Nominations for 5th Annual FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility

The FCC invites nominations for the 5th Annual FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. The Chairman’s Awards aim to highlight and encourage innovation in accessible technologies, standards, and best practices that will benefit people with disabilities. The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2016.

Nominations can include a product, service, technology, or practice introduced publicly in 2015. Individuals, businesses, organizations, or other public or private entities can submit nominations. Self-nominations also will be accepted.

Criteria include:

  • Unique and inventive
  • Extent to which disability needs are addressed and/or impacted by the effort
  • Number of people likely to benefit
  • Affordability and availability
  • Whether recognition would help foster additional innovation and accessibility

Nominations should include a brief description of the innovation, the award category, the date the innovation was introduced to the public, and why the innovation qualifies for the Chairman’s Award.

The winners will be recognized at a ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C. in June 2016.

For more information, visit the FCC’s website.

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U.S. EAC Technical Guidelines Development Committee Will Meet on February 8-9

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee will hold its next meeting on February 8-9 in Washington, D.C. The meeting will provide updates on the development of the next generation of voluntary voting system guidelines.

The discussion will include cybersecurity, human factors, accessibility, interoperability, testing, standards setting, mapping state and federal requirements, and the changing legislative landscape for voting technologies.

The 15-member advisory committee provides assistance with the development of voluntary voting system guidelines. The members are jointly appointed by the EAC and the Director of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). It includes representatives from the EAC, NIST, the U.S. Access Board, the National Association of State Election Directors, and standards setting organizations. Four technical experts also serve on the committee. NIST Director Willie E. May serves as the Chair.

A live webcast will be available. Social media: #TGDCMeeting

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 1

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Closed Hearing: Classified Hearing on the FISA Amendments Act
House Judiciary Committee
10 am | 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Status of the Public Safety Broadband Network
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10:15 am | 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Briefing: Broadband 101
Sponsored by Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus
2 pm | 234 Cannon House Office Building

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Hearing: A Review of Recommendations for NSF Project Management Reform
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Research and Technology
9:30 am | 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Ensuring Intermodal USF Support for Rural America
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
10:30 am | 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Posted in Digital Government, Education and Workforce, Events, Innovation, Privacy and Security, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

National Academies Communication Awards Nominations Due February 8

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is accepting nominations for its 2016 Communications Awards. The awards recognize individuals or teams who published innovative works during 2015 that help the public understand advances and issues in science, engineering, and/or medicine. Winners will be honored at a ceremony in the fall. Self-nominations are encouraged. Nominations are due by February 8, 2016.

Nominations are accepted in four categories: (1) book, (2) movie, radio, and television, (3) magazine, newspaper, and media, and (4) online, e.g. blogs, podcasts, videos, data visualizations, etc. Nominations must demonstrate that the original works were published, broadcast, or released in the United States in English in 2015.

For more information, visit the Keck Futures Initiative, a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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USPTO Patent Public Advisory Committee Meeting on February 4, 2016

The USPTO Patent Public Advisory Committee will hold its next quarterly meeting on Thursday, February 4, 2016, from 9 am to 3:40 pm at the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia. The meeting is open to the public. The meeting will also be available by webcast.

Agenda items include:

  • Patent reform legislation
  • Patent quality and policy update
  • Subject matter eligibility update
  • International harmonization
  • IT projects
  • Update of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) activities and initiatives

The USPTO Patent Public Advisory Committee advises the Secretary of Commerce and the USPTO Director on “the management of patent and trademark operations including goals, performance, budget, and user fees.” The committee also prepares an annual report, which is sent to the President, the Secretary of Commerce, and the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

For additional information, read the meeting agenda for the PPAC Quarterly Meeting on February 4, 2016.

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ACM Applauds Computer Science for All Initiative

Statement by ACM President Alexander L. Wolf and ACM CEO Bobby Schnabel on US President Obama’s “Computer Science for All” Announcement

ACM applauds U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic announcement of the Computer Science for All initiative. As the announcement states, computer science is a new basic skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility, and one that impacts every sector of our economy. It is crucial that it be taught in all schools, in the U.S., and around the world.

ACM has played a major, seminal role in raising the visibility of computer science education and the need for more attention to it in schools. The ACM Education Policy Committee, founded in 2007, was one of the first organizations to focus on this topic and raise awareness of the issues among government officials. The historic 2010 report “Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age,” produced by ACM and the Computer Science Teachers Association, brought national recognition to and awareness of the paucity of computer science education in schools. The subsequent 2014 ACM report, “Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States,” further reinforced this issue and made important recommendations about paths forward. ACM also played a lead role in launching Computer Science Education Week, which has become an annual international celebration of computer science education and now includes the hugely successful code.org Hour of Code. ACM also has partnered closely with code.org from its inception and provided key staff support to it during its crucial initial stages.

ACM is dedicated to continue to support the progress of computing education world-wide through its close relationship with and support of CSTA, its world-leading development of computing curricula, and its conferences and publications on computer science education. It looks forward to building on the increased momentum created by today’s announcement to partner with all groups that are dedicated to increasing the quality and availability of computing education worldwide.

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of January 11

Monday, January 11, 2016

House Floor: H.R. 653, FOIA Act
The bill would require making requested information available in an electronic, publicly accessible format and the creation of a centralized portal for FOIA requests. Status: Passed by the House

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hearing: A Legislative Hearing on Four Communications Bills
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10:15 am | 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Wassenaar: Cybersecurity and Export Control
House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology
House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies
2 pm | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

President Obama: State of the Union Address
Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution requires the President to report to Congress: “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union.”
9 pm | Joint Session of Congress

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Briefing: Crisis Management: A Holistic Approach to Protecting Government and Federal Contractor Information
Sponsored by the Congressional Smart Contracting Caucus.
The event is designed to educate Congressional staff about federal cybersecurity challenges.
2 pm | 2203 Rayburn House Office Building

Friday, January 15, 2016

Briefing: Gagged by the Fine Print: Protecting Consumer Rights to Share Reviews Online
Sponsored by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee
Noon | 2226 Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Digital Government, Events, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

USACM Comments on Regulations Governing Protection of Research Participants

USACM submitted comments on the proposed updates to the federal regulations for research involving human subjects. These regulations, known as the Common Rule, are used by multiple federal agencies. They have significance for computing professionals conducting behavioral, analytic, and clinical studies, especially in the subfields of computer security, information assurance, computer networks, computer-human interaction, accessibility, and usability. The regulations also have significance for the sensitive data of individuals participating in federally funded research studies.

USACM supports the overall goals of the proposed updates and welcomes the modernization of the Common Rule to support technological advancements. The proposed changes have the potential to streamline research processes while maintaining appropriate protections for sensitive information. USACM is supportive of the goal of better addressing the complexity of balancing privacy and autonomy concerns with the greater societal value of scientific research.

In its comments, USACM encourages the regulators to consider the following guiding principles:

  • Apply a functional approach to data information protection
  • Consider the potential harms and benefits of re-identification of data
  • Provide flexibility to consider the degree of risk of data reidentifiability
  • Consider the proportionality of data reidentifiability

The comments were developed by the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council (USACM), which serves as the focal point for ACM’s interaction with the U.S. government in all matters of U.S. public policy related to information technology. USACM is comprised of computer scientists, educators, researchers, and other technology professionals. USACM members have experience with privacy, security, data mining, and machine learning algorithms that are used to extract patterns and understanding from large datasets.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Miscellaneous, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

New Education Law Recognizes Importance of Computer Science

ACM praised the enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law as an important and historic step forward for K-12 education in the United States. The law recognizes computer science as one of the central subjects, along with reading and math, that students need for a well-rounded education.

The law contains several education policy priorities that ACM and its partners seek to make a sustainable reality: expanding access to computer science inside and outside the classroom, providing quality training and professional development for computer science teachers, and fostering opportunities and inclusive participation by diverse student populations. The new law also explicitly includes computer science within its STEM provisions and as part of the definition of STEM specialty schools.

“Having computer science explicitly written into the new Every Student Succeeds Act represents an important milestone,” explains ACM CEO Bobby Schnabel. “In the 2010 report Running on Empty, ACM and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) proposed that computer science should be included as a core subject across US primary and secondary schools. ESSA demonstrates that this goal, which appeared audacious not many years ago, has now entered the mainstream.”

Jeffrey Forbes, the Chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee (EPC), added that the new law takes steps in the direction of fostering greater access to computer science education. “As with the No Child Left Behind law that it replaces, a major goal of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is to close achievement gaps for students,” says Forbes. “ESSA makes a number of significant improvements to expand access to computer science education by diverse populations in urban, suburban, and rural areas.”

A 2014 report by the ACM Education Policy Committee, “Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States,” found that few U.S. states are positioned to provide the computer science education required for ensuring future workforce needs are met. The report called for each state to develop an education and computing workforce development plan that includes K-12 computer science education and to align policy, programs, and resources to support the plan.

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FTC to Hold PrivacyCon on January 14

The FTC will hold PrivacyCon, a consumer privacy and security conference, on January 14 in Washington, D.C. The conference is intended for security researchers, academics, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and regulators. The event will be free and open to the public. A live webcast will be available.

Expert panel and research presentations will address research and trends related to data de-identification, drones, big data, security by design techniques, new vulnerabilities, the Internet of Things, smart homes, voice-activation, and health/fitness apps and devices.

