Internet Regimes and WTO E-Commerce Negotiations

Internet Regimes and WTO E-Commerce Negotiations. Congressional Research Service. Rachel F. Fefer. January 28, 2020.

From retail to agriculture or healthcare, digitization has affected all sectors and allowed more industries to engage with customers and partners around the globe. Many U.S. companies thrived in the initial online environment, which lacked clear rules and guidelines, quickly expanding their offerings and entering foreign markets. As the internet has evolved, however, governments have begun to impose national laws and regulations to pursue data protection, data security, privacy, and other policy objectives. The lack of global rules and norms for data and digital trade is leading to differences in these domestic internet regimes. Competing internet regimes and conflicting data governance rules increase trade barriers and limit investment flows and international commerce, restricting the ability of U.S. businesses and consumers to enter and compete in some markets. For example, foreign internet regimes may use national security regulations to block cross-border data flows, disrupting global supply chains and limiting the potential use of and gains from emerging technologies. The creation of national technology standards can also limit market access by foreign firms.
As the digital economy expands, the diversity in digital rules is poised to grow in complexity and create new trade restrictions. The resulting patchwork of technical standards and national systems creates challenges for international trade, and may signal an impending fracturing of the global internet. Without agreement on global norms or common trade rules, some analysts foresee a splitting of the internet into distinct nation-led “dataspheres” and virtual trading blocs.

[PDF format, 29 pages].

Fighting Disinformation Online: A Database of Web Tools

Fighting Disinformation Online: A Database of Web Tools. RAND Corporation. Jennifer Kavanagh, Hilary Reininger, Norah Griffin. November 12, 2019

The rise of the internet and the advent of social media have fundamentally changed the information ecosystem, giving the public direct access to more information than ever before. But it’s often nearly impossible to distinguish between accurate information and low-quality or false content. This means that disinformation — false or intentionally misleading information that aims to achieve an economic or political goal — can become rampant, spreading further and faster online than it ever could in another format.

As part of its Truth Decay initiative, RAND is responding to this urgent problem. Researchers identified and characterized the universe of online tools developed by nonprofits and civil society organizations to target online disinformation. The tools in this database are aimed at helping information consumers, researchers, and journalists navigate today’s challenging information environment. Researchers identified and characterized each tool on a number of dimensions, including the type of tool, the underlying technology, and the delivery format.

Using Social Media and Social Network Analysis in Law Enforcement

Using Social Media and Social Network Analysis in Law Enforcement: Creating a Research Agenda, Including Business Cases, Protections, and Technology Needs. RAND Corporation. John S. Hollywood et al. July 18, 2018

 This report describes the proceedings of an April 2017 expert workshop on the use of social media and social network analysis in law enforcement. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 28 pages].

Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe

Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe. Atlantic Council.  Frances Burwell. May 8, 2018

 In an age of transatlantic tensions over the Iran deal, trade balances, and steel tariffs, digital policy is uniquely poised to offer opportunities for greater US-EU cooperation. At the same time, the digital arena also has the potential to be a policy minefield, with issues such as privacy, digital taxation, and competition policy still unresolved. Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe addresses these challenges and explores how the US-EU digital agenda fits in the larger transatlantic relationship. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 24 pages].

Smart Homes and the Internet of Things

Smart Homes and the Internet of Things. Atlantic Council. Greg Lindsay et al. March 30, 2016.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next step in the evolution of wireless networks. Analysts predict the IoT will double in size to nearly 50 billion devices by 2020, comprising a $1.7 trillion market. One of the greatest opportunities still lies ahead in the form of the “smart home.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 12 pages, 1.38 MB].

Crowdfunded Journalism: A Small but Growing Addition to Publicly Driven Journalism

Crowdfunded Journalism: A Small but Growing Addition to Publicly Driven Journalism. Pew Research Center. Nancy Vogt and Amy Mitchell. January 20, 2016.

Over the past several years, crowdfunding via the internet has become a popular way to engage public support – and financial backing – for all kinds of projects, from the Coolest Cooler to a virtual reality gaming headset to a prototype of a sailing spacecraft and a bailout fund for Greece. The area of journalism is no exception. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 34 pages, 1.28 MB].

Gaming and Gamers

Gaming and Gamers. Pew Research Center. Maeve Duggan. December 15, 2015.

In recent years, major debates have emerged about the societal impact of video games and the effect they have on the people who play them. Among the disputes: whether men predominate in gaming and whether violent games promote aggressive behavior. A nearly identical share of men and women report ever playing video games (50% of men and 48% of women). Americans are relatively divided over whether there is a possible link between violent games and actual violence. A slight majority of the public (53%) disagree with the statement “people who play violent video games are more likely to be violent themselves.” But 40% agree that there is a relationship between video game violence and violent behavior. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 23 pages, 1,000 KB].

Searching for Work in the Digital Era

Searching for Work in the Digital Era. Pew Research Center. Aaron Smith. November 19, 2015.

The internet is an essential employment resource for many of today’s job seekers, according to the survey. A majority of U.S. adults (54%) have gone online to look for job information, 45% have applied for a job online, and job-seeking Americans are just as likely to have turned to the internet during their most recent employment search as to their personal or professional networks. Yet even as the internet has taken on a central role in how people find and apply for work, a minority of Americans would find it difficult to engage in many digital job seeking behaviors. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 30 pages, 970.55 KB].

The Internet of Things: Frequently Asked Questions

The Internet of Things: Frequently Asked Questions. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Eric A. Fischer. October 13, 2015.

“Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to networks of objects that communicate with other objects and with computers through the Internet. “Things” may include virtually any object for which remote communication, data collection, or control might be useful, such as vehicles, appliances, medical devices, electric grids, transportation infrastructure, manufacturing equipment, or building systems. In other words, the IoT potentially includes huge numbers and kinds of interconnected objects. It is often considered the next major stage in the evolution of cyberspace. Some observers believe it might even lead to a world where cyberspace and human space would seem to effectively merge, with unpredictable but potentially momentous societal and cultural impacts.

[PDF format, 27 pages, 734.5 KB].