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Archive for the ‘telecommunications’ Category

Quality of Infrastructure is a Top Deal Maker or Breaker for Real Estate Investment and Development Decisions

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Quality of Infrastructure is a Top Deal Maker or Breaker for Real Estate Investment and Development Decisions
Source: Urban Land Institute

The quality of infrastructure systems – including transportation, utilities, and telecommunications – is a top factor influencing real estate investment and development decisions in cities around the world, sharing a high ranking with consumer demand in terms of importance, according to a survey of public- and private-sector leaders conducted by the Urban Land Institute and EY. The findings are included in the Infrastructure 2014: Shaping the Competitive City report, released this week at ULI’s 2014 Spring Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The survey, conducted in January 2014, reflects the opinions of 241 public sector officials and 202 senior-level real estate executives (developers, investors, lenders and advisors) based in large and mid-sized cities across the globe, with concentrations in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Among the combined group of public and private sector participants, 88 percent rated infrastructure quality as the top influencer of real estate investment and development. Demographic forces, including consumer demand and workforce skills, ranked as other top considerations determining real estate investment locations. Infrastructure quality was rated as the highest influencer by public leaders (91 percent) and second to highest by private leaders (86 percent). Consumer demand was viewed as the top factor by the private sector (90 percent).

Strong telecommunications systems (including high-speed internet capability) led the list of infrastructure categories that drive real estate investment, along with good roads, bridges, and reliable and affordable energy.

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CRS — Overview of Constitutional Challenges to NSA Collection Activities and Recent Developments

April 7, 2014 Comments off

Overview of Constitutional Challenges to NSA Collection Activities and Recent Developments (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Beginning in the summer of 2013, media reports of foreign intelligence activities conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) have been widely published. The reports have focused on two main NSA collection activities approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. The first is the bulk collection of telephony metadata for domestic and international telephone calls. The second involves the interception of Internet-based communications and is targeted at foreigners who are not within the United States, but may also inadvertently acquire the communications of U.S. persons. As public awareness of these programs grew, questions about the constitutionality of these programs were increasingly raised by Members of Congress and others. This report provides a brief overview of these two programs and the various constitutional challenges that have arisen in judicial forums with respect to each.

Unlocking Spectrum Value through Improved Allocation, Assignment and Adjudication of Spectrum Rights

March 26, 2014 Comments off

Unlocking Spectrum Value through Improved Allocation, Assignment and Adjudication of Spectrum Rights
Source: Brookings Institution

Technological developments have continued to increase the importance of radio spectrum, with citizens, companies, and government users increasing their use of wireless-enabled services of all kinds, from smartphone apps to satellite navigation. Since technology places limits on the coexistence of multiple radio systems, usage rights must be allocated among various competing uses.

Currently, the management of the wireless spectrum in the United States (and in many other countries) is heavily constrained by government regulation. That makes it difficult for spectrum players—whether they are wireless service providers, citizens using unlicensed devices, or government users—to reach mutually agreeable, efficiency-enhancing agreements through direct negotiation with one another.

This Hamilton Project discussion paper describes the importance of moving toward a more economically efficient system for managing the use of wireless spectrum, and proposes concrete policy steps to move us closer to such a system.

CRS — The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

March 26, 2014 Comments off

The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Since September 11, 2001, when communications failures contributed to the tragedies of the day, Congress has passed several laws intended to create a nationwide emergency communications capability. Yet the United States has continued to strive for a solution that assures seamless communications among first responders and emergency personnel at the scene of a major disaster. To address this problem, Congress included provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications (FirstNet), and assigned additional radio frequency spectrum to accommodate the new network. In addition, the act has designated federal appropriations of over $7 billion for the network and other public safety needs. These funds will be provided through new revenue from the auction of spectrum licenses. These and other public safety and spectrum provisions of the act appear in Title VI, known as the Public Safety and Spectrum Act, or Spectrum Act.

