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Data Breaches, Marijuana, Turkey: RAND Weekly Recap

January 4, 2019

This week, we discuss what happens if consumers stop sharing their personal data; Kim Jong Un's latest call for sanctions relief; implications of the plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria; trends in teen marijuana use; changes in U.S.-China relations; and whether incentive programs can encourage physical activity.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing regarding the company's use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2018

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing regarding the company's use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 11, 2018

Photo by Aaron Bernstein/Reuters

What If Americans Stop Sharing Their Personal Data?

Repeated data breaches have led Americans to be increasingly pessimistic about the personal data they share. What might happen if the public broadly opts out of using tech tools that rely on such data? According to RAND's Douglas Yeung, losing an unending flow of consumer data will threaten the sustainability of data-based technologies. And tech companies need to prepare for it.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leads the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon in this undated photo released on November 16, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leads the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon in this undated photo released on November 16, 2018

Photo by KCNA/Reuters

Now Is Not the Time for North Korean Sanctions Relief

In a New Year's address, Kim Jong Un stated that sanctions must be lifted before North Korea will give up any nuclear weapons. Prior to this demand, RAND's Bruce Bennett wrote that now is not the time to reduce U.S. pressure on the regime. Washington should instead consider proposing a freeze on North Korean nuclear weapon production. Bennett said this would be a key test of whether Kim Jong Un plans to fulfill his promise to denuclearize.

A Turkish-backed Syrian rebel rides on a truck with a mounted weapon at Manbij countryside, Syria, December 28, 2018

A Turkish-backed Syrian rebel rides on a truck with a mounted weapon at Manbij countryside, Syria, December 28, 2018

Photo by Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

The United States Can't Rely on Turkey to Defeat ISIS

The Trump administration's plan to withdraw troops from Syria means the United States is relying on Turkey to counter the threat of ISIS. RAND's Colin Clarke says this move may breathe new life into the group. And eradicating the Islamic State has historically been a secondary priority for Turkey. In fact, Turkish leadership has often ignored it altogether.

People passing a State Legal Marijuana shop sign on 2nd avenue late in the day in downtown Seattle, WA, July 14, 2016

People walk by a legal marijuana shop in Seattle, Washington, July 14, 2016

Photo by 400tmax/Getty Images

Understanding Teen Marijuana Use After Legalization

Marijuana use among teenagers in Washington state appears to have declined in the years immediately following legalization. That's according to a new RAND study. These findings contradict earlier estimates about the impact of legalization. And researchers say this study highlights the need for better information about the trends in youth marijuana use.

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 8, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing, November 8, 2018

Photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

The U.S. China Policy Debate

There is growing consensus that the United States is engaged in a long-term, intensifying competition with China. It's less clear what type of relationship Washington should pursue with Beijing. RAND experts say that both competition and engagement are essential to future China policy. But there is only so much the United States can—or should—do to prevent China from becoming its peer.

Two people checking data on their smart watches while exercising outdoors

RoBeDeRo/Getty Images

Can Incentive Programs Encourage Physical Activity?

As many people set new fitness goals for 2019, wellness incentive programs are just one of the tools that could offer some support. A recent RAND study examined whether one such program encouraged exercise. The program gave customers the opportunity to receive an Apple Watch up front, with repayment for the device dependent on physical activity. How did this approach compare with a traditional wellness incentive program?

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