Christopher Savoie, PhD is the CEO & founder of Zapata Computing. He is a published scholar in medicine, biochemistry and computer science.
In the lead-up to World War II, the Nazis developed a powerful device to hide their top-secret military communications from the enemy. The Enigma machine was the most advanced cryptography tool of its time, and the Nazis were confident that its ciphers were unbreakable.
What the Nazis didn’t know was that Polish mathematicians, together with the father of computer science Alan Turing, had found a way to reverse engineer the Enigma machine and decipher Nazi messages before the war even started. The Allies’ ability to decipher Nazi messages proved to be a decisive advantage that likely changed the outcome of the war.
Today, cybersecurity professionals are operating under the same false sense of security that helped bring down the Nazis. Just as in the past, their vulnerability lies in an underestimation of the threat. This time, however, the threat is from quantum computers.
The Not-So-Distant Quantum Threat
In 1994, mathematician Peter Shor published a landmark paper that threatened the very foundation of modern cybersecurity. In the paper, Shor presented an algorithm that, given access to a powerful enough quantum computer, could efficiently find the prime factors of large integers—the key to breaking RSA and other public key encryption schemes that secure most digital communication today. Shor’s algorithm proved that the advent of quantum computing would spell the end for secure communication as we know it.
But most cybersecurity professionals aren’t too worried yet. After all, it would take a quantum computer with tens of millions of stable qubits (the quantum equivalent to the bit) to run Shor’s algorithm. For perspective, IBM’s Condor computer will have just 1,121 qubits when it comes online next year. Given the pace of quantum computing development, it may be another 10-20 years before we have a fault-tolerant quantum computer (FTQC) powerful enough to run Shor’s algorithm.
Ten to 20 years may seem like a long time, but there’s really no time to wait. Hackers have long been exfiltrating encrypted data with the hopes of decrypting it in the future with quantum computers. This “harvest now, decrypt later” style of attack isn’t new; it’s been around since the days of the Enigma machine. Unfortunately, any exfiltrated data is beyond saving. Once sufficiently powerful quantum computers are available, this sensitive data will be decrypted and exploited for extortion and espionage.
The present threat of these “harvest now, decrypt later” attacks makes finding quantum-resistant encryption schemes an urgent priority. For this reason, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been running a contest since 2016 to assess the security and practicality of potential post-quantum cryptography (PQC) schemes. NIST is expected to finish the process by 2024, at which point they will set new PQC standards to replace RSA and other encryption schemes in use today.
Once NIST sets the new PQC standards, organizations will need to undergo a long, costly process to migrate their sensitive assets to the PQC schemes. The World Economic Forum predicts that over 20 billion digital devices will need to be upgraded or replaced globally to incorporate PQC, a process that could take over 10 years. The larger the enterprise, the more complex and costly the migration.
Given the scale of the investment required, it begs an important question: Will the new encryption standards work?
The Short Answer: Probably Not
You might want to sit down for this: There’s no ensure that any of the new encryption schemes will be able to resist a quantum attack. They may not even be able to resist a classical computing attack. One of the leading PQC candidates, Rainbow, was recently broken by a laptop over a weekend, and another recent paper compromised a different leading family of PQC protocols.
A big hole in NIST’s approach is that they are currently considering only encryption protocols that rely on mathematical problems that don’t have provably efficient classical or quantum solutions. This approach ignores heuristic algorithms, which don’t have theoretically rigorous proof of their efficiency. However, they could still compromise the security of post-quantum cryptographic methods.
In fact, such a heuristic algorithm could also reduce the resources needed to break existing encryption schemes, hastening the dawn of Q-Day, also known as Y2Q and also known as the day when quantum computers can break RSA.
In 2018, three researchers at my company, Zapata Computing, got together over a weekend and developed a heuristic algorithm known as variational quantum factoring (VQF) that could factor six-digit numbers using the quantum devices available at the time. If you extrapolate this research, it would be possible to factor a 2048-bit RSA key using only 6,000 high-quality physical qubits—orders of magnitude fewer than would be required to run Shor’s algorithm.
Granted, the researchers behind VQF are at the top of their field. But if we could devise VQF in a weekend, imagine what a highly motivated foreign adversary could accomplish if they dedicated their resources toward developing new quantum or classical attacks on encryption? The bottom line is that, even if you can avoid “harvest now, decrypt later” attacks, quantum decryption could come much sooner than you think.
Crypto-Agility: The Key To Post-Quantum Security
As an enterprise, the last thing you want is to invest millions of dollars migrating to a new PQC system, only to have that PQC system compromised a few years later. Since we have no way of knowing which PQC schemes will be secure in the long term, the best approach is to stay flexible.
When investing in PQC migration, you want to do it right the first time. That means investing in security platforms that allow you to easily swap encryption protocols as the threat landscape evolves. Admittedly, as an industry, we’re still working on developing these future-proof, interoperable security tools. But given the scale of the potential threat, the urgency could not be higher. We cannot rely on any single PQC scheme to keep our sensitive data safe.
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In this article, we discuss 10 best high-yield dividend champions to buy in August. You can skip our detailed analysis of dividend stocks, and go directly to read 5 Best High-Yield Dividend Champions to Buy in August.
The current market situation and soaring inflation have investors worried about a possible recession. That’s why they are flocking to dividend stocks. In CNBC’s June survey, nearly 42% of the respondents said that they would likely invest in dividend-paying stocks for the rest of the year.
Daniel Peris, a manager at Federated Hermes Strategic Value Dividend Fund, said that in the current environment his fund would focus on companies that pay dividends, maintain track records of dividend growth, and have strong fundamentals for further growth in payouts. He further emphasized that investors show more confidence in stocks that present attractive dividend yields and have good balance sheets. Some of the most popular dividend stocks that fall in this category are The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG), PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). These companies have been providing passive income to shareholders for decades now.
