Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – February 2010 (Vol. 53, No. 2)

Below is a list of items with policy relevance from the February 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.

News
Improving Disaster Management by Sarah Underwood

A brief discussion of the potential of Web 2.0 technologies to broaden and deepen the responses to natural disasters, and the challenges in getting those technologies tested and adopted by workers in the field.

Privacy and Security
Not Seeing the Crime for the Cameras? by M. Angela Sasse

This article examines the adoption and criticism of closed-circuit television cameras for security purposes. Part of this criticism has focused on the effectiveness – and the challenges in measuring it – for CCTV and other security technologies.
Continue reading “Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – February 2010 (Vol. 53, No. 2)”

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 22

February 23

Hearing:
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure.
2 p.m., 253 Russell Building

The Research and Science Education Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on research university infrastructure.
2 p.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

February 24

Hearing:
The House Science and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on science research and development funding in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
9:30 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

Two subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the collection and use of location information.
10 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Building
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Administration’s Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Request Is Promising

Earlier this month the Administration released its budget request for the 2011 Fiscal Year, which will start October 1 (whether or not Congress finishes the budget by then). While the President promised a freeze on non-defense discretionary spending, he did not promise it would be an across-the-board freeze. So initial concerns that science budgets would feel the pinch have not come true. Peter Harsha, as usual, has a good analysis of the numbers on the CRA Government Affairs Blog. The 1-2 combination of snowfalls has put a pause to budget briefings, but there are already some clear indications of what should come in the next fiscal year, if Congress agrees.

The budget request will maintain the doubling trend for the three science agencies targeted in President Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative and the subsequent America COMPETES Act (up for reauthorization this year). Budgets for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and the Office of Science at the Department of Energy are on pace to finish the doubling that started in 2007 by Fiscal Year 2017. Cameron’s recent post describes changes in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education proposed in the budget, and Peter’s analysis gives specific details about the increases to various computing research programs. Both are worth reading.

Administration's Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Request Is Promising

Earlier this month the Administration released its budget request for the 2011 Fiscal Year, which will start October 1 (whether or not Congress finishes the budget by then). While the President promised a freeze on non-defense discretionary spending, he did not promise it would be an across-the-board freeze. So initial concerns that science budgets would feel the pinch have not come true. Peter Harsha, as usual, has a good analysis of the numbers on the CRA Government Affairs Blog. The 1-2 combination of snowfalls has put a pause to budget briefings, but there are already some clear indications of what should come in the next fiscal year, if Congress agrees.

The budget request will maintain the doubling trend for the three science agencies targeted in President Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative and the subsequent America COMPETES Act (up for reauthorization this year). Budgets for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and the Office of Science at the Department of Energy are on pace to finish the doubling that started in 2007 by Fiscal Year 2017. Cameron’s recent post describes changes in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education proposed in the budget, and Peter’s analysis gives specific details about the increases to various computing research programs. Both are worth reading.

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 8

UPDATE – February 10 – with the snow affecting travel in and to Washington, D.C. today, most, if not all of the hearings below have been or will be postponed.

February 10

Hearing:
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on cybercrime and identity theft.
10 a.m., 226 Dirksen Building

The House Science and Technology Committee will take testimony from Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren on research and development programs in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on using cyberspace policy to support foreign policy.
10 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Building

The Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on private sector perspectives on Department of Defense cybersecurity activities.
2:30 p.m., 2118 Rayburn Building

Beginning to Rethink CS Education at NSF

The President released his $3.8 trillion budget on Monday setting off a flurry of activity in the Nation’s Capital. The budget sets the Administration’s priorities for the big stuff — like how much he wants to spend on education and defense — down the minutia — like how much money the Department of Agriculture wants to spend on slug research. (Ok, I made that program up.) Budget season also gives agencies the opportunity to unveil changes to existing programs or the creation of new ones.

One such change — that quickly made its way around the computing community — was a rethinking about how the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate (CISE) at the National Science Foundation approaches education and workforce programs. More specifically, CISE staff announced that it was combining the Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education (CPATH) and the Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) programs into a broader computing education program. CPATH tended to focus on higher education, while BPC issued grants for the entire pipeline, largely focused on improving diversity in computing. These two programs have funded numerous education proposals including the current work to reform the Advanced Placement Computer Science course, the Exploring Computer Science course developed in LA, and national alliances focused on diversity.
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ACM Washington Update, Vol. 14.1 (February 1, 2010)

CONTENTS

[1] Newsletter Highlights
[2] First Computer Science Education Week Finishes Strong
[3] USACM Supports Expanded FCC Technical Advice
[4] FY 2010 Budgets Show Increases for Science Agencies
[5] Data Security Bills Pass the House
[6] Obama Administration Finally Releases Open Government Directive
[7] Technical Guidelines Development Committee Ends Two-Year Hiatus
[8] About USACM

[An archive of all previous editions of Washington Update is available at
http://www.acm.org/usacm/update/]
Continue reading “ACM Washington Update, Vol. 14.1 (February 1, 2010)”

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 1

There will be various events all week in connection with the rollout of the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Request. Check with agency websites for additional information.

February 3

Hearing:
The Research and Science Education subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on graduate and undergraduate programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
10:30 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building