May 8, 2020

COVID-19: Resources

The Staff of 2030: The importance of teaching, learning, and leading during a time of change
The knowledge, skill, versatility, passion for their profession, and commitment to their students that teachers exhibit is always visible. But the incredible effort that educators around the world have made in recent months to quickly adapt to remote learning is worthy of special recognition.

Microsoft Transform How one Microsoft mom inspired health care companies to embrace the life-saving potential of AI
Melissa Mulholland had no idea the baby she was carrying might not survive. If she hadn’t gone to a high-risk clinic for an ultrasound, and if that ultrasound hadn’t been reviewed by a doctor with expertise in a certain area of fetal care, the outcome could have been much different.

COVID-19: Industry News & Response

Forbes Coronavirus Phone Tracking Now Impacts Us All—And This Is Just The Start
It has become just one more factor in the new normal we are living with today—after an escalating backlash in months gone by against phone tracking technologies, a backlash that promoted location privacy responses from Apple and Google, we’re now all being tracked to help stem the spread of the coronavirus and apparently we’re fine with it.

Associated Press Here come COVID-19 tracing apps – and privacy trade-offs
As governments around the world consider how to monitor new coronavirus outbreaks while reopening their societies, many are starting to bet on smartphone apps to help stanch the pandemic.

Bloomberg Tech Companies Take Privacy Reins During Virus Absent U.S. Law
Technology companies helping to fight the coronavirus are policing themselves to protect consumer data in the absence of a comprehensive U.S. statute and only a few state privacy laws.

TechCrunch Technology and ethics in the coronavirus economy
The last two decades have ushered in significant change and transformation. I believe the 2020s will be dispositive in redefining the pillars of our economy, and COVID-19 magnifies this greatly. As of this writing there are 3,611,394 confirmed cases, and the U.S. accounts for 33% of those.

Business Insider Microsoft tells employees they can keep working from home through October
Microsoft employees can get used to working from home for the time being. Even as stay-home orders gradually lift across the US, the company has told most employees that they can keep working from home through October.

The Telegraph Twitter steps up its fight back against 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories
Twitter will begin prompting people who tweet about the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory to read British government-verified information about the technology. The theory, which has spread on social media, has resulted in attacks on mobile telecoms masts and abuse directed at engineers in Britain.


The Hill Trump issues executive order to protect power grid from attack
President Trump on Friday issued an executive order declaring a national emergency over threats to the U.S. power system, taking steps to defend the grid against cyberattacks and foreign interference. The executive order bans the use of equipment for the power grid that was manufactured by a company under the control of a foreign adversary, or the buying of any equipment that poses a national security threat.

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.

Coin Telegraph US Congress Considers Blockchain-Based Voting Amid COVID-19
A staff memo has revealed that the U.S. Congress is considering blockchain technology as a means for the Senate to conduct remote voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. The report states that blockchain may be deployed alongside end-to-end encrypted, or E2EE, applications to facilitate voting.

JDSupra U.S. Senate Announces Introduction of COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act
The legislation would provide all Americans with more transparency, choice, and control over the collection and use of their personal health, geolocation, and proximity data. The bill would also hold businesses accountable to consumers if they use personal data to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fedscoop Library of Congress plots $150M multi-cloud acquisition for legislative branch
The Library of Congress has launched a $150 million acquisition to scale up its work with three of the largest commercial cloud providers and expand it to all legislative agencies. Through a single-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, the library wants a managed provider to offer the services of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure across the legislative branch.

Politico EARN IT Alternative
A group of House and Senate Democrats introduced draft legislation on Wednesday to combat child online exploitation, as an alternative to a bill with similar objectives that critics say would broadly jeopardize encryption.


Ars Technica NYT defeats Ajit Pai as judge orders FCC to provide net neutrality records
The New York Times has won its lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission, as a federal judge ruled Thursday that the FCC must turn over net neutrality comment records that it refused to give to the NYT.

PhysOrg Tiny technology cleans dirty water
An activated carbon filter—found in many household filtration systems—can purify your drinking water, but it’s no match for wastewater that contains military-grade explosives. To clean wastewater from munitions processing and demilitarization, a pair of University of Delaware environmental engineering professors and a UD engineering alumnus are teaming up to test a novel technology using iron nanoparticles.

NBC In rural Oklahoma, a Wi-Fi hot spot brings a dash of hope and excitement
The parking lot of Free Pentecostal Holiness Church in the historic town of Tatums, Oklahoma, is a little busier these days. The grassy areas on either side of the small, white building now serve as the town’s main Wi-Fi hot spot.

Grand Forks Herald Minnesota Senate approves $20 million in grants for rural broadband
As many Minnesotans are forced to work and learn from home during the coronavirus pandemic, the state Senate on Monday, May 4, unanimously voted to create a $20 million grant program to expand rural broadband access.


The Brookings Institution

  • Report on Telemedicine and COVID-19
    A combination of escalating costs, an aging population, and rising chronic health-care conditions that account for 75% of the nation’s health-care costs paint a bleak picture of the current state of American health care. In 2018, national health expenditures grew to $3.6 trillion and accounted for 17.7% of GDP. Under current laws, national health spending is projected to grow at a rate of 5.5% per year between 2018-2027. Time, another cornerstone of cost and quality, is yet another category where American health care falls short; it typically takes two hours to see a doctor for 20 minutes in most communities. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) sought to close the uninsured gap, immediate and affordable access to health care was not always available, especially for certain populations. Among people of color, health disparities have been extensively documented, largely due to pre-existing medical or chronic conditions, including those affecting the more aged in this population. Rural communities are also impacted by the lack of proximity to local medical facilities and providers. (Research – Removing regulatory barriers to telehealth before and after COVID-19, May 6, 2020)

American Enterprise Institute

  • Blog on AI and the Economy Post COVID-19
    The US economy wasn’t gangbusters before COVID-19. While the long expansion had driven down unemployment to historically low levels, productivity growth was modest. So overall economic growth was modest, too. That’s a key difference between the post-financial crisis recovery and the 1990s boom. And a big concern going forward is that the pandemic aftermath will slow sustainable growth even further. Maybe a Two Percent Economy becomes a One Percent Economy. (AEIdeas – How AI might discover the big ideas that could power America’s post-pandemic economy, April 30, 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.