In 2022, the annual dividend rate reached its record high at $550 billion for the first time, according to a report by S&P Dow Jones Indices. Based on this growth, analysts are of the view that dividend payments are expected to jump over 10% at the end of the year, from last year’s $511.2 billion. In this context, we will discuss some high-yield dividend champions to buy in August.
We selected companies that have consistently raised their dividends for more than 25 years. The stocks mentioned below have yields of over 4% and are ranked from the lowest yield to the highest. In addition to this, we also considered hedge fund sentiment around each stock, based on Insider Monkey’s Q1 2022 database of 900+ elite funds.
Dividend Yield as of August 1: 4.03%
Realty Income Corporation (NYSE:O) is an American real estate investment trust company that came to prominence because of its monthly dividend policy.
In Q1 2022, Realty Income Corporation (NYSE:O) reported strong free cash flow generation at $513.4 million, up from $352 million in the previous quarter. The company paid $438 million in dividends during the quarter, which takes its payout ratio to 75.6%. Realty Income Corporation (NYSE:O) has a long 28-year history of dividend growth and has paid dividends consecutively for 53 years. It currently offers a monthly dividend of $0.2475 per share, with a yield of 4.03%, as of August 1.
This June, Credit Suisse initiated its coverage of Realty Income Corporation (NYSE:O) with an Outperform rating and a $75 price target.
At the end of Q1 2022, 22 hedge funds in Insider Monkey’s database owned stakes in Realty Income Corporation (NYSE:O), down from 30 in the previous quarter. These stakes are collectively valued at $284.8 million. With over 1.8 million shares, Glendon Capital Management was the company’s leading stakeholder in Q1.
In addition to famous dividend stocks like The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG), PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Realty Income Corporation (NYSE:O) is also favored by investors in this current market situation.
Dividend Yield as of August 1: 4.52%
Leggett & Platt, Incorporated (NYSE:LEG) is a Missouri-based manufacturing company that specializes in finished products. In Q1 2022, the company reported $39 million in operating cash flow, while its free cash flow came in at $20.3 million. For Fy22, the company expects its operating cash flow to reach $600 million, with $230 million worth of expected dividend payments.
Leggett & Platt, Incorporated (NYSE:LEG) pays a quarterly dividend of $0.44 per share, raising it by 5% in May. The stock’s dividend yield came in at 4.52%, based on the close of August 1. The company maintains a 51-year track record of consistent dividend growth.
As per Insider Monkey’s database, 15 hedge funds held stakes in Leggett & Platt, Incorporated (NYSE:LEG) in Q1, down from 21 in the previous quarter. The combined value of these stakes is roughly $102 million.
Dividend Yield as of August 1: 4.57%
Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (NYSE:TDS) is a telecommunication service company that provides wireless products and services. The company is based in Chicago.
In Q1 2022, Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (NYSE:TDS) generated $381 million in operating cash flow, up from $240 million in the previous quarter. The company pays a quarterly dividend of $0.18 per share. Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (NYSE:TDS) holds a 48-year track record of consistent dividend growth. As of August 1, the stock’s dividend yield came in at 4.57%.
The number of hedge funds owning stakes in Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (NYSE:TDS) declined to 12 in Q1 2022 from 20 in the previous quarter, according to Insider Monkey’s data. The stakes owned by hedge funds are valued at nearly $53.4 million. GAMCO Investors owned over 1.7 million TDS shares, becoming the company’s largest stakeholder in Q1.
Dividend Yield as of August 1: 4.63%
National Retail Properties, Inc. (NYSE:NNN) is a Florida-based real estate investment trust company that invests in properties that are subjected to long-term leases.
On July 15, National Retail Properties, Inc. (NYSE:NNN) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.55 per share, up 3.8% from its previous dividend. This marked the company’s 33rd consecutive year of dividend growth. The company ended Q1 2022 with cash and cash equivalents of $53.7 million and total assets worth over $7.7 billion. Its free cash flow came in at $164.3 million, up from $115.2 million in the previous quarter. The stock’s dividend yield stood at 4.63% on August 1.
Appreciating the company’s relationship-driven acquisition strategy, Credit Suisse initiated its coverage of National Retail Properties, Inc. (NYSE:NNN) in June, with an Outperform rating.
At the end of March 2022, 18 hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey owned stakes in National Retail Properties, Inc. (NYSE:NNN), worth $92.5 million. In the previous quarter, 16 hedge funds held positions in the company, with stakes valued at $157.7 million. Millennium Management held the largest stake in the company in Q1, worth over $19.4 million.
Dividend Yield as of August 1: 5.05%
International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) generated over $2.1 billion in free cash flow in Q2 2022. The company’s operating cash flow came in at $1.32 billion. Moreover, it returned $1.5 billion to shareholders in dividends during the quarter.
International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) has a solid dividend history, offering dividends to shareholders since 1916 while steadily boosting its payouts for the past 27 years. The company’s quarterly dividend stands at $1.65 per share, with a yield of 5.05%.
Following the company’s latest quarterly earnings, Credit Suisse set a $156 price target on International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) in July while maintaining an Outperform rating on the shares.
International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) was a part of 43 hedge fund portfolios in Q1 2022, down slightly from 44 a quarter earlier, according to Insider Monkey’s data. The stakes owned by hedge funds were collectively valued at nearly $1.2 billion.
Like The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG), PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) is also one of the most reliable dividend candidates in 2022.
