramatically lower bills paid by local governments; long-term, you'll be empowering every member of your community and your local economy. And isn't that what governments are supposed to do?" Read more

Twitter: A Live Megaphone for Lobbying Groups, Companies

From the article: "On television, President Obama spent a commercial-free hour delivering his State of the Union speech. But on Twitter, the nation’s biggest lobbying groups and corporations found a megaphone to place ad money and promote their views." Read more

The Public Domain: Surveillance in Everyday Life

From the report: "People create profiles on social network sites and Twitter accounts against the background of an audience. This paper argues that closely examining content created by others and looking at one’s own content through other people’s eyes, a common part of social media use, should be framed as social surveillance. While social surveillance is distinguished from traditional surveillance along three axes (power, hierarchy, and reciprocity), its effects and behavior modification is common to traditional surveillance. Drawing on ethnographic studies of United States populations, I look at social surveillance, how it is practiced, and its impact on people who engage in it. I use Foucault’s concept of capillaries of power to demonstrate that social surveillance assumes the power differentials evident in everyday interactions rather than the hierarchical power relationships assumed in much of the surveillance literature. Social media involves a collapse of social contexts and social roles, complicating boundary work but facilitating social surveillance. Individuals strategically reveal, disclose and conceal personal information to create connections with others and tend social boundaries. These processes are normal parts of day-to-day life in communities that are highly connected through social media." Read more

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Online Privacy and Security is a Shared Responsibility: Government, Industry and You

From the article: "When it comes to privacy and security, I’m reminded of folks who drive to the airport without their seat belt on and then worry about the plane crashing.

Planes do crash on very rare occasions but not nearly as often as cars. And when driving, there are things you can do to increase your safety, whereas when flying, there’s not much you can do to protect yourself  but we do rely on the airline industry and government regulators to do all they can to protect us.
Likewise, when we’re online, there are things we can control and things we can’t." Read more 

Follow the Surplus: How U.S. Consumers Value Online Media

From the report: "U.S. consumers realize large and growing value from online media. In fact, they now derive more value from online media—net of the associated costs—than they receive from offline media, according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group. We call this measure of value “consumer surplus” and, for online media, it amounts on average to approximately $970 per U.S. connected consumer, or online user, per year—or about 2.5 percent of the average annual income in the U.S. The comparable consumer surplus for offline media is approximately $900." Read more

Obama Orders Voluntary Security Standards for Critical Industries’ Computer Networks

From the article: "Citing the growing threat from cyberattacks, President Obama on Tuesday announced that he had signed an executive order that calls for the creation of voluntary standards to boost the security of computer networks in critical industries such as those that keep trains from colliding and drinking water clean…. The order does not create regulations or authorities. Rather, it directs the Commerce Department to work with industry and federal agencies to craft a framework of standards within a year. The standards would apply only to sectors regulated by federal agencies, such as banking and electric power. “This is not designed to be a one-size-fits-all approach,” said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an order before Obama announced it." Read more

Sovereignty and Liberty in the Internet Era

From the report: "The global revolution in communications technologies and services is fracturing the historic relationship between the media and the state. That relationship, born in the early print era, was first framed by the territorial authority of sovereigns and later found new legitimacy in the rise of popular sovereignty, thus becoming a definitive feature of the modern liberal democratic state. For centuries, states have sought to impose their territorial boundaries on the flow of information and ideas. This however has required ever increasing inventiveness and cost as new communications technologies have both empowered and threatened the security, authority and legitimacy of the state. In the internet era, the state’s capacity to control its public information sphere is now being tested to exhaustion." Read more

The First Amendment is an Information Policy

From the report: "This essay, based on the 20th annual Hugo Black lecture at Wesleyan University, argues that we should think about individual liberties of freedom of speech, press, and assembly not in isolation, but in the larger context of policies for the spread and growth of knowledge and information.

Although we normally think about the First Amendment as an individual right, we should also see it as an integral part of a knowledge and information policy for a democratic state. That is because the practical ability to speak rests on an infrastructure of free expression that involves a wide range of institutions, statutory frameworks, programs, technologies and practices.

Using the examples of democratic protests in the Middle East and the controversy over WikiLeaks, the essay explains how free speech values are implicated in knowledge and information policies, in the design of digital networks and in the maintenance of infrastructure.