Participants will discuss the latest policy initiatives, ways to further collaboration between researchers and policymakers, and practical steps for companies and consumers to take to safeguard sensitive data.

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NIST Seeks Public Comments on the Cybersecurity Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites public comments on how its voluntary Cybersecurity Framework is being used, possible updates, and options for the long-term governance and management of the Framework. Comments are due by February 9.

The Framework, officially known as the “Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity,” provides standards, methodologies, procedures, and processes for managing cyber risks. NIST is particularly interested in feedback on which portions of the Framework have been useful and what steps can be taken to prevent duplication or conflicts with regulatory requirements.

Stakeholders are asked to consider whether there are updates to technical and other standards that should be incorporated in future updates and whether there are new industry initiatives that could inform any updates. NIST also welcomes feedback on the private sector’s involvement in the future governance of the Framework.

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ACM Sponsors Congressional Briefing on STEM Education and Public-Private Partnerships

The ACM Education Policy Committee joined the National Science Teachers Association, the American Chemical Society, the Afterschool Alliance, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Education Development Center to sponsor a congressional briefing on informal STEM education hosted by the STEM Education Coalition Policy Forum.

The briefing, titled “Informal STEM Education 101: Public-Private Partnerships and Measures of Success,” focused on examples of public-private partnerships aimed at helping students develop scientific and technical knowledge and skills. The panelists described how competitions, mentorships, afterschool clubs, and summer programs can help expose students to computer science and other STEM subjects. The panelists said that informal educational opportunities that allow students to explore new interests and discover possible career paths are in high demand.

House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith provided opening remarks on the importance of STEM educational opportunities. Chairman Smith co-sponsored the bipartisan bill, the STEM Education Act of 2015, which expanded the definition of STEM for federal programs to include computer science. Congress unanimously approved the STEM Education Act of 2015, and the President signed it into law in October.

Experts on the panel included, Tyler Chandler, Florida’s State Director for the Afterschool All Stars; Michael Kaurich, the Operations Director for STEM Action in Maryland; Anita Krishnamurthi, the Vice President of STEM Policy for the Afterschool Alliance; and Nick Hutchinson, the Executive of US2020.

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DHS Invites Nominations for Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is accepting nominations for the DHS Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee. Appointees will serve a three-year term and are not compensated. DHS anticipates appointing 17 people. Advisory Committee members are required to obtain and retain at least a secret-level security clearance as a condition of their appointment. Appointees should expect at least two meetings in Washington, D.C. during the year. Nominations are due by January 4.

The Advisory Committee will provide advice and recommendations on programmatic, policy, operational, administrative, and technological issues within DHS that relate to personally identifiable information, data integrity, and other privacy-related matters.

Individuals should have education, training, and experience in the fields of data protection, privacy, cybersecurity, and/or emerging technologies. Qualified individuals from higher education, state or local government, or nonprofits organizations are encouraged to express an interest in serving on the Advisory Committee.

Additional information and instructions for submitting a nomination are available in the Federal Register.

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of December 7

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

House Floor: H.R. 3578, DHS Science and Technology Reform and Improvement Act of 2015
The bill would strengthen the role of the Directorate of Science and Technology, establish a new Fellows Program, support cybersecurity research and development, and establish processes for coordination of research and development activities.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Senate Floor: S. 1177, Every Student Succeeds Act
The bill would replace No Child Left Behind, which addresses K-12 education. The proposed bill would include computer science as part of the “well-rounded subjects,” provide funding for formal and informal education in high-quality STEM courses, establish a STEM Master Teacher Corps, and provide funding for teacher training and professional development. The House and Senate conference committee agreed to the current bill. The House passed the bill by a vote of 359 to 64.

Hearing: A Casino in Every Smartphone Law Enforcement Implications
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
1 pm | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Briefing: Informal STEM Education 101: Public-Private Partnerships and Measures of Success
STEM Education Coalition
Co-sponsored by ACM
2 pm | 2325 Rayburn House Office Building

Friday, December 11, 2015

Deadline for Congress to pass legislation to fund the government to avoid a shutdown.

Posted in Digital Government, Education and Workforce, Events, Innovation, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Celebrate Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13

Join ACM in celebrating Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) during December 7-13. ACM, as a partner of Code.org, invites you to host an Hour of Code in your community and give students an opportunity to gain the computing knowledge and skills needed for creating the technologies and inventions that are driving innovation, generating economic opportunities, and changing the world.

The nearly 200,000 Hour of Code events show the high interest by students worldwide to learn computer programming. Students can learn how code works through classroom events, online coding events, and a range of activities outside the classroom. Looking to get started and join this week’s activities? Free online interactive Hour of Code tutorials enable users to learn basic concepts of programming using “blocks” of code while building their own game.

About Computer Science Education Week
Computer Science Education Week launched in 2009. CSEdWeek is held annually the second week in December, which coincides with the birthdays of computing pioneers Admiral Grace Murray Hopper on December 9 and Ada Lovelace on December 10. The ACM Education Policy Committee was a founding partner of the nonpartisan coalition Computing in the Core, which instituted the inaugural Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek). ACM continues to partner with Code.org, a nonprofit coalition dedicated to expanding computer science education, in celebrating the annual CSEdWeek. Last year, this global movement reached tens of millions of students in 180 countries.

U.S. House of Representatives Resolution 558
In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted Resolution 558, endorsing the creation of an annual Computer Science Education Week and calling for policymakers and educational stakeholders to consider ways to provide sustainable and inclusive learning experiences in computer science at all educational levels.

U.S. House of Representatives Resolution 558
October 20, 2009

Whereas computing technology has become an integral part of culture and is transforming how people interact with each other and the world around them;

Whereas computer science is transforming industry, creating new fields of commerce, driving innovation in all fields of science, and bolstering productivity in established economic sectors;

Whereas the field of computer science underpins the information technology sector of our economy, which is a significant contributor to United States economic output;

Whereas the information technology sector is uniquely positioned to help with economic recovery through the research and development of new innovations;

Whereas National Computer Science Education Week can inform students, teachers, parents, and the general public about the crucial role that computer science plays in transforming our society and how computer science enables innovation in all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines and creates economic opportunities;

Whereas providing students the chance to participate in high-quality computer science activities, including through science scholarships, exposes them to the rich opportunities the field offers and provides critical thinking skills that will serve them throughout their lives;

Whereas all students deserve a thorough preparation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, including access to the qualified teachers, technology, and age-appropriate curriculum needed to learn computer science at the elementary and secondary levels of education;

Whereas these subjects provide the critical foundation to master the skills demanded by our 21st century workforce;

Whereas computer science education has challenges to address, including distinguishing computer science from technology literacy and providing adequate professional development for computer science teachers;

Whereas the field of computer science has significant equity barriers to address, including attracting more participation by females and underrepresented minorities to all levels and branches;

Whereas Grace Murray Hopper, one of the first females in the field of computer science, engineered new programming languages and pioneered standards for computer systems which laid the foundation for many advancements in computer science; and

Whereas the week of December 7, in honor of Grace Hopper’s birthday, is designated as “National Computer Science Education Week”: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) supports the designation of National Computer Science Education Week;

(2) encourages schools, teachers, researchers, universities, and policymakers to identify mechanisms for teachers to receive cutting edge professional development to provide sustainable learning experiences in computer science at all educational levels and encourage students to be exposed to computer science concepts;

(3) encourages opportunities, including through existing programs, for females and underrepresented minorities in computer science; and

(4) supports research in computer science to address what would motivate increased participation in this field.

Posted in Education and Workforce, Events | Comments closed

Nominate a White House Computer Science Education Champion of Change

The White House is accepting nominations of teachers, students, parents, and business leaders for recognition as White House Champions of Change in Computer Science Education. Nominations are due by December 18.

Preference will be given to individuals who are expanding access to computer science, providing new creative learning experiences inside the classroom, and/or engaging students in high-quality computer science learning outside the classroom. A Champion’s work may involve promoting diversity and inclusiveness in computer science education, implementing afterschool programs, organizing competitions, providing mentorships, or providing programs for internships and other entry points to career opportunities.

To nominate an individual, fill out this online form.

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USACM Submits Comments to White House on Revised Policy for Managing Federal IT

The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council submitted comments to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on proposed changes to the policy document for the planning and management of federal information services. The document was last updated 15 years ago. The proposed changes would update the policy to support electronic transactions, cybersecurity, modern computing architectures, mobile technologies, cloud computing, and agile development processes.

The policy document, known as Circular No. A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource, provides guidance to federal agencies on how to manage effectively information technologies and information services used within and by the federal government. The guidance aims to foster systems that are trustworthy, resilient, responsive, secure, and manageable over time. The proposed changes seek to address current technical, privacy, and security threats while providing flexibility for integrating and deploying emergent technologies. To help ensure increased privacy and security protections, the proposed revisions would require agencies to make systems less vulnerable by implementing security by design.

In its comments, the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council recommends strengthened treatment of privacy, emphasizing privacy by design and privacy engineering, and the inclusion of open source software as among the software options for federal agencies.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Digital Government, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

NTIA to Host Next Cybersecurity Multistakeholder Forum on Vulnerability Research Disclosure on December 2

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will hold the next meeting of the cybersecurity multistakeholder process on vulnerability research disclosure on December 2 in Washington, D.C. The process aims to establish stakeholder consensus about high-level principles that will promote better collaboration among security researchers, vendors, and owners of products. The meeting will include presentations by the working groups and breakout sessions to discuss the draft scoping documents.