Use of Social Media Networks and Mobile Phone Applications for Reporting Suspicious and Criminal Activities on Mass Transit

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Use of Social Media Networks and Mobile Phone Applications for Reporting Suspicious and Criminal Activities on Mass Transit
Source: Naval Postgraduate School

From the thesis abstract: “The threat of terrorism remains in the forefront daily, and public transportation systems remain a preferred target for terrorist attacks. Mass transit customers have long served as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the public transportation environment. In support of the Department of Homeland Security’s See It Say It campaign, mass transit customers contribute to this effort by reporting suspicious and criminal activities on subways and buses. The use of social media networks and mobile phone applications by mass transit law enforcement is slowly evolving as a tool for reporting suspicious and criminal activities on subways and buses. By reviewing the data and current use of social media networks and smartphone applications such as by mass transit law enforcement agencies, this thesis demonstrates that citizens want to play a role in assisting law enforcement in solving crimes. Mass transit law enforcement agencies can leverage community involvement and reduce crime by providing customers with an anonymous means for reporting suspicious and criminal activities. However, whether the use of social media networks and smartphone applications have resulted in an increase in reporting suspicious and criminal activities and a reduction in crime is unresolved, warranting future study in this area.”

CRS — The First Responder Network and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

March 13, 2014 Comments off

The First Responder Network and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Montana State IT Services Division

Since September 11, 2001, when communications failures contributed to the tragedies of the day, Congress has passed several laws intended to create a nationwide emergency communications capability. Yet the United States has continued to strive for a solution that assures seamless communications among first responders and emergency personnel at the scene of a major disaster. To address this problem, Congress included provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications, and assigned additional spectrum to accommodate the new network. In addition, the act has designated federal appropriations of over $7 billion for the network and other public safety needs. These funds will be provided through new revenue from the auction of spectrum licenses. The cost of construction of a nationwide network for public safety is estimated by experts to be in the tens of billions of dollars over the long term, with similarly large sums needed for maintenance and operation. In expectation that public-private partnerships to build the new network will reduce costs to the public sector, the law has provided requirements and guidelines for shared use.

CBO — H.R. 3676, Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless Devices Act of 2013

March 11, 2014 Comments off

H.R. 3676, Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless Devices Act of 2013
Source: Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 3676 would direct the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations that prohibit air passengers from talking on cellular phones during domestic flights. The prohibition would not apply to members of the flight crew, flight attendants, or federal law enforcement agents who are on duty.

CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3676 would have no significant impact on the federal budget. Based on information from the Department of Transportation, we expect that promulgating the proposed regulations would cost less than $500,000, assuming the availability of appropriated funds. H.R. 3676 would not affect direct spending or revenues; pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

H.R. 3676 would impose a private-sector mandate, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), by prohibiting airline passengers from talking on cellular phones during a domestic flight. Under current law, airlines may choose to allow passengers to make voice calls over an in-flight Internet service (for example Skype), but in-flight voice calls on cellular phones are prohibited by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC recently issued a proposed rule that would allow airlines to permit passengers to use cellular phones during a flight. If the FCC adopts the rule, the bill would impose a mandate by prohibiting passengers from engaging in all voice calls during a flight; if the FCC does not adopt the rule, only the prohibition on voice calls over an in-flight Internet service would constitute a mandate. In either case, CBO expects that the cost of the mandate would be small and fall below the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($152 million in 2014, adjusted annually for inflation).

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a notice that it is also considering a ban on all in-flight voice calls by passengers as an unfair practice to consumers. If DOT, in the absence of the bill, determines to ban such calls, the bill would impose no private-sector mandates.

H.R. 3676 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in UMRA and would impose no cost on state, local, or tribal governments.

New From the GAO

March 10, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. DOD Business Systems Modernization: Air Force Business System Schedule and Cost Estimates. GAO-14-152,February 7.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-152
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660747.pdf

2. Medicare: Nurse Anesthetists Billed for Few Chronic Pain Procedures; Implementation of CMS Payment Policy Inconsistent. GAO-14-153, February 7.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-153
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660739.pdf

3. Telecommunications: Federal Broadband Deployment Programs and Small Business. GAO-14-203, February 7.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-203
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660744.pdf

4. Joint Professional Military Education: Opportunities Exist for Greater Oversight and Coordination of Associated Research Institutions. GAO-14-216, March 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-216
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661507.pdf

5. Student and Exchange Visitor Program: DHS Needs to Assess Risks and Strengthen Oversight of Foreign Students with Employment Authorization. GAO-14-356, February 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-356
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661191.pdf

6. Countering Overseas Threats: Gaps in State Department Management of Security Training May Increase Risk to U.S. Personnel. GAO-14-360, March 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-360
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661488.pdf

Review Of The Food And Drug Administration’s Computer Monitoring Of Certain Employees In Its Center For Devices And Radiological Health

February 26, 2014 Comments off

Review Of The Food And Drug Administration’s Computer Monitoring Of Certain Employees In Its Center For Devices And Radiological Health
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

This report reviews the monitoring of electronic communications of certain employees in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). CDRH suspected these employees were sending trade secrets or confidential commercial information outside FDA in possible violation of FDA regulations and criminal statutes.

