Matterhorn, Switzerland

Small Win for Protecting U.S. Cell Phone Users

Remember when Strava, the fitness tracking app, gave away the location of secret U.S. army bases in Afghanistan and Syria? We wrote about it back in February. It was an embarrassing and dangerous leak of sensitive customer data. It also highlighted the intrusion and potential abuse of location-based cell phone data.

Well, good news for cell phone users in the United States – they got a couple of small wins:

Posted by Harry Polishook on Aug 2, 2018 3:07:27 PM

Topics: International Equity, From the Desk of Harry Polishook

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Targeted Advertising Abuse

This old chestnut is variably attributed to Henry Ford, John Wanamaker, J.C. Penny, William Hesketh Lever, amongst others. Each one is a great symbol of consumerism, but we’ll never know which or if any of them really said it. 

Posted by Harry Polishook on Jun 21, 2018 4:52:28 PM

Topics: International Equity, From the Desk of Harry Polishook

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GDP Lies Caught from the Skies

“How Much Should We Trust the Dictator’s GDP Estimates?” Continuing our unhealthy obsession with satellite imagery, this question is the title to an intriguing academic paper written by Luis Martinez of the University of Chicago. In this working paper, he studies the manipulation of GDP statistics by the more authoritarian regimes around the world. Cleverly, he utilizes satellite imagery to measure the level of nighttime lighting as a means of validating the reported economic numbers. Shout out to the Washington Post for bringing this to our attention.

Posted by Harry Polishook on May 24, 2018 9:13:59 AM

Topics: From the Desk of Harry Polishook

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Cryptocurrency Hidden Risks: How Embedded Content Could Land You in Jail

Continuing with our explorations of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, we highlight a fascinating risk of supporting a cryptocurrency.

Posted by Harry Polishook on Apr 4, 2018 12:10:42 PM

Topics: From the Desk of Harry Polishook

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Smart Technology: Inherent Risks of GPS-Enabled Devices

Today, we want to talk a bit about security and technology. The “Internet of Things (IOT)” is a favored buzz word right now in technology and technology investing. This term describes the now nearly ubiquitous internet connected devices, often GPS-enabled. Smart and connected devices today are cheap and readily available, but do people really think about the security implications inherent to them? 

Posted by Harry Polishook on Feb 22, 2018 1:37:59 PM

Topics: From the Desk of Harry Polishook, International Equity

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Net Neutrality Repeal: What it Means for Investors

In December 2017, the FCC voted to remove rules that regulated the companies that connect users to the internet. These Network Neutrality rules forced internet providers to treat all internet traffic equally. Whether video, email, instant message or website, a carrier would have to transport all bits (a bit is the smallest unit of information) the same.

Without regulation, it is possible for an Internet Services Provider (ISP - generally your cable or phone company) to block some services, degrade other services, or force services to pay for access. Imagine if your cable bill priced internet access to Facebook separate from access to Netflix. Imagine if the Fox News website wouldn’t load but the New York Times website did. Imagine if, to launch a new website, you had to negotiate a separate agreement with the ISP in each geography you wanted to serve. It isn’t likely that ISPs would do something so obvious or controversial, but they now have the power to do so.

Posted by Harry Polishook on Jan 10, 2018 10:49:37 AM

Topics: From the Desk of Harry Polishook

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International Equity Trend to Watch: Augmented Reality

We have long invested in the smartphone supply chain, but the pace of technological change has slowed in the last couple years. Where we once saw a fascinating evolution from the “brick phone” to the iPhone, we now observe a relatively dull progression of slightly improved devices.

Posted by Harry Polishook on Nov 29, 2017 7:48:00 AM

Topics: From the Desk of Harry Polishook

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Brazil Consumer Stocks on the Rise

It wasn’t very long ago—the last quarter of 2016—that we were reading reports that Brazil’s worst-ever recession had intensified its downward spiral. In March of this year, Reuters wrote about dismal numbers crushing the hopes of those searching for signs of a recovery in the country.

Posted by Harry Polishook on Oct 27, 2017 1:36:13 PM

Topics: From the Desk of Harry Polishook

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Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies Making News Again

Bitcoin has been a controversial topic among investors and financial professionals for quite a while. However, recently, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, made his stance very clear. Dimon said that if he found out a JPMorgan trader began trading in bitcoin, he would “fire them in a second.” Why? “It’s against our rules, and they’re stupid.” He also suggested that central banks view bitcoin as a novelty. 

Posted by Harry Polishook on Sep 21, 2017 2:15:33 PM

Topics: From the Desk of Harry Polishook, China, Bitcoin

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Using Small Satellites to Estimate Chinese Oil Inventories

Back in May, the R Squared team launched a blog series about satellite technology and its impact on the investing world. If you missed Part I or Part II, you can read those blogs here:



For Part III, we’re going to take a look at more ways the small satellite (smallsat) industry could change how investors allocate funds. 

Recently, the AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites took place in Logan, Utah. Attendance this year was around 2,550 participants—up from 900 in 2007. One of the conference presenters was Ursa Space Systems, a company that “delivers global economic insights to energy and financial enterprises, providing a reliable information source about areas of the world that are traditionally opaque.” More specifically, Ursa is able to offer estimates of oil inventories in China. 

Posted by Harry Polishook on Aug 23, 2017 11:06:27 AM

Topics: From the Desk of Harry Polishook, China, Satellite Series

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