This is a periodic newsletter of the interesting things we’ve seen and what we are thinking about in open source policy analysis.
Microsoft unveils open source voting tool. Historically, private companies have developed and maintained the software and hardware that powers voting machines, leaving questions regarding election security difficult to answer. Last week, Microsoft announced that it will release an open source software development kit (SDK) called ElectionGuard that can be used to build a verifiable, secure, and auditable voting system. Galois, a technology firm that received a $10 million contract from DARPA to develop an open source voting system (see OSPC’s March newsletter for further discussion), intends to use ElectionGuard to enable an end-to-end verifiable component to their system. Additionally, Microsoft has partnered with voting machine vendors, but it is unclear whether and how the vendors will use the software. Link
Pharma payouts compared to the economic burden of the opioid epidemic. In recent months, pharmaceutical corporations and their executives tied to the opioid epidemic have begun to face lawsuits for the role they have played, in many cases entering settlement agreements. A recent report in the Christian Science Monitor reviews recent developments. Using estimates from the Opioid Cost Model,* the report finds that payouts from opioid distributors in West Virginia total only one percent of the epidemic’s $8 billion annual burden on the state. Link
New open source framework for data privacy. When data from personal devices, like smartphones, is used to train machine learning algorithms, data privacy is at risk. That’s where Federated Learning and the new open source framework, TensorFlow Federated, come in. With Federated Learning, instead of the server collecting data and training the model, the model training happens on the device and the results are sent to the server. Learn more about Federated Learning from a Google comic strip and read about TensorFlow Federated here.
Policy Change Index (PCI) – China goes to London. Weifeng Zhong and Julian TszKin Chan presented the PCI – China* at the Strata Data Conference in London. Link
Tax-Brain at AnacondaCON. A video of OSPC’s Hank Doupe and Anderson Frailey’s Tax-Brain* presentation at AnacondaCON is now available. Link
* These projects are attendees or graduates of OSPC’s incubator program.
Edited by Matt Jensen and Peter Metz