OIG found that despite the reasonableness of CDRH’s concerns and the explicit language in FDA’s network log-on banner regarding monitoring, CDRH failed to fully assess beforehand, and with the timely assistance of legal counsel, whether the scope of potentially intrusive monitoring would be consistent with constitutional and statutory limitations on Government searches and consistent with whistleblower protections.

OIG recommends that HHS ensure that its operating divisions draft and implement policies and related procedural internal controls that provide reasonable assurance of compliance with laws and regulations, particularly those governing current and prospective employee monitoring. In September 2013, FDA issued an interim computer-monitoring policy that addresses our recommendations.

CRS — Background and Issues for Congressional Oversight of ARRA Broadband Awards

February 11, 2014 Comments off

Background and Issues for Congressional Oversight of ARRA Broadband Awards (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Library)

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96, signed February 22, 2012) contained provisions in Title VI that expedite the availability of spectrum for commercial mobile broadband. The provisions in Title VI—also known as the Public Safety and Spectrum Act, or the Spectrum Act—cover reallocation of spectrum, new assignments of spectrum rights, and changes in procedures for repurposing spectrum used by the federal government. The act established a process for television broadcasters to release spectrum licensed to them for auction as commercial licenses. The act also included provisions to apply future spectrum license auction revenues toward deficit reduction; to establish a planning and governance structure to deploy public safety broadband networks, using some auction proceeds for that purpose; and to assign additional spectrum resources for public safety communications.

Broadband capacity to support popular mobile services and devices, such as real-time viewing of video on smartphones, can be improved in several ways. Examples include (1) providing new spectrum for networks to expand; (2) investing in denser infrastructure; (3) developing new technologies, or (4) expanding opportunities for sharing spectrum. Provisions of the Spectrum Act focus on increasing the amount of spectrum as the key policy tool for spectrum management.

Using Technology to Connect in Romantic Relationships: Effects on Attachment, Relationship Satisfaction, and Stability in Emerging Adults

February 6, 2014 Comments off

Using Technology to Connect in Romantic Relationships: Effects on Attachment, Relationship Satisfaction, and Stability in Emerging Adults
Source: Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy

This exploratory path analysis was designed to identify significant associations among technology use and relationship variables in a population of emerging adults. Two hundred seventy-six young people between the ages of 18 and 25 in committed relationships completed survey questions about ways they connect with their partners using technology. Actor and partner effects were obtained. A measure of attachment behaviors in relationships was tested as a mediator. Results indicate that attachment behaviors were universally associated with relationship satisfaction and stability for both men and women. No significant associations were found with social networking sites. Male texting frequency was negatively associated with relationship satisfaction and stability scores for both partners while female texting frequency was positively associated with their own relationship stability scores. Texting to express affection was associated with higher reported partner attachment for both men and women. For men, texting to hurt their partners was negatively associated with reported partner attachment, relationship satisfaction, and stability. Male-reported partner attachment mediated the relationship between texting to hurt partners and relationship satisfaction, and mediated the relationship between texting to express affection and satisfaction. Other differences and clinical implications are discussed.

CRS — Spectrum Policy: Provisions in the 2012 Spectrum Act

February 5, 2014 Comments off

Spectrum Policy: Provisions in the 2012 Spectrum Act (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Library)

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96, signed February 22, 2012) contained provisions in Title VI that expedite the availability of spectrum for commercial mobile broadband. The provisions in Title VI—also known as the Public Safety and Spectrum Act, or the Spectrum Act—cover reallocation of spectrum, new assignments of spectrum rights, and changes in procedures for repurposing spectrum used by the federal government. The act established a process for television broadcasters to release spectrum licensed to them for auction as commercial licenses. The act also included provisions to apply future spectrum license auction revenues toward deficit reduction; to establish a planning and governance structure to deploy public safety broadband networks, using some auction proceeds for that purpose; and to assign additional spectrum resources for public safety communications.

