Archive for the ‘technology and internet’ Category

Health Reform: Designing a Marketplace — A state-by-state comparison of Marketplace Implementation

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Health Reform: Designing a Marketplace — A state-by-state comparison of Marketplace Implementation
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates a Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) in every state, which offers individuals and small businesses the opportunity to shop from an array of affordable, comprehensive health insurance plans. A state can either create and operate the Marketplace itself as a State-based Marketplace (SBM), partner with the federal government under a State Partnership Marketplace (SPM), or defer to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to manage a Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) in the state.

In 2014, 16 states and the District of Columbia have established a State-based Marketplace for both individuals and small businesses, six states have a State Partnership Marketplace, and one state is administering a State-based SHOP Marketplace just for small businesses (with an FFM serving individuals).

The ACA provides states with significant flexibility in the design and structure of their Marketplace; hundreds of policy and operational decisions had to be addressed during the Marketplace implementation process. CBPP has evaluated SBM and SPM states across a number of these Marketplace design questions and compiled the information in this interactive tool.

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AARP Online Travel Study

April 15, 2014 Comments off

AARP Online Travel Study
Source: AARP Research

Those who are 50 or older take about six non-business related overnight trips of at least 50 miles from home per year.

Are you ready for the resource revolution?

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Are you ready for the resource revolution?
Source: McKinsey & Company

Meeting increasing global demand requires dramatically improving resource productivity. Yet technological advances mean companies have an extraordinary opportunity not only to meet that challenge but to spark the next industrial revolution as well.

Lost and Found: Understanding Technologies Used to Locate Missing Persons with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Lost and Found: Understanding Technologies Used to Locate Missing Persons with Alzheimer’s or Dementia (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect not only those who are living with the disease; these afflictions also impact the caregivers, law enforcement, and even neighbors. As the disease progresses, physical and mental capabilities are negatively impacted, short-term memory loss increases, and a person with Alzheimer’s might begin living in the past. As the person attempts to return to former places of employment or residences, they often get lost and need assistance returning to where they are currently residing. It is never possible to predict if or when a person with Alzheimer’s will wander or be unable to navigate familiar routes. Initiating a search for a person with Alzheimer’s can never be delayed, and conducting such searches can prove to be costly and consume extreme amounts of agency resources. It is crucial for law enforcement officers and other first responders to be familiar with and understand the signs of dementia and be aware of passive identification products used to identify persons with Alzheimer’s. In addition to passive identification techniques, there are technologies and products available that can be used to actively locate an individual who is lost.

Cellular location techniques and Global Positioning System devices are examples of proven methods for aiding law enforcement in a search for a missing person with dementia. This document will provide a technical description of these technologies and outline some of the advantages and disadvantages when employing these products. It will also provide comprehensive lists of locating devices that are currently available. Provided in each section is a short technical description of the technology and its advantages and the disadvantages. Appendix I and Appendix II provide a list of passive and active locating devices currently available.

Occupational Outlook Quarterly — Spring 2014

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Occupational Outlook Quarterly — Spring 2014
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Articles include:

  • STEM 101: Intro to tomorrow’s jobs
  • Careers with options: Occupations with jobs in many industries
  • Healthcare: Millions of jobs now and in the future
  • My career: Veterinary technician
  • Brief items of interest to counselors and students
  • You’re a what? Roastmaster
  • More education, less unemployment

Tech Trade in the States: A State by State Overview of International Trade in Tech Goods

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Tech Trade in the States: A State by State Overview of International Trade in Tech Goods (PDF)
Source: Tech America Foundation

TechAmerica Foundation proudly presents our 2014 edition of Tech Trade in the States: A State-by-State Overview of International Trade of Tech Goods. It provides 2012 data on tech trade at the national level and export data for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The report also provides an estimate as to the number of jobs that are supported by export activities.

Preliminary Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor — Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data: The interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the Digital Economy

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data: The interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the Digital Economy (PDF)
Source: European Data Protection Supervisor

EU approaches to data protection, competition and consumer protection share common goals, including the promotion of growth, innovation and the welfare of individual consumers. In practice, however, collaboration between policy-makers in these respective fields is limited.

