Can Tech Companies and Local Governments Mitigate Abuses of Government Secrecy?

The 2020 election brought into sharp relief the critical role that technology companies and local governments play in securing elections and minimizing disinformation about voting. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA’s) #Protect2020 Strategic Plan recognized that state and local election officials “are on the front lines” of election security, and it identified media and social media companies as key partners. Representatives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter met with officials from the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security before the election season to coordinate how best to secure the 2020 elections. Facebook set up an election “war room” at its headquarters. Everywhere you look you can find stories about how CISA worked extensively with state and local election officials to secure the 2020 vote.

One way that the federal government works with these two groups is by sharing

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Tech Antitrust During Biden, ADR for Copyright Small Claims and Cybersecurity in State and Local Governments

This week in Washington IP news, Senate committees will convene a series of business meetings, including one by the Senate Judiciary Committee to look at a proposed bill that would create an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) pathway for resolving copyright small claims. The Senate Environment Committee will also discuss a proposed legislative draft designed to restore American dominance in nuclear energy in part by supporting the licensing of advanced nuclear energy technologies. Elsewhere, the Brookings Institution will host a pair of events exploring the impacts of smart machines on the American labor force as well as the future of antitrust policy in the tech sector during the Biden Administration.

Tuesday, December 1 

Brookings Institution 

The Future of Tech Antitrust in the Biden Administration

At 11:00 AM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

In the United States and around the world, especially in Europe, government antitrust regulators have honed their focus onto

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Tech giants join with governments to fight Covid misinformation

Facebook, Twitter and Google are working with a coalition of governments including the UK and Canada to fight misinformation and conspiracy theories around Covid vaccinations.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Formed by the British fact-checking charity Full Fact, the new working group will aim to set cross-platform standards for tackling misinformation – as well as how to hold organisations accountable for their failure to do so.

“Bad information ruins lives, and we all have a responsibility to fight it where we see it,” said Full Fact’s chief executive, Will Moy. “The coronavirus pandemic and the wave of false claims that followed demonstrated the need for a collective approach to this problem.

“A coronavirus vaccine is now potentially just months away. But bad information could undermine trust in medicine when it matters most, and ultimately prolong this pandemic.”

As well as the three technology companies, the

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Politicians and governments are suppressing science, argues The BMJ

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Politicians and governments are suppressing science, and when good science is suppressed, people die, argues a senior editor at The BMJ today.

Executive editor, Dr. Kamran Abbasi, argues that COVID-19 “has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health.”

Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement, he writes. So too are scientists and health experts. “The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science.”

He points to examples of suppression of science or scientists during the UK’s pandemic response, including inappropriate involvement of government advisers in the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), attempts to withhold information on COVID-19 and inequalities, block publication of a study on point-of-care antibody testing for COVID-19, and instruct scientists not to talk to the media.

In the

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Governments can curb over-fertilization in agriculture — ScienceDaily

The world is awash with nitrogen. In agriculture, nitrogen is used as a fertiliser to increase output, but this causes one of the biggest environmental problems of our time. Nitrogen pollution has detrimental effects on water and soil and is also harmful to human and animal health. What’s more, when the air or rain carry nitrogen into unfertilised habitats, such as bogs or forests, it causes a decline in natural biodiversity.

National governments have it within their power to curb the problem. What is required are national and international policies that steer the global food system towards higher yields and a much lower environmental impact. However, research to date has barely touched on the extent to which countries actually influence their nitrogen pollution and their crop yields.

Quantifying countries’ overall impact

Now, ETH researchers David Wüpper and Robert Finger from the Chair of Agricultural Economics and Policy have joined forces

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‘We want science and technology to be part of government’s priority more than ever,’ says NITI Aayog’s VK Paul

He said the think tank is making a strong case for increasing investments in science

The coronavirus pandemic has shown how important science solutions are for ‘life, livelihood and development’, and the NITI Aayog is making a strong case for increasing investments in science, its member VK Paul said on Monday.

