The rise of a new Fintech regulatory sandbox, an API for your curb, and a facial recognition system that shames jaywalkers — This Week’s Top 10 Reads from a Chief Innovation Officer

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I read over 100 articles this week so you don’t have to — Here are the top 10 you should read over the weekend and why they matter for the public sector. Let’s dive into this week’s reads —

The Articles —

Out of over 100 articles, here are the top 10 that stood out this week:

🚀 FCC approves SpaceX plan for 4,425-satellite broadband network https://tcrn.ch/2GlYBxG

👉 Chinese jaywalkers are identified and shamed by facial recognition, and now they’ll get warnings over text message http://bit.ly/2pLZzfu (H/T Clay Pearson)

📊 Measuring the economy with location data http://bit.ly/2pLEGlr

💡 Arizona Becomes First U.S. State To Launch Regulatory Sandbox For Fintech http://bit.ly/2GjmpGE (H/T Michele Hovet)

🔒 Bill de Blasio Announces NYC Secure https://on.nyc.gov/2pRCxVm

🚘 Google Orders Fleet of 20,000 Driverless Jaguars http://bit.ly/2IaQ15r

💼 Rethinking worker benefits for an economy in flux https://brook.gs/2J2pt7P

🏢 After Dominating The Consumer Drone Market, DJI Sets Its Sights On The Business World http://bit.ly/2IkUsL6

💼 The workplace of the future, enabled by AI https://econ.st/2GvVAyn

🛣 This Alphabet-Backed Startup Wants To Innovate Curbs http://bit.ly/2J91qUC

The Bottom Line —

Just in case you don’t have time to read each article, here are the key takeaways and why each one matters for government:

🚀 FCC approves SpaceX plan for 4,425-satellite broadband network https://tcrn.ch/2GlYBxG

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: By gaining FCC approval on their plans, SpaceX has moved closer to building a network of over 4,000 low-earth orbiting satellites to provide Internet access to anywhere on Earth. The approval requires that SpaceX must launch 50 percent of their satellites by March 2024 and the remaining 50% by 2027. For government agencies, connecting rural areas continues to be a major challenge, but the advancement of SpaceX’s plans — as well as the upcoming rollout of 5G wireless infrastructure — is certain to help rural areas leapfrog physical infrastructure requires and gain access to reliable high-speed connectivity.

👉 Chinese jaywalkers are identified and shamed by facial recognition, and now they’ll get warnings over text message http://bit.ly/2pLZzfu (H/T Clay Pearson)

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: As privacy expectations continue to be challenged throughout society, citizens in Shenzhen, China, have become a real-life example of some the scary possibilities. By combing a facial recognition database (all individuals staying longer than 30-days must register) and on-street cameras, anyone that jaywalk on a public street will be warned through text messages and eventually have their social credit score docked if the behavior continues. Closer to home, this may seem like a far-fetched reality, but without shared privacy and data-use guidelines, many smart city infrastructures could be easily leveraged to do the exact same thing. It will become increasingly important for agencies to collaborate and adopt strategies for data-use collaboratively with constituents, instead of waiting for the legal landscape to define it through case-law.

📊 Measuring the economy with location data http://bit.ly/2pLEGlr

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This article provided a fascinating look at how the startup Thasos is using aggregated, anonymized cell-phone location data from citizens to measure economic data. This type of technology can maintain individual privacy, but continue to enable agencies to extract valuable insights from the collective aggregation of data. We’ve seen similar models with transportation data through companies such as HERE and Inrix. For government agencies, there are two lessons here:

  1. Leveraging pre-existing data and sensors — Rather than deploying new sensors to measure economic progress, leveraging an existing in-field sensor (i.e. cell phone) provides a more scalable model for community sensing. It will be important for government agencies to also have documented data-use policies and explore ways to enable citizens to opt-in to becoming a passive-sensor for their community.
  2. Building privacy in from the ground up — Building a system around abstracting individual identities can help maintain privacy and prevent any misuse from occurring by design.
💡 Arizona Becomes First U.S. State To Launch Regulatory Sandbox For Fintech http://bit.ly/2GjmpGE (H/T Michele Hovet)

