Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 27

July 29

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on peer-to-peer file sharing, with a focus on inadvertent file sharing and security risks.
10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Building

The Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board will hold a regularly scheduled meeting (continues through July 31)
9 a.m., Cafritz Conference Center, The George Washington University, 800 21st Street, NW, Room 403, Washington D.C.

July 30

The Research and Science Education subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at the K-12 level.

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 20

July 21

The Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on changes to employment verification.
2:15 p.m., 226 Dirksen Building

(note, the full committee has a Supreme Court nomination vote scheduled for earlier that day)

July 23

The Government Management, Organization, and Procurement Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on E-Verify, an electronic employment verification system.
10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Building

Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – July 2009 (Vol. 52, No. 7)

Here are some items in the July issue of Communications of the ACM that have policy relevance. As always, much of the content in CACM is premium content, and free content one month may require a subscription or fee the next. You need to be a member of ACM or subscriber to CACM to access such content online.

Editor’s Letter

Open, Closed, or Clopen Access, Moshe Vardi
A discussion of CACM’s access policy.


Legally Speaking
The Dead Souls of the Google Book Search Settlement, Pamela Samuelson
Samuelson outlines the terms of the Google Books settlement, the lawsuit that sparked it, and how they test the intentions of copyright law.

ACM Washington Update, Vol. 13.6 (July 14, 2009)


[1] Newsletter Highlights
[2] USACM Completes Reorganization
[3] USACM Members Testify on Cybersecurity
[4] USACM Co-Chair Outlines Mechanics of Behavioral Advertising
[5] USACM Highlights Challenges and Opportunities in Internet Voting
[6] IT Dashboard Lets You Monitor Government IT Spending Online
[7] Senate Introduces Bill Resembling Real ID
[8] House Appropriations Bill Shows Research Increases for NIST, NSF, and DOE Office of Science
[9] About USACM

[An archive of all previous editions of Washington Update is available at
Continue reading “ACM Washington Update, Vol. 13.6 (July 14, 2009)”

USACM Comments on New Electronic Voting Legislation

USACM recently sent a letter to Representative Rush Holt commenting on his new electronic voting legislation. The bill, H.R. 2894, is similar to Rep. Holt’s earlier electronic voting bills. The emphasis is on providing voter-verified paper records to ensure that voter intent can be captured even if there are problems with electronic voting machines. As we write in the letter:

USACM supports the provisions of the bill requiring that voters have an independent means of verifying their votes. Paper-based audit trails are currently the only transparent means for voting systems to be auditable independent of the underlying software.

The bill does not go as far as the proposed Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 2.0, which would allow for other technologies to demonstrate that they could provide Software Independence – a condition where an error or fault in the voting system’s software shall not be capable of causing an undetectable change in election results, even if the software fault(s) are not detected. That said, this legislation can help strengthen electronic voting systems in the United States.

Over 800 Reports of Health Data Breaches in California this Year

According to Wired.com’s Threat Level, the new California law requiring “organizations in California to report suspected incidents of intentional and unintentional unauthorized breaches of a patient’s personally identifiable health information to the California Department of Public Health” has prompted over 800 reports since the law went into effect January 1st of this year. Of the 122 cases investigated so far, 116 of them were actual breaches – a staggeringly high percentage. While most of these breaches were unintentional, the potential for harm does not discriminate. California’s penalties are limited to fines, which can cost up to $250,000 depending on circumstances.

Most of the breaches, unintentional or not, demonstrate that personal information can be put at risk rather easily within a private setting. Technical solutions to this problem will remain ineffective, as the errors and lapses are human, not machine. It’s nice to see a disclosure law on the books that can provide additional information describing the problem. Hopefully it can serve as a deterrent, but it’s too early to tell.

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 13

July 14


The Election Assistance Commission will meet and hold a public hearing. Part of the agenda will focus on accessibility and voting technologies.
1 p.m., 1225 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 150, Washington, D.C. 20036

June 15


The Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a hearing on S. 1415, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act.
9:30 a.m., 301 Russell Building

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the REAL ID Act and legislation proposed to replace REAL ID.
10 a.m., 342 Dirksen Building