Tuesday, August 28, 2018

"The New Normal"

Here's an excellent piece in Vox this morning, outlining the increasing number of election-related disinformation campaigns and voting-related attacks.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tech groups volunteer help to prevent election fraud

Sean Captain has a new piece in Fast Company that describes how some tech companies will step forward to help local jurisdictions in fighting election fraud.  We all need to do our part.  For most of us, that means voting.  For others, it could mean volunteering to observe or help in states that still require voting at the polls.  In Washington State, we're lucky.  Ballots with postage paid for the return are mailed to us, making the process incredibly simple.

Here's the full article: https://www.fastcompany.com/90210636/as-feds-bicker-tech-companies-volunteer-to-secure-the-election.

Monday, August 6, 2018

New "Risk Reconsidered" Book by Annie Searle

Tautegory Press has released Risk Reconsidered, a collection of 20 articles by Annie Searle, first published in The Risk Universe magazine between 2012 and 2017, refreshed with head notes on each. The book's addendum adds ten columns that the author wrote for ASA News & Notes since late 2017, most of which focus on governance, conduct and risk in the Trump administration. 

From its reviewers: 

"The book provides crucial lessons on how to avoid and manage risk. As a non-expert with a social science background, I appreciated Searle's lessons on ethics and clear-eyed generalizations about best practices within complex institutional landscapes." -- Sara Curran, Director of the University of Washington Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology, and Professor of International Studies, The Jackson School. 

"She is absolutely right in starting the exploration of operational risk at the level of social mores and basic institutional and personal ethics....She pragmatically fits all this, and much more -- especially guidance and leadership thinking for managers and employees not 'at the top' -- into a formal, academic, and regulatory rubric and taxonomy of operational risk, offering remedies, suggesting concrete actions, teaching us and entertaining us with her insightful observations." Howard Stein, former Head of Operational Risk, the Corporate & Investment Bank, Citibank and Citigroup International. 

"It is a thoughtful book that every risk professional and board member should read." -- Catherine Allen, Chairman & CEO, The Santa Fe Group. 

"When we first established The Risk Universe magazine, the intention was to provide readers a balance between innovative risk management concepts and practical examples of how to undertake risk management. Annie's contributions over the 5.5 years we published the magazine exactly met that vision -- quality journalism, great lessons and luring readers to think beyond the norm." -- Mike Finlay, Publisher, The Risk Universe.

 The volume is available from Amazon for $14.95.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Houston to Run 3 Day Cyber Test

Based on the frequency with which hackers are targeting American cities, we need more such tests to occur on a regular basis.  Here's a link to the smartcitiesdive.com article: https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/houston-runs-3-day-cyberattack-stress-test/528661/.

Friday, July 20, 2018

"Facebook Suspends Analytics Firm on Concerns About Sharing of Public User-Data" -- Wall Street Journal

This Wall Street Journal story helps us understand how far we are in the world of judgment now, where Facebook is responsible not only for auditing how its data is used, but also for determining when to pull content from the site, setting up a First Amendment discussion for most of us.  Does Facebook have an editorial responsibility?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

An administration at odds with its national intelligence agencies


As the president continues to obfuscate on what he might have agreed to with Putin, our national defense agencies continue their drive to block further cyber incursions into the country's critical infrastructure.  In this effort, the public and private sectors are united.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New resolution

Image result for advice from a risk detective
Inset at the National Academy of Science, Washington DC

Happy New Year, everyone!  This update comes with a firm resolution to post here more often.  I've gotten in the lazy habit of only describing the national environment when I write my monthly column for ASA News & Notes.  I'm resolving to post here at least once a week going forward -- probably from my UW office in the hour or so before I start to teach at the end of each week.

I'm happy to be teaching information ethics and policy this quarter, as the president continues to try to erase Barack Obama's eight years in office.  There are three branches of government, designed to provide checks and balances on one another; one branch, Congress, should be thinking of what is best for the country (rather than for their particular political party) when they vote on consequential issues like DACA, or review actions by federal agencies (FCC and net neutrality).  Then there is the judicial branch, soon to be weighing in on consequential issues like the immigration order and surveillance via data to be found on one's smartphone, for which they have already ruled that a warrant is necessary to examine.

Outside these three branches is the Special Prosecutor, investigating ties between the Russians and the Trump campaign team; and examining instances that may turn out to be obstruction of justice -- which we remember in detail from (for example) President Nixon's actions that led him to resign before he could be impeached.

As we move further into my information ethics and policy course, I'll be sharing some of the students' reflections on the questions they answer each week.