St. James Investment Company mentioned International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) in its Q4 2021 investor letter. Here is what the firm had to say:
“IBM was not the first company to build computers. The distinction belongs to Sperry-Rand’s subsidiary UNIVAC, which introduced the first commercially successful computers in the early 1950s. In this era, IBM did possess the largest research and development department of the business machines industry and quickly caught up, introducing cost-competitive computers a few years after UNIVAC. By the late 1950s, IBM held the dominant market share in computers. IBM also touted a vastly superior sales organization, which used a sales tactic called “paper machines” (the equivalent of today’s “vaporware”). If a competitor’s product was selling well in a market segment that IBM had yet to penetrate, the company would announce a competing product and start taking orders for the “paper machine” long before it was available.
One cannot overstate how powerful IBM was in the computer industry in the 1950s and 1960s. Every competitor rightly worried that if their product worked too well for too long, it was only a matter of time before an army of IBM salesforce representatives mobilized. In their easily recognizable uniforms of starched white shirts, red ties and blue suits, IBM marketers marched on their customers and offered a more expensive, but much more defensible, choice. “Nobody gets fired for buying IBM” was a common phrase. Even competitors acknowledged that the company excelled at sales. As a UNIVAC executive once complained, ‘It doesn’t do much good to build a better mousetrap if the other guy selling mousetraps has five times as many salesmen.’” (Click here to see the full text)
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Disclosure. None. 10 Best High-Yield Dividend Champions to Buy in August is originally published on Insider Monkey.
Imagine in an alternate universe, would companies have been jumping to hire a young Bill Gates, Richard Branson, or Albert Einstein? Although the brilliance of these leaders is evident today, it might not have been so obvious to a hiring manager years ago. All three of them had to overcome social and academic challenges because of their unique ways of thinking.
“Think different,” was a famous advertising slogan used by Apple Inc. in the ’90s. The phrase takes on a deeper meaning when applied to neurodiversity.
Neurodivergent people are those with dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism, ADHD, and other neurological conditions that can affect the way they process information. Many have extraordinary skills in areas like pattern recognition, memory, and mathematics, yet struggle to fit employer profiles.
Neurodiverse people can often be under appreciated and under recruited due to biases in the hiring process, despite being excellent at their jobs.
Up to 10 per cent of the population demonstrates at least some neurodivergent traits. Adding diversity of thought to company Equity Diversity and Inclusion policies can be a deciding factor in success.
Companies such as Ford, Deloitte, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and Microsoft are leading a wave of management reforms aimed at recruiting and retaining more neurodiverse talent. So far, these companies are reporting gains in productivity, quality, innovation, and employee engagement.
For companies looking to recruit the next Gates, Branson or Einstein, here are some suggestions:
Use less standardized screening. Running every candidate through the same set of screens is going to filter out a lot of neurodiverse talent. For example, neurodiverse resumes might show periods of unemployment or underemployment that stem from the very traits that make them unique. Uncovering the gems takes a more intimate approach to talent assessment.
Make the interview process fluid. The behaviours of many neurodiverse people are varied and may differ from standard workplace expectations. For example, neurodiverse individual may have different communication styles, for example using less eye contact during conversations. These non-standard interpersonal practices can mask unique skills and abilities. One approach is to relax the interview process, such as inviting the candidate to spend more time interacting with managers and colleagues in a lower-pressure environment that allows their strengths to emerge.
Be prepared to accommodate. Staff must be ready to work with team members who have different strengths and behaviours than themselves. This requires managing a narrower set of considerations, such as accessibility training and modifications to the work environment that might help neurodiverse individuals. This could mean things like installing different lighting in some areas or providing noise-canceling headphones.
Personalize your management style. Managers typically coach employees to adapt to a company’s cultural and operational ideals. When everybody is aligned, the company runs like a well-oiled machine. In a more egalitarian workplace, managers will need to spend more time understanding the individual person and how best to coax out their contributions. The payoff is access to a broader range of talents and perspectives that can yield new creativity and innovation.
Companies may be hesitant to engage employees about their private lives, where neurodiverse people sometimes need some extra help. One solution is to tap community support networks that can do things like assist in prescreening candidates, provide training or advise on how to obtain funding for training.
Years ago, the tech industry made the socially awkward genius a cultural icon. More recently, software giant SAP announced plans to make one per cent of its workforce neurodiverse. In the years ahead, neurodiverse hiring practices will be mainstream. The sooner companies become open to employees who think differently, the sooner they will tap into a remarkable pool of talent.
In the U.S. government's ongoing campaign to protect data in the age of quantum computers, a new and powerful attack that used a single traditional computer to completely break a fourth-round candidate highlights the risks involved in standardizing the next generation of encryption algorithms.
Last month, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), selected four post-quantum-computing encryption algorithms to replace algorithms like RSA, Diffie-Hellman, and elliptic curve Diffie-Hellman, which are unable to withstand attacks from a quantum computer.
In the same move, NIST advanced four additional algorithms as potential replacements pending further testing, in hopes one or more of them may also be suitable encryption alternatives in a post-quantum world. The new attack breaks SIKE, which is one of the latter four additional algorithms. The attack has no impact on the four PQC algorithms selected by NIST as approved standards, all of which rely on completely different mathematical techniques than SIKE.
Getting Totally SIKEd
SIKE—short for supersingular isogeny key encapsulation—is now likely out of the running, thanks to research that was published over the weekend by researchers from the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography group at KU Leuven. The paper, titled “An Efficient Key Recovery Attack on SIDH (Preliminary Version),” described a technique that uses complex mathematics and a single traditional PC to recover the encryption keys protecting the SIKE-protected transactions. The entire process requires only about an hour’s time. The feat makes the researchers, Wouter Castryck and Thomas Decru, eligible for a $50,000 reward from NIST.
“The newly uncovered weakness is clearly a major blow to SIKE,” David Jao, a professor at the University of Waterloo and co-inventor of SIKE, wrote in an email. “The attack is really unexpected.”