The working groups will discuss the following draft scoping documents:

A critical part of this effort is to explore how vulnerabilities can and should be disclosed. The objectives include exploring how vulnerability information is shared, received, and resolved and how to create successful collaborations. Prior meetings have discussed vendor-side principles, a range of researchers’ concerns, protections for researchers, how to improve vendor-to-vendor communications and researcher-to-vendor communications, and incentives for reporting vulnerabilities to owners of products.

The meeting will be open to all interested parties. A live webcast will be available.

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of December 1

Monday, November 30, 2015

House Floor: H.R. 3490 – Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act
U.S. House of Representatives
The bill would authorize the National Computer Forensics Institute to support information sharing and investigations related to cybercrime and cyber attacks.
Update: The House approved the bill. It now goes to the Senate.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hearing: H.R. 699, Email Privacy Act
House Judiciary Committee
10 am | 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: The Disrupter Series: Mobile Payments
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade
10:15 am | 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hearing: Protecting Trade Secrets: the Impact of Trade Secret Theft on American Competitiveness and Potential Solutions to Remedy This Harm
Senate Judiciary Committee
10 am | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hearing: Broadcasting Ownership in the 21st Century
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10:15 am | 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

House Floor – Tentative

H.R. 5, Every Student Succeeds Act
The bill would overhaul and replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB). A House-Senate conference committee reached agreement this week on the 1,061-page bill. With bicameral and bipartisan support, the bill is included as a possible agenda item for House Floor action this week.

Posted in Digital Government, Education and Workforce, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

White House Seeks Public Comments on Revised Policy for Managing Federal IT

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is accepting public comments on proposed changes to the policy document for the planning and management of federal information services. The document was last updated 15 years ago. The changes would include supporting electronic transactions, cybersecurity, modern computing architectures, mobile technologies, cloud computing, and agile development processes. OMB extended the public comment period until December 5.

The policy document, known as Circular No. A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource, provides guidance to federal agencies on how to manage effectively information technologies and information services used within and by the federal government. The guidance aims to foster systems that are trustworthy, resilient, responsive, secure, and manageable over time. The proposed changes seek to address current technical, privacy, and security threats while providing flexibility for integrating and deploying emergent technologies. To help ensure increased privacy and security protections, the proposed revisions would require agencies to make systems less vulnerable by implementing security by design.

Several new definitions are proposed, including: accessibility, enterprise architecture, federal information system, information security, information technology resources, open data, and personally identifiable information.

Posted in Digital Government, Privacy and Security, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

Jeffrey Forbes Named Chair of ACM Education Policy Committee

ACM, the world’s leading society of computing professionals, has named Jeffrey R.N. Forbes, an Associate Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Duke University, as Chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee. Created in 2007, the ACM Education Policy Committee is a high-level committee of acclaimed computer scientists and educators dedicated to improving opportunities for quality education in computer science and computing education around the world.

Forbes succeeds Robert B. (Bobby) Schnabel, the founding chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee, who assumed a new role as CEO of ACM on November 1. In leading the committee, Forbes will play a major role in developing initiatives aimed at shaping education policies that impact the computing field.

“Not only is computer science education one of Jeff’s core research interests, but he has extensive experience directing educational programs in this area,” said Alexander L. Wolf, President of ACM. “More and more school systems around the world are integrating computing science into the core curriculum, and workforce demand for computing professionals worldwide is growing rapidly. The field is at an exciting inflection point, and Jeff Forbes is the perfect person to ensure that ACM will continue to be a leading voice in promoting and shaping computer science education at all levels.”

Forbes also is an Associate Dean of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University. He served as Program Director for the Education and Workforce program in the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. His research interests include computer science education, social information processing and learning analytics. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

“I am honored to chair ACM’s Education Policy Committee at this critical juncture when technology and computing are playing transformative roles in education and our society,” Forbes says of his new position. “Ensuring expanded access to quality computer science and computing education is key to every country’s future. As the world’s leading computing society, ACM offers indispensable expertise, insight, and guidance on computing education and workforce development. We look forward to working with policy leaders, and all stakeholders, to improve inclusive access to high quality computer science education.”

The ACM Education Policy Committee was a founding partner of the nonpartisan coalition Computing in the Core, which instituted Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) in 2009. Computer Science Education Week 2015, produced by Code.org, will take place from December 7-13. With classroom events and online coding tutorials, CSEdWeek seeks to inspire tens of millions of students to learn computer science.

In March 2014, the ACM Education Policy Committee issued a report urging policy leaders to work with business and educational stakeholders to expand opportunities for students to gain the skills and knowledge needed to compete for high-demand/ high-wage positions in the computing field. The report, Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States, calls on education, business, and public policy leaders in every US state to take immediate action aimed at strengthening and building the pipeline of qualified students pursuing computing and related degrees, and to prepare them for the 21st-century workforce.

A 2010 report, Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K -12 Computer Science in the Digital Age, was jointly produced by ACM and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). The report found that roughly two-thirds of U.S. states lacked computer science education standards for secondary education and that most states did not allow computer science courses to satisfy a core mathematics or science credit for high school graduation.

About the ACM Education Policy Committee
The ACM Education Policy Committee engages policymakers and the public on public policy issues that relate to computer science and computing-related education, including the importance of high-quality education at all levels to the labor market and the economy.

Posted in Education and Workforce | Comments closed

NYSE Publishes Cybersecurity Guidance for Companies

The New York Stock Exchange and Palo Alto Networks released a free book, Navigating the Digital Age: The Definitive Cybersecurity Guide for Directors and Officers. This handbook provides pragmatic information for CEOs, CISOs, lawyers, digital forensic experts, professors, researchers, and government officials on the best ways to avoid cyber breaches and how to prepare for, monitor for, and respond to cyberattacks.

The book covers consumer protections, cyber risk management, effective investments, best practices, protecting trade secrets, incident response, disclosures, laws and regulations, and cyber workforce development. It also identifies and discusses the important role of specialized cyber education and training programs.

More than 30 authors from industry, academia, government, and professional societies contributed to the book. The broad input demonstrates the complexities of the cybersecurity landscape and the need for effective policy approaches across the public and private sectors.

Readers can download the book (PDF, Kindle, ePUB) and browse individual chapters online.

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U.S. Web Design Standards Released

The U.S. Digital Service and GSA 18F released new U.S. Web Design Standards to create harmonized user experiences across federal government websites. The effort is part of a larger policy agenda to expand access to government information, improve the delivery of online public services, manage public resources more effectively, and increase civic participation. The new design standards emphasize flexible interfaces for improved usability across devices and user-centric development approaches.

Built-in accessibility for people with disabilities is a core priority. The visual style guide is compliant with Section 508 accessibility requirements for federal websites and the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. The proposed update to Section 508 incorporates WCAG 2.0.

A growing online toolkit for designers and developers aims to help spread widespread adoption by federal agencies by making it easier and faster to prototype, develop, evaluate, and test websites. Pre-tested open source UI components, code, and interface designs can be reused or customized. Although the resources have been pre-tested and conform to best practices, they caution that “agencies should still usability test everything they build.”

The U.S. Digital Service and GSA 18F will continue to create new tools and to improve upon the design standards, making regular releases in the coming months based on feedback and ongoing projects. They invite your feedback, including on the usability and accessibility recommendations, via GitHub.

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of November 2

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hearing: TSA Security Gaps
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
10 am | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Examining the EU Safe Harbor Decision and Impacts for Transatlantic Data Flows
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10 am | 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: International Data Flows: Promoting Digital Trade in the 21st Century
House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property,
1 pm | 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Examining VA’s Information Technology Systems that Provide Economic Opportunities for Veterans
House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
2 pm | 334 Canon House Office Building

Hearing: Preparing for the 2020 Census: Will the Technology be Ready?
House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations
2 pm | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Data Brokers – Is Consumers’ Information Secure?
Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law
2:30 pm | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Remarks: House Homeland Security Committee Chairman and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator on “The State of U.S. Cybersecurity”
Hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations
8:30 am | Live webcast

Hearing: Zero Stars: How Gagging Honest Reviews Harms Consumers and the Economy
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
10 am | 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Hearing: The Federal Information Technology Reform Acts FITARA Role in Reducing IT Acquisition Risk Part II Measuring Agencies FITARA Implementation
House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology
2 pm | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Briefing: Robotics & Inventors: Ingredients for a Successful, Innovative Economy
Hosted by the Inventions Caucus Advisory Committee and Robotics Caucus Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the Congressional Inventions Caucus and Congressional Robotics Caucus
4 pm | 2167 Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Digital Government, Events, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

White House Holds National Strategic Computing Initiative Workshop

The White House held a two-day National Strategic Computing Initiative Workshop to bring together stakeholders from industry, academia, and federal agencies, laboratories, and research centers to discuss how to grow innovations in high performance computing (HPC). President Obama issued an Executive Order in July establishing the National Strategic Computing Initiative.

The technical workshop engaged stakeholders in discussions on how to ensure the U.S. remains on the forefront of research, development, and deployment of high performance computing. Themes included the convergence of data-intensive and numerically intensive computing, advancing hardware technology beyond Moore’s law, improving productivity in application development, and building the research and workforce pipeline.

