Data Breach and P2P Bills Pass House Committee

The House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up two bills this morning addressing concerns over the use of consumers’ personal information and the potential exposure of that data through the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) programs.

The Data Accountability and Trust Act (H.R. 2221) has gone through this committee in previous years, with almost the exact same language, only to not make it to the House floor for various jurisdictional issues. The bill would require the Federal Trade Commission to set regulations over data security policy for every entity that owns or possesses electronic data that has personal information. Covered entities would then submit their security plans to the FTC in the event of a breach or at the Commission’s request. The FTC would also conduct audits in the event of a breach of that security. The regulations would include verifying the accuracy of personal information, allowing individuals to access the information kept about them and to correct any inaccurate information.
Continue reading “Data Breach and P2P Bills Pass House Committee”

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of September 28

September 30

Hearing:
The Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on cyberbullying and other safety issues.
3 p.m. 2141 Rayburn Building

UPDATE: Markup added

Markup:
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will markup the Data Accountability and Trust Act and proposed peer-to-peer legislation.
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

CS Education in the States

If you’ve read a recent piece I co-wrote in Communications of the ACM (membership required), you know that the States largely drive education decisions in the US. Because of this, our community has to play “wack-a-mole” when we hear about issues that pop up in the fifty states affecting computer science education. Luckily, the Computer Science Teachers Association has built much of this network, so when the Kansas Board of Regents decided to eliminate computing courses from the core student requirements, we could weigh in with the State. ACM and CSTA sent the board a letter recommending that they put computer science back in the core.

Continue reading “CS Education in the States”

FCC Will Tackle Net Neutrality

Earlier this week Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced his intention to establish an expanded definition of net neutrality to “safeguard the free and open Internet.”

Starting next month the Commission will start a rule-making process to codify the four net neutrality principles that currently guide its decisions on this issue, and add two more. The four principles, established in 2004, state that “consumers must be able to access the lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, and attach non-harmful devices to the network.” The two additional principles are non-discrimination: “stating that broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications” and transparency: “stating that providers of broadband Internet access must be transparent about their network management practices.”

You can read more about the proposed net neutrality principles by reading Chairman Genachowski’s remarks. The other Commissioners have weighed in as well, and you can read their remarks at the FCC website (all statements are dated September 21).

Committee Considers Changes to Cybersecurity Research and Development

This morning the Research and Science Education Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee met to mark up legislation that would amend the Cyber Security Research and Development Act. Much of the bill will simply extend authorized budget amounts for various research programs related to cybersecurity, but the bill will make some changes to current practice.

It will put into law the current Scholarship for Service program administered by the National Science Foundation. This program supports graduate study for students in cybersecurity in exchange for a few years of government work in the field.

The bill would require federal agencies to collaborate on a strategic plan for research and development. Before it is completed, the President would have to develop an assessment of the federal government’s workforce needs in cybersecurity. In addition, the bill would establish a cybersecurity task force focusing on how universities and industry can better share knowledge in support of cybersecurity research and development.

The bill will also replace an early faculty development program with a postdoctoral research fellowship.

The markup was short, with two amendments offerend and approved. One amendment concerned technical corrections and the other added language that would increase participation from underrepresented groups. The bill will need to be approved by the full committee before coming to the House floor.

USACM Looks Back at FY 2009

The ACM’s Policy Office staff and USACM’s leadership have compiled USACM’s annual report for the past fiscal year – 2009 (which ended June 30). This year’s report contains descriptions of USACM’s work on advancing computer science education and innovation, electronic voting, privacy, and security. The report details testimonies given by our members as well as our activities to educate Congress about different technology policy issues.

The full report can be read here: FY2009 Annual Report.

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of September 21

September 21

Presentation:
The DC Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery and the New America Foundation host a discussion with Prof. Jonathan Lazar on human-computer interaction research and public policy.
7:30 p.m., 1899 L Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C.

September 23

Markup:
The Research and Science Education Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee will mark up pending legislation on cybersecurity research and development.
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of September 21

September 21

Presentation:
The DC Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery and the New America Foundation host a discussion with Prof. Jonathan Lazar on human-computer interaction research and public policy.
7:30 p.m., 1899 L Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C.

September 23

Markup:
The Research and Science Education Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee will mark up pending legislation on cybersecurity research and development.
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – September 2009 (Vol. 52, No. 9)

Below is a list of items with policy relevance from the September issue of Communications of the ACM. As always, much of the material in CACM is premium content, and free content one month may slip behind a pay wall the next. You need to be a member of ACM or a subscriber to CACM to access premium content online.

Editor’s Letter

The Financial Meltdown and Computing, by Moshe Vardi

Discussion of recent economic slowdowns, what role computers had in the matter, and what computing might be able to do to help

News

Medical Nanobots, by Kirk Kroeker

Description of the current state of the art in nanorobotics, the potential applications for medicine, and associated consequences.

Facing an Age-Old Problem, by Samuel Greengard

An examination of the challenges that an aging population has (or will have) with computing, and what researchers are doing to address those challenges. This is an important, if understated, part of making computing accessible.
Continue reading “Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – September 2009 (Vol. 52, No. 9)”

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of September 14

September 14

Hearing:
The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on cyberattacks and industry.
10 a.m., 342 Dirksen Building

September 15

Meeting:
The Health Information Technology Standards Committee will hold a meeting.
9 a.m., Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW Washington, DC (also available online)

September 18

Meeting:
The Health Information Technology Policy Committee will hold a meeting.
8:30 a.m., Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW Washington, DC also available online)