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Collapse 20142014
Collapse OctoberOctober
Facebook Debuts Safety Check Feature for Disasters
USIS suffers another blow as GAO rules for competitor in wake of fraud allegations
Dozens Declared Free of Ebola Risk in Texas
How the microscopic Ebola virus kills thousands
Facebook unfriends federal drug agency
Experts Oppose Ebola Travel Ban, Saying It Would Cut Off Worst-Hit Countries
Obama May Name ‘Czar’ to Oversee Ebola Response
With New Ebola Case Confirmed, U.S. Vows Vigilance
Actually, flu is the virus you should really be worrying about
When Ebola Is a Workplace Issue
CDC chief: After Dallas nurse’s Ebola infection, U.S. must ‘rethink’ protocols
Ebola, ISIS, and Large Data Breaches: Is Operational Risk on the Rise?
Texas Health Worker Tests Positive for Ebola
Cloud Computing Cloud Computing Is Forcing a Reconsideration of Intellectual Property
Small drugmakers try to scale up to meet Ebola crisis
Newly Vigilant, U.S. Will Screen Fliers for Ebola
In Net Neutrality Discussion, Lawsuits Loom Large
Ethical choices surround a potential Ebola vaccine
Islamic State, murderer of journalists, releases 11 rules for journalists
Keeping Credit Cards and Bank Account Data from Hackers
We Want Privacy, but Can’t Stop Sharing
Dallas Ebola case spurs concern about hospital readiness
Hackers’ Attack Cracked 10 Financial Firms in Major Assault
Cyberattack Against JPMorgan Chase Affects 76 Million Households
Delay in Dallas Ebola Cleanup as Workers Balk at Task
The Fundamental Horror of ISIS
Ebola patient was allowed to leave Dallas hospital last week
Nigeria’s Actions Seem to Contain Ebola Outbreak
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Risk News

10/21/2014
Facebook Debuts Safety Check Feature for Disasters

"As people increasingly turn to social media after a disaster — both to get information and check to see if their friends and family have been affected — the platforms are creating disaster-specific tools."

Annie's take:

Social media tools can be used for humanitarian purposes.

10/21/2014
USIS suffers another blow as GAO rules for competitor in wake of fraud allegations

"USIS, the embattled major federal contractor, suffered another blow Monday after government lawyers determined that the Department of Homeland Security recently issued the company a lucrative contract without taking into account allegations of fraud against the company."

Annie's take:

How could this happen?

10/20/2014
Dozens Declared Free of Ebola Risk in Texas

"At least one chapter of the Ebola saga neared a close Sunday, as most of the dozens of people who had direct or indirect contact here with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola, were told by officials that they were no longer at risk of contracting the disease."

Annie's take:

Very good news. As new guidance comes out on medical garb, we should see things move overall to a better place. There have been many lessons learned over the past month.

10/20/2014
How the microscopic Ebola virus kills thousands

"The fear of Ebola has spread faster in America than the virus itself. Ebola has infected the American psyche, forcing us to do risk analysis of a pathogen we know little about."

Annie's take:

For those who may not already undestand how Ebola spreads....

10/19/2014
Facebook unfriends federal drug agency

"Facebook wants assurances from the Drug Enforcement Administration that it’s not operating any more fake profile pages as part of ongoing investigations."

Annie's take:

Posted without comment.

10/18/2014
Experts Oppose Ebola Travel Ban, Saying It Would Cut Off Worst-Hit Countries

"Fear of Ebola is spreading faster than the disease itself, and the growing paranoia in the United States is fueling calls to impose a travel ban on people coming from the three West African nations struggling with the outbreak."

Annie's take:

It's unfortunate that politics is beginning to push the administration to do things that ultimately don't help with Ebola. Testing incoming passengers from the West African countries is unlikely to yield any successes -- just look at the SARS statistics for Asia if you are doubting me here -- and it would be short-sighted in the extreme to ban travel to and from West Africa.

10/17/2014
Obama May Name ‘Czar’ to Oversee Ebola Response

"President Obama raised the possibility on Thursday that he might appoint an “Ebola czar” to manage the government’s response to the deadly virus as anxiety grew over the air travel of an infected nurse."

Annie's take:

It's time to get our public health response together more completely than it is at this point. We all need better advice than we are getting right now.

10/16/2014
With New Ebola Case Confirmed, U.S. Vows Vigilance

"New shortcomings emerged Wednesday in the nation’s response to the Ebola virus after it was revealed that a second nurse was infected with Ebola at a hospital here and that she had traveled on a commercial flight the day before she showed symptoms of the disease."

