April 24, 2020

COVID-19: Resources

Microsoft commits patents to help fight COVID-19
Microsoft is committing to the Open COVID Pledge by making its patents available free of charge for use in efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic and minimize the impact of the disease.

Preserving privacy while addressing COVID-19
Microsoft has joined with national, state and local healthcare authorities and providers, researchers, non-profit organizations and governments around the world in the shared mission to develop solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft 365 helps you and your family connect, work, and learn from home
Since Microsoft announced Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions a few weeks ago, people have come up with unique and creative ways to use office and other Microsoft tools to work, learn, and connect from home.

COVID-19: Industry News & Response

Harvard Business Review Leveraging AI to Battle This Pandemic — And The Next One
Over the past few months the world has experienced a series of Covid-19 outbreaks that have generally followed the same pathway: an initial phase with few infections and limited response, followed by a take-off of the famous epidemic curve accompanied by a country-wide lockdown to flatten the curve.

TechCrunch Instagram founders launch COVID-19 spread tracker Rt.live
Instagram  founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have teamed up to launch their first product together since leaving the Facebook mothership. Rt.live is an up-to-date tracker of how fast COVID-19 is spreading in each state. “Rt” measures the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person.

The Hill Hospitals brace for increase in cyberattacks
As hospitals face a surge in patients and critical equipment shortages stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, they are increasingly becoming the target of hackers who see health care facilities as easy prey. Ransomware attacks, in which hackers lock up a network and demand payment to return access to these systems, have presented a growing threat to hospitals since January.

Fortune More surveillance and less privacy will be the new normal after the coronavirus pandemic
It was mere months ago that data privacy was one of those wonky policy topics that gradually was becoming more clearly defined in corridors of power from Brussels to Washington to Sacramento. In Europe, tough new rules were setting the pace for the rest of the world.


Axios Why we’re still not voting online, even in a pandemic
Nearly every aspect of daily life has moved online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but voting via the internet is still largely a non-starter. Officials grappling with making elections compatible with social distancing are focusing on tried-and-true methods like mail-in ballots rather than online voting platforms, which have a limited track record and raise major election security concerns.


CNBC Senate passes $484 billion coronavirus bill for small business and hospital relief, testing
The Senate on Tuesday passed a $484 billion package to bolster small businesses and hospitals ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic and expand testing for Covid-19.  After the unanimous Senate vote, the bill heads to the House, which aims to approve it by Thursday.

Washington Post The Cybersecurity 202: Congress wary of remote voting, meeting options during coronavirus pandemic
Pressure is mounting on Congress to figure out how to legislate during the coronavirus pandemic. But there are still huge concerns among lawmakers and staff that the body won’t be able to take its operations online in a secure way – due to a lack of preparation, low tech savvy among many members and outdated procedural rules requiring in-person voting that are ill-suited for this particular crisis.

Multichannel News FCC Opens All of 6 GHz Band for Unlicensed
The FCC has voted unanimously to allow the entire 1200 MHz of the 6 GHz band to be shared with unlicensed WiFi, the FCC’s latest move in freeing up more spectrum for connecting 5G in-home devices–video streaming, video calls–and connecting IoT devices to the internet. That came at the FCC’s April 23 public meeting-by-teleconference. In 850 MHz of the band, the FCC will allow standard power unlicensed use under an automated frequency control (AFC) system to protect incumbent users. The entire band can be used for indoor unlicensed use at very low power without AFC, and the FCC is proposing a new class of devices that can operate indoors and outdoors across the entire band.


Microsoft On the Issues Closing the data divide: the need for open data
Today, Microsoft is launching an Open Data Campaign to help address the looming “data divide” and help organizations of all sizes to realize the benefits of data and the new technologies it powers.

Financial Times Microsoft throws weight behind open data movement
Microsoft has called on governments and companies around the world to share more of their data with other organisations to prevent what it warned would be a concentration of digital power in the hands of the US, China and a small number of giant tech companies.

Reuters U.S. judge blocks Twitter’s bid to reveal government surveillance requests
Twitter Inc will not be able to reveal surveillance requests it received from the U.S. government after a federal judge accepted government arguments that this was likely to harm national security after a near six-year long legal battle.

Forbes The Technology Likely To Play A Role In Our Transition Back To Work
Technology executives in recent weeks have scaled up remote work and collaboration tools, bolstered cybersecurity capabilities, strengthened networking and communications infrastructure, and equipped a distributed workforce with laptops and other devices they need to be productive.

ThreatPost Deepfakes and AI: Fighting Cybersecurity Fire with Fire
Today, the most successful and damaging cyberattacks are executed by highly professional criminal networks rather than “lone-wolf” hackers. These criminal organizations have also become highly adept at leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools, making it extremely hard for IT security organizations to keep up — much less stay ahead of these threats.

Ars Technica AT&T gave FCC false broadband-coverage data in parts of 20 states
AT&T falsely reported to the Federal Communications Commission that it offers broadband in nearly 3,600 census blocks spread across parts of 20 states. AT&T disclosed the error to the FCC in a filing a week ago. The 78-page list includes nearly 3,600 blocks.

Wall Street Journal Pandemic Builds Momentum for Broadband Infrastructure Upgrade
The coronavirus pandemic is boosting momentum for major broadband legislation, highlighting the widespread lack of high-speed internet in U.S. homes at a time when it has become more essential than ever.


The Brookings Institution

  • Report on the use of data analysis to develop public policy
    Conversations around data science typically contain a lot of buzzwords and broad generalizations that make it difficult to understand its pertinence to governance and policy. Even when well-articulated, the private sector applications of data science can sound quite alien to public servants. This is understandable, as the problems that Netflix and Google strive to solve are very different than those government agencies, think tanks, and nonprofit service providers are focused on. This does not mean, however, that there is no public sector value in the modern field of data science. With qualifications, data science offers a powerful framework to expand our evidence-based understanding of policy choices, as well as directly improve service delivery. (Report – What all policy analysts need to know about data science, April 20, 2020)

Note: Voices for Innovation regularly shares a range of opinion articles and press releases from organizations in and publications covering tech policy. These pieces are meant to educate our audience, not to endorse specific platforms or bills.