MOSE Project: Flooding in Venice

By: Josh Taylor


The MOSE project in Venice represents incredible foresight and amazing technological goals.

Venice faces a serious problem of flooding due in part to its natural placement and the effects of climate change. Venice sinks every year due to subsidence, where the soil moves beneath the ground and causes areas to destabilize or fall. At the same time, the sea levels around the world are rising. These two effects compound one another, where the coastal Venice is sinking as the waters around it are rising, producing worse flooding year after year.

The city is prepared in a way that there are alarms, sirens all over the city, no matter if it’s day or night to warn the population that the water is rising that day, and then the people react accordingly. My brother has a store, and they have a special gate, basically a metal plank that he has to put in the front of the store to avoid the water coming in during the surge.

-Dr. Fagherazzi,

Venetian geomorphologist

The Venetian government has put into place reactive solutions where citizens are warned of incoming floods, which can come at any time during the day or the night, and have to take their own precautions to prevent damage to their property. This can be as simple as having water tight entrances to homes, which are then barricaded against the forces of floods. This is an adaptive lifestyle though, one which puts stress onto the people to protect themselves from a changing environment, or face ruin. So the city has devised a proactive solution to the flooding problems of Venice, the MOSE project.

The Adriatic Sea feeds into Venice through three lagoons. The MOSE project aims to create responsive sea walls which can rise out of each of these lagoons, sealing off the areas from the sea. They can be imagined like inflatable temporary dams.[1] While dormant, the gates are filled with water so that they lie underwater, but when an incoming flood is detected over a particular threshold, the gates fill with air and rise above the water.


The idea is elegantly simple, damming off Venice when it would be flooded, but faces complex engineering challenges. The Adriatic is a saltwater sea, which corrodes materials and electronics, so trying to build a permanent responsive structure in such an environment represents a possibly insurmountable task. Given time, water will easily carve out structures like the Grand Canyon. The Adriatic is even harsher than the waters flowing through the Canyon. The engineers at MOSE maintain that they are confident the gates can withstand the conditions.

The scale is also unprecedented in a civil project, currently costing over 7 billion euros.[2] But that wasn’t the original scale.

When MOSE was first proposed, back in 2002, it was estimated to cost only 1.6 billion euros.[3] It was expected to be completed in 2011. It is now projected to be completed, assuming no further setbacks, by 2022.

These discrepancies have caused a litany of problems for the project. culminating in a 2014 arrest of the Venetian mayor at the time. Giorgio Orsoni was accused of funneling money appropriated for the construction of the MOSE dams for campaign funds. He was indicted along with 35 other politicians, with even more being placed under investigation for misuse of funds.

This financial disaster also led to an engineering disaster, as the components have sat in salty air and water, they have begun to degrade and become nonoperational. Though they were claimed to be resilient, many of the gates already installed are nonfunctional due to the effects of the Adriatic, with repair costs estimated in the millions of euros.[5] After those repairs, the maintenance on the dams will be an additional hundred million euros. The dams face one more problem that is greatest of all:


They won’t work

They also aren’t designed to work. The dams will only emerge from the sea when flood conditions are detected in excess of 110 cm. For Venice however, damaging flooding regularly occurs at 80 cm. This was a design choice to only confront severe flooding, so this massive project still leaves Venetians being forced to create personal, reactive plans to flooding.





[1] “MOSE Project, Venice, Venetian Lagoon.” Water Technology,

[2] Water Technology

[3] Giovanni, Roberto. “Venice and MOSE: Story of a Failure.” La Stampa, 12 Oct. 2017,

[4] Squires, Nick. “Mayor of Venice arrested on lagoon barrier project corruption charges”. The Telegraph. 4 June 2014

[5] Giovanni

BU Aims to Attract High School Girls to Computer Science by Hosting The Country’s Largest All-Female, Non-Binary Hackathon

Boston University, a private, nonprofit, research university, is the host partner for TechTogether Boston as part of a three-year partnership agreement. Through this partnership, Boston University aims to increase the number of women enrolling in computer science and engineering degree programs. BU has committed to providing significant financial and programmatic support to TechTogether Boston for the purpose of engaging high school students in this year’s hackathon. TechTogether Boston will bring around 1,000 female and non-binary individuals, including 150 high school students, to Boston University this year and hopes to continue to grow this number over the next 3 years.

Photo Credit: TechTogether Boston

TechTogether was incubated as a student initiative with support from innovation programs: BU Spark! at the Hariri Institute for Computing, and Innovate@BU. The organization has since been established as an independent nonprofit led by a team of students representing universities nationwide.  As the host university, BU shares TechTogether’s mission of increasing female and femme non-binary participation at hackathons to aid in closing the gender gap in tech. SheHacks Boston (now known as TechTogether Boston) was held from January 26-28 in 2018 at the Metcalf Ballroom on BU’s campus last year.

