Will Amazon Soon Be Filling Prescriptions?
It looks like Amazon wants a piece of the multi-billion dollar pharmacy market. It would not be the first time that Amazon has disrupted a major retail market in the United States.
“The US market for prescription drugs is estimated to be worth $560 billion per year, providing a huge opportunity to Amazon. If Amazon does enter the pharmacy space, it could significantly boost sales, especially if the e-commerce giant succeeds in undercutting competitors on price, as it has many times in the past,” writes Stephanie Pandolph in Business Insider.
But you probably won’t be getting your prescriptions from Amazon this year. It would likely take Amazon at least two years to obtain the various licenses and permits required to operate in all 50 states.
Replacing Social Security Numbers with Blockchain
The Equifax breach underscored the problem with using Social Security numbers as a primary form of personal identification. As a result, many security experts are suggesting blockchain and other crypto-technologies as potential replacements.
In Estonia, for example, citizens rely on a secure peer-to-peer data exchange called X-Road. The exchange is also used in Finland, Azerbaijan, Namibia, and the Faroe Islands.
“Estonian ID cards, which have an electronic chip, can be used to vote, bank online, get a prescription, file taxes, apply for state benefits, and much more. The cards require two PIN codes: the first is to authenticate an identity; the second acts as a digital signature. When the person is linked with whatever resource they’re using, the data are preserved on the blockchain,” writes Suzanne Woolley of Bloomberg.
In addition to blockchain, other countries are looking into advanced biometrics to replace traditional identity cards. For example, the Australian tax office uses a voice-based biometric system provided by Nuance, a Massachusetts-based company, to identify taxpayers when they call customer support or use a mobile app.
Spies Watching Spies: Israeli Intelligence Uncovers Russian Hackers Working Against U.S. Intelligence Agencies
It sounds like something from a James Bond novel, except it’s not fiction. Israeli intelligence uncovered attempts by Russian government hackers to steal U.S. intelligence information.
“The Russian operation, described by multiple people who have been briefed on the matter, is known to have stolen classified documents from a National Security Agency employee who had improperly stored them on his home computer,” write Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane in the New York Times.
This is an absolutely fascinating story, with implications for all of us involved in cyber security. If nothing else, it offers a stark reminder of the dangers of using your personal computer for handling sensitive information.