Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – March 2010 (Vol. 53, No. 3)

By David Bruggeman

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

Tracking Garbage by Samuel Greengard (alternate link)
Article discusses the use of small chips to track garbage and garbage cans in an effort to better managed the removal chain.

Viewpoints: Legally Speaking
Only Technological Processes Are Patentable by Pamela Samuelson
Samuelson reviews the Supreme Court arguments in the Bilski case, and how they make it less likely that the Court’s ruling (still forthcoming) will address issues of concern to software patents.

Viewpoints: Computing Ethics
The Ethics Beat by Rachelle Hollander
Hollander’s first column surveys ethical challenges facing engineers through her recent work at the National Academy of Engineering (where she directs the Center for Engineering, Ethics and Society).

Viewpoints: IT Policy
Making the Case for Computing by Cameron Wilson and Peter Harsha
The column outlines the challenges of the U.S. federal budget process and how computing can make its case for additional research funding.

Privacy on the Data Web by Kieron O’Hara and Nigel Shadbolt
The authors discuss the vagaries of online privacy, starting with a discussion of data ownership on the web.