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Business & Government Advanced read

Data Rentiership and the Policy Implications

Unlike innovation that delivers new products, services, and markets, innovation as rentiership is defined by the extraction and capture of value through different modes of ownership and control over resources and assets. This shift towards rentiership is evident in the transformation of personal digital data into a private asset. In light of this assetization, it is necessary to unpack how innovation itself might be a problem, rather than a solution to a range of global challenges.

Individuals Intermediate read

Why the Shift to Machine-Readable Humans Demands Better Digital ID Governance

Mobile passes, QR codes and other digital credentials are increasingly required to access all manner of venues, activities and experiences in the physical world. Yet, despite our increasing exposure through digital identification, we have few laws or even norms to adequately govern these systems.

Business & Government Simple read

This Frighteningly Smart Office Building Knows Exactly What You Want

Welcome to the Edge in Amsterdam, the most connected office anywhere. The building’s massive network of sensors–around 40,000–is unprecedented, but happened partly by chance.

Individuals Simple read

Blockchain Technology: The Path to Utopia or Dystopia?

Blockchain technology, like many tech developments, was born out of a utopian ideal. It came from a vision for a cashless society that maximized individual autonomy with freedom from oversight and taxation. However, the potential for blockchain to fetter us to a system using our records is innate to a tamper-resistant, extremely durable, and verifiable record. Here, we adopt a contrarian viewpoint and discuss the drawbacks of blockchain technology that come from its strengths rather than its weaknesses. The concern with the scenarios we outline is not that it will come true but that it can.

Individuals Intermediate read

Whose Street? Our Streets! (PDF, 80 pages)

2020-21 “Smart City” Cautionary Trends & 10 Calls to Action to Protect and Promote Democracy.

Individuals Simple read

T-Mobile Says At Least 47 Million Current and Former Customers Affected by Hack

T-Mobile has confirmed that millions of current and former customers had their information stolen in a data breach, following reports of a hack over the weekend.

Business & Government Simple read

Facial Recognition Helped End 15-year Manhunt

A fugitive who Justice Department officials say had scammed more than 20 people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars was sentenced to four years in prison on Friday, after being on the run for almost 15 years. Austrian authorities were able to identify the person due to a facial recognition system according to the DOJ, after he tried to use an alias to open a bank account, leading to his arrest in June 2020.

Individuals Intermediate read

Online Games Gamble with Children's Data (PDF, 30 pages)

The way mobile games collect information about their users, and the details of what type of information they’re collecting, remains incredible opaque. The fact that it’s all so confusing is kind of the point, obviously. As a result, mobile games have escaped the level of scrutiny we’ve applied to social media companies, despite being – as category – nearly equally popular and far more likely to be used by children.

Individuals Simple read

Rain Falls at the Summit of Greenland Ice Sheet for First Time on Record

Greenland just experienced another massive melt event this year. But this time, something unusual happened. It also rained at the highest point of its ice sheet for the first time since scientists have been making observations there, the latest signal of how climate change is affecting every part of the planet.

Business & Government Simple read

China Passes Data Protection Law

The law, called the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), is set to take effect on November 1, 2021. It was proposed last year -- signalling an intent by China's communist leaders to crack down on unscrupulous data collection in the commercial sphere by putting legal restrictions on user data collection. The new law requires app makers to offer users options over how their information is or isn't used, such as the ability not to be targeted for marketing purposes or to have marketing based on personal characteristics.

It also places requirements on data processors to obtain consent from individuals in order to be able to process sensitive types of data such as biometrics, medical and health data, financial information and location data. While apps that illegally process user data risk having their service suspended or terminated. Any Western companies doing business in China which involves processing citizens' personal data must grapple with the law's extraterritorial jurisdiction -- meaning foreign companies will face regulatory requirements such as the need to assign local representatives and report to supervisory agencies in China.

Individuals Simple read

Afghans are forced to choose between staying safe and staying online

Under Taliban rule, citizens worry that digital connections to Western organizations could be used against them.


Business & Government Advanced read

Call for Papers: Practices of “data-driven innovation” in the European Public Sector

How do policies for data-driven innovation unfold in practice, both in the public sector and among its affected publics, and what can researchers, practitioners and policymakers learn from current applications?
Deadline for abstracts is 30 September 2021.


Developers Intermediate read

Layered Schemas

Layered Schemas' main focus is interoperability. For a grant, we will be working on a data commons using FAIR principles.


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