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The Cost of Connectivity 2014

October 31, 2014 Comments off

The Cost of Connectivity 2014
Source: Open Technology Institute (New America Foundation)

The Cost of Connectivity is an annual report that examines the cost and speed of broadband Internet access in 24 cities in the United States (U.S.) and abroad. Overall, the data that we have collected in the past three years demonstrates that the majority of U.S. cities surveyed lag behind their international peers, paying more money for slower Internet access. The report presents the 2014 Cost of Connectivity data, which was collected between July and September 2014.

The 2014 report includes:

  • A literature review of other studies that rank and compare broadband speeds, pricing, and market factors domestically and internationally, which explains how the Cost of Connectivity fits among other reports produced by international organizations and independent think tanks and contributes new data and analysis.
  • A detailed methodology, which explains both the data collection process and the methods used to conduct the analysis for our findings. The data from this and past reports is also publicly available online for researchers and other interested parties to view and download.
  • Specific findings from our data set for both home and mobile broadband pricing, as well as additional observations about the data. We include the following rankings and comparisons:

- The fastest home broadband speed available in each city,
– The fastest home broadband plan available for under $40 in each city,
– The range and median prices of broadband services in the U.S. compared to Europe,
– The cost of 3 GB of mobile data in each city,
– The mobile data cap available for under $40 in each city,
– The average cost of all plans in each city based on a range of speed or data caps,
– The average speed or data cap available in each city in a particular price range,
– The relationship between speed and price for home broadband plans in each city,
– Trends in wireless data, and
– The prevalence of data caps and modem fees.

  • Key takeaways from this analysis and further research questions based on our data and observations.
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2014 Minimum Wage by State

October 30, 2014 Comments off

2014 Minimum Wage by State
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Summary

  • Minimum wages will go up in nine states on Jan. 1, 2015 because of indexed increases in their state law: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington.
  • 38 states introduced minimum wage bills during the 2014 session; 34 states considered increases to the state minimum wage.
    Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and D.C. have enacted increases during the 2014 session.
  • As of Aug. 1, 2014, 23 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage.
  • 18 states, Guam, and the Virgin Islands have minimum wages the same as the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
  • 3 states, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico have minimum wages below the federal minimum wage (the federal minimum thus applies).
  • 1 state, New Hampshire, repealed their state minimum wage in 2011, but left the reference to the federal minimum wage.
  • 5 states have not established a state minimum wage.

Continuing Federal Cyber Breaches Warn Against Cybersecurity Regulation

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Continuing Federal Cyber Breaches Warn Against Cybersecurity Regulation
Source: Heritage Foundation

Recent high-profile private-sector hacks have once again put a spotlight on the issue of cybersecurity. This is a serious problem that requires legislation to improve the United States’ cybersecurity posture, but the U.S. should not reflexively adopt government regulation of cyberspace as a solution. There are concerns that such a response would not be cost-effective and would have an adverse effect on innovation. It could also potentially create a mindset of compliance rather than of security. Additionally, the government’s own cybersecurity track record raises questions about the effectiveness of government cyber regulations.

The following is a list of federal government cybersecurity breaches and failures, most of which occurred during 2013 and 2014. This list is part of a continuing series published by Heritage that serves as a long-term compilation of open-source data about federal cybersecurity breaches dating back to 2004.

This list is in no way complete: Some hacks might not be reported or are classified, and others have yet to be realized. In September 2014, Robert Anderson, executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch of the FBI told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that if a federal department believes it hasn’t been hacked, it is likely that they are simply unaware of the hack. When Senator Coburn asked for a list of all the government hacks the panelists were aware of, he acknowledged that they may have to be discussed in a closed Senate hearing. Furthermore, the list below does not include the large number of private-sector failures. Nevertheless, the seriousness and number of known U.S. government cybersecurity failures undercut the argument for a government-led regulatory approach to cybersecurity.

