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A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being: With Recommendations for the U.S. Air Force

March 27, 2015 Comments off

A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being: With Recommendations for the U.S. Air Force
Source: RAND Corporation

This report reviews the scientific literature on the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of problematic Internet use (PIU) with the goal of informing Air Force policies aimed at mitigating PIU’s negative impact on operations and the mental health of Airmen. The report is motivated by a recent RAND study estimating that 6 percent of Airmen have PIU. Individuals with PIU, similar to people with substance addictions, suffer from excessive and compulsive online activities, symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal, and functional impairment. PIU is also strongly associated with other mental health problems including major depression. However, at present there is no single accepted definition of PIU, and no up-to-date estimates of the prevalence of PIU in the general U.S. population are available. A range of prevention and treatment approaches have been developed, but none has been rigorously tested in clinical trials. Prevention programs rely on workplace Internet policies and strategies to help individuals self-regulate their Internet use. Treatment approaches that have proven feasible and acceptable to patients with PIU include adaptations of cognitive-behavioral therapy, an evidence-based treatment for depression and anxiety, to the specific symptoms of PIU. Based on our findings, we recommend: (1) increasing awareness of PIU among organizational leadership and mental health professionals, (2) incorporating content related to PIU into existing trainings related to mental health, (3) providing support for self-regulation of Internet use on the job by incorporating PIU management principles into Internet use policies, and (4) continuing monitoring of the emerging scientific literature on PIU.

What Went Wrong with the FISA Court

March 26, 2015 Comments off

What Went Wrong with the FISA Court
Source: Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court is no longer serving its constitutional function of providing a check on the executive branch’s ability to obtain Americans’ private communications. Dramatic shifts in technology and law have changed the role of the FISA Court since its creation in 1978 — from reviewing government applications to collect communications in specific cases, to issuing blanket approvals of sweeping data collection programs affecting millions of Americans.

Under today’s foreign intelligence surveillance system, the government’s ability to collect information about ordinary Americans’ lives has increased exponentially while judicial oversight has been reduced to near-nothingness. This report concludes that the role of today’s FISA Court no longer comports with constitutional requirements, including the strictures of Article III and the Fourth Amendment. The report lays out several steps Congress should take to help restore the FISA Court’s legitimacy.

Open Data in the G8

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Open Data in the G8
Source: Center for Data Innovation

In 2013, the leaders of the G8 signed an agreement committing to advance open data in their respective countries. This report assesses the current state of open data efforts in these countries and finds substantial variation in their progress. Moving forward, countries have many opportunities to enhance their open data capabilities, such as by increasing international collaboration, better educating policymakers about the benefits of open data, and working closely with civil society on open data initiatives.

Education Technology and the Twenty-First-Century Skills Gap

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Education Technology and the Twenty-First-Century Skills Gap
Source: Boston Consulting Group/World Economic Forum

Today’s fast-changing world requires students who not only possess strong skills in areas such as language arts, math, and science but must also be adept at skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, persistence, collaboration, and curiosity. The requisite twenty-first-century skills fall into three broad categories: foundational literacies, competencies, and character qualities.

All too often, however, students in many countries are not acquiring these skills. A study that included nearly 100 countries reveals large gaps in selected indicators for many of these skills. For example, the U.S. performs relatively well on many skills when compared with the entire world. But when compared with high-performing peers such as Japan, Finland, or South Korea, the U.S. shows significant skills gaps in numeracy and scientific literacy. Some countries display gaps between our broad categories of skills. For example, relative to other OECD countries, Poland and Ireland perform well on a range of indicators representing foundational literacies but lag behind other OECD countries in areas such as critical thinking and curiosity. Gaps such as these are clear signs that too many students are not getting the education they must have to prosper in the twenty-first century, and countries are not finding adequate numbers of the skilled workers they need to compete.

Numerous innovations in the education technology space are beginning to show potential for helping address skills gaps. These technologies could both lower the cost and improve the quality of education.

A new report by the World Economic Forum, written in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group and titled New Vision for Education: Unlocking the Potential of Technology, examines ways that education technology can enhance learning as one tool in a portfolio.

CRS — Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions (March 16, 2015)

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Over the course of the last year, a host of cyberattacks has been perpetrated on a number of high profile American companies. The high profile cyberattacks of 2014 and early 2015 appear to be indicative of a broader trend: the frequency and ferocity of cyberattacks are increasing, posing grave threats to the national interests of the United States. While considerable debate exists with regard to the best strategies for protecting America’s various cyber-systems and promoting cybersecurity, one point of general agreement amongst cyber-analysts is the perceived need for enhanced and timely exchange of cyber-threat intelligence both within the private sector and between the private sector and the government. Nonetheless, there are many reasons why entities may opt to not participate in a cyber-information sharing scheme, including the potential liability that could result from sharing internal cyber-threat information with other private companies or the government. More broadly, the legal issues surrounding cybersecurity information sharing— whether it be with regard to sharing between two private companies or the dissemination of cyber-intelligence within the federal government—are complex and have few certain resolutions. In this vein, this report examines the various legal issues that arise with respect to the sharing of cybersecurity intelligence, with a special focus on two distinct concepts: (1) sharing of cyberinformation within the government’s possession and (2) sharing of cyber-information within the possession of the private sector.

CRS — Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2016 (March 18, 2015)

March 25, 2015 Comments off

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2016 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

President Obama’s budget request for FY2016 includes $145.694 billion for R&D in FY2016, an increase of $7.625 billion (5.5%) over the estimated FY2015 R&D funding level of $138.069 billion. The request represents the President’s R&D priorities; Congress may opt to agree with part or all of the request, or it may express different priorities through the appropriations process. In particular, Congress will play a central role in determining the growth rate and allocation of the federal R&D investment in a period of intense pressure on discretionary spending. Budget caps may limit overall R&D funding and may require movement of resources across disciplines, programs, or agencies to address priorities.

The Net Neutrality Order: It’s Worse Than We Thought

March 25, 2015 Comments off

The Net Neutrality Order: It’s Worse Than We Thought
Source: NERA Economic Consulting

On 12 March 2015, the FCC released its much anticipated Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling, and Order (Order) that reclassified providers of broadband Internet access service (BIAS) as providers subject to Title II regulation as stipulated in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In the Order, the FCC took note of a September 2014 NERA White Paper on the economic repercussions of Title II Reclassification. CALinnovates, a California-based technology group, had commissioned the NERA White Paper in submitting its comments to the FCC for the then-pending Order.

On 17 March 2015, Dr. Christian Dippon and Jonathan Falk responded to the FCC’s comments on their paper in “The Net Neutrality Order: It’s Worse Than We Thought.”

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