• Better Control of What Mobile Apps Do with Your Data

    Every year, mobile app developers make billions of dollars selling data they collect from the mobile apps on your cell phone, and they aren’t making it easy for you to prevent that. While both Apple iOS and Android have introduced a growing collection of privacy permission settings that, in theory, give you more control over your data, studies have shown that users are still overwhelmed and are unable to take advantage of them. In particular, the privacy controls fail to distinguish between different purposes for which data is collected.

  • Demographics Data Helps Predict N.Y. Flood Insurance Claims

    In flood-prone areas of the Hudson River valley in New York state, census areas with more white and affluent home owners tend to file a higher percentage of flood insurance claims than lower-income, minority residents, raising the issue of developing more nuanced, need-based federal flood insurance subsidies in these floodplains, according to a new study.

  • Tick Tock for TikTok

    Every company in China works for the Chinese Communist Party. They are required, by law, to turn over any information they can access, whenever the Party asks for it. It’s not just a matter of cooperating with the regime or being friendly to it. They must take and obey all orders from the regime, and that includes handing over any American data they touch, regardless of privacy commitments, legal concerns or respect for intellectual property. The administration is rightly concerned about any company that can deliver the keys to the information kingdom to Beijing. That’s what motivated the White House campaigns against letting the Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE build out the 5G telecom infrastructure for our nation and our allies.

  • China Embraces Bigger Internet with Virtually Unlimited IP Addresses

    China is pushing for the adoption of a new worldwide Internet Protocol that could make the internet bigger and faster, but also potentially less anonymous. The technology, called IPv6, is an upgrade of the internet’s architecture that would allow trillions more electronic devices to have unique addresses online.

  • Cost of Excluding Undocumented Immigrants from Stimulus Funds: $10 billion in Economic Activity

    A new study found that the exclusion of undocumented residents and their families from the COVID-19 pandemic-related $1,200 stimulus payments given to taxpayers resulted in a loss of $10 billion in potential economic output. It also cost 82,000 jobs nationally and 17,000 jobs in California, the research found.

  • A Ban on WeChat and TikTok, a Disconnected World and Two Internets

    President Trump’s new executive orders banning Chinese social media apps TikTok and WeChat marked a significant escalation in the ongoing technology tensions between the U.S. and China. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, predicted in 2018 that within the next decade, there would be two distinct Internets: one led by the U.S. and the other one led by China. Only two years after his comments, that prediction seems to have become a reality.

  • Consumers Consider Third-Party Use of Personal Location Data as Privacy Violations

    The National Security Agency issued a warning to its employees 4 August that cellphone location data could pose a national security risk. But how do consumers feel about their location data being tracked and sold? New research yielded surprising results.

  • China Uses Its Market Power to Censor, Alter American Films, Threatening Free Speech, Artistic Expression

    In a report out last week, the literary and human rights group PEN America said Chinese government censorship is exerting influence on Hollywood and the global filmmaking industry, posing a clear threat to free speech and artistic expression. The U.S. film industry, in ways large and small, has over the past decade increasingly capitulated to Chinese government pressure to alter and censor films. Studios have made content changes to films, either at the direct request of government censors or increasingly through voluntary self-censorship in order to gain or sustain access to the tightly controlled and lucrative Chinese film market; in some instances, studios have even permitted state censors on film sets or in production studios.

  • Let’s Not Forget the Important Lessons the Coronavirus Taught Us about Supply Chains

    Resilience is priceless when you really need it. It turns out our economic systems are more fragile than we thought. As locations across the world implemented “shelter-in-place” orders in an effort to flatten the coronavirus contagion curve last spring, we got a real-time lesson in how intertwined our transportation and distribution systems are. It was staggering to see how efforts to curb the human toll of a pandemic rippled across every sector and created incalculable emotional and social impacts.

  • ‘Deepfakes’ Ranked as Most Serious AI Crime Threat

    Fake audio or video content has been ranked by experts as the most worrying use of artificial intelligence in terms of its potential applications for crime or terrorism. : “As the capabilities of AI-based technologies expand, so too has their potential for criminal exploitation. To adequately prepare for possible AI threats, we need to identify what these threats might be, and how they may impact our lives,” says one expert.

  • Consumers Do Not Fully Trust Smart Home Technologies

    Researchers investigating the trust consumers have in “smart home” – homes in which smart devices are connected to each other to create an “internet of things” (IoT) — found that consumers were worried about the likelihood of security incidents. Businesses and policymakers will have to work together to gain consumer trust in smart home technologies.

  • Brexit Uncertainty, Migration Decisions Spark Brain-Drain Worries

    A new study found that, over the last four years, the “collective uncertainty” triggered by Brexit has sparked major changes in migration decisions, equivalent to the impact of a serious economic or political crisis. The study reveals the U.K. is facing a potential brain drain of highly educated British citizens, who have decided to invest their futures in continental Europe. The study compares changes in migration and naturalization patterns of migrating U.K. citizens before and since the Brexit referendum. 

  • Pompeo: U.S. Will Take Action on Chinese Software in “Coming Days

    Chinese software companies operating in the United States assiduously collect customers’ personal date, browsing habits, facial images, and other information and deliver it to China’s intelligence agencies for possible use by China when it would serve China’s interests to do so. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the fact the Chinese software companies serve as information collectors for China’s intelligence agencies poses a serious national security threat to the United States, and that the administration, in the coming days, will soon announce a series of measures aiming to restrict the ability of Chinese software companies to operate in this way, and ban some companies from operating in the United States altogether.

  • Mystery Seeds from China A Concern for USDA

    During the last few weeks, dozens of people in twenty-two states have been receiving mysterious packages of seeds from China in their mail. The purpose of the mystery packages is not clear, but USDA urges recipients of the seed packages to hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from their states’ department of agriculture or USDA APHIS contacts them with further instructions. The mystery seeds should not be planted, or mixed with legitimate seeds.

  • Is West Turning Away from Nixon's Approach to China?

    In 1972 US President Richard Nixon shocked the world, and many in his administration, by announcing his intention to normalize relations with Communist China. Forty-eight years on, America and China are embarking on another perilous voyage, filled possibly with even greater uncertainty than encountered in the 1970s. Western powers fear Beijing is out to re-shape the liberal world order, subscribing to a growing view that not only does the Chinese Communist Party want to ensure its continued rule at home but to make China the number one global power.