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Unique in the shopping mall: On the reidentifiability of credit card metadata

January 30, 2015 Comments off

Unique in the shopping mall: On the reidentifiability of credit card metadata
Source: Science

Large-scale data sets of human behavior have the potential to fundamentally transform the way we fight diseases, design cities, or perform research. Metadata, however, contain sensitive information. Understanding the privacy of these data sets is key to their broad use and, ultimately, their impact. We study 3 months of credit card records for 1.1 million people and show that four spatiotemporal points are enough to uniquely reidentify 90% of individuals. We show that knowing the price of a transaction increases the risk of reidentification by 22%, on average. Finally, we show that even data sets that provide coarse information at any or all of the dimensions provide little anonymity and that women are more reidentifiable than men in credit card metadata.

See: Privacy challenges: Just four vague pieces of info can identify you, and your credit card (Science Daily)

Use of Social Media Across US Hospitals: Descriptive Analysis of Adoption and Utilization

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Use of Social Media Across US Hospitals: Descriptive Analysis of Adoption and Utilization
Source: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Background:
Use of social media has become widespread across the United States. Although businesses have invested in social media to engage consumers and promote products, less is known about the extent to which hospitals are using social media to interact with patients and promote health.

Objective:
The aim was to investigate the relationship between hospital social media extent of adoption and utilization relative to hospital characteristics.

Methods:
We conducted a cross-sectional review of hospital-related activity on 4 social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Foursquare. All US hospitals were included that reported complete data for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey and the American Hospital Association Annual Survey. We reviewed hospital social media webpages to determine the extent of adoption relative to hospital characteristics, including geographic region, urban designation, bed size, ownership type, and teaching status. Social media utilization was estimated from user activity specific to each social media platform, including number of Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Foursquare check-ins, and Yelp reviews.

Results:
Adoption of social media varied across hospitals with 94.41% (3351/3371) having a Facebook page and 50.82% (1713/3371) having a Twitter account. A majority of hospitals had a Yelp page (99.14%, 3342/3371) and almost all hospitals had check-ins on Foursquare (99.41%, 3351/3371). Large, urban, private nonprofit, and teaching hospitals were more likely to have higher utilization of these accounts.

Conclusions:
Although most hospitals adopted at least one social media platform, utilization of social media varied according to several hospital characteristics. This preliminary investigation of social media adoption and utilization among US hospitals provides the framework for future studies investigating the effect of social media on patient outcomes, including links between social media use and the quality of hospital care and services.

Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society
Source: Pew Research Center

Scientific innovations are deeply embedded in national life — in the economy, in core policy choices about how people care for themselves and use the resources around them, and in the topmost reaches of Americans’ imaginations. New Pew Research Center surveys of citizens and a representative sample of scientists connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) show powerful crosscurrents that both recognize the achievements of scientists and expose stark fissures between scientists and citizens on a range of science, engineering and technology issues.

How US state governments can improve customer service

January 29, 2015 Comments off

How US state governments can improve customer service
Source: McKinsey & Company

Technological advances such as smartphones and apps have opened new frontiers of convenience, speed, and transparency for private-sector customers. At the same time, tightening government budgets are making it difficult for the public sector to deliver services of a similarly high quality. With consumer expectations only increasing, it’s perhaps no surprise that interactions with government agencies frustrate and disappoint many citizens. Yet when we sought to find out exactly why, we discovered cause for encouragement: issues that frustrate citizens are solvable, and the frustrations mostly revolve around the way services are provided rather than the services themselves. In fact, we believe governments can significantly improve the service experience while lowering costs and increasing employee engagement and satisfaction.

FY 2014 Annual Report from the Defense Department by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation

January 28, 2015 Comments off

FY 2014 Annual Report from the Defense Department by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The purpose of operational testing is to assure the Military Services field weapons that work in combat. This purpose has been codified in both USC Title 10 and in the Department of Defense’s (DOD) 5000-series regulations for many years without substantive alteration. Operational testing is intended to occur under “realistic combat conditions” that include operational scenarios typical of a system’s employment in combat, realistic threat forces, and employment of the systems under test by typical users (Soldiers) rather than by hand-picked or contractor crews.

Thorough operational testing should be conducted prior to a system’ s Full-Rate Production decision or deployment to combat in order to inform acquisition decision makers and operators in an objective way about how the system will perform in its combat missions. Under current law, the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) is required to present his opinion on whether the operational testing conducted prior to the Beyond Low-Rate Initial Production decision is adequate or not. The Director must consider all the operational facets of a system’s employment in combat when he determines what constitutes adequate operational testing, including the performance envelope the system must be able to achieve, the various operating conditions anticipated in a time of war, and the range of realistic operational threats.

In 2014, I investigated many examples of recent programs across all Services to identify common themes in operational testing. These themes illustrate the value that operational testing provides to the Defense community. Additionally, they highlight the continuing improvements we have made in the credibility and efficiency of OT&E during my tenure. A briefing covering these six themes and dozens of examples across all Services is posted on the DOT&E website. 1 These themes reveal a common conclusion: OT&E provides value to the Department by identifying key problems and clearly informing warfighters and the acquisition community about the capabilities our combat systems do and do not have. Furthermore, we are getting this information now more efficiently and cost effectively than ever by employing rigorous scientific methods in test planning, execution, and evaluation.

TMT Predictions 2015: The future in Technology, Media & Telecommunications

January 28, 2015 Comments off

TMT Predictions 2015: The future in Technology, Media & Telecommunications
Source: Deloitte

Technology – TMT Predictions 2015

  • The Internet of Things really is things, not people
  • Drones: high-profile and niche
  • 3D printing is a revolution: just not the revolution you think
  • Click and collect booms in Europe
  • Smartphone batteries: better but no breakthrough
  • Nanosats take off, but they don’t take over
  • The re-enterprization of IT

Media – TMT Predictions 2015

  • Short form video: a future, but not the future, of television
  • The ‘generation that won’t spend’ is spending a lot on media content
  • Print is alive and well–at least for books

Telecommunications – TMT Predictions 2015

  • One billion smartphone upgrades
  • The connectivity chasms deepen: the growing gap in broadband speeds
  • Contactless mobile payments (finally) gain momentum

New Study Reveals “Double Jeopardy” Faced by Women of Color in STEM

January 28, 2015 Comments off

New Study Reveals “Double Jeopardy” Faced by Women of Color in STEM
Source: Hastings School of Law, University of California

A new study released today from the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings combines in-depth interviews of 60 women of color in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with a survey of 557 women in STEM (both women of color and White women), and finds pervasive gender bias.

Significant findings of the report include:

  1. 100% of the women interviewed reported gender bias.
  2. Black women are more likely (77%) than other women (66%) to report having to prove themselves over and over again.
  3. The stereotype that Asians are good at science appears to help Asian-American women with students—but not with colleagues.
  4. Asian-Americans reported both more pressure than other groups of women to adhere to traditionally feminine roles and more pushback if they don’t.
  5. Latinas who behave assertively risk being seen as “angry” or “too emotional,” even when they report they weren’t angry; they just weren’t deferential.
  6. Latinas report being pressured by colleagues to do admin support work for their male colleagues, such as organizing meetings and filling out forms.
  7. Both Latinas and Black women report regularly being mistaken as janitors.

The implication: women leave STEM in response to pervasive and persistent gender bias.

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