President Obama submitted a memorandum on Monday in which he ordered the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to develop smart gun technology.  This technology includes fingerprint and radio-frequency identification, which serve to track guns and prevent accidental shootings. The president made a deadline of 90 days for the agencies to create a list of recommendations.

According to a statement by President Obama,  gun sales rocketed following the San Bernardino shooting. In a more recent memorandum, Obama spoke about executive actions he took to curb gun violence and urged the nation to have a “sense of urgency” about the issue.

In reference to the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 students and six teachers, Obama said, “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”

Obama’s initiatives intend to end the “gun show loophole” that allows gun dealers and hobbyists to sell at gun shows and online without verifying background checks. Guns rights groups will most likely resist the expansion of background checks and the new effort to develop smart gun technology. Many of these groups claim that smart technology is a means by which the government could track firearms, which would eventually lead to a ban on weapons.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Chris Cox said that the NRA would now let “law-abiding gun owners to become scapegoats for President Obama’s failed policies.”

In his memorandum, Obama referenced a 2013 Department of Justice report that discussed how to effectively use gun safety technologies, which included a required owner fingerprint scan before the gun could discharge.

“In its report, the (DOJ) made clear that technology advancement in this area could help reduce accidental deaths and the use of stolen guns in criminal activities,” he said.

Article via CNET, 4 January 2016

Photo: Mauser 1934 by PRO Keary O.

[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Sexual harassment in Silicon Valley has affected 60 percent of the senior women in technology, according a recent survey. The survey, Elephant in the Valley, surveyed more than 200 women of power and influence in the Bay Area. According to the respondents, nearly 60 percent of these women stated that they had received unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. 65 percent of those advances came from a superior, and 1 in 3 stated that the advances made them fear for their safety.

The authors of the survey wrote that they were inspired by the conversations generated by the Ellen Pao trial. Writing on their website the authors stated, “What we realized is that while many women shared similar workplace stories, most men were simply shocked and unaware of the issues facing women in the workplace. In an effort to correct the massive information disparity, we decided to get the data and the stories.”

Treo Vassallo, an investor and advisor who participated in the Ellen Pao trial was also one of the authors of the survey. She testified against Kleiner Perkins during the trial , vividly recalling her own experience being sexually harassed by a former partner at the VC firm. Afterwards, she stated that a large number of women approached her with their own horrifying stories of harassment. Moved by what she heard from others, Vassallo wanted to be a catalyst to continue to conversation and bring change.

Part of the problem could be that women are the minority in the tech world. Nearly 80 percent of reported sexual harassment crimes are committed by men against women, especially when men are senior to them. The purpose of this survey is to make these numbers more visible. The hope is that by bringing these stories to light, and exposing the data that has been collected, the male-dominated culture of sexual harassment will be tempered within the workplace.


Article via Cnet, 11 January 2016

Photo: Trae Vassallo, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers by Dow Jones Events [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]