Online services are driving the huge growth in the digital economy. Many of those services are marketed as ‘free’ but in effect require payment in the form of personal information from customers. An investigation into the costs and benefits of these exchanges for both consumers and businesses is now overdue.

Closer dialogue between regulators and experts across policy boundaries can not only aid enforcement of rules on competition and consumer protection, but also stimulate the market for privacy-enhancing services.

CRS — Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Department of Defense (DOD) development work on high-energy military lasers, which has been underway for decades, has reached the point where lasers capable of countering certain surface and air targets at ranges of about a mile could be made ready for installation on Navy surface ships over the next few years. More powerful shipboard lasers, which could become ready for installation in subsequent years, could provide Navy surface ships with an ability to counter a wider range of surface and air targets at ranges of up to about 10 miles.

Trends in Unwanted Online Experiences and Sexting — Final Report

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Trends in Unwanted Online Experiences and Sexting — Final Report (PDF)
Source: Crimes Against Children Research Center

This bulletin summarizes findings from the Third Youth Internet Safety Survey (YISS‐3). Topics include youth reports of unwanted sexual solicitations, online harassment, unwanted exposure to sexual material, and “sexting.”

Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

The Boston Police Department (BPD) has long embraced both community policing and the use of social media. The department put its experience to good and highly visible use in April 2013 during the dramatic, rapidly developing investigation that followed the deadly explosion of two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. BPD successfully used Twitter to keep the public informed about the status of the investigation, to calm nerves and request assistance, to correct mistaken information reported by the press, and to ask for public restraint in the tweeting of information from police scanners. This demonstrated the level of trust and interaction that a department and a community can attain online. In the aftermath of the investigation, BPD was “applauded for leading an honest conversation with the public during a time of crisis in a way that no police department has done before.”

CRS — Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate (updated)

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Library)

As congressional policymakers continue to debate telecommunications reform, a major point of contention is the question of whether action is needed to ensure unfettered access to the Internet. The move to place restrictions on the owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the Internet, to ensure equal access and non-discriminatory treatment, is referred to as “net neutrality.” While there is no single accepted definition of “net neutrality,” most agree that any such definition should include the general principles that owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the Internet should not control how consumers lawfully use that network, and they should not be able to discriminate against content provider access to that network.

A major focus in the debate is concern over whether it is necessary for policymakers to take steps to ensure access to the Internet for content, services, and applications providers, as well as consumers, and if so, what these steps should be. Some policymakers contend that more specific regulatory guidelines may be necessary to protect the marketplace from potential abuses which could threaten the net neutrality concept. Others contend that existing laws and policies are sufficient to deal with potential anti-competitive behavior and that additional regulations would have negative effects on the expansion and future development of the Internet.

The January 2014 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit (Verizon Communications Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission, D.C. Cir., No.11-1355) upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) authority to use Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to regulate broadband providers, but striking down the specific anti-blocking and nondiscrimination rules of the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order has focused attention on the issue. Three measures (H.R. 3982, H.R. 4070, and S. 1981) have been introduced in direct response to the January 2014 court decision, and subsequent FCC action. A consensus on the net neutrality issue has remained elusive. Some Members of Congress support FCC regulation of broadband providers, others feel that the regulation of the Internet is not only unnecessary, but harmful. It is anticipated that the issue of access to broadband networks will be of continued interest to policymakers.

Bored Tuesdays and Focused Afternoons: The Rhythm of Attention and Online Activity in the Workplace

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Bored Tuesdays and Focused Afternoons: The Rhythm of Attention and Online Activity in the Workplace
Source: Microsoft Research

While distractions due to digital media have received attention in HCI, we examine instead focused attention in the workplace. We logged digital activity and continually probed perspectives of 32 information workers for five days in situ to understand how attentional states change with context. We present a framework of how engagement and challenge in work relate to focus, bored, and rote work. Overall, we find more focused attention than boredom in the workplace. Reported focus peaks mid-afternoon while boredom is highest in the morning. People are happiest doing rote work; we show that focused work can involve stress. We identified higher levels of boredom mid-week. Online activities are associated with different attentional states, showing different patterns at beginning and end of day, and before and after a mid-day break. Our study shows how rhythms of attentional states are associated with context.