Around the world today, the fight over free speech is a fight over knowledge and information policy, and, in particular, how the infrastructure that makes free speech possible will be designed and implemented. Although the First Amendment is a crucial information policy for democracy, it is only one information policy among many. It needs the assistance of an infrastructure of free expression to make good on its promises. We must design democratic values into the infrastructure of free expression if we want an infrastructure that protects democracy." Read more

Patient Portal Explosion Has Major Health Care Implications

From the article: "A small fraction of physicians use a Web portal to interact and share information with patients today. But meaningful use Stage 2 requires that eligible professionals ensure at least 5% of patients view, download or transmit their electronic health records. As a result, the use of patient portals is likely to skyrocket. If that happens, experts say, the impact on health care could be quite significant." Read more

AHRQ Report Summarizes Health IT Grant Initiative's Efforts

From the article: "The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently released its findings from enabling patient-centered care through a health IT grant initiative, outlined in a report.

The report highlights key findings from the experiences of 16 projects awarded in 2007, which aimed to investigate approaches for using health IT to enhance patient-centered care and ambulatory care. The four main areas of interest in the analysis were: patient self-management, providing access to medical information, patient-clinician communication and shared decision making." Read more

The Rise and Decline of the Intellectual Property Powers

From the report: "In the past decade, China has experienced many impressive economic and technological developments. Intriguingly, the narrative about piracy and counterfeiting there is rarely linked to the narrative about the China's technological rise. To provide a more comprehensive picture, this article brings together these two different narratives to explore what their combination would mean for the United States and its intellectual property industries. 

Delivered as the keynote luncheon address at the Symposium on "Applications of Intellectual Property Law in China," this article begins with the good news that China is at the cusp of crossing over from a pirating nation to a country respectful of intellectual property rights. It draws on the historical developments of intellectual property protection in the United States and other once-developing countries.

The article then delivers the bad news that, even though China will finally experience improvements in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights when it hits the proverbial crossover point, such improvements will bring some disappointments and unintended consequences.

In light of both the good and bad news, the article offers suggestions on three types of policy changes that could help prepare U.S. industries for the identified challenges. It specifically discusses changes at the domestic, bilateral and multilateral levels. Noting the challenges of making prognostications, this article concludes by suggesting that the United States may still have some time and wiggle room to decide its course of action for the near future." Read more

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Declaration of the Interdependence of Cyberspace

From the article: "On the anniversary of John Perry Barlow's issuing 'A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,' a response and alternate call to action. Seventeen years ago today, on February 8, 1996, John Perry Barlow sent out his manifesto "A Declaration of the Independenceof Cyberspace," a statement of the core belief of many cyber-libertarians that governments should have no authority on the Internet. That belief may seem quaint to many of us today, when the separation between the real and the virtual is growing ever fuzzier. And yet the Declaration remains a fairly accurate representation of the views of many of the anti-government voices on the Internet." Read more

U.S. Said To Be Target of Massive Cyber-Espionage Campaign

From the article: "A new intelligence assessment has concluded that the United States is the target of a massive, sustained cyber-espionage campaign that is threatening the country’s economic competitiveness, according to individuals familiar with the report.

The National Intelligence Estimate identifies China as the country most aggressively seeking to penetrate the computer systems of American businesses and institutions to gain access to data that could be used for economic gain." Read more 

Dr. Watson Will See You Now: IBM Offers Supercomputer Watson Apps in Cancer, Health Insurance

From the article: "IBM Corp., the health insurer WellPoint Inc. and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center announced two Watson-based applications — one to help assess treatments for lung cancer and one to help manage health insurance decisions and claims.

Both applications take advantage of the speed, huge database and language skill the computer demonstrated in defeating the best human “Jeopardy!” players on television two years ago.

Armonk-based IBM said Watson has improved its performance by 240 percent since the “Jeopardy!” win." Read more

Power-Curve Society

From the report: "Power-Curve Society, written by David Bollier, examines how technological innovation is restructuring productivity and the social and economic impact resulting from these changes. It addresses the growing concern about the technological displacement of jobs, stagnant middle class income, and wealth disparities in an emerging "winner-take-all" economy. It also examines cutting-edge innovations in personal data ecosystems that could potentially unlock a revolutionary wave of individual economic empowerment. Power-Curve Society is the Report of the Twenty-First Annual Roundtable on InformationTechnology, a dialogue convened by the Communications and Society Program." Read more

EU to Order Banks, Energy Firms to Report Cyber Attacks

From the article: "Under the draft law, EU member states would have to draw up a monitoring system for companies that are critical to the economy. Those firms would then have to report major online attacks to national authorities and reveal security breaches.

