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Digital Privacy, But at What Cost?


BY AYNA AGARWAL About three years ago, a little-known researcher named Aleksandr Kogan began a social science experiment at Cambridge University. Nothing unusual here. But just a few years later, he became embroiled in a Silicon Valley scandal of epic proportions. Over 80 million raw profiles of users—including their friends, activity, and private information—were scraped […]

Who Will Own the Smarts in Super-Smart Cities?


BY EMILY MIDDLETON Imagine a traffic system so smart that it can cut your commute in half. Imagine paths that heat up in winter, so you don’t have to walk in the snow. Imagine sensors that make it easier for the blind to get around the city, and quicker for ambulances to reach their patients. […]

The Perils of Data-Driven Policy Decisions


BY ANGELICA QUICKSEY Although quantitative data and analysis can help us design better policies and programs, we have edged alarmingly close to a worldview that suggests the use of data automatically scrubs away ideology and prejudice. This worldview neglects the ways that numbers can reflect human biases and the ways data can be dangerous. Data […]

Mandatory Digital Privacy Labels: One Way to Protect Consumer Data


Ninety-one percent of Internet users feel they have “lost control” of their personal information, Pew Research Center found in a 2016 poll.[1] The exponential increase in the capacity of firms to collect, store, and analyze data raises significant privacy concerns. But the most significant challenge for policy makers is not the risk that personal data […]

Science, Technology and Data

Trump’s Technology Week Stumble


BY MATTHEW ERIC SPECTOR President Trump’s recent “technology week” was full of contradictions. Although the administration put on airs to appeal to Silicon Valley, top CEOs, and emerging innovators, the Trump team failed to spell out concrete plans for expanding technological opportunities and closing the growing digital divide. While playing host to executives from Facebook, […]

A European Perspective on the Protection of Personal Data in Cyberspace


BY NIKOLAS OTT AND HUGO ZYLBERBERG Practical yet effective digital data regulations are an enormous policy challenge. Both in the United States and in Europe, businesses, privacy-advocacy groups, and government all have competing interests, and they are struggling to find a workable solution. Meanwhile, machines are tracking their users in an ever-increasing number of ways. […]

The Dirty World of Ranking Cities


BY SAM SALKIN Cities differ vastly from one another. That’s probably too obvious of a statement. During the summer of 2015, I worked for a non-profit consulting firm advising cities around the world on how to solve the nasty issues plaguing their citizen’s quality of life. One of our clients, a major European city, came […]

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