FCC will require phone carriers to authenticate calls by 2021

The FCC announced that all carriers must adopt the STIR/SHAKEN protocol by June 30, 2021. The protocol is designed to combat robocalls, specifically aimed at the calls trying to hide their caller ID. The protocol requires carriers to verify phone numbers. The FCC estimates fraudulent call schemes cost Americans approximately 10 million per year. For the implementation to work carriers must test it with other networks. It will require cooperation among telecommunication companies. A way to display a “call verified” stamp when a unknown or unsaved number calls your device. Robocalls won’t disappear overnight but this is a step in the correct direction to preserve our privacy.



U.S. Government uses mobile location data to track movements during COVID-19 outbreak.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the government is using data from the mobile advertising industry. Government officials at the federal and state level, as well as those at the CDC,  having been tracking the movement of the public to better understand the COVID-19. 

Data collection doesn’t include personal information, such as name or number. This still raises privacy concerns nonetheless. The government says they is all to make sure citizens are complying with the stay at home and shelter-in-place order. These circumstances reduce our privacy to less than what it is. We are uncertain of how the government will use this data after the threat of COVID-19 drops.

Taking a different view the data could come in hand can see this data as invaluable to tracking the spread of the virus. The issue is people have to volunteer the rights to their location at all times.


PayPal, Intuit & Square approved to offer loans to small business through COVID-19 relief program

The lobbying efforts of an alliance known as Financial Innovation Now, has finally paid off, as PayPal, Intuit & Square have all been approved to participate in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program, it provides aide in the form of forgivable loans. These forgivable loans are for small businesses that keep all employees on their payroll for atleast two months. The $350 billion small business loan program is a part of Congress $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, it is aid at those businesses with fewer than 500 employees. 

Since 2013, PayPal has provided loans and cash advances to business owners. Those efforts to date have provided access to more than $15 billion in funding for over 305,000 small businesses. PayPal become the first non-bank institution to be approved to distribute loans under the SBA Program. Intuit and Square followed as approved by the government to provide loans for small businesses.  Financial Innovation Now leader wrote to lawmakers about these specific companies because of their ability to “reach those businesses most vulnerable, in a more timely fashion than traditional financial institutions.”


Snapchat launches new business hub in response to COVID-19

This article gave an interesting look into the measures snapchat is taking to help businesses reach their audience during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are providing marketers with resources, insights and tools to reach their audience in this unique time we are living through. The article pulls directly from the resource itself and provides some very interesting insight into the current trends in snapchat use. Of the most interesting was the graph at the end reflecting how much snapchat use has increased, as well as other digital media streaming services and their projections. Of the other numbers, snapchat expects that their users will see a 35% expected increase in online shopping, and an overall increase in the use of shopping and food delivery apps. The insights that snapchat is providing will be important for marketing professionals to take advantage of when business is no longer functioning as usual


Pentagon officially releases UFO videos

The Pentagon has released three short videos showing an “unidentified aerial phenomenon” that had been previously released by a private company. The videos show service members reacting in awe. The Navy previous acknowledged the videos back in September but are releasing them now due to “misconceptions by the public”.

“These aircrafts are displaying characteristics that aren’t currently within the inventory of the United States or foreign inventory that we’re aware of,” Luis Elizondo says, former head of a classified program. Elizondo resigned in 2017 in protest of the secrecy surrounding the program and funding disputes.

With the Pentagon releasing classified footage of UFO’s Elizondo expresses his thoughts on Twitter. He’s glad that the government released the sightings but says it only scratches the surface. We should really think about the national security risk surrounding this issue.


Airbnb announces stricter cleaning protocols and more time in between guest check ins

Due to the new protocol established by the CDC, Airbnb has changed its policies for Airbnb hosts. 

According to the Forbes article I read this week, “The CDC recommends a 24-hour wait period before entering a recently-vacated property. Listings enrolled in the new protocol can be available for stays immediately after the enhanced cleaning is performed.

Airbnb hosts who are unable to commit to the new cleaning protocol can alternatively opt to use “Booking Buffer,” a tool that will automatically block reservations for an established period, such as 72 hours, between stays. Cleaning would be the only permissible activity during this period. This option includes the same CDC-recommended 24-hour wait period before entering, and hosts should still observe CDC recommendations and other applicable local guidance.

The concept of longer periods between occupancies was first developed for Airbnb’s “Frontline Stays” project, which offered over 200,000 places to stay for medical workers and first responders around the world”.


Amazon Care to provide delivery and pick-up of at-home Coronavirus test sample kits in Seattle.

Backed by the Gates Foundation, a new research initiative, Amazon will distribute at-home coronavirus assessment kits, then deliver the collected samples to FDA-approved test facilities. Amazon Care is a health arm formed by Amazon initially for internal employee care. They will be handling the delivery of the kits along with the transportation of collected samples to testing labs. The Amazon Care driver who are doing the test kit drop-offs and deliveries are specifically trained in proper handling of sensitive medical materials. Kits will be limited, but include a mouth swab similar to other kinds of swab test taking place in testing facilities. Should a person test positive for COVID-19, the person who provided the sample will then be contacted by a healthcare work for further instructions, which will include advice on how to seek treatment and prevent transmission.


Facebook faces potential $529B fine, By Australia over Cambridge Analytica

An Australian watch dog is suing Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica data breach in 2018. An Australian privacy act set out a provision for penalties up to 1.7 million to be levied per infraction. It is believed that there were 311, 074 local Facebook users who’s data was in the cache of 86 million profiles lifted by Cambridge Analytica.

The Office of Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has logged proceeding against Facebook in federal court for the companies repeated privacy interference. Facebook allegedly disclosed personal information to an application called, this is your digital life. This application used user data for purposes other than what the data was collected for. In doing so Facebook breaches an Australian privacy act from 1988. The creator of the app “GSR” was hired by Cambridge Analytica to obtain and process Facebook users’ data for politically targeted ads.

User data was syphoned off from March 2014 to May 2015 by GSR. Under contract with Cambridge Analytica they were working on United States political campaigns of Ted Cruz and later President Trump. Facebook failed to take responsible steps to protect its individuals’ personal information from unauthorized disclosure. Along with the fines, Australian and international regulators want to restrict information available to app developers. Which would imply new protocols for social media. This case is currently before the Federal Court.

UConn researchers creates a smart-bandage to help chronic wounds heal more effectively

Uconn researchers create a smart-bandage, a wearable device, that can deliver medicine to patient with minimal pain. The bandage, developed by Dr. Ali Tamayol, and researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Harvard Medical School, is equipped with miniature needles that can be controlled remotely- allowing the drugs to be programmed by care providers without visiting the patient. Providers can wirelessly control the release of drugs delivered through the miniature needles. This method has proved to be more effective than tropical solutions when it comes to wound closure and hair growth. I believe they are alot of safety and privacy concerns with this smart bandage. There are also many positives to this because It pushing health care forward.

Facial recognition start up has it’s full client list stolen

Clearview AI says a recent vulnerability has allowed someone to gain “unauthorized access” to a list of all its customers. Unfortunately, data breaches are apart of life in the 21st century. The vulnerability kept hackers at bay from accessing Clearview’s accounts of 3 billion. This vulnerability has since be patched and servers were checked but no breach was reported.