Annie's take:

We need to make the guidelines for patient treatment much clearer. Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organization both have much stricter guidelines on garb than the CDC has issued in this country. Let's get it right.

And while I'm at it, why would a nurse already on a watch list think it a good idea to fly anywhere?

10/15/2014
Actually, flu is the virus you should really be worrying about

"If you are worried about contracting Ebola, I have two suggestions. First, stop. Second, get a flu shot."

Annie's take:

And there's one other good reason to get a flu shot that Marcus didn't mention: it keeps you and your symptoms (fever and cough) out of the hair of Emergency Room or other doctors who may have other important work to do at this time.

10/15/2014
When Ebola Is a Workplace Issue

"Only a few hospitals in the U.S. are currently treating Ebola patients, but health-care workers around the country are on edge."

Annie's take:

From the teams that clean airplanes, to nurses, to ambulance drivers -- everyone sees risk, and at least so far we don't know how the two Dallas medical workers contracted Ebola while caring for the patient. On the positive side, they are both hospitalized in this country, and the CDC has now committed to putting an experienced team on the ground wherever Ebola is found.

10/14/2014
CDC chief: After Dallas nurse’s Ebola infection, U.S. must ‘rethink’ protocols

"As a 26-year-old Dallas nurse lay infected in the same hospital where she treated a dying Ebola patient last week, government officials on Monday said the first transmission of the disease in the United States had revealed systemic failures in preparation that must “substantially” change in coming days."

Annie's take:

Some hospitals have already gone to stricter protocols for robing and disrobing than the CDC advocates in its "simplified" guidance. the stricter protocol is that of the World Health Organization, which includes washing hands at each stage of removing gloves and gear. This is an evolving story.

10/13/2014
Ebola, ISIS, and Large Data Breaches: Is Operational Risk on the Rise?

"It’s been a tumultuous month."

Annie's take:

Here we take a look at three of our largest operational risks. This month's newsletter also contains an excellent research note by Katherine Gallagher on privacy and the healthcare industry.

10/12/2014
Texas Health Worker Tests Positive for Ebola

"A health care worker here who helped treat the Liberian man who died last week of the Ebola virus has tested positive for the disease in a preliminary test, state health officials said Sunday."

Annie's take:

It's important that we all stay calm and let whatever kinks there are still in the health care procedures get worked out under what is really a very short period of time. I'll be writing more about this in tomorrow's column for ASA News & Notes.

10/12/2014
Cloud Computing Cloud Computing Is Forcing a Reconsideration of Intellectual Property

"Almost overnight, our technology revolution is shaking up entire industries and remaking society. Don’t get caught up in the small stuff, though: Tech really is changing how we think about our ideas."

Annie's take:

Technology continues to have a significant impact on intellectual property.

10/10/2014
Small drugmakers try to scale up to meet Ebola crisis

"The manufacturer of the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp said Friday that it is trying to squeeze more production out of the tobacco plants used to create the medication and develop other ways of making the drug in an effort to boost supply."

Annie's take:

For my students, especially after discussions this week on rolling out any Ebola vaccine. Here's another way of looking at the challenges involved.

10/9/2014
Newly Vigilant, U.S. Will Screen Fliers for Ebola

"Federal health officials will require temperature checks for the first time at five major American airports for people arriving from the three West African countries hardest hit by the deadly Ebola virus. However, health experts said the measures were more likely to calm a worried public than to prevent many people with Ebola from entering the country."

Annie's take:

Such temperature checks have been in place since the SARS epidemic in many Asian airports. I think this is a prudent step to take. Having such precautions in place will also cause travelers to think more carefully about whether or not they wish to leave one of the three countries and come to the United States.

10/8/2014
In Net Neutrality Discussion, Lawsuits Loom Large

"After discussion and debate at six Federal Communications Commission roundtables stretching over 24 hours, a consensus has finally emerged on net neutrality: Whatever rules the F.C.C. adopts, someone will take it to court."

Annie's take:

The FCC has been hearing comments and testimony and is closer to ruling on this important topic but, as the article indicates, there will be lawsuits. This is one case that eventually will go to the Supreme Court.

10/7/2014
Ethical choices surround a potential Ebola vaccine

"Here is what officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health have been telling us: America has some Ebola infections (and is likely to see more), but America does not have an Ebola outbreak, which is extremely unlikely in a health system capable of basic public health measures (such as isolation and contact-tracing)."

Annie's take:

How can doctors or patients make information-based decisions on whether or not to participate in clinical trials? This article provokes some of the questions we'll discuss this week in class.

10/7/2014
Islamic State, murderer of journalists, releases 11 rules for journalists

"The Islamic State, the extremist group that has wreaked havoc in Syria and Iraq, is perhaps best known in the West for its violent behavior toward journalists."