He was delivering the first Prof. MK Bhan Memorial Lecture in a webinar. Bhan was the secretary, Department of Biotechnology.

Mr Paul said the think tank wants science and technology (S&T) to be the government’s priority “more than ever”.

He said the NITI Aayog has prepared a couple of policy briefs which are aimed at creating institutional pace, capacity and resource base.

“We are working with VijayRaghavan (Principal Scientific Advisor to the government) and my colleague (Vijay Kumar) Saraswat, member S&T… three of us, looking at pathways, above all creating institutional pace, capacity base and also resource base,” the

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iDirect Government’s New Evolution Technology Advancements Support Multi-Layer Cybersecurity

HERNDON, Va., Nov. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — iDirect Government (iDirectGov), a leading provider of satellite communications to the military and government, today announced that the Evolution® platform has been enhanced with information assurance (IA) and cybersecurity as a part of a multi-layered approach to security. Two main technology advancements in Evolution include SHIELD, a security service for remotes, and Communication Signal Interference Removal (CSIR™), a real-time streaming technology to mitigate interference. These enhancements are fully integrated across iDirectGov’s 9-Series satellite modems.

To address vulnerabilities in satellite modems, SHIELD provides periodic IA security updates for the 9-Series modems. These remote-side packages are created using the same capability that the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA’s) Assured Compliance Assessment Solution (ACAS) recognizes. When installed, SHIELD addresses vulnerabilities based on the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) and Nessus ID database on the satellite modem and delivers IA posture across the SATCOM network.

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Government’s Antitrust Suit Targeting Google Comes Amid An Uneven Track Record Against Big Tech

After months of speculation, the Department of Justice and eleven state Attorneys General launched an antitrust suit on Tuesday, accusing Google of stifling competition in the search and advertising sectors through exclusive arrangements with its business partners. “Competition in this industry is vitally important,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement accompanying the lawsuit, “which is why today’s challenge against Google… is a monumental case.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have railed against the nation’s tech giants in recent years, with Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump—who reside on polar opposites of the political spectrum—both calling for government agencies to bring antitrust cases against the industry.   

Though these rants haven’t quite reached the feverish pitch of Theodore Roosevelt’s trust-busting assault on Standard Oil and the other industrial giants of the Gilded Age, they do harken back two decades to a time when critics cast Microsoft, and its CEO Bill Gates, as

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Small businesses, state, and local governments will be the prime vectors of tech market recession

When President Trump broke off negotiations with congressional Democrats on a new economic stabilization package on Tuesday, Oct. 6, the already high risk of a deeper economic recession shot up — and with it, increasing prospects of a tech market recession lasting well into 2021. The president has backtracked to a degree, with calls for aid to airlines and unemployed workers, but the prospects of any kind of deal before the election are limited. When the Q3 2020 GDP results are released at the end of October, they will undoubtedly show a solid recovery in real GDP and evidence of some improvements in US tech investments. But both the economy and the US tech market will slump again in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. 

My assessment of the economic outlook is that the US economy is shifting from the pandemic recession — with its narrow but deep focus on the

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This A.I. CEO says if governments don’t regulate technology, we will live in a ‘very scary place’

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Thomas Siebel wearing a suit and tie: CEO Tom Siebel on Leadership Next podcast

© Courtesy of CEO Tom Siebel on Leadership Next podcast

Tom Siebel, long-time Silicon Valley investor and the CEO of, has first-hand knowledge of the capacity of artificial intelligence, both to create “goodness and light” and to make the world “a very scary place.” On the latest episode of “Leadership Next,” Siebel shared with hosts Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt his views on technology regulation.


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“If government does not regulate we will be sorry,” he said. And that’s coming from someone who claims he isn’t “really a big government guy.”

Particularly in the use of A.I. for human systems, Siebel is wary of over-dependence on machine learning. The use of the technology is inevitable, he said, but the possibility for introducing and worsening

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