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Lagging government policies

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to get cities ready for driverless cars

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to develop policy recommendations for cities to get them ready for the coming of self-driving cars. His philantrophic arm Bloomberg Philantrophies and the Aspen Institute will reach out to mayors, academics and experts to talk and plan about the future of autonomous vehicles. As a start, five cities will serve as testing grounds, including Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, Buenos Aires and Paris, with five more cities to be announced by the end of the year. According to The Washington Post, key issues cities need to look at are road maintenance, workers' training, institution design and land use planning. It is also an opportunity for cities to address pedestrian safety, carbon reduction and economic mobility, said James Anderson of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Key Takeaway: 

Former mayor and philantrophist Michael Bloomberg plans to have a discussion with mayors, the academe and experts to talk about policy recommendations cities can adopt as more driverless cars are expected on roads in the near future.

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October 24, 2016

EU to impose higher fines for data breaches

The European Union recently set tougher data protection laws called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will introduce higher fines to companies for data breaches, from hundreds of thousands of euros to millions. The regulation is already in effect but mandatory enforcement will start in 2018. Fines can amount up to €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover, whichever is greater, for major breaches and up to €10 million or 2% of global annual turnover, whichever is bigger, for less serious incidents. UK companies could collectively pay as much as £122 billion overall in 2018, a 90-fold rise from the £1.4 billion estimated regulatory fines for data breaches in 2015. The PCI Security Standards Council is urging companies to put in place standards and procedures to detect, prevent and counter cyberattacks in view of the rising costs of regulatory fines. In 2015, 90% of large organizations and 74% of SMEs in the UK reported a security breach.

Key Takeaway: 

Companies doing business in the European Union may face larger fines of millions of euros if found to be subject of data breach when the new and stricter data protection regulation takes into full effect by 2018.

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October 17, 2016

Yahoo hack brings to light insufficiency of SEC cyber disclosure rules

Yahoo recently announced that at least 500 million accounts were breached by hackers in 2014 blaming it on a state-sponsored actor. The company did not provide details on when the hack was discovered nor did it mention it during the sale of its core Internet business to Verizon. This announcement brings to light that existing SEC rules remain unclear as to what hacking incidents considered to have "materially adverse effects on businesses" need disclosure and the need to enforce them more aggressively to make companies comply. It also calls into question whether the current set of SEC rules is adequate to address disclosure of hacking incidents. According to a Reuters report, less than 100 of 9,000 public companies have disclosed a material data breach since 2010. There is currently no national requirement for companies to inform the public of data breaches.

Key Takeaway: 

The recent announcement of the hack on Yahoo in 2014 involving stolen data from more than 500 million accounts challenges SEC's existing set of rules on cyberattack disclosure, and highlights the need for it to be defined more clearly and enforced aggressively.

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September 30, 2016

High skilled foreign workers drive growth in STEM occupations

A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that the number of foreign workers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors with university degrees has been increasing since 1993. Furthermore, same report shows that foreign employees with advanced degrees such as doctorates and masters are higher than those with bachelor's degrees. This debunks the notion that foreign workers are taking over American jobs because they are cheaper. Rather, it's the well skilled foreign employees that are staffing more STEM jobs and getting paid more than their native counterparts since the expansion of the H1-B visa program in the 1990s. The growth in highly skilled immigrants in STEM occupations has contributed to America's rise in the global technology sector. Government policy that aims to reduce the number of immigrants in the US could hamper the country's major economic centers, according to a Pacific Standard report.

Key Takeaway: 

A new report from NBER found that a greater portion of STEM jobs are staffed by foreign workers, an indicator of the significance and contribution of high skilled immigrants to the advancement of the technology sector in the US.

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September 21, 2016

Department of Transportation issues safety rules for driverless cars

The US Department of Transportation has issued safety guidelines for autonomous vehicles. Manufacturers are asked to provide details on the design and operation of their vehicles and be transparent on testing mechanisms and customer privacy. The federal policy also dictates that states be responsible for regulating human control of an automobile. In the future, it could also enforce makers to fix safety risks via timely software updates, collect information, and share data to improve the technology. Technology firms, ride sharing companies and car manufacturers are already testing self-driving cars on roads including Uber and Tesla. Tesla announced plans to improve its long range radar systems after a fatal crash earlier this year.

Key Takeaway: 

The US government announced federal safety guidelines for autonomous vehicles prior to being launched on roads as well as those that are currently being tested by automobile and technology companies.

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Publication Date: 
September 20, 2016

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