Almost 15,000 transport companies, 8,000 banks, 4,000 energy firms, and 15,000 hospitals will have to report cyber attacks if the proposals are approved by EU governments and the European Parliament." Read more

Solving Big-Data Bottleneck

From the report: "In a study that represents a potential cultural shift in how basic science research can be conducted, researchers from Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School and London Business School have demonstrated that a crowdsourcing platform pioneered in the commercial sector can solve a complex biological problem more quickly than conventional approaches—and at a fraction of the cost." Read more

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Coming and Going on Facebook

From the article: "Two-thirds of online American adults (67%) are Facebook users, making Facebook the dominant social networking site in this country. And new findings from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project indicate there is considerable fluidity in the Facebook user population:
  • 61% of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more.
  • 20% of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so.
  • 8% of online adults who do not currently use Facebook are interested in becoming Facebook users in the future." Read more

Health IT, Feedback Can Raise Quality of Care

Hall, Susan D. "Health IT, Feedback Can Raise Quality of Care." Fierce Health IT, February 6, 2013. 

From the article: "Providing feedback loops, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine, was a core recommendation in the pre-rulemaking report of the Measure Applications Partnership (MAP).

The public-private partnership, convened by the National Quality Forum to make recommendations to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, called feedback the best way to determine whether measurement is being used in the way it was intended.

"Ideally, the exchange of information through feedback loops is systematic, standardized, real-time, two-way, occurs among all levels of the system, and takes best advantage of information technology," the report states." Read more

See also

"MAP Pre-Rulemaking Report: 2013 Recommendations on Measures Under Consideration by HHS." National Quality Forum, February 2013. 

Millard, Mike. "MAP Weighs in on Performance Measures." Government Health IT, February 5, 2013. 

"NQF-Convened Group Provides Recommendations on Measures for Federal Healthcare Programs." Nationla Quality Forum, February 4, 2013. 

Crowdsourcing Grows Up as Online Workers Unite

From the article: "Crowdsourcing might be big business now but it has never been fair. The pay is terrible, there is zero regulation and no recourse for workers if things go wrong. But crowdsourcing's Wild West days of exploitation could soon be over. Moves to make employers more accountable and give crowd workers more benefits are helping shift the balance in favour of the employees." Read more

    CHIME Presses ONC on Patient Safety

    From the article: "The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is urging the federal government to ensure that patients are matched correctly to their health information.

    CHIME said it agreed with ONC that, “the accurate and efficient matching of patients to their health information is critical to ensuring patient safety,” and it urged a more focused effort to address patient data matching, saying that, “despite years of development, no clear strategy has emerged to accurately and consistently match patient data.” Read more

    Ovum: Big Data Collection Collides with Privacy Concerns

    From the article: "Ovum, in a recent survey of about 11,000 people across 11 countries, found that 68 percent said they would use a do-not-track feature if it was easily available on a search engine. Just 14 percent of respondents said they believe Internet companies are honest about their use of personal data." Read more

    FCC to Congress: U.N.'s ITU Internet Plans 'Must Be Stopped'

    From the article: "Today, U.S. Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell will testify to Congress in a joint U.S. House subcommittee hearing on international Internet governance, that the free and open Internet is under attack — and inaction is not an option.

    The FCC Commissioner ominously warned Congress that what happened at WCIT-12 "ended the era of an international consensus to keep inter-governmental hands off of the Internet in dramatic fashion." Read more

    Tags, Blogs, Tweets: Social Media as Science Tool?

    From the article: "Is social media changing the way we do science—even speeding it up? Preliminary data, and a growing number of cases, suggest that the answer is yes.

    One now-famous example of its growing ubiquity is the social media storm that followed the publication of a NASA-funded paper in the journal Science, on 2 December 2010 (doi:10.1126/science.1197258). The authors of the paper claimed to have discovered a bacterium that could substitute arsenic in place of phosphate as a key nutrient necessary to support life.

