On January 25, 2018, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) division of the U.S. Department of Commerce released a draft report of Blockchain technology (Overview). Recognizing the growing public awareness of the most well-known application of Blockchain technology – Bitcoin, the Overview draft report provides a high-level discussion of the technical components of Blockchain technology, addressing how data is encrypted, and how the data is verified and then distributed among the participating Blockchain parties. NIST is seeking comments on the scope and completeness of the draft Overview, which are due by February 23, 2018.
The Overview begins with a fairly detailed, yet accessible, overview of the architecture of Blockchain technology, covering both how data that is to be recorded and encrypted in the blocks, and how the individual blocks are then incorporated into the corresponding Blockchain. Discussions of hashing, nonces, forking and Merkle Trees are included, along with helpful charts for those with a preference for visuals.
The Partnership for Public Service has issued a report that examines how artificial intelligence (AI) is being used by federal and state authorities in a variety of areas.
The research for the report, “The Future Has Begun: Using Artificial Intelligence to Transform Government,” was performed in collaboration with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and includes four case studies. The first case study involved using AI techniques originally created at the University of South Carolina to fight crime more effectively. The software was originally used to fight domestic terrorism by helping federal and state officials determine potential targets and make recommendations on randomizing patrol routes, security schedules for police officers, boat patrol routes, and assigning air marshals to flights. In a later application of the same software, the same system was given to wildlife rangers in Africa to assist in making decisions on which wildlife areas to patrol on any given day to protect both animals and plants. This was in response to presidential Executive Order 13648 issued in 2013 to have the Agriculture, Treasury and State Departments assist in combating wildlife crime.
One of the most frequent predictions for significant growth in 2018 is the development of the connected car ecosystem. During the second half of 2017, there were workshops, proposed legislation and other guidance from the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In June 2017, the FTC and the NHTSA hosted a workshop in Washington, D.C. to discuss the enormous amounts of data collected and used in the connected car ecosystem. The workshop included representatives from consumer groups, industry, government and academia, and explored the benefits and challenges in this fast-growing market. After reviewing the materials submitted in connection with the workshop, the FTC released its Key Takeaways earlier this month.
In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3388, the SELF DRIVE (Safely Ensuring Lives Future Development and Research in Vehicle Evolution) Act to encourage testing, development and deployment of highly automated vehicles. Finally, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the NHTSA released new federal guidance for automated vehicles titled Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety.
The United States recently became the first country to participate in the new Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) Privacy Recognition for Processors (“PRP”) program. Finalized in 2016 and designed to certify privacy compliance for personal information processors within the Asia-Pacific region, the PRP program offers a trustmark certification to processors that demonstrate their capacity to assist data controllers in complying with relevant privacy obligations. According to APEC, the PRP program was created so that (1) data controllers are able to identify qualified data processors to implement data controllers’ data processing obligations, (2) data processors are able to demonstrate their ability to provide effective implementation of a controller’s privacy requirements, and (3) small and medium-sized institutions are able to gain exposure and visibility into a global data processing network. Continue reading
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) recently drafted a new Healthcare Services (HCS) Bill aimed to bridge the gap between the country’s changing healthcare needs and technological advances. According to the MOH, the healthcare landscape in Singapore is undergoing significant changes, including an ageing population, increased chronic disease prevalence, and advancements in medicine and health technologies. The HCS Bill will “better safeguard the safety and well-being of patients, while enabling new and innovative services that benefit patients to be developed, in the changing healthcare environment.”
Currently, healthcare providers in Singapore are licensed and regulated under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act (PHMCA), which was designed to protect patient safety through the licensing of physical healthcare premises. But, brick and mortar locations are quickly becoming a thing of the past as more and more healthcare services are delivered through mobile and online channels. MOH intends to respond to this shift by repealing the PHMCA and replacing it with this new HCS Bill.