Emerging Technologies and Law
Cross-border Movement of Data and Digital Assets
by Business Insider
The Boston-based telehealth service provider Amwell is set to go public, having raised USD 200 million in funding, as the demand for telemedicine and telehealth services continue to surge during the covid-19 pandemic. The skyrocketing demand for these services attracts is encouraging investments in the industry despite the global economic downturn.
by IEEE Spectrum
An Italian research team called the Low-Hanging Fruits has developed a robot known as the LHF-Connect. The robot helps hospitalised Covid-19 patients to connect with their families and friends through phone calls. It was launched under the TechForCare initiative, a collaboration between the Italian Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, and Maker Faire Rome. The technology can also be potentially used for remote medical consultations and telemedicine.
by Computer Weekly
Royal Stoke University Hospital in Staffordshire, run by the University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust, has become one of the first hospitals in the United Kingdom to deploy thermographic technology to detect possible coronavirus positive patients. The thermal cameras claim to identify individuals with a fever, but are in no way the ultimate measure to detect the potential carriers of Covid-19. Temperature surveillance has said to be trialled in places such as airports and restaurants, and are expected to increasingly be deployed in healthcare spaces too.
by Fast Company
The loneliness epidemic has only been exacerbated due to the prevalent stay-at-home and social distancing norms around the world. Technological innovation can ease this challenge. Start-ups and research groups around the world are developing cutting-edge insights and technology to address this in the form of emotional well-being products, such as intuition robots, chatbots, virtual emotional support, and immersive technology.
by The Verge
Following a landmark decision, by the Food and Drug Administration, Akili Interactive’s EndeavorRX, formerly Project EVO, has become the first video game that can legally be marketed as a prescription medicine for children with Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.
by The Washington Post
A group of 143 scientists, currently or previously funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative or the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, signed a letter urging Mark Zuckerberg to consider stricter policies in relation to the use of the Facebook platform to spread misinformation and make incendiary speeches. The letter, particularly, called out Zuckerberg’s decision to allow President Trump’s remark on the protests against racial discrimination and police brutality in the United States – “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. The list of signatories include researchers from more than 60 leading research institutions, including the Harvard University and the University of Stanford.
The protests against racial discrimination and police brutality that originated in the United States and spread across major world cities sparked a discussion on the effect of enhanced surveillance technology, deployed by law-enforcement authorities, on the privacy of protestors. The use of real-time facial recognition devices, military drones, and phone tracking tools by police forces gives rise to issues of consent and privacy of the protestors. Particularly, the lack of anonymity of participants may dissuade civilians from participating in peaceful demonstrations.
Amidst the nationwide protests against racial discrimination and police brutality in the United States, IBM, Amazon and Microsoft have denied police departments in the country access to their facial recognition technology. The move started with the IBM CEO addressing a letter to the Congress that the company will no longer offer general-purpose facial recognition or analysis software, in a move to oppose the use of such technology by law-enforcement agencies for mass surveillance, racial profiling, and violations of basic human rights. This was followed by a similar statement from Microsoft and an announcement by Amazon, declaring a one-year moratorium on the police-use of Amazon’s facial recognition technology. It hopes to trigger a national dialogue over whether and how the use of facial recognition technology by law-enforcement agencies is acceptable. However, some remain sceptical about the integrity of these decisions.
by The New York Times
A few states in the United States, like Delaware and West Virginia, are experimenting with online voting ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election, amidst the pandemic and widespread upheaval in the country. The Department of Homeland Security has expressed concerns over the safety of the voting system from cyber hacks. There are also concerns about the security of voter registration databases from criminals and adversary nations that may attempt to render them inaccessible during the elections.
The digital diplomacy department within the Israeli Foreign Ministry is increasingly using social media platforms to connect with audience from neighbouring countries with which Israel has no diplomatic relations. It is using the language and sentiment that it shares with neighbouring countries to foster its connections and break stereotypes about Israel. The head of the Israeli digital diplomacy department has stated that online diplomacy has taken a centre-stage in the Ministry, as opposed to 2011 when it was a mere side task.
In a move to modernise the country’s pension system, a Bangladeshi government agency has collaborated with IBM to build a distributed ledger technology-based digital pension system for its primary school teachers. This will ensure tamper-resistant record-keeping and increase confidence in the system. IBM has launched several other Blockchain initiatives in Bangladesh to modernise the organisation of the Bangladeshi society.
by Financial Times
Twitter has suspended several accounts that were involved in the disinformation campaign run by the Chinese government in order to spread pro-Beijing messages in riot-hit Hong Kong. China’s use of fake accounts to influence public opinion and spread disinformation is akin to the tactics commonly associated with the governments of Russia and Iran.
In a significant development in the use of the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) in Turkey, İşbank, a Turkish bank, completed the country’s first international trade finance transaction using R3 Corda’s blockchain platform. The transaction was secured between İşbank and German Commerzbank by digitally processing the data transfer, financing the trade of laminated glass interlayers from Germany to Turkey. It was carried out on May 27, 2020. The use of the DLT in securing international payment transactions enables a paradigm shift in cross-border payment systems, by increasing the speed, integrity, and efficiency, and decreasing the costs of such transactions.
On June 2, 2020, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) initiated investigations into the Digital Services Tax (DST) that have been adopted or are being considered by its trading partners, including, but not limited to, Brazil, the European Union, India, and the United Kingdom. The USTR claims that the DSTs adopted by some of its trading partners unfairly target the US tech companies like Google and Amazon. Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 empowers the USTR to unilaterally respond to a foreign country’s unfair trade practices that negatively affect its domestic enterprises. Section 301 had been rarely invoked since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation in 1995, until the Trump administration imposed unilateral trade sanctions under the provision on imports from China in 2018.
by The Motley Fool / Nasaq
The data mining company, Palantir Technologies, founded almost 17 years ago by Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel and other Paypal alumni. The company gathers data from both public and private databases, and employs Artificial Intelligence for data analysis. Its revenue amounted to USD 739 million in 2019 and is expected to rise to USD 1 billion in 2020.
by BBC Business
WhatsApp has launched its digital payment service in Brazil called WhatsApp Pay, which allows users to send money to one another for free and make purchases from small businesses. In January, parent-company Facebook had outlined plans to launch the service in India, Indonesia and Mexico, in a move to capitalise on its widespread popularity. The launch comes ahead of Facebook’s objective to push for more e-commerce through its platform.
About the Department
The Research Department on Emerging Technologies and Law (ETL) aims to bridge the gaps between emerging technologies and law.
The term “Emerging Technologies” encompasses the most novel, advanced, and prominent innovations that are developed within various fields of current modern technology. Examples of such technologies include, for instance, advanced nanotechnologies in healthcare, data diplomacy, contact tracing, social credit systems, and the emergence and use of digital assets amongst other technologies.
We are currently undergoing a ‘tech revolution’, and like every revolution, it envisions a more inclusive, efficient and just society that enriches human life. At the Invictus Corporation, the ETL Department contributes to this vision by analysing and evaluating the legal challenges set forth by emerging technologies.
In our work, we place great emphasis on honesty, integrity, altruism, professionalism, diversity and mutual respect. Utilising an interdisciplinary research methodology supported by a diverse and international team, we identify, consider and address a variety of differing perspectives enabling us to bolster the quality of our research and publications.
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