The advent of public-key encryption in the 1970s was a major breakthrough, because it allowed parties who had never met to securely trade encrypted material that couldn’t be broken by an adversary. Public-key encryption relies on asymmetric keys, with one private key used to decrypt messages and a separate public key for encrypting. Users make their public key widely available. As long as their private key remains secret, the scheme remains secure.
In practice, public-key cryptography can often be unwieldy, so many systems rely on key encapsulation mechanisms, which allow parties who have never met before to jointly agree on a symmetric key over a public medium such as the internet. In contrast to symmetric-key algorithms, key encapsulation mechanisms in use today are easily broken by quantum computers. SIKE, before the new attack, was thought to avoid such vulnerabilities by using a complex mathematical construction known as a supersingular isogeny graph.
The cornerstone of SIKE is a protocol called SIDH, short for supersingular isogeny Diffie-Hellman. The research paper published over the weekend shows how SIDH is vulnerable to a theorem known as “glue-and-split” developed by mathematician Ernst Kani in 1997, as well as tools devised by fellow mathematicians Everett W. Howe, Franck Leprévost, and Bjorn Poonen in 2000. The new technique builds on what’s known as the GPST adaptive attack, described in a 2016 paper. The math behind the latest attack is guaranteed to be impenetrable to most non-mathematicians. Here’s about as close as you’re going to get:
“The attack exploits the fact that SIDH has auxiliary points and that the degree of the secret isogeny is known,” Steven Galbraith, a University of Auckland mathematics professor and the “G” in the GPST adaptive attack, explained in a short write-up on the new attack. “The auxiliary points in SIDH have always been an annoyance and a potential weakness, and they have been exploited for fault attacks, the GPST adaptive attack, torsion point attacks, etc.”
Lobbying has been a part of U.S. politics since our nation’s early days, but campaign spending has ballooned to new heights in the decade since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling that said political spending by corporations and other outside groups is protected by First Amendment free speech rights. Since that 2010 ruling, unfettered funds from wealthy individuals, dark money groups, and other special interests (including foreign entities) have flooded U.S. politics — as well as airwaves and mailboxes — in an effort to curry political favor. In the 2020 election, political spending topped $14 billion, including $1 billion from dark money groups, non-party organizations that don’t have to disclose their donors.
But business leaders of small to midsize enterprises are largely left out of this pay-to-play game and forced to play by rules that have been influenced to benefit select industries and corporate giants. This means entrepreneurs are often left behind in the competitive marketplace and society, and on a larger scale the economy suffers from limited growth and innovation. Increasingly, this “political arms race” also means larger companies must donate to compete, then attempt to reconcile their lobbying and political donations with their public statements on values and societal issues.
During his career as an attorney in public and private roles, Jeff Clements watched what he calls “the change in what the Constitution means,” the effect of that change on people across the political spectrum, and the loss of the public commons to private enterprise. He decided he couldn’t sit on the sidelines, so in 2016 he founded a nonpartisan organization called American Promise to support a grassroots movement focused on reducing the influence of money in politics.
The American Promise proposal is a constitutional amendment that would put reasonable limits on political spending and better enable politicians to act according to their constituents’ beliefs rather than those of wealthy donors. While an amendment may seem like an ambitious goal, Clements says a long-term change is necessary to address the dysfunctional campaign finance model that Citizens United helped create. He notes that it has support from a large majority of Americans — including business leaders and legislatures in 22 states — of all political stripes.
As part of my research on purpose-driven business, I recently talked with Clements about his motivations for starting American Promise, how corporations currently engage in political spending, what it takes to advance an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and why most businesses are on board with reforming the current campaign finance system.
Chris Marquis: Share a bit about the concept behind American Promise and the role that business leaders can play in the organization.
Jeff Clements: We want to unite Americans to implement what most of us already know we need: a constitutional solution to the out-of-control money in our political system so that effective American self-government, representative democracy and free speech for all Americans is a reality. Business leaders are a key part of the American Promise strategy. At American Promise we try to serve Americans of any political stripe who want to answer this call to action – we can be a provider of tools and infrastructure, a connector, or a strategic leader, but in the end constitutional amendments and whether we can get back on track is up to all Americans. It's a network strategy — veterans network, business network, social worker network — where this issue meets people where they live and engage with each other. They can accelerate their learning about it and peer-to-peer action around it. Business is important for this effort for a lot of reasons. One is that Citizens United and other related cases purport to be businesses friendly. Many business people are saying, “No, thank you, we didn’t ask for this, and it’s not good.” It’s really important that that voice be heard, so we created the American Promise Business Network.
We need to have support for this across partisan lines, and businesspeople, of course, cross partisan lines. No one in business behaves like our politicians do now. Every day, business people are listening, negotiating, resolving conflict and implementing solutions. They are influential and are used to expressing their views, usually in a civil and clear manner. We hear a great interest in taking action from a lot of business people, including the many small and midsize businesses who don’t have the capital to play the money game in our broken political process.
These businesspeople want to have a voice — and not only as citizens, but as professional leaders whose businesses are impacted by policy decisions. When you look at which businesses actually are able to play in this out-of-control system, it’s only the largest, most concentrated, most global businesses. It’s not the vast majority of businesses in America.
We think that most would welcome the American Promise For Our Freedom Amendment. For example, one company involved in the American Promise Business Network is Pirelli Tire. It’s a public company headquartered in Milan, but the American business is based in Georgia. They have a no-political-spending rule — they don’t do it anywhere in the world. And they’d like their competitors to have to play by the same rules. IBM is another company with a no-political-spending policy.
So this Business Network is important both to help us win and also to carry forward the case that this is not about business versus everyone else. If we as a society don’t define rules for when business capital can be leveraged into political capital, we create a systemic dynamic where investments in political spending to control candidates and policy brings a better return than investments in innovation or competition. This enables a few industries to actively hurt the public interest to advance their business interests, either because they have more capital than anyone else or because their business model doesn’t work without extracting undue advantage through political spending. We – not just as businesspeople but as citizens – must prevent that by enabling fair rules and guardrails.
