In Congress, lawmakers narrow in on big tech policy

first_imgTechnology has reached a critical juncture in American society. The unfettered optimism of recent decades is now tempered by rising concerns over privacy and security, the impact of disinformation campaigns, and increasing calls for digital accountability. It is clear that the 116th Congress will face pressure to shape technological innovation through policies that protect and serve the best interests of their constituents.A new report from two projects at Harvard Kennedy School — the Technology and Public Purpose (TAPP) Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Platform Accountability Project at the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy — provides new insights into the key tech policy challenges facing national legislators. Among them, Congressional members face gaps in governance authority and coordination which stem from the disruptive nature of the digital marketplace and new business models. The authors propose that Congress launch a concerted effort of hearings to increase awareness and knowledge on the issue, hold companies accountable to the public interest, and inform the American people.The report is based on a March 21 workshop hosted on the Hill.At the outset of the event, Former Secretary of Defense and Belfer Center Director Ash Carter emphasized the responsibility that policymakers have in shaping emerging technology. By drawing parallels to other “disruptive tech” from the past, such as nuclear technology, Carter stressed the historic opportunity to shape today’s technology for the human good: “Once invented, it can’t be undone.” Secretary Carter proceeded to lay the groundwork on how case studies from other revolutionary communication technologies, such as the postal service, telegraph, radio, and telephone, can provide insight into the existing toolbox of self-regulation, antitrust, and regulatory solutions.The opening panel featured several experts who were centrally involved with some of the major reforms in telecommunications and media. The similarities in these historical parallels suggested that today’s Congress ought to seek 21st century solutions for 20th century problems. Representing a wide range of expertise regarding antitrust, the private sector, and regulatory agencies, the panel included: Toni Bush, former Senate Commerce Senior Counsel; Mignon Clyburn, former FCC Commissioner; Dipayan Ghosh, Pozen Fellow at the Shorenstein Center and former privacy and public policy advisor at Facebook; Gene Kimmelman, former Chief Counsel of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division; Hong Qu, program director for Technology at the Shorenstein Center and former user interface designer at YouTube; and Tom Wheeler, former FCC Chairman.The panelists explored the multitude of issues at play in the big tech space, namely competition, content accountability, privacy and security, accessibility, and protection of civil rights and liberties. However, the panel expressed concern over issue identification. “It always worries me that we are addressing the symptoms and not the malady,” said Clyburn. As part of their discussion, the speakers debated whether market shortcomings related to key issues of democracy could be emanating from the fundamental economics of digital platforms, as well as big tech’s underlying business model, which centers on user data exploitation. Read Full Storylast_img read more

France to transfer critical coronavirus patients by train to ease hospital pressure

first_img“What is planned from the Paris region by TGV (train) is (to transport) 38 sick people,” Bruno Riou, who heads up the Paris hospitals’ crisis team, told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday.”We’re close to knowing whether we will be able to remain under the saturation stage so the regional transfers, notably tomorrow, will be an important security valve even if it’s a small number of patients.”France has already been shuffling patients from the east of the country, where the virus outbreak has overwhelmed hospitals, to other areas and neighboring countries. The army has been drafted to help, while 36 patients were moved to western France from the east on medically outfitted TGV trains on Sunday.France 3 TV reported that the patients from Paris would be moved to Brittany in the country’s northwest.”We had 200 patients in intensive care in mid-March, 1,000 on March 24 and as of today about 1,900. That shows a colossal increase in a very short space of time, which makes things extremely difficult,” said Antoine Vieillard-Baron, head of the surgical and medical Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the University Hospital Ambroise Pare. Thirty-eight critically ill coronavirus patients will be transferred by high-speed train from the Paris area to less overwhelmed regions on Wednesday to ease pressure on the capital’s intensive-care capacity, French health officials said.France recorded its worst daily coronavirus death toll on Monday, taking the toll above 3,000 for the first time, with the country battling to free up space in life-support units.That has now become critical in Paris, where the number of beds in intensive care units is now practically at the same level as the number of patients. Topics :last_img read more