ACM Fellow Katherine Yelick of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) delivered the keynote on the second day. In November at the ACM-IEEE SC15 conference, Yelick will receive the ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award for her research contributions to the programmability of HPC systems, her strategic national leadership, and her mentorship in academia and government labs. Yelick delivered the ACM-W Athena Lecture at SC13. She currently serves on the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council.

ACM-IEEE SC Conference, November 15-20
Interested in the latest research and information about high performance computing, networking, storage, and analysis? Computing professionals from industry, academia, and government will discuss and explore new frontiers in HPC at the annual ACM-IEEE supercomputing conference, SC15, November 15-20 in Austin, Texas.

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STEM Education Act Becomes Law

Computer science education got a boost when President Obama signed the STEM Education Act into law. It includes computer science in the definition of STEM, strengthens formal and informal STEM education activities at specified federal agencies, and expands STEM teaching fellowship programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

An accompanying Senate report explains that the inclusion of computer science is due, in part, to the growing need for talent in computer science-related fields. As cited by the report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 50 percent of STEM jobs in 2020 will be in computer science and computing-related fields. The report indicates that many new STEM-related career fields, such as cybersecurity, will continue to emerge and grow over time.

“We must prepare our students for degrees in STEM subjects to ensure that they have the ability to thrive in today’s technology-based economy,” said House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith. The bill’s other co-sponsor, Rep. Elizabeth Betsy, said, “This bill strengthens our efforts at the federal level and ensures that critical computer science skills are included among STEM subjects.”

For educators, the NSF Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship program now allows teachers with bachelor’s degrees who are pursuing master’s degrees to participate in the program.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments closed

Congressional Innovation Fellowship Applications Due November 1

TechCongress, in partnership with the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation, is accepting applications for its inaugural class of Congressional Innovation Fellows. This new nonpartisan program places Fellows in Congressional offices to help educate and inform policy leaders on issues related to technology, computing, and innovation. Applications must be submitted by November 1.

Fellows will serve a nine-month residency on Capitol Hill, running from January to September. Fellows will work directly for a Member or a Committee. Possible policy issues include consumer privacy, cybersecurity, copyright reform, patent reform, network neutrality, digital governance, Internet of Things, big data, mobile technologies, and more.

Typical duties may include briefing staff and Members about tech policy issues, writing analysis, preparing for hearings or legislative markups, and meeting with stakeholders to understand and discuss the policy issues. To help new Fellows prepare for working inside Congress, the program provides a two week in-depth orientation.

For more information or to apply, visit: TechCongress.io/the-fellowship

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Congressional Briefing on the STEM Education Pipeline

The Council of Undergraduate Research, ACM, CRA, ASME, and ACS are sponsoring a Congressional briefing entitled, “Building a STEM Education Pipeline Aligned with Industry Needs: Perspectives from the Field,” on Tuesday, October 20, at noon in B-339 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The event is hosted by the STEM Education Caucus.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Nancy Amato, Texas A&M University
  • Dr. Collins Jones, Montgomery College
  • Dr. Oscar Barton, George Mason University
  • Moderator: Dr. Beth Ambos, Council on Undergraduate Research

Sponsors:

The event is open to the public.

Posted in Education and Workforce, Events | Comments closed

Call for Nominations for ACM Policy Award

ACM is accepting nominations for the inaugural ACM Policy Award to honor the contributions of an individual, or a small group, who has had a significant impact on the formation or execution of public policy related to computing. The award is accompanied by a $10,000 prize.

The achievement must represent a major policy innovation or a significant ongoing engagement that has had broad influence on computing policy. If a small group is being nominated, the information must describe why these particular individuals should be recognized.

ACM Policy Award nominations must be received by November 30.

Posted in ACM/USACM News | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of October 5

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

House Floor: H.R. 3510 – Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy Act of 2015, as amended
U.S. House of Representatives

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hearing: Ensuring Aviation Safety in the Era of Unmanned Aircraft Systems
House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation
10 am | 2167 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Examining the Mission Structure and Reorganization Effort of the National Protection and Programs Directorate
House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies
10 am | 311 Canon House Office Building

Hearing: Removing Barriers to Wireless Broadband Deployment
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
10 am | 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Hearing: Improving Federal Spectrum Systems
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10:15 am | 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: The EMV (Credit Card Chip Payment System) Deadline and What it Means for Small Businesses
House Small Business Committee
11 am | 2360 Rayburn House Office Building

Markup: Improving Small Business Innovative Research and Technologies Act of 2015
Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
11 am | 428A Russell Senate Office Building

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hearing: Protecting Maritime Facilities in the 21st Century: Are Our Nations Ports at Risk for a Cyber-Attack?
Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security
10 am | 311 Canon House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 3293, Scientific Research in the National Interest Act
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
10 am | 2138 Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Digital Government, Education and Workforce, Events, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Call for Nominations to Serve on National Science Board

The National Science Board seeks nominations of candidates to serve 2016-2022. The National Science Board is a policy advisory body for the National Science Foundation. It also provides advice to Congress and the President on public policies related to research, education, and innovation in science, engineering, computing, and other STEM fields. Nominations are due by October 30.

The Board’s 24 members serve six-year terms with eight members rotating off every two years. Professionals from a diverse range of perspectives serve on the Board. They are selected for their understanding of policy issues, dedication to contributing to the welfare of the country and society through science and technology activities, and demonstrated leadership in research, education, or public service.

Are you interested in contributing to the development and support of broad science, engineering, and computing policy? Submit your nomination using the online nomination form.

For more information, visit the National Science Board’s website.

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of September 28

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hearing: Cybersecurity Policy and Threats
Senate Armed Services Committee
9:30 am | G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Outside Perspectives on the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy
House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
10 am | 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: The Changing Landscape of U.S.-China Relations: What’s Next?
Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy
2:30 pm | 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Note: Deadline for a funding measure to avoid a government shutdown.

Hearing: Financing Higher Education: Exploring Current Challenges and Potential Alternatives
Joint Economic Committee
10 am | 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Cyber War: Definitions Deterrence and Foreign Policy
House Foreign Affairs Committee
10 am | 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Implementing the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy
House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
10 am | 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 3490, Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act
House Judiciary Committee
10 am | 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 3490, Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act
House Homeland Security Committee
10 am | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 3510, Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy Act of 2015
House Homeland Security Committee
10 am | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 3572, DHS Headquarters Reform and Improvement Act of 2015
House Homeland Security Committee
10 am | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 3578, DHS Science and Technology Reform and Improvements Act of 2015
House Homeland Security Committee
10 am | 311 Cannon House Office Building

House Floor

H.R. 3594, Higher Education Extension Act of 2015
The bill would extend temporarily the Federal Perkins Loan program.

Posted in Education and Workforce, Events, Innovation, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

USACM Submits Comments to NIST on U.S. Participation in International Cybersecurity Standardization

The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council, in collaboration with four other ACM entities, submitted comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on a draft interagency report advocating U.S. participation in international cybersecurity standardization. Because the cybersecurity infrastructure crosses international borders, cybersecurity policy must recognize and promote international cooperative action to build a more secure and trustworthy global digital ecosystem.

The comments support cooperative international action, cybersecurity standards that minimize privacy risks, increased security and privacy research, a multistakeholder approach to the development of standards, and the inclusion of education and training as fundamental elements to achieve overall cybersecurity policy objectives. The breadth of community to be included in future processes is important. Fostering and leveraging cooperation among government, businesses, academic institutions, professional societies, consumer groups, and other stakeholders is vital to achieving cybersecurity and resiliency of our infrastructures, continued innovation, and an educated computing and cybersecurity workforce.

ACM advances cybersecurity through its international activities, special interest groups, conferences, publications, digital library collections, policy statements, and curriculum recommendations.

The comments to NIST were developed by the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council with input from the ACM Education Policy Committee, the ACM Education Board, the ACM Education Council, and the ACM Task Force on Cybersecurity Education.


Related Resources: ACM Curriculum Recommendations

ACM’s curriculum recommendations address all areas of computing, including computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, information technology, information systems, and cybersecurity. The curriculum recommendations are used to assist in the accreditation of university programs worldwide. Cyber and computer security knowledge areas are included in each of the guidelines. The international curricular guidelines for undergraduate programs in computer science jointly published by ACM and IEEE-CS, the Computer Science 2013: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Programs in Computer Science (CS2013), are now available in Chinese.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Education and Workforce, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing

The new ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing challenges high school seniors in the United States to develop innovative solutions using their knowledge of computer science. Four winners will each be awarded $10,000 and a trip to an awards reception.

Submissions should demonstrate ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, originality, and a desire to further computer science as a discipline. Students should be prepared to describe what the project is, how it was created, and why it is relevant.

The prize is named for David Cutler and Gordon Bell. Cutler is a software engineer, designer and developer of several operating systems including Windows NT at Microsoft and RSX-11M, VMS and VAXELN at Digital Equipment Corporation. He is Senior Technical Fellow at Microsoft. Bell is an electrical engineer and an early employee of Digital Equipment Corporation where he led the development of VAX. He is now a researcher emeritus at Microsoft Research.

Submissions are due by January 1, 2016.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Education and Workforce | Comments closed

FTC PrivacyCon 2016 – Call for Privacy and Security Research Presentations

The FTC invites presentation proposals on consumer privacy and security issues in the commercial sector for a privacy conference, PrivacyCon, to be held on January 14 in Washington, D.C. The conference is intended for security researchers, academics, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and regulators. The event will be free and open to the public.

