Archive for the ‘nanotechnology’ Category

EU — Massive changes in the criminal landscape

March 16, 2015 Comments off

Massive changes in the criminal landscape
Source: Europol (European Law Enforcement Agency)

Key drivers for future change

  • Innovation in transportation and logistics will enable organised crime groups to increasingly commit crime anonymously over the Internet, anywhere and anytime, without being physically present.
  • Nanotechnology and robotics will open up new markets for organised crime and deliver new tools for sophisticated criminal schemes.
  • The increasing exploitation of Big Data and personal data will enable criminal groups to carry out complex and sophisticated identity frauds on previously unprecedented levels.
  • E-waste is emerging as a key illicit commodity for organised crime groups operating in Europe.
  • Economic disparity across Europe is making organised crime more socially acceptable as organised crime groups will increasingly infiltrate economically weakened communities, portraying themselves as providers of work and services.
  • Organised crime groups will increasingly attempt to infiltrate industries that depend on natural resources, to act as brokers or agents in the trade.
  • Virtual currencies increasingly enable individuals to act as freelance criminal entrepreneurs operating on a crime-as-a-service business model without the need for a sophisticated criminal infrastructure to receive and launder money.
  • Organised criminal groups will increasingly target, but also provide illicit services and goods to, a growing population of elderly people exploiting new markets and opportunities.

CRS — The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Overview, Reauthorization, and Appropriations Issues (December 16, 2014)

January 14, 2015 Comments off

The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Overview, Reauthorization, and Appropriations Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Nanotechnology—a term encompassing the science, engineering, and applications of submicron materials—involves the harnessing of unique physical, chemical, and biological properties of nanoscale substances in fundamentally new and useful ways. The economic and societal promise of nanotechnology has led to investments by governments and companies around the world. In 2000, the United States launched the world’s first national nanotechnology program. From FY2001 through FY2014, the federal government invested approximately $19.4 billion in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology through the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). President Obama has requested $1.5 billion in NNI funding for FY2015. U.S. companies and state governments have invested billions more. The United States has, in the view of many experts, emerged as a global leader in nanotechnology, though the competition for global leadership is intensifying as countries and companies around the world increase their investments.

Nanotechnology’s complexity and intricacies, early stage of development (with commercial payoff possibly years away for many potential applications), and broad scope of potential applications engender a wide range of public policy issues. Maintaining U.S. technological and commercial leadership in nanotechnology poses a variety of technical and policy challenges, including development of technologies that will enable commercial scale manufacturing of nanotechnology materials and products, as well as environmental, health, and safety concerns.

FDA issues guidance to support the responsible development of nanotechnology products

June 24, 2014 Comments off

FDA issues guidance to support the responsible development of nanotechnology products
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Today, three final guidances and one draft guidance were issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration providing greater regulatory clarity for industry on the use of nanotechnology in FDA-regulated products.

One final guidance addresses the agency’s overall approach for all products that it regulates, while the two additional final guidances and the new draft guidance provide specific guidance for the areas of foods, cosmetics and food for animals, respectively.

Nanotechnology is an emerging technology that allows scientists to create, explore and manipulate materials on a scale measured in nanometers—particles so small that they cannot be seen with a regular microscope. The technology has a broad range of potential applications, such as improving the packaging of food and altering the look and feel of cosmetics.

The three final guidance documents reflect the FDA’s current thinking on these issues after taking into account public comment received on the corresponding draft guidance documents previously issued (draft agency guidance in 2011; and draft cosmetics and foods guidances in 2012).

The FDA does not make a categorical judgment that nanotechnology is inherently safe or harmful, and will continue to consider the specific characteristics of individual products. All four guidance documents encourage manufacturers to consult with the agency before taking their products to market. Consultations with the FDA early in the product development process help to facilitate a mutual understanding about specific scientific and regulatory issues relevant to the nanotechnology product, and help address questions related to safety, effectiveness, public health impact and/or regulatory status of the product.

New from the GAO

May 21, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Tax Policy: Economic Benefits of Income Exclusion for U.S. Citizens Working Abroad Are Uncertain. GAO-14-387, May 20.
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2. State Department: Process to Track Responses to Congressional Correspondence Can Be Improved. GAO-14-424, May 20.
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1. Federal Autism Activities: Funding and Coordination Efforts, by Marcia Crosse, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Government Operations, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-14-613T, May 20.
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2. Nanomanufacturing and U.S. Competitiveness: Challenges and Opportunities, by Timothy M. Persons, chief scientist, applied research and methods, before the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. GAO-14-618T, May 20.
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3. Medicare: Further Action Could Improve Improper Payment Prevention and Recoupment Efforts, by Kathleen M. King, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-14-619T, May 20.
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New From the GAO

February 7, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Nanomanufacturing: Emergence and Implications for U.S. Competitiveness, the Environment, and Human Health. GAO-14-181SP, January 31.
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2. K-12 Education: Characteristics of the Investing in Innovation Fund. GAO-14-211R, February 7.

CRS — Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer (updated)

December 27, 2013 Comments off

Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology—commonly referred to collectively as nanotechnology—is believed by many to offer extraordinary economic and societal benefits. Congress has demonstrated continuing support for nanotechnology and has directed its attention primarily to three topics that may affect the realization of this hoped for potential: federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology; U.S. competitiveness; and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns. This report pr ovides an overview of these topics—which are discussed in more detail in other CRS reports—and two others: nanomanufacturing and public understanding of and attitudes toward nanotechnology.

See also: The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Overview, Reauthorization, and Appropriations Issues (PDF)

The “Nasty Effect:” Online Incivility and Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies

October 30, 2013 Comments off

The “Nasty Effect:” Online Incivility and Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies
Source: Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Uncivil discourse is a growing concern in American rhetoric, and this trend has expanded beyond traditional media to online sources, such as audience comments. Using an experiment given to a sample representative of the U.S. population, we examine the effects online incivility on perceptions toward a particular issue—namely, an emerging technology, nanotechnology. We found that exposure to uncivil blog comments can polarize risk perceptions of nanotechnology along the lines of religiosity and issue support.