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CRS — Domestic Drones and Privacy: A Primer (March 30, 2015)

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Domestic Drones and Privacy: A Primer (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

It has been three years since Congress enacted the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA), calling for the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or “drones,” into the national airspace by September 2015. During that time, the substantive legal privacy framework relating to UAS on the federal level has remained relatively static: Congress has enacted no law explicitly regulating the potential privacy impacts of drone flights, the courts have had no occasion to rule on the constitutionality of drone surveillance, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not include privacy provisions in its proposed rule on small UAS. This issue, however, has not left the national radar. Congress has held hearings and introduced legislation concerning the potential privacy implications of domestic drone use; President Obama recently issued a directive to all federal agencies to assess the privacy impact of their drone operations; and almost half the states have enacted some form of drone legislation.

There are two overarching privacy issues implicated by domestic drone use. The first is defining what “privacy” means in the context of aerial surveillance.

The second predominant issue is which entity should be responsible for regulating drones and privacy.

CRS — Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention (March 26, 2015)

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides material on the latest crisis in Yemen and the U.S. policy response. For further background and analysis on Yemen, see CRS Report RL34170, Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jeremy M. Sharp.

Israel After the 2015 Elections: What Does Netanyahu’s Victory Mean for U.S. Policy?, CRS Insights (March 24, 2015)

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Israel After the 2015 Elections: What Does Netanyahu’s Victory Mean for U.S. Policy?, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Israeli Knesset elections held on March 17, 2015, were a subject of significant interest for the United States. The leading candidates openly differed on how to manage disagreements with the United States and the international community on various matters, though how that might have translated into substantively different policy stances is unclear. The timing and manner of official Israeli statements and actions influence regional and international attitudes and developments, and may shape how the Obama Administration and Congress work together and with Israel on these issues.

About 70 Percent of Homes in Miami and Tampa Have an Emergency Kit; Rates Vary by Metro Area

April 2, 2015 Comments off

About 70 Percent of Homes in Miami and Tampa Have an Emergency Kit; Rates Vary by Metro Area
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

More than half, 51.5 percent, of U.S. homes have a prepared emergency evacuation kit, according to new metropolitan area-level American Housing Survey statistics released jointly today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The level of preparedness varies by metro area, with about 70 percent of households in the Miami and Tampa, Fla., metro areas having emergency supplies readily available in the event of an evacuation. The Austin (Texas), Chicago and Minneapolis metro areas had among the lowest rate of homes with an emergency preparedness kit.

These statistics come from new disaster preparedness questions, one of four topics added to the 2013 American Housing Survey. The three other topics are community involvement, neighborhood characteristics and public transportation. The disaster preparedness questions examine, for example, how many households are prepared for emergency situations such as fire, terrorist attack or large-scale natural disaster.

USGS — Recent Trends in Cuba’s Mining and Petroleum Industries

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Recent Trends in Cuba’s Mining and Petroleum Industries
Source: USGS
From press release:

Cuba is among the top 10 producers of cobalt and nickel and has significant other mineral and petroleum resources, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey publication.

The report and accompanying map highlight the mineral resources available in Cuba, as well as detailing locations of petroleum exploration and development. The map also identifies mines, mineral processing facilities and petroleum facilities as well as information on location, operational status and ownership. It also addresses the current status of mineral industry projects, historical developments and trends of the Cuban economy with an emphasis on mineral industries and the supply of and demand for Cuba’s mineral resources.

Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey Summary

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey Summary
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The average person born in the latter years of the baby boom (1957-1964) held 11.7 jobs from age 18 to age 48, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly half of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 24.

DARPA Shares Its Vision for the Future

April 1, 2015 Comments off

DARPA Shares Its Vision for the Future (PDF)
Source: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

DARPA today released Breakthrough Technologies for National Security, a biennial report summarizing the Agency’s historical mission, current and evolving focus areas and recent transitions of DARPA-developed technologies to the military Services and other sectors. The report’s release coincided with testimony by DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar before the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, at a hearing entitled “Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2016 Science and Technology Programs: Laying the Groundwork to Maintain Technological Superiority.” The full report is available at http://go.usa.gov/3rut4.

Breakthrough Technologies for National Security affirms that America is in a strong strategic position today, in large part because of its longstanding technological dominance. But it also notes that a number of challenges threaten that status, including the global spread of ever more powerful and less expensive technologies and the emergence of disruptive non-nation-state actors in addition to ongoing threats from peer adversaries.

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