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Today, government agencies are struggling with the pace of exponential change — technology is moving quicker than the regulatory environment — which leads to major challenges. We saw this early on with the rise of Uber. Many agencies decided to ban or restrict Uber because their operating model didn’t fit into any existing regulatory structure, which created market confusion and ultimately, hurt the local drivers. To prevent this from happening again, agencies need to look at more adaptive regulatory structures and it’s encouraging to see states adopting this mentality through the rise of regulatory sandboxes. As the author says, “The pace of technological change in financial services continues to forge ahead at a sizzling rates that legacy regulatory systems are struggling to keep up with, jurisdictions around the world have moved to establish sandboxes that allow for new products to be deployed on a trial basis in a manner that loosens certain licensing restrictions while still affording consumer protections.” There is no silver bullet on how a regulatory sandbox should be set up, but there are some best practices we can glean from government agencies that have deployed the same model overseas. You can read more about this in a great overview guide [PDF] from Ernst and Young.

🔒 Bill de Blasio Announces NYC Secure https://on.nyc.gov/2pRCxVm

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Cyber attacks are becoming more common — impacting citizens and government agencies alike. Most cybersecurity strategies that have been deployed by agencies are reactive, but what New York City announced this week was a helpful change in the conversation. Rather than just focusing on cybersecurity internally, they are launching an initiative geared at protecting citizens through a new mobile app. Why is this? My theory is that NYC is making each citizen a cyber-sniffing sensor to making the entire community smarter, including the City of New York. They’re also doing this with individual data privacy in mind, “The City-sponsored app will equip mobile devices with the technology needed to analyze threats while operating under a strict privacy policy and layers of technical controls that ensure user privacy is respected. The app works without accessing any personally identifiable information, and will not collect or transmit any private data.” For government agencies, NYC’s proactive approach to cybersecurity is one to take note of because the greatest cybersecurity challenges we are to face will undeniably happen at the local level to start.

🚘 Google Orders Fleet of 20,000 Driverless Jaguars http://bit.ly/2IaQ15r

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Our transit system is going through a radical transformation. In a short time, we’ve seen the rise of ride-sharing, smart transit networks, autonomous vehicles and much more. The end-game for our transit system will be the evolution from people-enabled to AI-enabled fulfillment and this autonomous transportation race is starting to heat up. Uber is betting big on it and now Waymo has made their intentions clear with an order of 20,000 autonomous Jaguar vehicles. For government agencies, the challenge will be how to ensure and maintain safety in this era of rapid change, because in a short time we’ve seen the good and the bad of what this new technology has to offer.

💼 Rethinking worker benefits for an economy in flux https://brook.gs/2J2pt7P

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a good read that reiterated the importance of changing the worker benefit model. Today, 53 million Americans, roughly 34% of the workforce, is freelancing — earning money through a task or gig-based engagements. The rise of these task-based engagements is quickly redefining the definition of work as we know it. As a result, we must find creative solutions to make worker benefits accessible to employees that do not fit the traditional full-time (W-2) bucket. The legislation, such as what Mark Warner put forward, is a good step but more effort is required as more employees are opting for more flexible work arrangements. For government agencies, this is a good reminder that your prospective employee base may not come through the standard channels, or be standard employees. Rather, we have to acknowledge that some of our best employees may not work for us directly in the future.

🏢 After Dominating The Consumer Drone Market, DJI Sets Its Sights On The Business World http://bit.ly/2IkUsL6

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: DJI has had great success in the consumer market, and many of their consumer devices are also being used in government as well. As a result, they are now focused on making their drones a platform for business through the launch of their Payload SDK. The Payload SDK enables organizations to use third-party sensors and cameras on DJI drones. For government agencies, the opening up of software and hardware add-ons will enable drones to have their “app store” moment and hopefully, create an abundance of new government apps and add-ons to tackle new use-cases. In addition, this move by DJI open the door to interoperability with the growing FirstNet ecosystem.

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