Annie's take:

Have they got your attention yet? The intent of the Islamic State is to regain all lands formerly described as the Ottoman Empire. Their mission statment? That would be "convert or die."

10/6/2014
Keeping Credit Cards and Bank Account Data from Hackers

"JPMorgan Chase has disclosed that the accounts of 83 million households and businesses were compromised this summer in a cyberattack. Nine other financial institutions were also infiltrated by the same group of overseas hackers."

Annie's take:

I like this online format, called "Room for Debate," that the New York Times has begun to use around important topics like this look at data breaches. It follows an appearance last night of the current director of the FBI on "60 Minutes." The director also had very sage advice with good analogies, but front and center was the "think before you click" maxim.

10/5/2014
We Want Privacy, but Can’t Stop Sharing

"Imagine a world suddenly devoid of doors. None in your home, on dressing rooms, on the entrance to the local pub or even on restroom stalls at concert halls. The controlling authorities say if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you shouldn’t mind."

Annie's take:

As we share more on the Internet, our desire for privacy increases, or so the study says. At what point are we over the metaphorical line in polishing our digital identities?

10/4/2014
Dallas Ebola case spurs concern about hospital readiness

"A Washington-area hospital announced Friday that it had admitted a patient with symptoms and a travel history associated with Ebola. The case has not been confirmed, but the number of similar incidents around the country and a confirmed Ebola patient in Dallas have spurred concerns about whether U.S. hospitals are as prepared to deal with the virus as federal officials insist they are."

Annie's take:

Despite the best efforts of health officials, fear is setting in, including among nursing personnel in this country.

10/4/2014
Hackers’ Attack Cracked 10 Financial Firms in Major Assault

"The huge cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase that touched more than 83 million households and businesses was one of the most serious computer intrusions into an American corporation. But it could have been much worse."

Annie's take:

It's not a pretty story, however you slice it. Did key personnel losses weaken JPMorgan Chase's infrastructure? Are the incursions a direct result of Chase and other banks freezing Russian assets? Banks have been hackers' targets for at least the last ten years. What is different now?

10/3/2014
Cyberattack Against JPMorgan Chase Affects 76 Million Households

"A cyberattack this summer on JPMorgan Chase compromised the accounts of 76 million households and seven million small businesses, a tally that dwarfs previous estimates by the bank and puts the intrusion among the largest ever."

Annie's take:

JPMorgan Chase is, as Jamie Dimon likes to say, "the nation's bank." It's hard to understand how it took this long to detect the full scope of the problem. It's doubtful that investigators know exactly what information was taken. The bank can only estimate the damage by measuring how many accounts have actually been compromised to date. But customers will have a larger concern: that such breaches, here or at Target or Home Depot, indicate that data is being acquired and sold in massive quantities for reasons we can only speculate about.

10/3/2014
Delay in Dallas Ebola Cleanup as Workers Balk at Task

"More than six months after an outbreak of Ebola began its rampage through West Africa, local and federal health officials have displayed an uneven and flawed response to the first case diagnosed in the United States."

Annie's take:

Our confidence that we here in the American public health system are prepared and know what we are doing has been gravely shaken by a string of events in Dallas. It certainly sends a signal and a warning to other parts of the country that we need to up our game where Ebola identification, containment and follow on procedures are concerned.

10/3/2014
The Fundamental Horror of ISIS

"The mind rebels at the reports of cruelty by the Islamic State, the beheadings, crucifixions, tortures, rapes and slaughter of captives, children, women, Christians, Shiites."

Annie's take:

Posting for my students in two sections of "Policy, Law and Ethics in Information Use." We started discussing the Islamic State over a Washington Post article on the sophistication of its media machines to draw in young, disenfranchised men from around the world. For both sections, both evenings, we ended up in a place that is very similar to the discussion in this editorial.

10/2/2014
Ebola patient was allowed to leave Dallas hospital last week

"An ill man who later tested positive for Ebola was not admitted to a Dallas hospital despite saying that he had traveled to Texas from Liberia, allowing him to continue interacting with people before he returned days later and was placed in isolation."

Annie's take:

The gentleman was checked three times on the way out of Liberia, but it's not clear that he was checked before entering this country on our end. We need better checklists, on airplanes, in airports, and in our hospitals.

10/1/2014
Nigeria’s Actions Seem to Contain Ebola Outbreak

"With quick and coordinated action by some of its top doctors, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, appears to have contained its first Ebola outbreak, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday."

Annie's take:

In Africa's most populous country the right actions were taken by medical personnel at the right time. Here, McNeil identifies the sophisticated public health infrastructure that made all the difference.