Risk News

Privacy Google Report Shows Governments’ Increasing Demands for Users’ Data

"Governments of all sizes are demanding that Google hand over growing troves of data about its users, according to the Internet giant’s latest transparency report."

Annie's take:

These numbers are going in the wrong direction.

U.S. military will lead $750 million fight against Ebola in West Africa

"President Obama will announce Tuesday that the U.S. military will take the lead in overseeing what has been a chaotic and widely criticized response to the worst Ebola outbreak in history, dispatching up to 3,000 military personnel to West Africa in an effort that could cost up to $750 million over the next six months, according to senior administration officials."

Annie's take:

This will be one of the military's toughest battles, at a time when we are spread thin. I think the president is doing the right thing here, and hope that it has taken so long to determine the battle so that we can insure our troops will take all proper precautions on the ground.

With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise

"At a New York state elementary school, teachers can use a behavior-monitoring app to compile information on which children have positive attitudes and which act out."

Annie's take:

If you have children in school, you'll want to read this article closely to see if and how your children are protected.

The Sluggish Fight Against Ebola

"Efforts by the United States, other nations and international organizations to curb the widening epidemic of Ebola in West Africa are falling short — too little help arriving too late."

Annie's take:

Yesterday's editorial in the New York Times lays out the issues at a high level.

U.S. Scientists See Long Fight Against Ebola

"The deadly Ebola outbreak sweeping across three countries in West Africa is likely to last 12 to 18 months more, much longer than anticipated, and could infect hundreds of thousands of people before it is brought under control, say scientists mapping its spread for the federal government."

Annie's take:

The grim modeling estimates here will be reduced by the swiftness and scale of response, even at this late date. I am proud to live in Seattle, home of both the Gates Foundation and Paul Allen, whose combined donations are around $54 million. Allen's recent donation of $4 million will go directly to the establishment of emergency operations centers in West Africa.

U.S. threatened massive fine to force Yahoo to release data

"The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user communications--a request the company believed was unconstitutional--according to court documents unsealed Thursday that illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the National Security Agency's controversial PRISM program."

Annie's take:

We can see here just how much was at stake and how consequential the FISA court ruling has been. It wasn't just metadata.

What We’re Afraid to Say About Ebola

"The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done."

Annie's take:

Please read Osterholm's article. He lays out a set of recommendations to move us forward at this time and, along the way, suggests that the Ebola virus has the capacity to mutate to an airborne virus. My own article will be out Monday in the Risk Universe, which is advice to firms on how to prepare; and my column last Monday in ASA News & Notes lays out the scale of the public health event we are looking at right now.

A 9/11 Shrine Where Families Mourned for Years, Now Open to Others

"Twenty stories above ground zero, its existence and whereabouts known only to those who needed it, the Family Room served for a dozen years as a most private sanctuary from a most public horror."

Annie's take:

Today, we all remember.

With Apple Pay, a Push Into Mobile Payments

"Tech evangelists have predicted for years a world in which people paid for retail goods with the wave of a smartphone, or the push of a smartphone button. For nearly as long, this so-called mobile wallet has yet to catch on."

Annie's take:

We may be seeing here the advent of the next big change in the use of technology. If there is any one company that can drive it, it is Apple.

What it’s like to pay with Apple Pay

"One of the main attractions at Apple's press event Wednesday -- apart from its new phones and its new watch -- was the demonstration of what it would be like to pay for things with your iPhone. The whole transaction--from the time the total cost rang up to the moment the iPhone received a receipt for the sale--took about ten seconds."

Annie's take:

It may revolutionize how we pay for stuff, but that will mean some of our other practices, especially around the security of smart devices, will have to change. I'm most interested in the health data it will store, and how that will link to medical records, which could present challenges.

Why We Should Care About Ebola Risk

"We are facing an unprecedented global public health crisis on the coast of West Africa, and if I had written about this public health risk earlier I would not have so much to say today."

Annie's take:

Here's this month's newsletter with my thoughts on Ebola risk and a new research note by Uma Joshi on innovation and litigation.

From Bad to Worse With Ebola

"The widening epidemic of Ebola in West Africa looks worse with each passing day."

Annie's take:

The problematic response to the Ebola outbreak that began in late May is made tougher by the lack of resources being provided by the budget-strapped World Health Organization.

Ebola Is Taking a Second Toll, on Economies

"Airlines have canceled their flights to the countries most affected. Prices of staple goods are going up, and food supplies are dwindling. Border posts are being closed, foreign workers are going home and national growth rates are projected to plummet."

Annie's take:

A long and piercing look at the other toll that Ebola is taking, along with a comprehensive sidebar for those who have not already been following along.

BP May Be Fined Up to $18 Billion for Spill in Gulf

"In the four years since the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has spent more than $28 billion on damage claims and cleanup costs, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and emerged a shrunken giant."

Annie's take:

It may seem fairly straightforward to us -- that a company is responsible for its contractors and subcontractors, including their successes and failures -- and we are now about to see that play out in the legal arena, where BP has tried to point blame (and fines)on two of its subcontractors. Instead, the judge has found reckless behavior with a callous disregard for safety in order to drive profits.

Cuts at W.H.O. Hurt Response to Ebola Crisis

"With treatment centers overflowing, and alarmingly little being done to stop Ebola from sweeping through West African villages and towns, Dr. Joanne Liu, the president of Doctors Without Borders, knew that the epidemic had spun out of control."

Annie's take:

After hearing an interview on public radio this morning with the head of the World Health Organization and reading this and other articles, I believe that we need to take unprecedented and sweeping actions to contain the epidemic.

Home Depot Investigates a Possible Credit Card Breach

"Home Depot said on Tuesday that it was investigating a report that customer credit and debit card data was stolen from its systems and put up for sale online."

Annie's take:

The risk of doing business by credit or debit card appears to keep rising. Yet how many of us change our passwords with any regularity, but especially if (for example) we shoppe regularly at Home Depot? This is perhaps the one simplest thing we could do in light of the Wild West that the Internet is turning out to be.

New York Set to Accuse Evans Bank of Redlining

"Drawn in thick marker along the map of upstate New York, the line snaked down the Niagara River and zigzagged east to outline a swath of Buffalo and its surrounding neighborhoods."

Annie's take:

Despite banking regulations, this regpugnant and unethical practice is still with us.

NATO Set to Ratify Pledge on Joint Defense in Case of Major Cyberattack

"When President Obama meets with other NATO leaders later this week, they are expected to ratify what seems, at first glance, a far-reaching change in the organization’s mission of collective defense: For the first time, a cyberattack on any of the 28 NATO nations could be declared an attack on all of them, much like a ground invasion or an airborne bombing."

Annie's take:

Is this a step forward or a step back? How does it overlap or impact each country's global surveillance programs?