Networking for Philanthropy: Increasing Volunteer Behavior via Social Networking Sites

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Networking for Philanthropy: Increasing Volunteer Behavior via Social Networking Sites
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Social networking sites (SNSs) provide a unique social venue to engage the young generation in philanthropy through their networking capabilities. An integrated model that incorporates social capital into the Theory of Reasoned Action is developed to explain volunteer behavior through social networks. As expected, volunteer behavior was predicted by volunteer intention, which was influenced by attitudes and subjective norms. In addition, social capital, an outcome of the extensive use of SNSs, was as an important driver of users’ attitude and subjective norms toward volunteering via SNSs.

The State of the Discordant Union: An Empirical Analysis of DMCA Takedown Notices

April 10, 2014 Comments off

The State of the Discordant Union: An Empirical Analysis of DMCA Takedown Notices
Source: Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, Forthcoming (via SSRN)

By conducting a census on half-a-million takedown notices and more than 50 million takedown requests in its datasets, this paper takes a detailed and systematic look at the state of the takedown process from an empirical perspective. It examines the use and issuance of takedown notices by copyright owners and reporters and the response of service providers to them. It further studies the relationship between the notices and requests and safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and identifies ways in which the takedown process can be further improved to preserve the diversity and freedom of the Internet.

First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage? Characteristics of Americans Married 2005–2012 Who Met Through Social Networking Sites

April 10, 2014 Comments off

First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage? Characteristics of Americans Married 2005–2012 Who Met Through Social Networking Sites
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Although social networking sites (SNS) have become increasingly prevalent and integrated into the lives of users, the role of SNS in courtship is relatively unknown. The present manuscript reports on the characteristics of Americans married between 2005 and 2012 who met through SNS drawn from a weighted national sample (N=18,527). Compared to other online meetings (i.e., dating sites, online communities, one-on-one communication), individuals who met through SNS were younger, married more recently, and were more likely to be African American. Compared with offline meetings, individuals who met through SNS were more likely to be younger, male, African American and Hispanic, married more recently, and frequent Internet users with higher incomes. Trends suggest an increasing proportion of individuals are meeting using SNS, necessitating further research on factors that influence romantic relational development through SNS.

Information and Incentives in Online Affiliate Marketing

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Information and Incentives in Online Affiliate Marketing (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

We examine online affiliate marketing programs in which merchants oversee thousands of affiliates they have never met. Some merchants hire outside specialists to set and enforce policies for affiliates, while other merchants ask their ordinary marketing staff to perform these functions. For clear violations of applicable rules, we find that outside specialists are most effective at excluding the responsible affiliates, which we interpret as a benefit of specialization. However, in-house staff are more successful at identifying and excluding affiliates whose practices are viewed as “borderline” (albeit still contrary to merchants’ interests), foregoing the efficiencies of specialization in favor of the better incentives of a company’s staff. We consider the implications for marketing of online affiliate programs and for online marketing more generally.

IP in a World Without Scarcity

April 10, 2014 Comments off

IP in a World Without Scarcity
Source: Social Science Research Network

Things are valuable because they are scarce. The more abundant they become, they cheaper they become. But a series of technological changes is underway that promises to end scarcity as we know it for a wide variety of goods. The Internet is the most obvious example, because the change there is furthest along. The Internet has reduced the cost of production and distribution of informational content effectively to zero. In many cases it has also dramatically reduced the cost of producing that content. And it has changed the way in which information is distributed, separating the creators of content from the distributors.

More recently, new technologies promise to do for a variety of physical goods and even services what the Internet has already done for information. 3D printers can manufacture physical goods based on any digital design. Synthetic biology has automated the manufacture not just of copies of existing genetic sequences but any custom-made gene sequence, allowing anyone who want to create a gene sequence of their own to upload the sequence to a company that will “print” it using the basic building blocks of genetics. And advances in robotics offer the prospect that many of the services humans now provide can be provided free of charge by general-purpose machines that can be programmed to perform a variety of complex functions. While none of these technologies are nearly as far along as the Internet, they share two essential characteristics with the Internet: they radically reduce the cost of production and distribution of things, and they separate the informational content of those things (the design) from their manufacture. Combine these four developments – the Internet, 3D printing, robotics, and synthetic biology – and it is entirely plausible to envision a not-too-distant world in which most things that people want can be downloaded and created on site for very little money.

