Technology Policy & Ethics: July 2017

Achieving Better Platform Quality

by Mark W. Olson

Value added developers are highly dependent upon the quality and security of the platform on which they build. As a developer of an automotive IoT product, I am concerned about the potential liability I may share with the platform vendor should our devices get hacked and damages are incurred. Platform vendors do not publish objective metrics about the quality of their software, making it impossible to gauge baseline quality and subsequent improvements. By definition, security holes are bugs, and many product bugs are security holes. Conversely, testing only shows the presence of bugs, but not the absence of bugs. As a result, it can be difficult to prove the quality level of any product. Based upon the number of updates and the many reported successful hacking incidents, there is likely significant room for the improvement of quality and security of today’s software products.

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Mobile-Assisted Data Collection for Effective Policymaking

Notes from a multi-country water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) monitoring program

by Sridhar Vedachalam, Alec Shannon and Kellogg J Schwab, Johns Hopkins Water Institute, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH)

As originally published in the January issue of the IEEE Internet Policy Newsletter

An estimated 2.4 billion people lack access to an improved sanitation option, while nearly 1 billion people lack access to improved water[1]. Lack of access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is a leading cause of diarrheal illness, intestinal worm infections and poor nutritional status in developing countries. The annual reporting of WASH statistics was made possible when the United Nations established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 to address a series of interconnected issues including poverty, health, sanitation and education[2]. Reports based on the MDGs have constituted some of the most important global development policy tools used to set national priorities for WASH, and the data collected as part of that effort remains the officially cited source on water and sanitation access in much of the world.

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