The FTC is particularly interested in expert panel and research presentation proposals that address research and trends related to de-identification, drones, big data, security by design techniques, new vulnerabilities, the Internet of Things, smart homes, voice-activation, and health/fitness apps and devices.

Participants will discuss the latest policy initiatives, ways to further collaboration between researchers and policymakers, and practical steps for companies and consumers to take to safeguard sensitive data.

Proposals are due by October 9.

Posted in Events, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

ACM Policy Award Nominations Due November 30

ACM is accepting nominations for the inaugural ACM Policy Award to honor the contributions of an individual, or a small group, who has had a significant impact on the formation or execution of public policy related to computing. The award is accompanied by a $10,000 prize.

The achievement must represent a major policy innovation or a significant ongoing engagement that has had broad influence on computing policy. If a small group is being nominated, the information must describe why these particular individuals should be recognized.

ACM Policy Award nominations must be received by November 30.

Posted in ACM/USACM News | Comments closed

NTIA to Host First Cybersecurity Multistakeholder Forum on Vulnerability Research Disclosure on September 29

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will hold the kickoff meeting for the new cybersecurity multistakeholder process on vulnerability research disclosure on September 29 at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. The process aims to establish stakeholder consensus about high-level principles that will promote better collaboration among security researchers, vendors, and owners of products.

“The question of how vulnerabilities can and should be disclosed will be a critical part of the discussion, as will how vendors receive and respond to this information,” NTIA says in the meeting announcement. “However, disclosure is only one aspect of successful collaboration.”

The objectives of the first meeting are to:

  • Explore how vulnerability information is shared, received, and resolved
  • Review perceived challenges in successful collaborations
  • Identify and discuss which high-priority substantive issues could be acted on by the group
  • Discuss logistical issues and the creation of working groups
  • Identify concrete goals and work plans

The meeting will be open to all interested parties. Pre-registration to attend in person or to watch the live webcast is strongly encouraged.

Posted in Events, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

NTIA Drone Privacy Multistakeholder Forum to Convene on September 24

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will convene the second meeting of the multistakeholder process on drone privacy, transparency, and accountability on September 24. Stakeholders will continue discussions of how to organizationally and substantively approach important privacy issues related to the use of drones, known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

A key goal of the meeting will be to identify and prioritize topics for the group to develop “best practices.” At the first meeting last month, NTIA reinforced that the goal is to identify best practices rather than enforceable codes of conduct. Among the proposed priority topics for the group to consider are notice and choice, de-identification, and data security.

Along with deciding on prioritized topics, the group will discuss an anticipated work plan to address responsibilities and a timeline for critical actions. Suggestions from the first meeting included creating a charter to guide the multistakeholder action, establishing working groups, and sharing information through additional briefings.

President Obama called for the initiation of this multistakeholder process to promote the responsible commercial and private use of drone technology and to develop a framework that considers the implications for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

NTIA will hold two additional meetings this year on October 21 and November 20. NTIA also is considering future briefings on privacy law. All the meetings will be held in Washington, D.C. The meetings will be webcast. NTIA will post the agenda and additional information in advance of the meetings.

Posted in Events, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of September 14

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hearing: Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Improving Care Through Patient Access to Their Records
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
10 am | 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)
Senate Judiciary Committee
10:15 am | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hearing: Making DHS More Efficient: Industry Recommendations to Improve Homeland Security
House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency
10 am | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Briefing: The Third Era of Currency: How the Internet, Mathematics, and Bitcoin are Innovating Money
Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee
Noon | 2237 Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Events, Innovation, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

NIST Invites Comments on U.S. Participation in International Cybersecurity Standards

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting public comments on a new interagency report advocating U.S. participation in international cybersecurity standardization.

The report identifies four interrelated strategic objectives: (a) enhance national and economic security and public safety, (b) ensure standards and assessment tools are technically sound, (c) facilitate international trade, and (d) promote innovation and competitiveness.

The report provides eight recommendations on how to foster public-private cooperation, domestically and internationally, and how agencies can participate in international standards development. (1) ensure U.S. government coordination, (2) promote U.S. government participation in cybersecurity standards development, (3) develop timely and technically sound standards and assessment schemes for cybersecurity, (4) leverage public-private collaboration in cybersecurity standards development, (5) enhance international coordination and information sharing, (6) support and expand standards training for federal agencies, (7) develop international cybersecurity standards that minimize privacy risk, and (8) use relevant international cybersecurity standards to achieve policy objectives.

Comments are due by September 24.

Posted in Events, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

In Memoriam: Joseph Traub

Computing pioneer Jospeh Traub passed away on August 24. ACM recognized him as an ACM Fellow in 1994 for his research on information-based complexity and parallel computing, for his contributions to U.S. science policy, and for his leadership in computing education.

Traub founded the Computer Science and Technology Board (CSTB) of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, serving as its chair 1986-1992 and again 2005-2009. The CSTB provides independent advice to the federal government on technical and public policy issues relating to computing and communications.

He headed the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University in the 1970s and then founded the Computer Science Department at Columbia University. He was an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

In a 2011 interview published in ACM’s Ubiquity magazine, Traub described four issues for the future of computing: (1) networking and computing scaling, particularly in the post-Moore’s Law era, (2) information-based complexity and how “when the technology changes, or might change, that alters what algorithms are permitted,” (3) cybersecurity as only becoming “still more important,” and (4) the vital need for more students to study computer science because “the key to the country’s future is innovation.”

Posted in ACM/USACM News | Comments closed

President Obama Establishes National Strategic Computing Initiative

President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the National Strategic Computing Initiative to ensure the U.S. remains on the leading-edge of research, development, and deployment of high-performance computing.

This government-wide strategic plan provides a framework for policy and funding priorities to increase U.S. leadership in computing power by leveraging the strengths of government, industry, and academia. It encourages holistic approaches to capacity building of both computing technology and talent.

The long-range plan provides five strategic themes:

  • Deliver exascale computing systems that can apply exaflops of computing power to exabytes of data
  • Stay on the forefront of high-performance computing capabilities for important applications, particularly in modeling, simulation, and data analytics
  • Establish a path for viable underlying hardware technology as successors to current semiconductor technology
  • Support new approaches to improving application developer productivity in high-performance computing
  • Develop sustainable public-private collaborations

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will co-lead an inter-agency Executive Council responsible for establishing, reviewing, and updating an implementation plan. The Executive Order requires an initial implementation plan within 90 days, which is the end of October.

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of August 3

Senate Floor: Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, S. 754
Legislation pertaining to the sharing of cybersecurity threat and vulnerability information between the public and private sectors.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Briefing: The Internet Takes Flight: Commercial Drones and the Online Economy
Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee
Noon | 2226 Rayburn House Office Building

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hearing: Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Opportunities to Improve Student Success
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
10 am | 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Posted in Education and Workforce, Events, Innovation, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

NTIA Multistakeholder Process on Drones: First Meeting on August 3

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will hold the first meeting of the new multistakeholder process on drone privacy, transparency, and accountability on August 3 from 1-5 pm Eastern Time. The goal of the multistakeholder process will be to produce a set of best practices for the commercial and private use of drones, known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The meeting will be available by webcast.

Speakers include:

  • Angela Simpson, NTIA Deputy Assistant Secretary
  • John Verdi, Director of Privacy Initiatives, NTIA Office of Policy Analysis and Development
  • John B. Morris, Jr., Associate Administrator and Director of Internet Policy,
    NTIA Office of Policy Analysis and Development
  • Dean E. Griffith, Attorney, Regulations Division, FAA Office of the Chief Counsel
  • Anne Bechdolt, Senior Attorney, Regulation and Enforcement, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the General Counsel
  • Gregory S. McNeal, J.D./Ph.D., Associate Professor of Law and Public Policy,

The objectives for the first meeting are to:

  • Review the regulatory environment for commercial drone operations
  • Discuss the current and near future commercial uses of drones
  • Discuss what issues might be raised by the technology
  • Identify which issues could be acted on by the group
  • Establish working groups (tentative)
  • Identify concrete goals and work plans (tentative)

President Obama called for the initiation of this multistakeholder process in a Presidential Memorandum released earlier this year on the same day as the release of the FAA’s proposed regulations for non-hobby or non-recreational operations of drones. The President called for the multistakeholder process to promote the responsible commercial and private use of drone technology and to develop a framework that considers the implications for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

NTIA also will hold meetings on September 24, October 21, and November 20. All the meetings will be held in Washington, D.C. The meetings will be webcast. NTIA will post the agenda and additional information in advance of the meetings.

Posted in Events, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

EAC Election Data Summit on August 12-13

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) will host an EAC Election Data Summit on August 12-13 at American University in Washington, D.C. The two-day summit will address “how good data can help elections run better.” The event is intended for election researchers, state and local government election officials, nonprofit organizations, and other interested stakeholders.

Among the topics, attendees will discuss:

  • The accuracy and efficacy of certain election data that are collected
  • The numerous practical uses/applications for the election data that are collected
  • Potential improvements to the Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) survey for future data collections

The event is open to the public. The EAC will post the agenda and additional information in advance of the summit.