    Rosie Redfield, zoology professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), wasn’t buying it, and said so on her blog. Ironically, this was a communication platform that UBC graduate students chose to parody, along with Redfield, at their Christmas party. Asking the fake Redfield, “What’s a blog?” the reply was, “it’s a publication that nobody reads, not even reviewers.” Their mockery was to be quickly proved wrong." Read more

    Generational Differences in Content Generation in Social Media: The Roles of the Gratifications Sought and of Narcissism

    From the report: "This study examines the roles of the gratifications sought and of narcissism in content generation in social media and explores the generational differences in motivations and in narcissistic personalities when predicting the usage of Facebook, blogs, and forums. Data were gathered from a probability sample of 596 social media users through a telephone survey in 2010. Factor analysis results showed that content generation using social media was satisfying five socio-psychological needs: showing affection, venting negative feelings, gaining recognition, getting entertainment, and fulfilling cognitive needs. In particular, people who used social media to meet their social needs and their need for affection tended to use Facebook and blogs. In contrast, when users wanted to air out discontent, they often turned to forums. Results also showed that exhibitionists seemed to use social media to show affection, express their negative feelings, and achieve recognition. The study found no generational differences in using Facebook and blogs as a means to satisfy social needs or the need for affection. However, differences in patterns of social media usage were found among Baby Boomers with different narcissistic personalities. The paper includes a discussion of the study’s limitations and suggestions for future research." Read more

    What the Intelligence Community Is Doing With Big Data

    From the article: "It’s trying. Armed with billions of tweets, Google (GOOG) searches, Facebook (FB) posts, and other publicly available social-media and online data, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is sponsoring research projects involving 14 universities in the United States, Europe, and Israel with the goal of using advanced analytics to predict significant societal events." Read more

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    How the Internet Reinforces Inequality in the Real World

    From the article: "Maps have always had a way of bluntly illustrating power. Simply appearing on one can be enough to make a place or community matter. Meanwhile, absence from "the map" conveys something quite the opposite. Recall 19th century colonial surveys of Africa with the continent’s vast interior labeled as “unknown.” That one word on unmapped territory was simply another way of saying – in the eyes of the mapmaker – that the region was of little consequence. Whoever lived there didn't matter.

    This old idea of paper maps as power brokers offers a good analogy for how we might think today about the increasingly complex maps of digital information on the physical world that exist in the "geoweb." This is where Wikipedia pages and online restaurant reviews and geocoded tweets live, all theoretically floating atop the actual cities and neighborhoods they describe." Read more

    The End of the Web, Search, and Computer as We Know It

    Gelernter, David. "The End of the Web, Search, and Computer as We Know It." Wired, February 1, 2013. 

    From the article: "People ask what the next web will be like, but there won’t be a next web.

    The space-based web we currently have will gradually be replaced by a time-based worldstream. It’s already happening, and it all began with the lifestream, a phenomenon that I (with Eric Freeman) predicted in the 1990s and shared in the pages of Wired almost exactly 16 years ago.

    This lifestream — a heterogeneous, content-searchable, real-time messaging stream — arrived in the form of blog posts and RSS feeds, Twitter and other chatstreams, and Facebook walls and timelines. Its structure represented a shift beyond the “flatland known as the desktop” (where our interfaces ignored the temporal dimension) towards streams, which flow and can therefore serve as a concrete representation of time.

    It’s a bit like moving from a desktop to a magic diary: Picture a diary whose pages turn automatically, tracking your life moment to moment … Until you touch it, and then, the page-turning stops. The diary becomes a sort of reference book: a complete and searchable guide to your life. Put it down, and the pages start turning again." Read more

    A National Action Plan To Support Consumer Engagement Via E-Health

    From the article: "Patient-centered care is considered one pillar of a high-performing, high-quality health care system. It is a key component of many efforts to transform care and achieve better population health. Expansion of health information technology and consumer e-health tools—electronic tools and services such as secure e-mail messaging between patients and providers, or mobile health apps—have created new opportunities for individuals to participate actively in monitoring and directing their health and health care. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services leads the strategy to increase electronic access to health information, support the development of tools that enable people to take action with that information, and shift attitudes related to the traditional roles of patients and providers. In this article we review recent evidence in support of consumer e-health and present the federal strategy to promote advances in consumer e-health to increase patient engagement, improve individual health, and achieve broader health care system improvements." Read more