Cyber Attacks on U.S. Companies in 2014

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Cyber Attacks on U.S. Companies in 2014
Source: Heritage Foundation

The spate of recent data breaches at big-name companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, and Target raises questions about the effectiveness of the private sector’s information security. According to FBI Director James Comey, “There are two kinds of big companies in the United States. There are those who’ve been hacked…and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked.”

A recent survey by the Ponemon Institute showed the average cost of cyber crime for U.S. retail stores more than doubled from 2013 to an annual average of $8.6 million per company in 2014. The annual average cost per company of successful cyber attacks increased to $20.8 million in financial services, $14.5 million in the technology sector, and $12.7 million in communications industries.

This paper lists known cyber attacks on private U.S. companies since the beginning of 2014. (A companion paper discussed cyber breaches in the federal government.) By its very nature, a list of this sort is incomplete. The scope of many attacks is not fully known. For example, in July, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued an advisory that more than 1,000 U.S. businesses have been affected by the Backoff malware, which targets point-of-sale (POS) systems used by most retail industries. These attacks targeted administrative and customer data and, in some cases, financial data.

This list includes only cyber attacks that have been made known to the public. Most companies encounter multiple cyber attacks every day, many unknown to the public and many unknown to the companies themselves.

The data breaches below are listed chronologically by month of public notice.

Bicyclist Fatalities a Growing Problem for Key Groups

October 28, 2014 Comments off

Bicyclist Fatalities a Growing Problem for Key Groups
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

The number of bicyclists killed on U.S. roadways is trending upward, particularly for certain subsets of the population, according to a report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). GHSA’s Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicyclist Safety notes that yearly bicyclist deaths increased 16 percent between 2010 and 2012, while overall motor vehicle fatalities increased just one percent during the same time period.

The report’s author, former Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Chief Scientist Dr. Allan Williams, analyzed current and historical fatality data to uncover bicyclist crash patterns. There have been some remarkable changes. For example, adults 20 and older represented 84 percent of bicyclist fatalities in 2012, compared to only 21 percent in 1975. Adult males comprised 74 percent of the total number of bicyclists killed in 2012.

Bicycle fatalities are increasingly an urban phenomenon, accounting for 69 percent of all bicycle fatalities in 2012, compared with 50 percent in 1975. These changes correlate with an increase in bicycling commuters – a 62 percent jump since 2000, according to 2013 Census Bureau data.

While bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes increased in 22 states between 2010 and 2012, six states – California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas – represented 54 percent of all fatalities.

Ending Violence Against Women and Girls: The World’s Best Laws and Policies

October 27, 2014 Comments off

Ending Violence Against Women and Girls: The World’s Best Laws and Policies (PDF)
Source: World Future Council

At the World Future Council, we strive to bring the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. With our annual Future Policy Award, we highlight the world’s best solutions and we encourage policy-makers around the world to implement them.

In 2014, the Future Policy Award celebrates laws and policies that contribute to ending one of the most pervasive human rights violations: violence against women and girls. One in three women worldwide suffers some form of violence in her lifetime. By restricting women’s choices and limiting their ability to act, the persistence of violence against women has serious consequences for peace and security, economic development and poverty reduction. Thus, it hampers all efforts towards a future just society. International experts from academia, civil society and international organisations have nominated twenty-five policies from around the world which were implemented to improve the lives of women. Together, they reflect the broad scope of existing policy responses at local, national and transnational levels.

Hat tip: IWS Documented News Service

Women in National Parliaments (Situation as of 1st October 2014)

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Women in National Parliaments
Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union

The data in the table below has been compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union on the basis of information provided by National Parliaments by 1st October 2014. 189 countries are classified by descending order of the percentage of women in the lower or single House. Comparative data on the world and regional averages as well as data concerning the two regional parliamentary assemblies elected by direct suffrage can be found on separate pages. You can use the PARLINE database to view detailed results of parliamentary elections by country.

Hat tip: IWS Documented News Service

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