The Green New Deal from AJ+

Though I’ve been to Detroit in my younger years and still have family in the area, this also applies to the greater Charlotte area, where I live, and other communities throughout North America and beyond. I’m heartened to see a group address this, though getting through to some will be next to impossible. H/T AJ+, who does great work in their storytelling.

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ACA Medicaid Expansion Reduces Mortality Rates, Study Shows

North and South Carolina: How many more studies do it take to convince your respective General Assemblies to expand Medicaid when the federal government is paying for most of it.

While you are at it, North Carolina, get rid of vehicle inspections; add the state’s portion to existing fees, like South Carolina did.

The Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid seems to reduce mortality rates, increase enrollment and coverage, and decrease the uninsured rates.

Source: ACA Medicaid Expansion Reduces Mortality Rates, Study Shows

New cyberthreats require new ways to protect democracy

New cyberthreats require new ways to protect democracy
Man and woman look at Microsoft ElectionGuard demos
Microsoft ElectionGuard demos on July 17, 2019 at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. 

With the elections coming up, regardless of who you support, this is vital. I haven’t seen any other major tech company coming up with solutions, though it’s mentioned inside the full blog post.

Starting today at the Aspen Security Forum we’re demonstrating the first voting system running Microsoft ElectionGuard as an example of how ElectionGuard can enable a new era of secure, verifiable voting. The demo shows how it’s also possible to make voting more accessible for people with disabilities and more affordable for local governments while increasing security. Finding new ways to ensure that voters can trust the election process has never been more important. The world’s democracies remain under attack as new data we are sharing today makes clear. ElectionGuard and the range of offerings from Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program, as well as tools from others in the technology industry and academia,  are needed more than ever to help defend democracy.

 

So the problem is real and unabated. It is time to find solutions. Governments and civil society have important roles to play, but the tech industry also has a responsibility to help defend democracy. As part of our contribution at Microsoft, we believe ElectionGuard will be an important tool to protect the voting process and to ensure that all voters can trust the outcome of free democratic elections.

 

Our ElectionGuard demo will showcase three core features.

 

First, people will be able to vote directly on the screen of the Microsoft Surface or using the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which Microsoft originally built in close partnership with organizations like the Cerebral Palsy Foundation to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility. We hope this will help show the community how accessibility hardware can be built securely and inexpensively into primary voting systems and no longer requires separate voting machines to meet the needs of those with disabilities – ultimately making it easier for more people to vote.

 

Second, people using the demo will be provided with a tracking code that, when voting is complete, they will be able to enter into a website to confirm their vote was counted and not altered; the website will not display their actual votes. In the ElectionGuard software development kit (SDK) this verification feature will be enabled by homomorphic encryption, which allows mathematical procedures – like counting votes – to be done while keeping the data of people’s actual votes fully encrypted. The use of homomorphic encryption in election systems was pioneered by Microsoft Research under the leadership of Senior Cryptographer Josh Benaloh. This tracking code is a key feature of the ElectionGuard technology. For the first time, voters will be able to independently verify with certainty that their vote was counted and not altered. Importantly, in its final form, the ElectionGuard SDK will also enable voting officials, the media, or any third party to use a “verifier” application to similarly confirm that the encrypted vote was properly counted and not altered.

 

Third, the demo will show how ElectionGuard can enable end-to-end verifiable elections for the first time while retaining the familiarity and certainty of paper ballots. The demo will provide voters with a printed record of their votes, which they can check and place into a physical ballot box, with verification through the web portal serving as a supplemental layer of security and verifiability.

 

ElectionGuard is free and open-source and will be available through GitHub as an SDK later this summer. This week’s demo is simply one sample of the many ways ElectionGuard can be used to improve voting, and the final SDK will also enable features like Risk Limiting Audits to compare ballots with ballot counts and other post-election audits.

 

No one solution alone can address cyberattacks from nation-states. As we’ve seen, attackers will take any avenue to gain intelligence and disrupt the democratic process. That’s why Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program has also offered Microsoft 365 for Campaigns and AccountGuard to protect political campaigns, parties and democracy-focused NGOs, and it’s why we’ve partnered with NewsGuard to defend against disinformation.

 

The post New cyberthreats require new ways to protect democracy appeared first on Microsoft on the Issues.