Posted in E-voting, Events | Comments closed

USACM Submits Comments to NIST on Privacy Risk Management for Federal Information Systems

USACM today submitted comments to NIST on the draft report, Privacy Risk Management for Federal Information Systems (NISTIR 8062). USACM supports NIST’s efforts to define a framework to help manage growing privacy risk in the processing of personal information in federal information technology systems.

Among the comments, USACM recommends that NIST consider providing additional discussion of the interrelationship of privacy risk management with the other risks that federal agencies manage. Many privacy risks are interdependent with other types of risks, data actions, and processes. Ideally, the framework would describe how these work in tandem to address risk comprehensively.

USACM expresses appreciation for NIST’s ongoing attention to privacy issues and efforts to help federal agencies better manage their privacy risks through sound privacy policies and practices.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 27

House Floor

  • H.R. 2206, State Wide Interoperable Communications Enhancement Act
  • H.R. 1634, Border Security Technology Accountability Act

Tuesday July 28, 2015

Hearing: Continued Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10:15 am | 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Promoting and Incentivizing Cybersecurity Best Practices
House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies
2 pm | 311 Canon House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 3154, E-Warranty Act of 2015
House Energy and Commerce Committee
5 pm | 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hearing: Internet of Things
House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet
10 am | 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Markup: Department of Homeland Security Border Security Metrics Act of 2015; Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2015; EINSTEIN Act of 2015
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
10 am | 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Wireless Broadband and the Future of Spectrum Policy
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
10:30 am | 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Hearing: DATA Act Implementation
House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology and Subcommittee on Government Operations
1 pm | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hearing: Examining Vulnerabilities of Americas Power Supply
House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Energy
9 am | 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: World Wide Cyber Threats
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
9 am | HVC-210 Capitol

Posted in Digital Government, Events, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

USACM Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

On July 26, 2015, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council joins the country’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, a landmark law that has promoted innovation in technology to empower the full participation of people with disabilities and limitations in all aspects of society. We reaffirm our commitment to working with U.S. policy leaders, the computing community, and across all sectors of society to ensure a disability-inclusive policy agenda that expands access, promotes innovation, enables research and development, and continues efforts to fully implement the ADA.

“Accessibility and usability are crucial to an inclusive digital world,” said Harry Hochheiser, the Chair of the USACM Accessibility Committee, and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh. “When the ADA was enacted in 1990, the Internet revolution was still a few years away. Although technological advances have allowed people with vision, hearing, mobility, and cognitive disabilities to participate in the richness of the web, mobile technologies, social media, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things, the ADA has been a vital tool for ensuring fair and equal access to these technologies and the opportunities they present.”

Computing technology advances during the past 25 years have contributed to different dimensions in empowering people with disabilities. A few of the more impactful computing technologies include:

  • Internet – The global growth of the internet as an enabling technology has fundamentally changed the way in which we live, learn, work, and participate in society. A continued commitment to making the internet more accessible and user-friendly will help fulfill its potential to provide access to information and opportunities for everyone.

  • Software and Applications – Nearly all computers and mobile devices now include or integrate accessibility features to help make online and computer-based audio and text communications accessible to people with disabilities through speech recognition, speech-to-text or text-to-speech, captioning, and customization of text, contrast, colors, screen resolution, magnification, and audio volume.

  • Mobile Devices and Services – Mobile and wireless technologies continue to expand and extend the benefits of the Internet and computing in ways that are helping people with disabilities to achieve greater independence and an improved quality of life. For example, mobile apps allow people with vision disabilities to identify and distinguish products, access product label information, navigate streets, and identify the value of paper money. Applications for the deaf or people with hearing limitations help users communicate with others, enjoy entertainment, and receive sensory alerts of sounds.

  • Assistive Information Technologies – Screen readers, screen magnifiers, refreshable Braille displays, and optical scanners with optical character recognition software are simply a few examples of solutions to allow people with visual disabilities to meet specific needs as part of their everyday activities. Voice recognition software allows people who have visual or physical disabilities to use their voice rather than the keyboard or mouse to operate computers and devices.

  • Digital Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants – Advancements in multiple areas, such as chip technology, digital signal processing, and directional microphones, are bringing wider frequency ranges, better speech perception, and improved noise filtering in different listening environments to people with a range of hearing limitations. Multi-channel cochlear implants with sophisticated processors have brought sound to people without hearing and improved sound for people with severe hearing loss. Some hearing instruments can stream sound directly from devices using wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth.

  • Computerized Wheelchairs – Continued improvements in computer modeling, sensors, wearable technologies, robotics, manufacturing, and lightweight materials are making wheelchairs more versatile, thus improving their potential for tackling more types of situations, terrains, and needs of individuals.

  • Robotics – Computer hardware and software that drive bionic arms, hands, legs, and feet bring new freedoms and capabilities to people with mobility disabilities. Wearable robotic exoskeletons increasingly are being made available to provide upright, mobile, and independent walking for those that need them. Stand-alone robotic assistants help people with mobility disabilities remotely manipulate items, move objects, and perform tasks.

“In keeping with the vision of the ADA, we owe it to future generations to continue to innovate and to widen future possibilities for an inclusive digital world,” said Eugene H. Spafford, Chair of USACM, and Professor at Purdue University. “Advances in computing will continue to expand the possibilities for everyone to interact, no matter their circumstances or physical world limitations.”

A few emergent areas of transformative innovation include:

  • Internet of Things – The emergent area of connecting a range of everyday objects to the Internet has the potential to empower people with disabilities to interact more easily, effectively, efficiently, and safely with the world using technology. Smart environments could allow people with disabilities to operate and control a variety of things in the world around them, from appliances to mobile robots, through accessible online interfaces activated by touch, gestures, speech, or eye movements. This next wave of technology could allow more individuals with disabilities to lead independent lifestyles.

  • 3D Printing – The ability of this technology to provide customized products has the potential to revolutionize the lives of people with disabilities. Early uses include high-quality personalized parts for hearing instruments, specially fitted and fabricated artificial limbs, and adaptive custom equipment to enable people with a wide range of disabilities to lead more independent lives. 3D printing also is creating new opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired to affordably print and interact with objects useful for education, business, and consumer purposes.

  • Artificial Intelligence – Software can be written to seemingly make intelligent choices and solve problems. The software can help people with disabilities by predicting the next typed word, recognizing and interpreting the spoken word, creating intelligent assistants to help replace cognitive abilities, and making navigational and safety decisions in self-driving wheelchairs and cars.

  • Wearables – Clothing and accessories embedded with computing capabilities give wearers another way to perceive and interact with the environment. They can be used for object sensing, geolocation, street-sign reading to aid navigation, sound sensing, communications, and control of other devices, often without requiring hands or vision to operate the wearable device. Wearables can provide unobtrusive and continuous health monitoring, which can bring significant benefits to people with health disabilities.

  • Brain-Computer Interfaces – This early-stage technology could address important needs for people with a range of disabilities by enabling communications between the brain and external devices. Researchers currently are testing wireless brain-controlled prosthetic devices and brain-controlled interfaces, which could significantly benefit the lives of people with amputations, neuromotor impairments, and spinal cord injuries. Research also is demonstrating how brain signals can be used to generate synthesized speech, operate the equivalent of an on-screen keyboard, or experience the sensation of seeing light. Further research could lead to enhancements of considerable benefit to persons with auditory, visual, mobility, and cognitive impairments.

On this 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council celebrates and recognizes the progress that has been made to advance and achieve the principles of equality and inclusion in the digital environment. We look forward to the next 25 years of exciting advances in computing technologies.

Download the statement (pdf).

About ACM and the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council
With more than 100,000 members, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council (USACM) serves as the focal point for ACM’s interaction with the U.S. government in all matters of U.S. public policy related to information technology.

Related ACM Resources

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NTIA Invites Participation in a New Cybersecurity Multistakeholder Process on Vulnerability Research Disclosure

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) invites businesses, organizations, and individuals to participate in a new cybersecurity multistakeholder process on vulnerability research disclosure. The process aims to leverage and build on existing multistakeholder cybersecurity efforts and to produce an actionable voluntary outcome, such as high-level principles that shape future policy and inform best practices.

“The goal of this process will be to bring together security researchers, software vendors, and those interested in a more secure digital ecosystem to create common principles and best practices around the disclosure of and response to new security vulnerability information,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Angela Simpson.

NTIA will lead the new initiative in partnership with the Internet Policy Task Force.

The first meeting will be held in September in San Francisco, with the exact date to be determined. The meeting will be webcast. NTIA is accepting expressions of intent from stakeholders interested in participating in the process.

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NTIA Invites Participation in a New Multistakeholder Process on Drones

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) invites businesses, organizations, and individuals to participate in a new multistakeholder process on drone privacy, transparency, and accountability. The goal is to produce a set of best practices for the commercial and private use of drones, known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

President Obama called for the initiation of this multistakeholder process in a Presidential Memorandum released earlier this year on the same day as the release of the FAA’s proposed regulations for non-hobby or non-recreational operations of drones. The President called for the multistakeholder process to promote the responsible commercial and private use of drone technology and to develop a framework that considers the implications for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

The objectives for the first meeting on August 3 are to:

  • Review the regulatory environment for commercial drone operations

  • Discuss the current and near future commercial uses of drones

  • Discuss what issues might be raised by the technology

  • Identify which issues could be acted on by the group

  • Establish working groups (tentative)

  • Identify concrete goals and work plans (tentative)

NTIA also will hold meetings on September 24, October 21, and November 20. All the meetings will be held in Washington, D.C. The meetings will be webcast. NTIA will post the agenda and additional information in advance of the meetings.