Broadband capacity to support popular mobile services and devices, such as real-time viewing of video on smartphones, can be improved in several ways. Examples include (1) providing new spectrum for networks to expand; (2) investing in denser infrastructure; (3) developing new technologies, or (4) expanding opportunities for sharing spectrum. Provisions of the Spectrum Act focus on increasing the amount of spectrum as the key policy tool for spectrum management.

Mobile phone text message reminders of antipsychotic medication: is it time and who should receive them? A cross-sectional trust-wide survey of psychiatric inpatients

February 3, 2014 Comments off

Mobile phone text message reminders of antipsychotic medication: is it time and who should receive them? A cross-sectional trust-wide survey of psychiatric inpatients
Source: BMC Psychiatry

Background
Poor adherence to antipsychotic medication is a widespread problem, and the largest predictor of relapse in patients with psychosis. Electronic reminders are increasingly used to improve medication adherence for a variety of medical conditions, but have received little attention in the context of psychotic disorders. We aimed to explore the feasibility and acceptability of including short message service (SMS) medication reminders in the aftercare plan of service users discharged from inpatient care on maintenance antipsychotic medication.

Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional, trust-wide survey in the inpatient units of the Oxleas National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust in the UK between June 29 and August 3, 2012. Using a self-report questionnaire and the Drug Attitude Inventory, we examined inpatient attitudes towards antipsychotic drugs, past adherence to antipsychotic medication, frequency of mobile phone ownership, and interest in receiving SMS medication reminders upon discharge from the ward. Predictors of a patient’s interest in receiving electronic reminders were examined using simple logistic regression models.

Results
Of 273 inpatients, 85 met eligibility criteria for the survey, showed decisional capacity, and agreed to participate. Of the 85 respondents, over a third (31-35%) admitted to have forgotten to take/collect their antipsychotic medication in the past, and approximately half (49%) to have intentionally skipped their antipsychotics or taken a smaller dose than prescribed. Male patients (55%), those with negative attitudes towards antipsychotics (40%), and those unsatisfied with the information they received on medication (35%) were approximately 3 to 4 times more likely to report past intentional poor adherence. The large majority of respondents (80-82%) reported having a mobile phone and knowing how to use SMS, and a smaller majority (59%) expressed an interest in receiving SMS medication reminders after discharge. No variable predicted a patient’s interest in receiving electronic reminders of antipsychotics.

Conclusions
Automatic SMS reminders of antipsychotic medication were acceptable to the majority of the survey respondents as an optional service offered upon discharge from inpatient care. Automatic electronic reminders deserve further investigation as a flexible, minimally invasive, cost-effective and broadly applicable tool that can potentially improve antipsychotic adherence and clinical outcomes.

Texting and Walking: Strategies for Postural Control and Implications for Safety

January 30, 2014 Comments off

Texting and Walking: Strategies for Postural Control and Implications for Safety
Source: PLoS ONE

There are concerns about the safety of texting while walking. Although evidence of negative effects of mobile phone use on gait is scarce, cognitive distraction, altered mechanical demands, and the reduced visual field associated with texting are likely to have an impact. In 26 healthy individuals we examined the effect of mobile phone use on gait. Individuals walked at a comfortable pace in a straight line over a distance of ~8.5 m while; 1) walking without the use of a phone, 2) reading text on a mobile phone, or 3) typing text on a mobile phone. Gait performance was evaluated using a three-dimensional movement analysis system. In comparison with normal waking, when participants read or wrote text messages they walked with: greater absolute lateral foot position from one stride to the next; slower speed; greater rotation range of motion (ROM) of the head with respect to global space; the head held in a flexed position; more in-phase motion of the thorax and head in all planes, less motion between thorax and head (neck ROM); and more tightly organized coordination in lateral flexion and rotation directions. While writing text, participants walked slower, deviated more from a straight line and used less neck ROM than reading text. Although the arms and head moved with the thorax to reduce relative motion of the phone and facilitate reading and texting, movement of the head in global space increased and this could negatively impact the balance system. Texting, and to a lesser extent reading, modify gait performance. Texting or reading on a mobile phone may pose an additional risk to safety for pedestrians navigating obstacles or crossing the road.

Technology, Media, and Telecoms Predictions 2014

January 27, 2014 Comments off

TMT Predictions 2014
Source: Deloitte

TMT Predictions’ objective is to identify critical inflection points we believe should inform industry strategic thinking, and to explain how we think these will manifest over the next 12-18 months for companies in Technology, Media, Telecommunications (TMT), and other industries.

