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Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 279 - 4 January 2021
MIT Media Lab Announces Next Director
The justly famous MIT Media Lab, a breeding ground of invention and innovation at the intersection of cyberphysical systems and social sciences, announced that it will get a new director in July 2021. She is Dava Newman, "visionary astronautics researcher, explorer, and expert on human adaptation to space" and the first woman leader of the 35-year old institution.
Three Cutter Consortium Webinars
The Cutter Consortium (which was acquired by Arthur D. Little a year ago) announced three webinars, all of which promise to be quite interesting, in early 2021:
Navigating Data Protection Regulations
In a recent KIT, we mentioned Paweł Mielniczek, an international legal consultant on intellectual property and data protection issues, as the source of our article on the fines levied against companies that violated data protection regulations. Another law firm worth looking at is Transatlantic Lawyer, run from New York City by our ex-colleague Stephan Grynwajc. With data protection laws being passed in Europe, Canada and several states of the US, Stephan's practice has adopted a strong "digital focus" across those geographies.

In a recent conversation, Stephan shared observations about the risks that some "data processors" (such as cloud or hosting service providers) run. "They may close their eyes and sign contracts in order to close a sale with a large client, obligating themselves to things they don't really understand such as compliance with Article 28.3 of the EU's GDPR. It doesn't help that the various regulations (GDPR in Europe, PIPEDA in Canada, CCPA in California, etc.) are different. So if a data breach occurs, who do you report it to, and within what time frame?"
Improving Cybersecurity Across the EU

The existing European Union Cybersecurity Directive (No. 2016/1148) is less than five years old, but as a sign of the speed at which the threats evolve and our awareness of them increases, a new proposal has already been written to replace it. One of the reasons behind the proposed changes is that the current directive is not being consistently applied to all vulnerable organizations (such as hospitals) across EU countries. Those member states are also squarely blamed for ineffective supervision and enforcement of the current rules, including a reluctance to impose fines for violations and a lack of information sharing among them. The authors conclude that "systemic and structural changes" were required and propose a new, more stringent text.
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"The majority of organizations are now directly up against the forces of profound complexity, high scale, exponential change/choice, even chaos theory."
-- Dion Hinchcliffe, via Twitter
"In India, parents are being aggressively sold the idea that their children must start coding at 4 or 5 or be future failures."
-- Neelesh Misra, in a New York Times opinion piece entitled "Do Children Really Need to Learn to Code?"