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Daily Archives: May 14, 2018

CFPB techies blast talk of taking down complaint portal

FCW.com: “…Created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of the first federal examples of bringing in outside tech talent to deliver government services. “If you’re going to build a government agency from scratch, you’re going to get the chance to do things differently,” one former CFPB senior official told FCW. That different approach also resulted in one of government’s first major government 2.0 digital service offerings: an online, searchable database of consumer complaints against bad behavior from the financial industry. Now, the bureau’s acting head has indicated he wants to take it down. “I don’t see anything in here that says I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government,” acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney, who also serves as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said at a recent American Bankers Association conference. “I don’t see anything in here that says that I have to make all of those public.”…To those who built the database, many of whom came from the private sector and subsequently joined innovation shops like 18F and the U.S. Digital Service, it’s more than just a ‘Yelp for financial services.’ It’s a staple of open government. “As an open data and transparency advocate, I firmly believe that the role of government is to release the raw data it collects and to let the public determine how to best use it,” said Merici Vinton, one of CFPB’s first 20 employees.To that end, “the database allows the CFPB, journalists, researchers and other interested parties to spot any trends or new and possibly suspicious products that are impacting the market in a negative way and react accordingly,” she said…”

NBC – Google sells the future, powered by your personal data

NBC News: Personal data collection practices are in the hot seat. So why isn’t Google, which collects more data than Facebook, feeling the heat? The more Google products you use, the more Google can gather about you. Whether it’s Gmail, the Android smartphone operating system, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Maps, and, of course, Google Search… Continue Reading

Unions and Inequality Over the Twentieth Century: New Evidence from Survey Data

NBER [access req’d]: Unions and Inequality Over the Twentieth Century: New Evidence from Survey Data. Henry S. Farber, Daniel Herbst, Ilyana Kuziemko, Suresh Naidu. NBER Working Paper No. 24587 Issued in May 2018, “It is well-documented that, since at least the early twentieth century, U.S. income inequality has varied inversely with union density. But moving… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About E-Fail and the PGP Flaw

EFF: “…you should stop using PGP for encrypted email and switch to a different secure communications method for now. A group of researchers released a paper today that describes a new class of serious vulnerabilities in PGP (including GPG), the most popular email encryption standard. The new paper includes a proof-of-concept exploit that can allow… Continue Reading

Mapping Immune Cells in the Human Body

Center for Data Innovation: “Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Broad Institute, a genomic research center, have published a database of genetic profiles of over half a million immune cells. The data includes information about the characteristics, structure, and metadata of 224,000 cells from bone marrow and 306,000 cells from umbilical cord blood. This… Continue Reading

EU Commission’s Proposal on Public Sector Data Is Good, But Could Be Better

Center for Data Innovation: “The European Commission has published a package of measures entitled “Towards a common European data space,” which aims to promote the sharing and re-use of data in the European Union. The only legislative component of the package is a proposal to revise the Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive, which requires member… Continue Reading

IMF Global Debt Database

Global Debt Database: Methodology and Sources. Samba Mbaye; Marialuz Moreno Badia; Kyungla Chae. May 14, 2018. “This paper describes the compilation of the Global Debt Database (GDD), a cutting-edge dataset covering private and public debt for virtually the entire world (190 countries) dating back to the 1950s. The GDD is the result of a multiyear… Continue Reading