Marquis: Since Citizens United, it seems there is an ability to circumvent individual contributions limits. Why did the Court find businesses could contribute unlimited amounts to PACs when there are limits on individuals? If “corporations are people” is part of the rationale, that seems inconsistent.
Clements: To be clear, the Supreme Court ruled that anyone – corporations, unions, billionaires, you name it, can run unlimited money into elections to influence the outcome, even if the technical limits on direct campaign donations to the candidate still apply. The Supreme Court’s theory is that, while direct contributions to candidates have a risk of corruption, so-called “independent spending” like the money that goes to Super PACs won’t “influence” the candidate or officeholder. Under this theory, so-called independent spending is akin to free speech, so limiting that money can’t be justified. It’s a syllogism: Money facilitates speech, so money is akin to speech, and Americans should not limit speech, therefore Americans are not allowed to limit money's influence in our elections. That’s a pretty radical new interpretation of the First Amendment. And we’ve found that most Americans think that it’s a ridiculous “clever lawyer” theory, and not how the real world works.
Another major problem we’re seeing with this legal theory is that the FEC (Federal Election Commission) recently ruled that in state ballot initiatives, there is no law that prohibits foreign governments from spending money. For instance, Ottawa Power, fully owned by the Canadian government, spent $24 million to influence a ballot initiative in Maine. The CEO testified in the Maine legislature after being summoned by some irate senators. One of them asked, “Could you do this in Canada?” and the CEO said, “Oh no — Canadian elections are very serious.”
Marquis: A constitutional amendment seems like a big step — why the need for this instead of another approach? And why do you think the time is right for an amendment?
Clements: Over my career, I saw the top-down, lawyer-driven change in the meaning of the First Amendment and our Constitution lead to deep erosion in civic trust, government accountability, and our ability as a nation to protect the public interest or the public commons against abuses from private power. I think private enterprise is good, but it works best with democracy, checks and balances, and some rules and clarity around what’s the public sphere versus the private sphere.
Here’s an example: In my role with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, I was involved with tobacco litigation. We were trying to enforce pretty basic laws regarding a buffer for tobacco marketing around schools. Big Tobacco targeted children with advertising outside of schools to get kids addicted because their scientists said, if you can get kids hooked at 15, you have them for life, but if you wait till 21, they're not going to be as susceptible to being a lifetime customer.
The tobacco companies sued, saying the rule against marketing cigarettes around schools and playgrounds violated their First Amendment free speech rights. They didn’t debate the public policy; they just said Americans weren’t allowed to touch them because of the First Amendment. The argument is that targeting cartoon cigarette ads in places where children go to school is free speech. We won that case all the way up to the Supreme Court, but then we lost 5-4 in the Supreme Court case called Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Reilly. That is a dangerous change in what free speech is supposed to be about in America.
So the reason we need a constitutional solution now is that a constitutional mistake is at the root of our problems. We are at a constitutional fork in the road. In my view, the road we’re on if we don’t correct the Court’s constitutional mistakes about money, free speech, and elections leads to oligarchy, social division and unrest, and the deep erosion of the pragmatic, dynamic, free American society. The road of a constitutional amendment gives us a better chance to navigate the challenges of the next century, where we have a responsive government and civic trust because the constitution protects the rights and interests of all Americans, not just the tiny slice of us who can deploy millions in political donations.
Marquis: In the business world, it seems some influence on the government is through organizations like the Business Roundtable, which has been saying that businesses should be focused on stakeholders like employees and other constituents as opposed to just shareholders. But if you look at their work, they lobbied for Trump’s corporate tax plan, many of the companies have employees who don’t earn a living wage, and other issues. What role could groups like that play in the campaign spending issue American Promise is working to address?
Clements: I think we can’t judge too much based on the current system because the current system allows, or even requires, a lot of hypocrisy from those who operate in the system but would like to see it be better. Like a lot of forces, powerful groups like the members of the Business Roundtable can do damage, or they can help drive change. I think our amendment is something that the Roundtable and all business groups could support. For example, the U.S. Chamber is one of the big lobbying spenders, but some of our most committed supporters and volunteers in the Business Network are local and state leaders and members of Chambers of Commerce.
Many of the members of the Business Roundtable or the U.S. Chamber are global and at different orders of magnitude in terms of scope and scale than local and state businesses. But they too will benefit from clear, level playing field rules about political spending in America and the more responsive and responsible political culture that results from that. I hope they can get on board with this effort, too, and at least not be in opposition. When push comes to shove, and we’re trying to get a vote in Congress and in state legislatures, I would hope that, at a minimum, they would recognize that this is simply sound, prudent constitutional and civic law.
A month after the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) revealed the first quantum-safe algorithms, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM have swiftly moved forward. Google was also quick to outline an aggressive implementation plan for its cloud service that it started a decade ago.
It helps that IBM researchers contributed to three of the four algorithms, while AWS had a hand in two. Google contributed to one of the submitted algorithms, SPHINCS+.
A long process that started in 2016 with 69 original candidates ends with the selection of four algorithms that will become NIST standards, which will play a critical role in protecting encrypted data from the vast power of quantum computers.
NIST's four choices include CRYSTALS-Kyber, a public-private key-encapsulation mechanism (KEM) for general asymmetric encryption, such as when connecting websites. For digital signatures, NIST selected CRYSTALS-Dilithium, FALCON, and SPHINCS+. NIST will add a few more algorithms to the mix in two years.
