The Switchboard: Apple met with FDA over mobile medical apps in December

(Eric Risberg / AP)
(Eric Risberg / AP)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

Today’s the deadline for Nobel Peace Prize nominations. Let’s give it to Bill Gates. The Switch's Timothy B. Lee has a novel suggestion for the next Nobel Peace Prize: Microsoft founder Bill Gates. " Gates has poured billions of dollars into efforts to  eradicate polio and fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Getting the job done doesn't take just money and medical expertise, it also requires the cooperation of leaders in the countries where those diseases are most prevalent." These efforts may not have a direct effect on peace, but "[g]rowing health and prosperity will help now-poor nations mature into the kind of wealthy, liberal democracies that tend not to go to war with one another."

Apple executives met with F.D.A. to discuss mobile medical applications. "A group of senior Apple executives met with directors at the United States Food and Drug Administration in December to discuss mobile medical applications, according to the F.D.A.’s public calendars that list participants of meetings," reports Nick Bilton and Brian X. Chen at the New York Times.

In defamation lawsuit over Yelp reviews, neither side wins damages. "After a five-day trial and eight hours of deliberations, the jury essentially declared a draw when it returned a verdict Friday night that caught both sides off guard: Perez and Dietz had defamed each other, but neither would get a cent in damages," reports Justin Jouvenal at the Washington Post. "The case received widespread news media attention and was closely watched by free-speech activists and businesses alike. First Amendment advocates say businesses are increasingly taking legal action over posts on review sites such as Yelp to squelch critical — but important — consumer information."

Bitcoin’s fate is in the hands of clueless regulators. "The problem is our financial regulators don’t understand bitcoin well enough to regulate it," argues Robert McMillan at Wired, reporting on a hearing about the cryptocurrency by New York financial regulators. "That became increasingly obvious during the hearings, and it’s not at all surprising. The five-year-old cryptocurrency is an unprecedented experiment in the power of peer-to-peer networking, open source software, and a certain kind of financial anarchy."

Tech’s diversity problem is apparent as early as high school. "In three states, not a single girl took the Advanced Placement exam in computer science last year. In eight states, no Hispanic students took it. And in 11 states, no black students took the test," reports Claire Cain Miller at the New York Times. "The A.P. data also shows how the situation in computer science has worsened over time. In Wyoming, for instance, no high school student of any race or gender took the test, while 35 students took the test there in 2001."

 

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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