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DataScan: Issue #59

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The Digital Republic. Why we must combine information. Blockchain's fundamental challenges. The ultim
 

DataScan

December 17 · Issue #59 · View online
Curated digest on the world of data.

The Digital Republic. Why we must combine information. Blockchain’s fundamental challenges. The ultimate GDPR guide. McLaren’s hypercar testing facility.

Estonia, the Digital Republic. Excellent piece by Nathan Heller for The New Yorker exploring how e-Estonia has transformed the country into a digital society. 💯 All government services, from “legislation, voting, education, justice, healthcare, banking, taxes, policing, and so on”, have been linked to one distributed and decentralised platform. 🔮 So:
Citizens can vote from their laptops and challenge parking tickets from home. They do so through the “once only” policy, which dictates that no single piece of information should be entered twice.

Instead of having to “prepare” a loan application, applicants have their data—income, debt, savings—pulled from elsewhere in the system. There’s nothing to fill out in doctors’ waiting rooms, because physicians can access their patients’ medical histories.

Estonia’s system is keyed to a chip-I.D. card that reduces typically onerous, integrative processes—such as doing taxes—to quick work.
Crucially -
Data aren’t centrally held, thus reducing the chance of Equifax-level breaches. Instead, the government’s data platform, X-Road, links individual servers through end-to-end encrypted pathways, letting information live locally.

Your dentist’s practice holds its own data; so does your high school and your bank. When a user requests a piece of information, it is delivered like a boat crossing a canal via locks.
Why we must combine information. Writing for the Financial Times, Bill Gates explains why we must share data to fight Alzheimer’s. 🙏 Gates describes the importance of large datasets being combined to help us identify symptoms earlier, understand how the disease progresses and discover new treatments. 📈 Critically:
The benefits the entire field will reap outweigh the competitive advantages that come from keeping information siloed.
The death of net neutrality could be the end of Bitcoin. Bryan Clark discusses the effects of the FCC net neutrality vote on cryptocurrencies. 💸  As Marvin Ammori, lawyer for the advocacy group Fight for the Future told Motherboard:
The average person goes to Coinbase to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin—the average on-ramp is an exchange, and those are easy to block. If Comcast is the monopoly provider in an area, the provider could decide there’s a preferred Bitcoin exchange.
– What happens next? Motherboard & VICE are building a community internet network. 💪
Blockchain’s fundamental challenges. 🔥 Preethi Kasireddy explains the technical barriers and examples of solutions, including:
  1. Limited scalability
  2. Limited privacy
  3. Lack of formal contract verification
  4. Storage constraints
  5. Unsustainable consensus mechanisms
  6. Lack of governance and standards
  7. Inadequate tooling
  8. Quantum computing threat
  9. … and more.
+ The math behind Bitcoin’s global warming problem. 😎  Check out this MIT article on a cryptocurrency built without a blockchain. 💰
The ultimate GDPR guide for marketers and businesses. One of the most human explanations I’ve read – highly recommend! ✅
Miscellaneous
💯  FT Person of the Year: Susan Fowler
🙈  1.4 billion clear text credentials discovered in a single database
👾  An interview with an anonymous data scientist.
✅  Why HTTPS on your landing page is important. 
🔍  China’s CCTV network took 7 minutes to capture BBC reporter
😍  McLaren’s top-secret hypercar testing facility. 
👀  Netflix reminded everyone it’s creeping on them. 
💻  Microsoft released quantum computing development kit preview.
I will be taking a break over the holidays so DataScan will be back on the 7th January. Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! 🎉
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