Vadim Lyubashevsky, a cryptographer who works in IBM's Zurich Research Laboratories, contributed to the development of CRYSTALS-Kyber, CRYSTALS-Dilithium, and Falcon. Lyubashevsky was predictably pleased by the algorithms selected, but he had only anticipated NIST would pick two digital signature candidates rather than three.
Ideally, NIST would have chosen a second key establishment algorithm, according to Lyubashevsky. "They could have chosen one more right away just to be safe," he told Dark Reading. "I think some people expected McEliece to be chosen, but maybe NIST decided to hold off for two years to see what the backup should be to Kyber."
After NIST identified the algorithms, IBM moved forward by specifying them into its recently launched z16 mainframe. IBM introduced the z16 in April, calling it the "first quantum-safe system," enabled by its new Crypto Express 8S card and APIs that provide access to the NIST APIs.
IBM was championing three of the algorithms that NIST selected, so IBM had already included them in the z16. Since IBM had unveiled the z16 before the NIST decision, the company implemented the algorithms into the new system. IBM last week made it official that the z16 supports the algorithms.
Anne Dames, an IBM distinguished engineer who works on the company's z Systems team, explained that the Crypto Express 8S card could implement various cryptographic algorithms. Nevertheless, IBM was betting on CRYSTAL-Kyber and Dilithium, according to Dames.
"We are very fortunate in that it went in the direction we hoped it would go," she told Dark Reading. "And because we chose to implement CRYSTALS-Kyber and CRYSTALS-Dilithium in the hardware security module, which allows clients to get access to it, the firmware in that hardware security module can be updated. So, if other algorithms were selected, then we would add them to our roadmap for inclusion of those algorithms for the future."
A software library on the system allows application and infrastructure developers to incorporate APIs so that clients can generate quantum-safe digital signatures for both classic computing systems and quantum computers.
"We also have a CRYSTALS-Kyber interface in place so that we can generate a key and provide it wrapped by a Kyber key so that could be used in a potential key exchange scheme," Dames said. "And we've also incorporated some APIs that allow clients to have a key exchange scheme between two parties."
Dames noted that clients might use Kyber to generate digital signatures on documents. "Think about code signing servers, things like that, or documents signing services, where people would like to actually use the digital signature capability to ensure the authenticity of the document or of the code that's being used," she said.
During Amazon's AWS re:Inforce security conference last week in Boston, the cloud provider emphasized its post-quantum cryptography (PQC) efforts. According to Margaret Salter, director of applied cryptography at AWS, Amazon is already engineering the NIST standards into its services.
During a breakout session on AWS' cryptography efforts at the conference, Salter said AWS had implemented an open source, hybrid post-quantum key exchange based on a specification called s2n-tls, which implements the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol across different AWS services. AWS has contributed it as a draft standard to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
Salter explained that the hybrid key exchange brings together its traditional key exchanges while enabling post-quantum security. "We have regular key exchanges that we've been using for years and years to protect data," she said. "We don't want to get rid of those; we're just going to enhance them by adding a public key exchange on top of it. And using both of those, you have traditional security, plus post quantum security."
Last week, Amazon announced that it deployed s2n-tls, the hybrid post-quantum TLS with CRYSTALS-Kyber, which connects to the AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) and AWS Certificate Manager (ACM). In an update this week, Amazon documented its stated support for AWS Secrets Manager, a service for managing, rotating, and retrieving database credentials and API keys.
While Google didn't make implementation announcements like AWS in the immediate aftermath of NIST's selection, VP and CISO Phil Venables said Google has been focused on PQC algorithms "beyond theoretical implementations" for over a decade. Venables was among several prominent researchers who co-authored a technical paper outlining the urgency of adopting PQC strategies. The peer-reviewed paper was published in May by Nature, a respected journal for the science and technology communities.
"At Google, we're well into a multi-year effort to migrate to post-quantum cryptography that is designed to address both immediate and long-term risks to protect sensitive information," Venables wrote in a blog post published following the NIST announcement. "We have one goal: ensure that Google is PQC ready."
Venables recalled an experiment in 2016 with Chrome where a minimal number of connections from the Web browser to Google servers used a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm alongside the existing elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm. "By adding a post-quantum algorithm in a hybrid mode with the existing key exchange, we were able to test its implementation without affecting user security," Venables noted.
Google and Cloudflare announced a "wide-scale post-quantum experiment" in 2019 implementing two post-quantum key exchanges, "integrated into Cloudflare's TLS stack, and deployed the implementation on edge servers and in Chrome Canary clients." The experiment helped Google understand the implications of deploying two post-quantum key agreements with TLS.
Venables noted that last year Google tested post-quantum confidentiality in TLS and found that various network products were not compatible with post-quantum TLS. "We were able to work with the vendor so that the issue was fixed in future firmware updates," he said. "By experimenting early, we resolved this issue for future deployments."
The four algorithms NIST announced are an important milestone in advancing PQC, but there's other work to be done besides quantum-safe encryption. The AWS TLS submission to the IETF is one example; others include such efforts as Hybrid PQ VPN.
"What you will see happening is those organizations that work on TLS protocols, or SSH, or VPN type protocols, will now come together and put together proposals which they will evaluate in their communities to determine what's best and which protocols should be updated, how the certificates should be defined, and things like things like that," IBM's Dames said.
Dustin Moody, a mathematician at NIST who leads its PQC project, shared a similar view during a panel discussion at the RSA Conference in June. "There's been a lot of global cooperation with our NIST process, rather than fracturing of the effort and coming up with a lot of different algorithms," Moody said. "We've seen most countries and standards organizations waiting to see what comes out of our nice progress on this process, as well as participating in that. And we see that as a very good sign."
Autism is known as a spectrum disorder because every autistic person is different, with unique strengths and challenges.
Varney says many autistic people experienced education as a system that focused on these challenges, which can include social difficulties and anxiety.
