May 29, 2020

COVID-19: Resources

Microsoft News Microsoft, Workday announce strategic partnership to accelerate planning for today’s world
As businesses adjust and adapt to changing business environments, the need for real-time planning capabilities is accelerating. Making faster, informed decisions across all areas of the business requires a continuous planning process.

Microsoft Transform Empowering Asia’s health care sector in the battle against COVID-19
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is stretching health care systems across the Asia Pacific region and around the world. The infrastructure and supply chains of health care providers are being challenged, and our health care front-liners work tirelessly to provide treatment and support in a time of unprecedented demand for patient care. And if there is one question on the minds of those of the pandemic’s front-line it is most likely: “Can we do more with less?”

Microsoft on the Issues COVID-19 has only intensified the broadband gap
We are living in a new world, a world racing online as social distancing forces many of us to work, communicate and connect in new ways. In the United States alone, state and local directives have urged 316 million Americans to stay in and, when possible, work from home.

COVID-19: Industry News & Response

Wall Street Journal Blood Banks, Pharma Join Microsoft to Sign Up Covid-19 Survivors for Plasma
A coalition of research institutions, blood banks, drug companies and recovered Covid-19 patients is working to overcome a major challenge in developing new therapies based on survivors’ blood plasma: a shortage of donors.

CNET More harm than good? Twitter struggles to label misleading COVID-19 tweets
Automated technology that Twitter began using this month to label tweets containing coronavirus misinformation is making mistakes, raising concerns about the company’s reliance on artificial intelligence to review content.

Axios Coronavirus accelerates AI in health care
While machine learning algorithms were already becoming a part of health care, COVID-19 is likely to accelerate their adoption. But lack of data and testing time could hinder their effectiveness — for this pandemic, at least.

Politico Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening 
Federal and state officials across the country have altered or hidden public health data crucial to tracking the coronavirus’ spread, hindering the ability to detect a surge of infections as President Donald Trump pushes the nation to reopen rapidly.

WIRED State-Based Contact-Tracing Apps Could Be a Mess
While governments around the world have launched nationwide Covid-19 contact-tracing smartphone apps over the last months, the United States has pointedly not. Instead, it seems like the apps designed to detect coronavirus exposure stateside will launch on a state-by-state basis—and they may be anything but united.


Reuters Factbox: Where do Trump and Biden stand on tech policy issues?
Both Biden and Trump have blasted social media companies over their handling of political content. Trump, whose digital campaign helped propel him to the White House in 2016, has long accused the companies, without evidence, of censorship against conservatives.

The Washington Post With citizenship ceremonies postponed, hundreds of thousands could miss chance to vote in November
Hundreds of thousands of potential voters will be ineligible to cast ballots in November unless the Trump administration resumes citizenship ceremonies and clears a pandemic-related backlog of immigrants waiting to take the naturalization oath, according to rights groups and lawmakers from both parties.


Bloomberg Trump Threatens to Shut Social Media Companies After Twitter Fact Check
President Donald Trump threatened to either “strongly regulate” or shut down social media companies in a series of Twitter Inc. posts after the platform placed fact-checking labels on a pair of the president’s tweets for the first time Tuesday for making unsupported claims about mail-in voting.

The Washington Post The Technology 202: Here’s how Trump’s executive order is expected to target tech companies
Trump is expected to sign an executive order today targeting major social media companies over his repeated allegations of political bias. The order could empower federal regulators to reexamine a legal provision known as Section 230, which shields tech platforms from legal liability for the comments and other content users post on their services.

Politico House leaders agree to vote on amendment restricting surveillance of internet browsing
House leaders have struck a deal to consider an amendment to legislation reauthorizing controversial domestic surveillance programs, in a bid to incorporate new restrictions on the ability of the government to monitor Americans’ internet browsing histories without a warrant.

The Hill Lawmakers introduce bill to invest $100 billion in science, tech research
A group of bipartisan lawmakers led by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation Wednesday to boost research into emerging technology including artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

Politico Untimely DMARC Shortcomings
More than 80 percent of 10 U.S. state governments and health departments have not implemented the strictest version of a standard to defend against email spoofing, Proofpoint said today.

FedScoop Here’s the Pentagon’s plan to help the US stay ahead on 5G
The Department of Defense’s new strategy for fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology does not mention China or any of its telecommunications companies by name, but it’s clear that the document was written with more than the U.S. armed forces in mind.

Vox Trump reportedly wants to restrict visa programs for skilled workers
President Donald Trump has said he wants to halt immigration while Americans face staggeringly high unemployment levels as a result of the coronavirus pandemic — including temporary visas for skilled foreign workers and for foreign students who went to college in the US.


NBC News Get a warrant: Tech companies ask lawmakers to rein in digital surveillance
Tech companies are asking Congress to strengthen the privacy protections around search engines and web browsers as lawmakers enter the late stage of negotiations on a bill about government surveillance.

The Hill States plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges
Cash-short state and local governments are pleading with Congress to send them funds to shore up their cybersecurity as hackers look to exploit the crisis by targeting overwhelmed government offices.

PhysOrg Technology uses plant biomass waste for self-powered biomedical devices
An innovation turning waste material into stretchable devices may soon provide a new option for creating self-powered biomedical inventions. A team from Purdue University used lignin to create triboelectric nanogenerators. TENGs help conserve mechanical energy and turn it into power.

Human Rights Watch It’s Time to Treat Cybersecurity as a Human Rights Issue
Cyberattacks are becoming more commonplace, sophisticated, and severe. As Covid-19 forced millions of people’s lives online, a stable and secure internet is essential to the functioning of societies.

The Next Web Coding is a language — and that’s why kids can learn it faster than you
Across the world, the conversion of information into a digital format – also called “digitalization” – has increased productivity in the public and private sectors. As a result, virtually every country in the world is working towards a digital economy.

The Wall Street Journal In $16 Billion Push to Expand Broadband, America Is Flying Through a Fog [Paywall]
Spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, federal policy makers are pushing to spend billions of dollars to close gaps in America’s high-speed internet network. There is one big obstacle: Government officials say they don’t have a clear picture of where service gaps exist, meaning parts of the country will be left out when it is time to distribute the funds.

StateScoop New York City asks ISPs, technology companies to help close digital divide
As the coronavirus pandemic forces residents to work, learn and receive health care over their home internet connections, New York City is asking internet service providers and other technology companies for ideas to close a digital divide that still leaves millions of residents in the nation’s biggest city without high-speed internet.

CNBC Facebook renames its service that will let people send Libra digital currency to one another
Facebook announced Tuesday it’s renaming and rebranding its digital wallet from Calibra to Novi. The effort, which debuted last year, is part of the company’s ambitious plan to venture into the digital currency space.


American Enterprise Institute

  • Blog on Data Privacy
    People use the word “privacy” to describe many different human values. The strongest sense of privacy is control of personal information, which peo­ple use to fashion their personae and roles in soci­ety. Fairness is an equally important value, as people should get what is due them, even when comput­ers and software are making decisions. Personal and financial security are privacy issues, in a sense, because these values can be threatened by information misuse. Privacy is also the enjoyment of solitude or peace and quiet, simply being left alone. In the American constitutional sphere, privacy has been used to denote autonomy, particularly in the area of sensitive medical and family issues. For some, pri­vacy is defense against commodification, the reduction of what should be meaningful living to endless com­mercialism. Privacy also relates to protection of repu­tation because false personal information can offend and harm people. (Report – Privacy and the four categories of information technology, May 26, 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.