“TechTogether is thrilled to be working with Boston University again and looks forward to the opportunities that will emerge from this partnership. We thank Boston University for being our host sponsor for our event over the next three years,”  said TechTogether Founder and BU Senior, Fiona Whittington.

BU’s partnership with TechTogether Boston includes financial support, research, and an event called, PreHacks.  PreHacks is an event that aims to serve as a bridge for high school students interested in exploring the study of computer science.

Photo Credit: BU Spark!, TechTogether Research Roundtable with BU faculty, staff, and TechTogether student leads

“Boston University is honored to have been a partner to TechTogether Boston since they launched in 2018. We believe hackathons have the potential to play an important role in closing the gender gap in tech and hope this event will result in more applications to BU from young women interested in pursuing degrees in computer science or engineering,” said Ziba Cranmer, Director of BU Spark!

This year, TechTogether Boston will be held at Boston University’s Agganis Arena from March 22nd to 24th.  On Friday, March 22nd, Boston University invites High School participants attending Tech Together to attend  PreHacks,  an event designed to introduce students to Boston University’s Computer Science Degree Program while also preparing them for the weekend’s hackathon experience. High school students or their guardians can sign up for the preparatory hackathon experience:, peruse the FAQ’s:, and may email with additional questions.

Follow TechTogether Boston for updates and information regarding the arrival of their hackathon on BU’s campus next month!

Today’s Big Thing, “Big Data”: What You Need to Know

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It is projected that by 2020, 1.7 megabytes of data will be generated for every person in the world, every single second; and the proportion of data that needs to be protected is growing faster than the digital universe itself. All the data coming in large volumes from different places is called Big Data.

Big data basically means sets of structured or unstructured data whose volumes are so large and so complex that traditional data processing software cannot process them within a reasonable amount of time. The information mined from these sets are then analyzed and put to good use. Big data involves more than just the volume and complexity of data, however. Doug Laney laid out the definition of big data in 3 V’s.

Volume: Data is collected from everyone, everywhere. From social media activity to online shopping, data can be farmed from everywhere.

Velocity: The speed at which data streams in near-real time thanks to RFID tags, sensors, and smart metering.

Variety: Big data comes in different formats—emails, texts, videos, forms, business transactions, etc.

Some real world uses for big data include:

  • Retail organizations and commercial companies monitor social media activities to find out emerging trends in the market. This way, they can ride the trend and start selling things people are clamoring for at that point in time.
  • Financial organizations analyze data from their clients to organize them into different groups. This categorizing results in more optimized programs that can better serve the needs of their clients. Data analyzed from their clients’ activities could also help detect fraud.
  • Hospitals analyze patient data to foresee which patients would most likely be readmitted and plan treatment programs that will prevent the patients from needing to be readmitted.
  • Industrial companies use machines that gather data that allows them to figure out when a certain machine would need upkeep or replacement.

Data extracted from big data can be very helpful in a lot of ways for many people and organizations. However, as a now famous fictional uncle once told his nephew, “with great power comes great responsibility.” There are two major considerations when trying to build a business around big data. One is data ownership — who has the rights to an individual person’s data and what rights do the government, financial, commercial or health institutions have to them.

The other is data protection. Once an institution or business has access to their clients’ data, how do they protect the private information that go through their systems on a daily basis?

With the scandal of data leaked or sold by such a large social media company as Facebook, more and more people are becoming aware of the dangers of leaving their personal data unprotected. Realizing that something as innocuous as answering online quizzes could actually be used for data mining is somewhat worrying.

Having a good grasp of the legal implications of going into big data is very important. Big data is still an emerging and growing market. If you have any concerns about the legality of anyone, be it an individual or an institution, using and keeping personal data, it is best to get in touch with a lawyer that understand the legalities surrounding data rights, privacy, and protection.

Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

None of the content on is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

Link to original article here

GDPR: What You Need To Know

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Considered the most important development in data privacy regulation in two decades, the General Data Protection Regulation or GPDR has taken effect on May 25, 2018. The regulation was up for debate for four years before it was approved in 2016, with the enforcement date set this year. This means that organizations who failed to comply within two years may face heavy fines.

What exactly is the GDPR?

The GDPR is a rule passed by the European Union that standardizes data protection laws across all 28 EU countries. It imposes stricter rules on controlling and processing personally identifiable information (PII) and extends the protection of EU residents’ personal data and data protection rights. Moreover, the implementation of these stricter rules can potentially address issues with invasion of privacy and identity theft. The GDPR replaces the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive.

