President Outlines Competitiveness Agenda: Double NSF’s budget, Math & Science Education Critical

“The American economy is pre-eminent – but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors like China and India. We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious people – and we are going to keep that edge.” President George W. Bush, January 31, 2006, State of the Union.

Update: 2/1/06 ACM’s President Dave Patterson issued a statement about the President’s initiative stating, “the White House’s commitment to increased investment in education and basic research is the key to sustaining innovation.” He particularly noted, “that IT research has been critical to this nation’s leadership in technology, and has driven innovation with results that reach well beyond the IT sector. He cited the personal computer, the Internet, and search engines as examples of benefits derived from investing in research.”

I also added some links that I didn’t get to last night.

Finally, here is some Congressional reaction:

Senator Domenici (Republican, Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee)
Senator Mikulski (registration required) (Democrat, Senior Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee)
Senator Feinstein (Democrat, Senate Appropriations Committee)
Senator Alexander (Republican, Senior Member of the Senate Energy Committee)
Congressman Boehlert (Republican, Chairman of the House Science Committee)
Congressman Ehlers (Republican, Senior Member of the House Science Committee)
Congressman Goodlatte (Republican, Co-Chairman of the House Internet Caucus)

Original Post 1/31/06: Anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to the swirling national competitiveness debate in the media knows the President’s remarks reflect what most of the science and technology community has been saying for some time. Until tonight, however, there was little agreement between the Bush Administration and the community on what to do about it. President Bush is now embracing a comprehensive competitiveness/innovation agenda that reflects much of the science and technology community’s “wish list,” including new investments in research and education and reforming immigration and workforce programs. Let’s look at the some of the initial details:

Continue reading “President Outlines Competitiveness Agenda: Double NSF’s budget, Math & Science Education Critical”

President Outlines Competitiveness Agenda: Double NSF's budget, Math & Science Education Critical

“The American economy is pre-eminent – but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors like China and India. We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious people – and we are going to keep that edge.” President George W. Bush, January 31, 2006, State of the Union.

Update: 2/1/06 ACM’s President Dave Patterson issued a statement about the President’s initiative stating, “the White House’s commitment to increased investment in education and basic research is the key to sustaining innovation.” He particularly noted, “that IT research has been critical to this nation’s leadership in technology, and has driven innovation with results that reach well beyond the IT sector. He cited the personal computer, the Internet, and search engines as examples of benefits derived from investing in research.”

I also added some links that I didn’t get to last night.

Finally, here is some Congressional reaction:

Senator Domenici (Republican, Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee)
Senator Mikulski (registration required) (Democrat, Senior Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee)
Senator Feinstein (Democrat, Senate Appropriations Committee)
Senator Alexander (Republican, Senior Member of the Senate Energy Committee)
Congressman Boehlert (Republican, Chairman of the House Science Committee)
Congressman Ehlers (Republican, Senior Member of the House Science Committee)
Congressman Goodlatte (Republican, Co-Chairman of the House Internet Caucus)

Original Post 1/31/06: Anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to the swirling national competitiveness debate in the media knows the President’s remarks reflect what most of the science and technology community has been saying for some time. Until tonight, however, there was little agreement between the Bush Administration and the community on what to do about it. President Bush is now embracing a comprehensive competitiveness/innovation agenda that reflects much of the science and technology community’s “wish list,” including new investments in research and education and reforming immigration and workforce programs. Let’s look at the some of the initial details:

Continue reading “President Outlines Competitiveness Agenda: Double NSF's budget, Math & Science Education Critical”

ChoicePoint gets largest ever FTC civil penalty

ChoicePoint, the data broker at the center of the data breach controversy that erupted last year (and continues to play out even now), has received a $10 million fine from the Federal Trade Commission and, in addition, has agreed to contribute another $5 million to a fund aimed at helping those who were harmed following the compromise of their data. According to the Washington Post, the fine is the “largest civil penalty [that the FTC has] ever imposed” and gives a pretty clear indication of just how seriously the FTC is taking such matters:

“The message to ChoicePoint and others should be clear: consumers’ private data must be protected from thieves,” FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said in a statement.

For more information, see the full WaPo article, here, and the full FTC statement, here.

USACM urges policymakers to adopt a broader view of data security

Following last year’s numerous high-profile data breaches (which we’ve been covering closely), there are now numerous pieces of data security and privacy legislation pending in Congress — coming under the jurisdiction of numerous committees and using a range of different approaches. Indeed, the field is so crowded that it’s difficult to tell which bills have the best chance for success. It will take a concerted effort on the part of members to piece together a proposal that is agreeable to the committees, members, and other interests who have staked claims in this area. If and when that might happen is also unclear.

Given these multiple moving targets, USACM released a letter to members of Congress this week expressing some of the technical community’s concerns regarding data security legislation and urging policymakers to adopt a broader approach. Rather than supporting any specific bill or specific model of data security, the letter seeks to call policymakers’ attention to the principles undergirding the long-established Code of Fair Information Practices (FIPs). The committee feels that these principles should be a part of any legislation enacted by Congress.

The full letter is available below, while a PDF version is also available, here.
Continue reading “USACM urges policymakers to adopt a broader view of data security”

Sony BMG settling “rootkit” cases

Last week the Wall Street Journal [subsc. req’d] reported that Sony BMG has reached tentative settlements in a number of class-action law suits brought against the company as a result of the recent “rootkit” fiasco (described in our November newsletter). According to the Journal article, the settlements provide that

… consumers would be able to exchange compact discs that included the copy-protection software for a new, unencumbered copy of the album either on CD or via digital download, plus various other forms of compensation, depending on which kind of software was included on their CD purchases. The settlement agreement has been submitted to a judge in U.S. District Court in Manhattan and is scheduled for review by the court in a hearing early next month [i.e., early January].

It’s not clear what the eventual cost of all this will be for Sony BMG or how the controversy will effect the use or development of digital rights management (DRM) systems. However, at least one prominent thinker in this area, USACM’s own Ed Felten, believes that we haven’t heard the last of security/privacy problems related to DRM systems — see item (7) in Felten’s Predictions for 2006.

Sony BMG settling "rootkit" cases

Last week the Wall Street Journal [subsc. req’d] reported that Sony BMG has reached tentative settlements in a number of class-action law suits brought against the company as a result of the recent “rootkit” fiasco (described in our November newsletter). According to the Journal article, the settlements provide that

… consumers would be able to exchange compact discs that included the copy-protection software for a new, unencumbered copy of the album either on CD or via digital download, plus various other forms of compensation, depending on which kind of software was included on their CD purchases. The settlement agreement has been submitted to a judge in U.S. District Court in Manhattan and is scheduled for review by the court in a hearing early next month [i.e., early January].

It’s not clear what the eventual cost of all this will be for Sony BMG or how the controversy will effect the use or development of digital rights management (DRM) systems. However, at least one prominent thinker in this area, USACM’s own Ed Felten, believes that we haven’t heard the last of security/privacy problems related to DRM systems — see item (7) in Felten’s Predictions for 2006.

ACM Washington Update, Vol. 9.12 (December 31, 2005)

CONTENTS

[1] Newsletter Highlights
[2] USACM Chair Comments on Pentagon Cybersecurity
[3] Congress Creates New $4.5 Billion Math and Science Educ. Program
[4] News of NSA Eavesdropping Program Prompts Data Mining Speculation
[5] Congress Extends Patriot Act … For a Few Weeks
[6] EU Data Retention Law Passes
[7] Upcoming Events
[8] About USACM
Continue reading “ACM Washington Update, Vol. 9.12 (December 31, 2005)”