    Your Social Networking Credit Score

    From the article: "The buzzword tsunami that is “big data"—a handy way of describing our vastly improved ability to collect and analyze humongous data sets—has dwarfed “frictionless sharing” and “cloud computing” combined. As befits Silicon Valley, “big data” is mostly big hype, but there is one possibility with genuine potential: that it might one day bring loans—and credit histories—to millions of people who currently lack access to them. But what price, in terms of privacy and free will (not to mention the exorbitant interest rates), will these new borrowers have to pay?" Read more

    Eric Schmidt, in New Book: China Could Contribute to Fracturing the Internet into Pieces

    From the article: "Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s new book, co-authored with a former State Department superstar named Jared Cohen, doesn’t come out until April. But The Wall Street Journal’s Tom Gara got a hold of an advance copy and has been going through some of its ideas about the future of the Web. Particularly interesting are Schmidt’s comments on China, which, according to Gara’s reading, seem to portray the country as a rising threat not just to Web freedom but to the Internet itself.

    Schmidt and Cohen write that China is the world’s “most sophisticated and prolific” hacker, according to Gara. Their book reads, ”It’s fair to say we’re already living in an age of state-led cyber war, even if most of us aren’t aware of it.” But their predictions for where that might lead the Internet, according to the Journal’s report, include the dark possibility that it could split apart entirely." Read more

    The Philosophy of Data

    From the article: "Over the next year, I’m hoping to get a better grip on some of the questions raised by the data revolution: In what situations should we rely on intuitive pattern recognition and in which situations should we ignore intuition and follow the data? What kinds of events are predictable using statistical analysis and what sorts of events are not?....

    In sum, the data revolution is giving us wonderful ways to understand the present and the past. Will it transform our ability to predict and make decisions about the future? We’ll see." Read more

    New Technology Helps Doctors Link a Patient’s Location to Illness and Treatment

    From the article: "These initiatives seek to reveal how the place where you live affects the quality of your health, and then map out ways to address problems. For instance, soon Loma Linda doctors and case managers will be able pinpoint food pantries and soup kitchens in the medical center’s service area, making it easier to suggest ones near the homes of low-income patients who need to improve their diet.

    Othergeomedicine technologies under development include Health Begins, a social networking platform that seeks to make clinicians more aware of socioeconomic factors that can affect health. The site, now in the testing phase, allows doctors, patients and family members to update entries, such as where to apply for affordable housing or how to contact a legal clinic for reporting unhealthy working conditions. The site also has a section that shows the latest research assessing links between social, economic and environmental factors and health." Read more

    Privacy Versus Security

    From the report: "Legal scholarship tends to conflate privacy and security. However, security and privacy can, and should, be treated as distinct concerns. Privacy discourse involves difficult normative decisions about competing claims to legitimate access to, use of, and alteration of information. It is about selecting among different philosophies, and choosing how various rights and entitlements ought to be ordered. Security implements those choices – it intermediates between information and privacy selections. This Article argues separating privacy from security has important practical consequences. Security failings should be penalized more readily, and more heavily, than privacy ones, because there are no competing moral claims to resolve, and because security flaws make all parties worse off. Currently, security flaws are penalized too rarely, and privacy ones too readily. The Article closes with a set of policy questions highlighted by the privacy versus security distinction that deserve further research." Read more

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    Data Protection Laws, an Ocean Apart

    From the article: "Over the years, the United States and Europe have taken different approaches toward protecting people’s personal information. Now the two sides are struggling to bridge that divide.

    On this side of the Atlantic, Congress has enacted a patchwork quilt of privacy laws that separately limit the use of Americans’ medical records, credit reports, video rental records and so on. On the other side, the European Union has instituted more of a blanket regulatory system; it has a common directive that gives its citizens certain fundamental rights — like the right to obtain copies of records held about them by companies and institutions — that Americans now lack." Read more 

    Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties

    From the article: "A decade-plus of anthropological fieldwork among hackers and like-minded geeks has led me to the firm conviction that these people are building one of the most vibrant civil liberties movements we’ve ever seen. It is a culture committed to freeing information, insisting on privacy, and fighting censorship, which in turn propels wide-ranging political activity. In the last year alone, hackers have been behind some of the most powerful political currents out there." Read more