STLR Link Roundup – November 22, 2019

Global Blood secures FDA approval for new pill to treat sickle cell disease

Global Blood Therapeutics, an international pharmaceutical company, was given an accelerated approval by the FDA, for their drug, Oxybryta. The accelerated approval means that a follow-up clinical trial will still be needed. The move was surprising: it came three months ahead of time, but more importantly, was based on a mode of showing efficacy. The FDA usually gives approval for such drugs when trials show statistically signification reductions in the number of pain crises/episodes suffered by patients. For Oxybryta, only data showing an increase in hemoglobin was provided.

Google Fires Four Employees, Citing Data-Security Violations

On November 18, 2019, Google informed its staff that it had fired four employees due to repeated breaches of its data-security policies, even after being warned about it. While the news triggered a protest by some 200 employees outside of Google’s headquarters, the breaches seemed quite flagrant. The fired employees “involved…systematic searches for other employees’ materials and work. This includes searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs”. One employee even subscribed to a fellow employee’s calendar and kept track of all manner of appointments, including personal and medical ones.

Uber May Be Banned From London, One of Its Biggest Markets

Adding to its legal woes, and following from a previous 2017 brush with London’s transport regulatory authority for private hire vehicles, Transport from London, Uber did not receive a renewal of its license to operate in its most profitable European market. The authority stated that Uber had shown a “pattern of failures”, relating to passenger safety. In 2017, the authority had found that Uber’s background checks and reporting of criminal offenses involving drivers and passengers were adequate. After being given a 15 month grace period to rectify the issues, Uber received approval. However, the authority has now found some 14,000 incidents where drivers used another driver’s photo ID, or where Uber’s system allowed the registration of previously dismissed or suspended drivers. Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision.

The Technology 202: Getting digital evidence can be hard for police. This bill would create a new office to help.

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) has introduced a bipartisan bill to create centers to facilitate the access by law enforcement of crucial data held by tech companies. The bill proposes the creation of the Office of Digital Law Enforcement at the Department of Justice, along with a Center for Excellence in Digital Forensics, which would be a hub for technical expertise and and legal assistance. The bill is part of efforts to that the historically frosty relationship between law enforcement and Silicon Valley.

Global 5G deal poses significant threat to weather forecast accuracy, experts warn

Representatives of the NOAA and other US government agencies involved in meteorological forecast cited grave concerns with the negotiation position that had been taken by US government representatives at a meeting in Sharm-el-Sheikh, where an international deal has concluded, on the roll-out of 5G technology using specific radio bans. Specifically, the use of a 24-ghz frequency band could interfere with the NOAA’s and NASA’s polar-orbiting weather satellites. One figure cited was a potential loss of 77% of data from microwave sounders on the NOAA’s satellites. These concerns relate to ‘out-of-band’ emission limits, in order to curb the amount of interference caused by 5G technology.

The Technology 202: Here are Amazon’s four exhibits to support claim JEDI contract was improperly awarded

Following up from last week’s Link Round-up, information on four of the exhibits which Amazon will be relying on has now been released. All four exhibits relate to how President Trump has engaged with both social media and news platforms, amidst his frequent verbal attacks on Amazon. It could trigger a broader reckoning of such behavior.

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