The new rule sets a higher standard in obtaining personal data from the consumer. Usually, when a company acquires personal data from an EU consumer, it needs informed and clear consent from the user. Consumers must also be able to revoke that consent and request for the data the company has from them in order to authenticate the consent. GDPR has stricter and stronger rules for collecting and sharing data, which also means that they will be required to revise how ads are targeted online. In storing and processing data, GDPR may also require the use of encryption, data backups, passwords, and malware protection.

Moreover, the penalties set for violations are higher. The maximum fines for violations are currently set at 4% of the company’s global revenue or $20 million, whichever is higher. This will clearly motivate companies to comply and revise their policies on data collecting and sharing.

Why the need for the GDPR?

Consumers have taken advantage of the “free” services from Google, Facebook, and Twitter among others in exchange of giving away personal information such as email addresses, sexual orientation, and political leanings. However, users find it hard to understand what exactly they are consenting to give these tech companies when they agree on the confusing and elaborate terms and conditions. One perfect scenario that would justify the need for stricter regulations on consumer data collection is Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Political data firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly acquired the data of 50 million Facebook users and sold the data to US politicians vying for election in 2016, in order to influence their votes.

In the US, a data privacy protection for sensitive patient data has been in place. It is called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA. Similarly, the HIPAA Privacy Rule oversees accessing, saving, and sharing of medical and personal information of any individual.

How are the big tech companies doing?

Earlier this year, big tech companies have taken steps in compliance to the GDPR. Google, for example, has started letting users choose which data they want to share with Gmail and Google Docs, among its other products. Facebook has started complying, as well, by rolling out a single page called the global privacy center that would let users organize who sees their posts and what types of ads they see. Amazon also began enhancing their CRM, improved their data encryption on its cloud storage, and made their terms of agreement simpler.

What does it mean for the US consumer?

As the GDPR is a mandate given to countries of the European Union, it only applies to EU countries, technically speaking. However, with the global nature of the Internet, this means that every online channel and service is affected by the new rule; and therefore US consumers will be greatly affected as the big tech companies start to adapt.

For more in-depth information about GDPR in the EU, check out this article from Safety Media, a company composed of health and safety training and software professionals based in the UK.

In need of expert legal advice? Contact us at Hogan Injury.

None of the content on is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

Link to original article here

Cryptocurrency in 2019: Things to Expect

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Cryptocurrencies continue to surprise us with their behavior through the years. Amidst all the instability and unpredictability in terms of performance, trading, litigation, regulation, and taxation, miners and investors brave the odds and explore what these cryptocurrencies have to offer. Pessimists and optimists alike have much to say about the future of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin – such as bitcoin’s supposed nearing end because of the consistent drop in bitcoin price after reaching its peak. But it’s more viable to focus on observable trends in order to have an idea on what to expect as far as these cryptocurrencies are concerned. Here are some of them.

The Market

The word “bubble” is thrown around in the finance world, and if you’re wondering what it means, it is simply the cycle created by the fast escalation of asset prices followed by a contraction. The bubble deflates when investors cease to buy at elevated prices and massive sell-offs occur. As for bitcoin, yes it is a bubble, and it indeed popped. The market is expected to calm down a bit after the bubble and cryptocurrency trading will remain profitable.

Cryptocurrency as Payment

Retailers are starting to accept cryptocurrency as payment. At this point in time, including cryptocurrency in the list of payment methods can potentially boost income, in the same way that establishments that accept credit cards do have a wider reach than those who do not. Now you can book flights, purchase household goods, get web domains, buy computer products, and so much more with bitcoin. As of December 2018, more travel services, web services, food, and general merchandise have started to accept bitcoin payments. Those with a Microsoft account, for example, have the “Redeem Bitcoin” option upon checkout and can add up to $100 at a time via Bitpay.


In the recent years, crypto traders and holders have seen security threats such as phishing and mining malware. Cryptocurrencies, in theory, are secure; however, we expect that new crypto exchanges and platforms will bring about new cybersecurity threats and challenges.


The blockchain industry has always been associated with cryptocurrency, and in 2019, it is expected to work on its image as an industry that has a lot more to offer. If the industry wants to operate on a larger scale, it needs to be communicated that the blockchain technology has a lot of uses that are unrelated to cryptocurrency.

Taxation and Regulation

2019 is set to be the year of more widespread, formal, and international crypto regulation. In cryptocurrency news this year, Malta became the first country to have a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Countries such as Russia and India have also begun to draft national legislation for cryptocurrencies; and we expect other countries to follow suit – giving way for cryptocurrency to become more legitimate. Preventing money laundering, fraud, and terrorist funding is a prime motivation in putting these regulations in place. If cryptocurrencies are safely policed, more and more people will be confident to use and adopt them.

Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

None of the content on is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

Link to original article here