He is pleased this is changing, with latest reforms embracing autistic students’ strengths.
But the unemployment rate of autistic people remains disturbingly high. ABS data from 2018 shows 34.1 per cent of autistic people are unemployed – three times higher than that of people with any type of disability and almost eight times that of those without a disability.
“A lot of the time people hear that someone’s autistic and they assume incompetence,” says Varney, who was this week appointed the chair of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council.
“But we have unique strengths, specifically hyper focus, great creativity, and we can think outside the box, which is a great asset in workplaces.”
In Israel, the defence force has a specialist intelligence unit made up exclusively of autistic soldiers, whose skills are deployed in analysing, interpreting and understanding satellite images and maps.
Locally, organisations that actively recruit autistic talent include software giant SAP, Westpac, IBM, ANZ, the Australian Tax Office, Telstra, NAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Chris Pedron is a junior data analyst at Australian Spatial Analytics, a social enterprise that says on its website “neurodiversity is our advantage – our team is simply faster and more precise at data processing”.
He was hired after an informal chat. (Australian Spatial Analytics also often provides interview questions 48 hours in advance.)
Pedron says the traditional recruitment process can work against autistic people because there are a lot of unwritten social cues, such as body language, which he doesn’t always pick up on.
“If I’m going in and I’m acting a bit physically standoffish, I’ve got my arms crossed or something, it’s not that I’m not wanting to be there, it’s just that new social interaction is something that causes anxiety.”
Pedron also finds eye contact uncomfortable and has had to train himself over the years to concentrate on a point on someone’s face.
Australian Spatial Analytics addresses a skills shortage by delivering a range of data services that were traditionally outsourced offshore.
Projects include digital farm maps for the grazing industry, technical documentation for large infrastructure and map creation for land administration.
Pedron has always found it easy to map things out in his head. “A lot of the work done here at ASA is geospatial so having autistic people with a very visual mindset is very much an advantage for this particular job.”
Pedron listens to music on headphones in the office, which helps him concentrate, and stops him from being distracted. He says the simpler and clearer the instructions, the easier it is for him to understand. “The less I have to read between the lines to understand what is required of me the better.”
Australian Spatial Analytics is one of three jobs-focused social enterprises launched by Queensland charity White Box Enterprises.
It has grown from three to 80 employees in 18 months and – thanks to philanthropist Naomi Milgrom, who has provided office space in Cremorne – has this year expanded to Melbourne, enabling Australian Spatial Analytics to create 50 roles for Victorians by the end of the year.
Chief executive Geoff Smith hopes they are at the front of a wave of employers recognising that hiring autistic people can make good business sense.
“Rather than focus on the deficits of the person, focus on the strengths. A quarter of National Disability Insurance Scheme plans name autism as the primary disability, so society has no choice – there’s going to be such a huge number of people who are young and looking for jobs who are autistic. There is a skills shortage as it is, so you need to look at neurodiverse talent.”
In 2017, IBM launched a campaign to hire more neurodiverse (a term that covers a range of conditions including autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, and dyslexia) candidates.
The initiative was in part inspired by software and data quality engineering services firm Ultranauts, who boasted at an event “they ate IBM’s lunch at testing by using an all-autistic staff”.
The following year Belinda Sheehan, a senior managing consultant at IBM, was tasked with rolling out a pilot at its client innovation centre in Ballarat.
“IBM is very big on inclusivity,” says Sheehan. “And if we don’t have diversity of thought, we won’t have innovation. So those two things go hand in hand.”
Sheehan worked with Specialisterne Australia, a social enterprise that assists businesses in recruiting and supporting autistic people, to find talent using a non-traditional recruitment process that included a week-long task.
Candidates were asked to work together to find a way for a record shop to connect with customers when the bricks and mortar store was closed due to COVID.
Ten employees were eventually selected. They started in July 2019 and work in roles across IBM, including data analysis, testing, user experience design, data engineering, automation, blockchain and software development. Another eight employees were hired in July 2021.
Sheehan says clients have been delighted with their ideas. “The UX [user experience] designer, for example, comes in with such a different lens. Particularly as we go to artificial intelligence, you need those different thinkers.”
One client said if they had to describe the most valuable contribution to the project in two words it would be “ludicrous speed”. Another said: “automation genius.”
IBM has sought to make the office more inclusive by creating calming, low sensory spaces.
It has formed a business resource group for neurodiverse employees and their allies, with four squads focusing on recruitment, awareness, career advancement and policies and procedures.
And it has hired a neurodiversity coach to work with individuals and managers.
Sheehan says that challenges have included some employees getting frustrated because they did not have enough work.
“These individuals want to come to work and get the work done – they are not going off for a coffee and chatting.”
Increased productivity is a good problem to have, Sheehan says, but as a manager, she needs to come up with ways they can enhance their skills in their downtime.
There have also been difficulties around different communication styles, with staff finding some autistic employees a bit blunt.
Sheehan encourages all staff to do a neurodiversity 101 training course run by IBM.
“Something may be perceived as rude, but we have to turn that into a positive. It’s good to have someone who is direct, at least we all know what that person is thinking.”
Chris Varney is delighted to see neurodiversity programs in some industries but points out that every autistic person has different interests and abilities.
Some are non-verbal, for example, and not all have the stereotypical autism skills that make them excel at data analysis.
“We’ve seen a big recognition that autistic people are an asset to banks and IT firms, but there’s a lot more work to be done,” Varney says.
“We need to see jobs for a diverse range of autistic people.”
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The Canadian Party of Quebec has announced a second slate of candidates for the Oct. 3 provincial election.
