We study fifteen months of human mobility data for one and a half million individuals and find that human mobility traces are highly unique. In fact, in a dataset where the location of an individual is specified hourly, and with a spatial resolution equal to that given by the carrier’s antennas, four spatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals. We coarsen the data spatially and temporally to find a formula for the uniqueness of human mobility traces given their resolution and the available outside information. This formula shows that the uniqueness of mobility traces decays approximately as the 1/10 power of their resolution. Hence, even coarse datasets provide little anonymity. These findings represent fundamental constraints to an individual’s privacy and have important implications for the design of frameworks and institutions dedicated to protect the privacy of individuals.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published over 1 year ago
Since 2013, a stream of disclosures has prompted reconsideration of surveillance law and policy. One of the most controversial principles, both in the United States and abroad, is that communications metadata receives substantially less protection than communications content. Several nations currently collect telephone metadata in bulk, including on their own citizens. In this paper, we attempt to shed light on the privacy properties of telephone metadata. Using a crowdsourcing methodology, we demonstrate that telephone metadata is densely interconnected, can trivially be reidentified, and can be used to draw sensitive inferences.
In February 2011, an Ohio law took effect mandating use of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved protocol for mifepristone, which is used with misoprostol for medication abortion. Other state legislatures have passed or enacted similar laws requiring use of the FDA-approved protocol for medication abortion. The objective of this study is to examine the association of this legal change with medication abortion outcomes and utilization.
On August 12, 2012, the High Court of Australia upheld the constitutionality of tobacco laws requiring cigarette packages to be plain, with no colorful designs or brand logos, but dominated bygraphic images depicting the health consequences of smoking - including mouth ulcers, lung tumors, and gangrenous limbs (see first image). On August 24, in R.J. Reynolds v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia deemed unconstitutional FDA regulations requiring similar graphic warnings, finding that the mandated packaging violates cigarette companies' right to free speech by compelling them to express antitobacco messages . . .
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published about 2 years ago
Does naturalization cause better political integration of immigrants into the host society? Despite heated debates about citizenship policy, there exists almost no evidence that isolates the independent effect of naturalization from the nonrandom selection into naturalization. We provide new evidence from a natural experiment in Switzerland, where some municipalities used referendums as the mechanism to decide naturalization requests. Balance checks suggest that for close naturalization referendums, which are decided by just a few votes, the naturalization decision is as good as random, so that narrowly rejected and narrowly approved immigrant applicants are similar on all confounding characteristics. This allows us to remove selection effects and obtain unbiased estimates of the long-term impacts of citizenship. Our study shows that for the immigrants who faced close referendums, naturalization considerably improved their political integration, including increases in formal political participation, political knowledge, and political efficacy.
Despite public awareness that tobacco secondhand smoke (SHS) is harmful, many people still assume that marijuana SHS is benign. Debates about whether smoke-free laws should include marijuana are becoming increasingly widespread as marijuana is legalized and the cannabis industry grows. Lack of evidence for marijuana SHS causing acute cardiovascular harm is frequently mistaken for evidence that it is harmless, despite chemical and physical similarity between marijuana and tobacco smoke. We investigated whether brief exposure to marijuana SHS causes acute vascular endothelial dysfunction.
Intellectual property is associated with the creative work needed to design clinical trials. Two approaches have developed to protect the intellectual property associated with multicentre trial protocols prior to site initiation.The ‘open access’ approach involves publishing the protocol, permitting easy access to the complete protocol. The main advantages of the open access approach are that the protocol is freely available to all stakeholders, permitting them to discuss the protocol widely with colleagues, assess the quality and rigour of the protocol, determine the feasibility of conducting the trial at their centre, and after trial completion, to evaluate the reported findings based on a full understanding of the protocol. The main potential disadvantage of this approach is the potential for plagiarism; however if that occurred, it should be easy to identify because of the open access to the original trial protocol, as well as ensure that appropriate sanctions are used to deal with plagiarism.The ‘restricted access’ approach involves the use of non-disclosure agreements, legal documents that must be signed between the trial lead centre and collaborative sites. Potential sites must guarantee they will not disclose any details of the study before they are permitted to access the protocol. The main advantages of the restricted access approach are for the lead institution and nominated principal investigator, who protect their intellectual property associated with the trial. The main disadvantages are that ownership of the protocol and intellectual property is assigned to the lead institution; defining who ‘needs to know’ about the study protocol is difficult; and the use of non-disclosure agreements involves review by lawyers and institutional representatives at each site before access is permitted to the protocol, significantly delaying study implementation and adding substantial indirect costs to research institutes. This extra step may discourage sites from joining a trial.It is possible that the restricted access approach may contribute to the failure of well-designed trials without any significant benefit in protecting intellectual property. Funding agencies should formalize rules around open versus restricted access to the study protocol just as they have around open access to results.
The economic and fiscal crisis of 2008 has erupted into the debate on the sustainability of health systems; some countries, such as Spain, have implemented strong policies of fiscal consolidation and austerity. The institutional framework and governance model of the national health system (NHS) after its devolution to regions in 2002 had significant weaknesses, which were not apparent in the rapid growth stage but which have been clearly visible since 2010. In this article, we describe the changes in government regulation from the national and NHS perspective: both general changes (clearly prompted by the economic authorities), and those more specifically addressed to healthcare. The Royal Decree-Law 16/2012 represents the centerpiece of austerity policies in healthcare but also implies a rupture with existing political consensus and a return to social security models. Our characterization of austerity in healthcare explores impacts on savings, services, and on the healthcare model itself, although the available information only allows some indications. The conclusions highlight the need to change the path of linear, rapid and radical budget cuts, providing a time-frame for implementing key reforms in terms of internal sustainability; to do so, it is appropriate to restore political and institutional consensus, to emphasize «clinical management» and divestment of inappropriate services (approach to the medical profession and its role as micro-manager), and to create frameworks of good governance and organizational innovations that support these structural reforms.
We have a duty to use fetal tissue for research and therapy. This statement might seem extreme in light of recent events that have reopened a seemingly long-settled debate over whether such research ought even be permitted, let alone funded by the government. Morality and conscience have been cited to justify defunding, and even criminalizing, the research, just as morality and conscience have been cited to justify not only health care professionals' refusal to provide certain legal medical services to their patients but even their obstruction of others' fulfillment of that duty. But this duty of care should, I believe, . . .
In Italy, Law 413/1993 states that public and private Italian Institutions, including academic faculties, are obliged to fully inform workers and students about their right to conscientious objection to scientific or educational activities involving animals, hereafter written as “animal CO”. However, little monitoring on the faculties' compliance with this law has been performed either by the government or other institutional bodies. Based on this premise, the authors have critically reviewed the existing data and compared them with those emerging from their own investigation to discuss limitations and inconsistencies. The results of this investigation revealed that less than half of Italian academic faculties comply with their duty to inform on animal CO. Non-compliance may substantially affect the right of students to make ethical choices in the field of animal ethics and undermines the fundamental right to express their own freedom of thought. The Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, ethics committees and animal welfare bodies should cooperate to make faculties respect this law. Further research is needed to better understand the reasons for the current trend, as well as to promote the enforcement of Law 413/1993 with particular regard to information on animal CO.