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Below we will post important news we find on data governance and digital trade issues.

Why we need a 'Wicked Problems Agency'

By Susan Aaronson // July 13, 2020

The first five months of 2020 sent a parade of “wicked problems” around the globe, including a plague of locusts in Asia and Africa, bushfires in Australia and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. Wicked problems can be defined as problems that no one knows how to solve without creating further problems. We struggle to mitigate them because they transcend borders and generations. 

Amazon says email to employees banning TikTok was a mistake

 July 10, 2020 // Boston Herald

Aaronson is quoted discussing possible reasons for Amazon's concern over use of the app TikTok.

TikTok User Data: What Does the App Collect and Why Are U.S. Authorities Concerned?

By Robert McMillan, Liza Lin and Shan Li // Wall Street Journal

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has indicated the Trump administration is considering limiting U.S. users’ access to the popular video-messaging app TikTok. The Chinese-owned company has faced scrutiny in Washington as concerns grow that Beijing could tap the social-media platform’s information to gather data on Americans...

Data are a development issue

By Susan Ariel Aaronson

Thursday 30 January 2020

While data are cheap and plentiful in many developing countries, data analysis, with its dependence on infrastructure and highly skilled labour, is expensive. This column asks whether developing countries are ready for the new data-driven economy and how development organisations might help them. It concludes that developing countries should be encouraged to develop plans for data governance and to experiment through technical assistance, regulatory sandboxes and collaboration. At the same time, development agencies and advocates need to wrestle with important questions about data-driven growth


California Law Regulating Security of IoT Devices Takes Effect in the New Year

California’s new law makes it the first state to specifically regulate the security of connective devices, which are commonly referred to as internet of things ("IoT") devices. The new law mandates that manufacturers that sell or offer to sell a connected device in California equip the device with reasonable security features as quantified in the law. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020. In contrast to existing California data privacy laws that only protect personal information, the new law protects the security of both IoT devices and any information contained on IoT devices. 

Why is this important?: Just as we increasingly see laws regulating AI and the use of data for AI, we will start to see laws on IoT. Note, however, that the new IoT law does not provide for a private right of action, and it can be enforced only by the attorney general, a city attorney, a county counsel, or a district attorney.



Responsible Data for Children (RD4C) Issues Report on the Handling of Data for and About Children

The increased use of data poses unique risks for and responsibilities to children. While practitioners may have well-intended purposes to leverage data for and about children, the data collection and data-based systems used were often designed with (consenting) adults in mind, without a focus on the unique needs and vulnerabilities of children. This can lead to the collection of inaccurate and unreliable data as well as the inappropriate and potentially harmful use of data for and about children. 


Federal Request for Information on Federal Data and Models to Improve the Nation's AI R&D

 The Office of Management and Budget is inviting the public to identify needs for additional access to, or improvements in the quality of, Federal data and models that would improve the Nation’s artificial intelligence research and development and testing efforts. This request for information is directed from the Executive order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence (Section 5.a.i).

The Request asks respondents for input on what federal data and models they are seeking, what barriers they face in accessing these data and models, what data ownership, intellectual property, or data sharing considerations should be included in federally-funded agreements, as well as other questions. Responses are due August 9, 2019.

Technology: how the US, EU and China compete to set industry standards

By Alan Beattie

Wednesday 24 July 2019

This article from the Financial Times discusses how the European Union uses the “Brussels Effect” where European regulations are adopted around the world helping them shape the global digital economy. In contract China has made efforts to set global standards at the ITU and IEEE to influence the global digital economy.




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