“We are building a solid team to build a better Quebec," said CaPQ leader Colin Standish. "Talented, passionate and principled Quebecers from all walks of life continue to come forward to stand as candidates. “We call on talented Quebecers to help us build a team that all Quebecers can be proud to vote for this coming October. The Canadian Party of Quebec are going to win seats and be a voice for the voiceless in the National Assembly. We will stand up for human rights, civil liberties and the Canadian Constitution, while opposing Bills 21, 40 and 96."
The candidates are:
• Scott Kilbride - Verdun, an "IT professional who began his career at IBM, and has spent the past 22 years at Selwyn House School as a computer technician and Network Administrator, overseeing the daily operations of the entire school network."
• David Hamelin-Schuilenburg - Vaudreuil. The candidate "works in public safety, and has experience with Transport Canada and a Communications Officer for Emergency Services Operations in Quebec. Dave has a wealth of political experience and previously lived in the United States, has held elected office and worked on President Obama’s campaigns in Pennsylvania."
• Donna Pinel - La Piniere. The candidate is a "former Commissioner on the Riverside School Board. She attended Champlain College - Saint-Lambert and works as an Office Manager at AstroNova Inc."
Artificial intelligence (AI) is completely changing the way companies operate across industries, which is why it is important to find the best AI talent for an organization’s needs. It is a highly competitive industry that is being revolutionized by the rise of remote work and freelance platforms.
There are many companies on the market that help recruit AI talent by sourcing, vetting, matching, and managing potential candidates. These platforms and companies will become even more important in the future, with a huge portion of talent being hired from them.
Here are the 5 best AI recruiting companies:
Topping our list of the 5 best AI recruiting companies is Toptal, which is an exclusive network of top freelance software developers, product managers, finance experts, project managers, and more. Toptal relies on AI to ensure companies find the best fit for their job, and the talent provided by the platform is among the top 3% in their respective fields.
Toptal helps make the recruitment process easier, with the platform quickly identifying talent for a job. Even though the talent is sourced from all over the world, each individual candidate speaks English. A selected freelancer can participate in a trial period before being brought on to the full team.
One of the things that makes Toptal so respected and trusted is its intense screening process, which ensures only the best talent is put up for a task. The platform also provides a quick turnaround time for hires, with the best candidates being found within one to three weeks. This quick turnaround time ensures companies don’t waste time and resources on a recruitment process, meaning they can focus on other important tasks.
On top of these great features, Toptal ensures that freelancers can work during the business hours of the hiring company, and the platform can even relocate freelancers to protect the company’s existing workflow.
Here are some of the top features offered by Toptal:
Remote and freelance work
Freelancer trial period
Stringent screening process
Direct support from Toptal representatives
Another great option for an AI recruiting company is Turing, which provides their AI-backed Intelligent Talent Cloud to help source, vet, match, and manage the best remote software developers across the globe. Used by some of the world’s top companies like Pepsi, Dell, and Coinbase, the platform leverages global sourcing, intelligent vetting, extensive matching, HR/payments compliance, and automated on-the-job quality control.
Turing does an excellent job of making the remote hiring process easy for both companies and developers. Companies can hire pre-vetted, highly-qualified remote software talent that spans across more than 100 skills. The process only takes 3-5 days.
The Intelligent Talent Cloud relies on AI to vet, match, and manage over 1.5 million developers around the world, saving companies a ton of time and resources as they construct an engineering team in days.
Here are some of the top features offered by Turing:
AI-backed Intelligent Talent Cloud
More than 1.5 million developers worldwide
Helps construct engineering team in days
Pre-vetted, highly-qualified talent
100+ skills among talent
One of the most well-known names in remote work, Upwork is another great option. The freelancing platform has grown substantially over the years, and it now includes talent across a wide range of categories and industries, such as technology, legal, software development, writing, mobile app development, design, and much more.
Upwork helps connect businesses to top-rated talent all across the globe. For the company, it’s as easy as signing up, creating a job proposal, and vetting out potential candidates before hiring them. For the freelancer, they search for potential jobs and set up their profiles to match their skills.
The platform has become a leader in the industry for good reason. It offers various security measures, such as time tracking and Verified payment methods. It also has its own communication platform to help easily connect businesses and freelancers.
Here are some of the top features offered by Upwork:
One more great option for an AI recruiting company is Untapped, which is a recruiting platform that helps candidates find jobs and get hired by some of the world’s top tech companies. Partnered with companies like Lyft, Epic Games, DoorDash, and Zoom, Untapped has built a name for itself in this space.
Untapped allows businesses to review and respond to inbound applicants efficiently, and they can discover qualified candidates by filtering through more than 75 data points including demographic, experiential, and cognitive diversity.
There are more than 35 million searchable profiles on the platform, many of which could never be found with traditional sourcing methods. The platform helps companies become more engaging and attract quality candidates, with features such as virtual events with the platform’s end-to-end solution, and diversity analytics that uncover diversity disparities, identify biases, and track progress.
Here are some of the main features offered by Untapped:
Efficiently review and respond to applicants
Filter through 75+ data points
35+ million searchable profiles
Closing out our list of the 5 best AI recruiting companies is Gigster, which is a fully managed software delivery platform. The platform aims to address the major concerns associated with finding expert talent, such as time and resources, finding the right skills sets, and the risks of over-budget and delayed projects.
Gigster offers teams that can help deliver projects, and the teams are built from the top 1% of developers, designers, and project managers. This is why Gigster is trusted by some of the world’s top companies like Google, Microsoft, and IBM.
The platform is available to help on a wide range of fronts, including blockchain, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), artificial intelligence, and custom development. Its expert application development teams are assembled in 3-14 days, and 95% of projects are delivered on time and within budget.
Here are some of the main features offered by Gigster:
Fully managed software delivery platform
Top 1% of developers, designers, and project managers
Helps with blockchain, NFTs, AI, and custom development
Development teams assembled in 3-14 days