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U.S. Department of Commerce Seeks Public Comments on Proposed Export Definitions Relevant to Cloud and Other Digital Services

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security is accepting public comments on proposed revisions to definitions in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The proposed rules contain a new provision relevant to cloud, email, and other third-party digital services. Comments are due by August 3.

The rules recognize and clarify for the first time an explicit exemption for encrypted transfers of technology or software when it is unclassified and secured using end-to-end encryption. The announcement states that the current regulations do not make “any distinction between encrypted and unencrypted transfers of technology or software for control or definitional purposes.” The proposed rules explain that encrypted transfers would not pose a national security risk because they are “not readable” until decrypted by the recipient.

The encryption would need to be compliant with FIPS 140-2 and NIST guidance on what would constitute sufficient security. The revised definition would allow the use of “similarly effective cryptographic means,” but the burden would be on the company to show why and how the alternative encryption method provides sufficient security. Commercial providers would not be allowed to decrypt or store decrypted information until after the recipient decrypts it.

A related change would be to add new language to the definition of “export” to address decryption because it would make the information accessible: e.g., releasing or otherwise transferring decryption keys, network access codes, passwords, or software that would allow access to other technology in clear text or software.

Another proposed change is to move the section on the export of encryption source code and object code software to a newly created section to make it clearer when an “export” occurs.

Commentators are encouraged to discuss practical implications and to provide specific examples as support.

Here are a few questions to consider:

1. Should there be an export exemption for unclassified, end-to-end encrypted technology and software?

Paragraph (a)(4) establishes a specific carve-out from the definition of “export” the transfer of technology and software that is encrypted in a manner described in the proposed section. Encrypted information—i.e., information that is not in “clear text”—is not readable, and is therefore useless to unauthorized parties unless and until it is decrypted. As a result, its transfer in encrypted form consistent with the requirements of paragraph (a)(4) poses no threat to national security or other reasons for control and does not constitute an “actual” transmission of “technology” or “software.” Currently, neither the EAR nor the ITAR makes any distinction between encrypted and unencrypted transfers of technology or software for control or definitional purposes.

Paragraph (c) confirms that the mere ability to access “technology” or “software” while it is encrypted in a manner that satisfies the requirements in the section does not constitute the release or export of such “technology” or “software.” This responds to a common industry question on the issue. (See proposed corresponding § 120.52 of the ITAR.)

2. Should FIPS 140-2 be the required minimum cryptographic standard for compliance?

Paragraph (a)(4)(iii) describes encryption standards for purposes of the definition. In this proposed rule, use of encryption modules certified under the Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 (FIPS 140-2), supplemented by appropriate software implementation, cryptographic key management and other procedures or controls that are in accordance with guidance provided in current U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology publications, would qualify as sufficient security. FIPS 140-2 is a well understood cryptographic standard used for Federal Government procurement in the United States and Canada, as well as for many other uses, both in the United States and abroad. However, BIS understands that companies may use hardware and software that has not been certified by NIST or that does not conform to NIST guidelines (e.g., for internal use or conforming to other standards). To accommodate this, this paragraph allows for use of “similarly effective cryptographic means,” meaning that alternative approaches are allowable provided that they work. In such cases, the exporter is responsible for ensuring that they work. In contrast, the corresponding definition proposed by DDTC makes FIPS 140-2 conformity a baseline requirement. Hardware and software modules must be certified by NIST, and NIST key management and other implementation standards must be used. Alternatives are not permitted regardless of effectiveness.

3. What are the pros/cons of adopting FIPS 140-2 as the standard? What would be the impact on industry providers to implement the standard?

FIPS 140-2 is a well understood cryptographic standard used for Federal Government procurement in the United States and Canada, as well as for many other uses, both in the United States and abroad.

4. Should “similarly effective cryptographic means” be allowed for commercial but not defense-related products and services?

To accommodate this, this paragraph allows for use of “similarly effective cryptographic means,” meaning that alternative approaches are allowable provided that they work. In such cases, the exporter is responsible for ensuring that they work. In contrast, the corresponding definition proposed by DDTC makes FIPS 140-2 conformity a baseline requirement. Hardware and software modules must be certified by NIST, and NIST key management and other implementation standards must be used. Alternatives are not permitted regardless of effectiveness.

5. Should the definition of export include the means of decryption?

Logically, providing keys or other information that would allow access to encrypted technology or software should be subject to the same type of controls as the actual export, reexport, or transfer of the technology or software itself. This is specifically addressed in the proposed § 734.13(a)(6) as part of the definition of “export.” In addition, the proposed § 764.2(1) states that for enforcement purposes such an unauthorized release will constitute a violation to the same extent as a violation in connection with the actual export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) of the underlying “technology” or “software.”

Paragraph (a)(6) defines as an export the release or other transfer of the means of access to encrypted data. This is intended to complement the exclusion of certain encrypted data from the definition of export, specified in proposed § 734.18(a)(4) and discussed below. Logically, providing the means to decrypt or otherwise access controlled technology or software that is encrypted should constitute a controlled event to the same extent as releasing or otherwise transferring the unencrypted controlled technology or software itself. Upon transfer of the means of access to encrypted technology or software, the technology or software would acquire the classification and control status of the underlying technology or software, as specified in proposed § 764.2(l).

6. Should “clear text” be defined? If so, should the definition be: “Information or software that is readable without any additional processing and is not encrypted”?

The meaning of “clear text” in the proposed definition is no different than an industry standard definition, e.g., information or software that is readable without any additional processing and is not encrypted. Comments are encouraged regarding whether a specific EAR definition of the term is warranted and, if so, what the definition should be.

7. If the regulators decide to add a definition for data “storage,” what should that definition be?

Such technology or software would remain encrypted at every point in transit or in storage after it was encrypted by the originator until it was decrypted by the recipient.

BIS specifically solicits comment on the following issues:

Whether encryption standards adequately address data storage and transmission issues with respect to export controls;

8. The proposed language currently refers to “end-to-end encryption” between the originator and the recipient. Does this phrasing advance the regulators’ intent to foster the use of cloud email and storage services? If not, what would be appropriate alternative language?

An important requirement is that the technology or software be encrypted “end-to-end,” a phrase that is defined in paragraph (b). The intent of this requirement is that relevant technology or software is encrypted by the originator and remains encrypted (and thus not readable) until it is decrypted by its intended recipient. Such technology or software would remain encrypted at every point in transit or in storage after it was encrypted by the originator until it was decrypted by the recipient.

BIS understands that end-to-end encryption is not used in all commercial situations, particularly when encryption is provided by third party digital service providers such as cloud SaaS (software as a service) providers and some email services. However, in many such situations, technology or software may be encrypted and decrypted many times before it is finally decrypted and read by the intended recipient. At these points, it is in clear text and is vulnerable to unauthorized release. BIS considered this an unacceptable risk and therefore specified the use of end-to-end encryption as part of the proposed definition. A key requirement of the end-to-end provision is to ensure that no non-US national employee of a domestic cloud service provider or foreign digital third party or cloud service provider can get access to controlled technology or software in unencrypted form.

9. Should the preamble add a new definition of “applied research”?

Add to the existing definition of “fundamental research” a new definition of “applied research.” The information arising from fundamental research is not subject to the EAR. Fundamental research consists of basic and applied research where the results are ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community. This proposed rule would retain the overall concept of fundamental research that is currently in the EAR, but would remove certain limitations based on the type of institution in which the research takes place, relocate the definition of “basic research” from the definitions section of the EAR to the section dealing with fundamental research and provide a definition of applied research.

BIS specifically solicits comment on the following issues:

Whether the alternative definition of fundamental research suggested in the preamble should be adopted;

Whether the alternative definition of applied research suggested in the preamble should be adopted, or whether basic and applied research definitions are needed given that they are subsumed by fundamental research;

For additional information, read announcement in the Federal Register.
Comments can be submitted on regulations.gov under Docket ID BIS-2015-0019.

Posted in Events, Innovation, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Washington News – Alerts and Updates

General Announcements

* Nominations for ACM Distinguished Member are due by August 3.

Security

* The U.S. Department of Commerce is accepting public comments on proposed revisions to definitions in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The revisions are relevant to encrypted transfers used in cloud and other digital services. Comments are due by August 3:

* NIST is accepting public comments on the special publication, Transitions: Recommendation for Transitioning the Use of Cryptographic Algorithms and Key Lengths. Comments are due by August 14.

* NIST is accepting public comments on the draft Derived Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Credentials (DPC) Proof of Concept Research. Comments are due by August 24.

* NIST is accepting public comments on the second draft of the interagency report, Trusted Geolocation in the Cloud: Proof of Concept Implementation. Comments are due by August 24.

* NIST updated its technical guidance for the next generation identity cards to be used by federal employees and contractors for access to facilities and computers.

* NIST released a special publication on Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations, addressing security requirements when agencies share certain sensitive information with contractors.

* NIST revised its publication on cryptographic security, Recommendation for Random Number Generation Using Deterministic Random Bit Generators.

* The FTC launched a Start with Security initiative to educate businesses about cybersecurity. A new guidance document provides “10 practical lessons businesses can learn from the FTC’s 50+ data security settlements.”