I am a Smartphone and I Know My User is Driving

January 23, 2014 Comments off

I am a Smartphone and I Know My User is Driving
Source: Microsoft Research

We intend to develop a smartphone app that can distinguish whether its user is a driver or a passenger in an automobile. While the core problem can be solved relatively easily with special installations in new high-end vehicles (e.g., NFC), constraints of backward compatibility makes the problem far more challenging. We design a Driver Detection System (DDS) that relies entirely on smartphone sensors, and is thereby compatible with all automobiles. Our approach harnesses smartphone sensors to recognize micro-activities in humans, that in turn discriminate between the driver and the passenger. We demonstrate an early prototype of this system on Android NexusS and Apple iPhones. Reported results show greater than 85% accuracy across 6 users in 2 different cars.

Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

January 23, 2014 Comments off

Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (PDF)
Source: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (U.S. Congress)

The body of this Report consists of seven sections, five of which address the Section 215 telephone records program. After this introduction and the executive summary, Part 3 describes in detail how the telephone records program works. To put the present-day operation of the program in context, Part 4 reviews its history, including its evolution from predecessor intelligence activities. An analysis of whether the telephone records program meets applicable statutory requirements follows in Part 5. Part 6 addresses the constitutional issues raised by the telephone records program under both the First and Fourth Amendments. The final section discussing the Section 215 program, Part 7, examines the potential benefits of the program, its efficacy in achieving its purposes, the impact of the program on privacy and civil liberties, and the Board’s conclusions that reforms are needed.

After considering the 215 program, the Report addresses the operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. That section, Part 8, concludes by proposing an approach that, in appropriate cases, would allow the FISC judges to hear from a Special Advocate. Part 9, the final section of the Report, addresses the issue of transparency, which has been a priority of this Board since it began operations.

CRS — Spectrum Policy: Provisions in the 2012 Spectrum Act

January 16, 2014 Comments off

Spectrum Policy: Provisions in the 2012 Spectrum Act (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96, signed February 22, 2012) contained provisions in Title VI that expedite the availability of spectrum for commercial mobile broadband. The provisions in Title VI—also known as the Public Safety and Spectrum Act, or the Spectrum Act—cover reallocation of spectrum, new assignments of spectrum rights, and changes in procedures for repurposing spectrum used by the federal government. The act established a process for television broadcasters to release spectrum licensed to them for auction as commercial licenses. The act also included provisions to apply future spectrum license auction revenues toward deficit reduction; to establish a planning and governance structure to deploy public safety broadband networks, using some auction proceeds for that purpose; and to assign additional spectrum resources for public safety communications.

Distracted Driving and Risk of Road Crashes among Novice and Experienced Drivers

January 14, 2014 Comments off

Distracted Driving and Risk of Road Crashes among Novice and Experienced Drivers
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Among novice drivers, dialing or reaching for a cell phone, texting, reaching for an object other than a cell phone, looking at a roadside object such as a vehicle in a previous crash, and eating were all associated with a significantly increased risk of a crash or near-crash. Among experienced drivers, only cell-phone dialing was associated with an increased risk.

Balancing Burden and Benefit: Non-Prescribed Use of Employer-Issued Mobile Devices

January 7, 2014 Comments off

Balancing Burden and Benefit: Non-Prescribed Use of Employer-Issued Mobile Devices
Source: Microsoft Research

Mobile devices are increasingly powerful and flexible tools for computing and communication. When ICTD workers are given a mobile phone ‘for work’, what else do they do? And to what extent can or should an employer shape that use? This note presents research in progress, focused on rules that development projects impose to govern use of mobile devices. This work maps these rules against actual instrumental (work-related, non-prescribed) and non-instrumental (personal) device use, and enforcement of these rules, in eight projects using a popular mobile-based job aid, CommCare. We present early insights from qualitative analysis of two such deployments in India identifying a range of often conflicting policy choices that affect device use for project mission and/or professional and personal empowerment. We explore tradeoffs for morale, work quality, mission, and device integrity. We identify user remote availability, soft intimidation, and validation as mechanisms to shift authority and credibility of information sources. The implications of our findings are increasingly important as governments and NGOs arm frontline workers with mobile devices as tools to improve service delivery.

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