The role of IP in such a world is both controverted and critically important. IP rights are designed to artificially replicate scarcity where it would not otherwise exist. In its simplest form, IP law takes public goods that would otherwise be available to all and artificially restricts their distribution. It makes ideas scarce, because then we can bring them into the economy and charge for them, and economics knows how to deal with scarce things. So on one view – the classical view of IP law – a world in which all the value resides in information is a world in which we need IP everywhere, controlling rights over everything, or no one will get paid to create. That has been the response of IP law to the Internet so far.

Identifying Personality Disorders that are Security Risks: Field Test Results

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Identifying Personality Disorders that are Security Risks: Field Test Results (PDF)
Source: Defense Personnel Security Research Center

Accurate identification and assessment of employees with risky personality disorders is imperative for programs that involve access to nuclear materials, weapons, and biological select agents which depend on personnel maintaining mental health and reliable behavior. Certain risky personality disorders, however, are especially difficult to diagnose with routine assessment tools that rely on the subject’s self-report. To combat this issue, PERSEREC, in collaboration with Department of Energy, initiated a field test that examined whether an improved screening tool has utility for clinicians who routinely evaluate personnel in a high-risk program. Five clinicians used the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP), along with its Dispositional Indicators of Risk Exposure (DIRE) subscale developed earlier, for a period of 4 months to evaluate 26 new candidates and current employees of concern. Debriefing interviews indicated that SWAP/DIRE was more effective than clinicians’ existing tools for establishing a positive rapport with the subject, assessing personality disorders, and making legally-defensible recommendations. Findings also include recommendations for using SWAP/DIRE methodology for identifying risky personnel.

Inspector Report: DOE/IG-0904 Review of Controls Over the Department’s Classification of National Security Information

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Inspector Report: DOE/IG-0904 Review of Controls Over the Department’s Classification of National Security Information
Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General

The Department of Energy handles and manages a broad spectrum of classified information, including National Security Information (NSI). The Office of Health, Safety and Security’s Office of Classification, manages the Department-wide classification program and establishes policies to conform with Federal classification requirements. Implementation of classification requirements is shared among various organizations within the Department. In addition, the Department’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence is required to follow NSI policies and procedures instituted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Similarly, the Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) separately develops and implements policies and procedures, in coordination with the Office of Classification, for the protection and security of classified information at NNSA sites.

Our inspection revealed that the Department had established and implemented critical elements of its classified NSI program. However, our review revealed that certain aspects of the NSI program could be improved. For instance, our inspection determined that a classification marking tool embedded in the classified email system at an NNSA site automatically marked emails as Secret//Restricted Data, regardless of content. The classification related issues we observed occurred, in part, because of ineffective oversight of classification activities and inadequate training and guidance.

In general, we found management’s comments and planned corrective actions to be generally responsive to our report findings and recommendations.

How government can promote open data

April 9, 2014 Comments off

How government can promote open data
Source: McKinsey & Company

Institutions and companies across the public and private sectors have begun to release and share vast amounts of information in recent years, and the trend is only accelerating. Yet while some information is easily accessible, some is still trapped in paper records. Data may be free or come at a cost. And there are tremendous differences in reuse and redistribution rights. In short, there are degrees when it comes to just how “open” data is and, as a result, how much value it can create.

While businesses and other private organizations can make more information public, we believe that government has a critical role in unleashing the economic potential of open data. A recent McKinsey report, Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information,1 identified more than $3 trillion in economic value globally that could be generated each year in seven domains through increasingly “liquid” information that is machine readable, accessible to a broad audience at little or no cost, and capable of being shared and distributed. These sources of value include new or increased revenue, savings, and economic surplus that flow from the insights provided by data as diverse as census demographics, crop reports, and information on product recalls.


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