 

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Protecting political campaigns from hacking |Microsoft on the Issues

Protecting political campaigns from hacking |Microsoft on the Issues

This is very much a step in the right direction. A challenge to open-source advocates to do something similar (LibreOffice are you listening!)

Today, at Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a new service from our Defending Democracy Program called Microsoft 365 for Campaigns, which brings the high-end security capabilities of our Microsoft 365 Business offering to political parties and campaigns.

 

The majority of security breaches faced by political campaigns originate from malicious phishing attacks and target email and filesharing systems. But many campaigns are ill-equipped to deal with these threats from nation-states and criminal scammers. We talked with campaign staffers and leaders in campaign technology and heard repeatedly that security solutions for email often were too hard to configure and too expensive. M365 for Campaigns addresses both issues by making it easy to deploy advanced security features at a much lower price.

 

Starting today, campaigns can sign up to be notified when the service becomes available in June by visiting https://m365forcampaigns.microsoft.com.

 

M365 for Campaigns will be available in June to all federal election campaigns, federal candidate committees, and national party committees in the United States, and we are exploring ways to bring the service to other countries in the future.

 

As we said when we announced the Defending Democracy Program, threats to our democratic processes from cyber-enabled interference have become a critical concern. We must all partner and do more to protect free and fair elections, and securing campaigns is an important part of this work.

 

The post Protecting political campaigns from hacking appeared first on Microsoft on the Issues.

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Will 5G be the answer for underserved rural America? | Android Central

This is the main reason behind the purchase of Sprint by T-Mobile, it’s their spectrum holdings, not necessarily their customer base. Disclosure: A current T-Mobile customer, a former customer of Sprint in the 3G data only when I was an OTR trucker.

Also interesting, as much as the story itself is the comments. Mostly on topic, but demonstrates a wide gap between perceived coverage and actual coverage, even in some cases one county removed from a major or mid-sized city.

It’s been touted that 5G is the answer to get broadband internet service to rural parts of the U.S., but like everything else, it isn’t that simple. 5G has the potential to cover everyone in the United States because it’s deployed so differently to current broadband solutions like cable and satellite (and fiber, but that’s still a pipe dream for most of the world), and the equipment used for a cell “tower” is much smaller and cheaper to build and deploy than running wire.

 

This will allow for planning a 5G network not only in places like Chicago or Los Angeles but Western Washington and Appalachia, too. Narrowband 5G can also connect up to 100-times more clients than existing tech and has 10-times the range. It sounds like the answer.

 

To become the answer, though, a few other things need to be discussed. The biggest hurdle, according to industry partners ready to profit by providing 5G access, is spectrum licensing. While the narrowband 5G mentioned above does have 10-times more range than existing services can provide, a more realistic look using the spectrum available and messy standards we have now mean you would need a small-site 5G station spaced only a few hundred feet apart according to NTCA Senior VP of Industry Affairs Michael Romano.

 

via Will 5G be the answer for underserved rural America? | Android Central

Top 5 things to know about voting and blockchain – TechRepublic

20181001-blockchainvote-tom

blockchainvote-tom via Tech Republic

West Virginia is trying this out. Imagine this state being a leader in Blockchain technology for political purposes. Hard to so do, but here we are. BTW Ojeda YES!

via Top 5 things to know about voting and blockchain – TechRepublic

Oklahoma Government in Row Over Alleged HIPAA Violation

Oklahoma Government in Row Over Alleged HIPAA Violation

 

Thinkstock via HealthITSecurity.com

 

As I read this article while attempting to keep up with interesting HIPAA articles, I did some quick research on Wikipedia, Bing search engines, and the Federal agency that covers this topic. I couldn’t find any reference to caching and storage, which is central to attaining the truth on which political position is correct on the subject. Long story short, a planned maintenance Internet outage occurred; some staffers used their smartphones loaded with an app to access Personal Health Information; no agreement on the correctness of this action bordering on partisanship.

I believed that it is the job of journalists and editors to gather facts on the subject in question and present them in the article, or at least the updated version online after a printed story. Disclaimer, I did not go to journalism school at Auburn University.

Two branches of Oklahoma’s government are embroiled in a controversy over whether the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs committed a HIPAA violation.

Source: Oklahoma Government in Row Over Alleged HIPAA Violation