* The U.S. Copyright Office received written responses to post-hearing questions related to the proposed DMCA exemptions.

* The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, presented his report on encryption and anonymity to the UN Human Rights Council.

Privacy

* The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will hold a congressional briefing on “Data Across Borders: Treaties, Law Enforcement, and Digital Privacy in the Aftermath of Snowden” on July 24 at noon.

* NTIA will hold the next meeting of the privacy multistakeholder process concerning the commercial use of facial recognition technology on July 28.

* NIST is accepting public comments on the draft Privacy Risk Management for Federal Information Systems. Comments are due by July 31.

* NTIA will hold its first meeting of the multistakeholder process on drone privacy, transparency, and accountability issues on August 3.

* OPM is sending notification letters to millions of individuals affected by the data breaches and will be providing credit and identity theft monitoring and protection services.

* NTIA is accepting expressions of intent from stakeholders interested in participating in a new cybersecurity multistakeholder process on vulnerability research disclosure.

* NIST and HHS will co-host the 8th annual conference, Safeguarding Health Information: Building Assurance through HIPAA Security, on September 2-3. The event will offer sessions on health IT cybersecurity, the HIPAA Security Rule, updates on the Omnibus HIPAA/HITECH Final Rule, precision medicine and big data, data breach management, and securing medical devices.

* FCC Chairman Wheeler announced that the FCC will begin a new rulemaking in the fall related to privacy protections for consumers who use broadband Internet services.

* The UN Human Rights Council appointed Joseph Cannataci as the new Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy.

Accessibility

* The 25th Anniversary of the ADA is July 26!

* The United Nations published new accessibility guidance for UN websites, with an emphasis on WCAG and inclusiveness.

Digital Governance

* NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling encouraged everyone who works on Internet policy issues to join in the multistakeholder processes on internet governance during his remarks at the recent Internet Governance Forum USA.

* U.S. CIO Tony Scott announced on the White House blog that all federal public websites must use HTTPS by 2016, pursuant to a new OMB rule.

* OMB released new guidance for federal agencies on how to comply with the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA).

Voting

* The EAC Technical Guidelines Development Committee held its first meeting on July 20-21 to begin the process of moving forward with the next generation of voluntary voting system guidelines.

* NIST released the second draft of the Roadmap for Future Usability and Accessibility Guidance for next generation elections.

* The U.S. Vote Foundation reported that current online voting systems lack sufficiently secure end-to-end verifiable systems and, thus, do not guarantee the integrity, openness, and transparency needed for public elections. Read the full report.

Intellectual Property

* USACM member Pamela Samuelson authored, Anti-Circumvention Rules Limit Reverse Engineering, in this month’s Communications of the ACM.

* The next round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreements negotiations will be held on July 28-31 in Hawaii.

* The latest round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations took place on July 13-17 in Brussels.

* USPTO Deputy Commissioner for Patent Quality Valencia Martin Wallace posted a blog on how they are making improvements in all aspects of patent quality through the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative.

* The U.S. Copyright Office received written responses to post-hearing questions related to the proposed DMCA exemptions.

Law

* The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the Google v. Oracle software copyright case, No. 14-410. The case now continues in federal court, where Google will need to show its use of copyrighted Java APIs without permission constituted fair use.

* The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, working with partners in 19 countries, seized the domain and servers of Darkode, an alleged online criminal forum, and issued indictments, including against its administrators.

* Global cybercriminal suspect Ercan Findikoglu was extradited to the United States to face charges of organizing three worldwide cyberattacks that inflicted $55 million in losses on the global financial system in a matter of hours.

* Twin brothers Muneeb and Sohaib Akhter pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hack into U.S. State Department computers and to wire fraud.

* Europol arrested five cybercriminals who allegedly targeted financial systems.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Digital Government, E-voting, Events, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 20

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hearing: Protecting the Electric Grid from the Potential Threats of Solar Storms and Electromagnetic Pulse
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
10 am | 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Exploring Barriers and Opportunities within Innovation
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
10 am | 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hearing: Modern Tools in a Modern World: How App Technology is Benefitting Small Businesses
House Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology
10 am | 2360 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Information Blocking and Potential Solutions
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
10 am | 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hearing: DATA Act Implementation
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
9:30 am | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Briefing: Data Across Borders: Treaties, Law Enforcement, and Digital Privacy in the Aftermath of Snowden
Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee
Noon | 2226 Rayburn House Office Building

Save the Date: July 30, 2015

Hearing: World Wide Cyber Threats
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
9 am | HVC-210 Capitol

Posted in Digital Government, Events, Innovation, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

NIST Seeks Public Comments on Privacy Risk Management Framework for Federal Information Systems

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting public comments on a draft report, Privacy Risk Management for Federal Information Systems, which describes a privacy risk management framework for federal information systems. The document describes privacy engineering objectives and a privacy risk model. Comments are due by July 31.

Commentators are asked to provide input on:

  • Does the framework provide a process that will help organizations make more informed system development decisions with respect to privacy?

  • Does the framework seem likely to help bridge the communication gap between technical and non-technical personnel?

  • Do the privacy engineering objectives seem likely to assist system designers and engineers in building information systems that are capable of supporting agencies’ privacy goals and requirements?

  • Should context be a key input to the privacy risk model? If not, why not? If so, does this model incorporate context appropriately? Would more guidance on the consideration of context be helpful?

  • Does the equation to calculate the privacy risk of a data action seem likely to be effective in helping agencies to distinguish between cybersecurity and privacy risks? The equation of privacy risk is expressed as the product of two factors: the likelihood of a problematic data action multiplied by the impact of a problematic data action. Data actions are defined as “information system operations that process personal information.”

Read the report: Privacy Risk Management for Federal Information Systems

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EAC Technical Guidelines Development Committee Will Meet July 20-21

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission announced the members of the renewed Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC). The Committee will hold its first meeting on July 20-21 at the NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland to begin the process of moving forward with the next generation of voluntary voting system guidelines.

The 15-member advisory committee provides assistance with the development of voluntary voting system guidelines. The members are jointly appointed by the EAC and the Director of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). It includes representatives from the EAC, NIST, the U.S. Access Board, the National Association of State Election Directors, and standards setting organizations. Four technical experts also serve on the committee. NIST Director Willie E. May serves as the Chair.

A live webcast will be available.

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U.S. Government Needs Computer Scientists

In this month’s Communications of the ACM magazine, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Deputy Director Thomas Kalil and former OSTP Assistant Director for Robotics and Cyber Physical Systems Vijay Kumar urge computer scientists to come work in government as a way of advancing and shaping public policy in computing research and education.

Computer scientists possess the specialized expertise that enables them to provide the input for well-informed policy recommendations and decisions, particularly when the policy issues are complex or highly technical.

“Computer scientists and engineers can have a huge impact on the future of the field and the future of the U.S. By serving in the government, they can design and launch new research initiatives, inform IT-related policy decisions, and serve as a catalyst for public-private partnerships involving government, industry, and academia,” they write.

“Whether you are in industry or in academia, a student or a professional, we urge you to reach out and connect with federal government agencies whose missions are aligned with your interests.”

Thinking of taking a more active role in public policy? Agencies offer a range of opportunities, ranging from short-term appointments to long-term career positions.

Read the full article: The Future of Computer Science and Engineering is in Your Hands

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 13

Senate Floor: Every Child Achieves Act, S. 1177
Education legislation relevant to K-12 computer science courses and teachers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hearing: Oversight of the United States Department of Homeland Security
House Judiciary Committee
10 am | 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Advancing Commercial Weather Data: Collaborative Efforts to Improve Forecasts Part II
House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Environment
10 am | 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

POSTPONED Hearing: Promoting Broadband Infrastructure Investment
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10 am | 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Markup: FY 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill
House Appropriations Committee
10:15 am | 2359 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: The European Union’s Future
House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats
2 pm | 2200 Rayburn House Office Building

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hearing: Taking Flight: Small Business Utilization of Unmanned Aircraft
House Small Business Committee
11 am | 2360 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Cybersecurity: The Department of the Interior
House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology and Subcommittee on the Interior
2 pm | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Digital Government, Events, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Job Announcement: Technology Policy Analyst

Prestigious educational, scientific, not-for-profit society for computing professionals seeks a highly motivated Policy Analyst to support its policy and government affairs team. This full-time position in Washington, D.C. offers a great opportunity to work on substantive policy projects addressing leading and emergent policy issues, engage with prominent computing professionals, and interact with other policy professionals participating in stakeholder groups.

The Policy Analyst will be responsible for supporting policy development and policy communications related to a range of technology and computing policy issues and will be responsible for leading projects to provide impartial information and recommendations to help policy leaders make better decisions.

Responsibilities
Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Identifies, monitors, researches, and analyzes legislative and regulatory issues to inform conclusions about policy effectiveness, to synthesize complex issues into clear and concise language for non-technical audiences, and to develop key policy considerations and recommendations.
  • Writes memoranda, articles, reports, issue briefs, newsletters, and other materials based on research, data evaluation, and analysis.
  • Develops briefing notes, speeches, presentations, and meeting materials.
  • Works with members, ACM entities, and other partners to develop and implement strategies to inform policy leaders about scientific and technical policy issues.
  • Participates in meetings of coalitions and working groups.
  • Provides administrative support and other duties

Qualifications

  • Strong research skills and an interest in the intersection of technology and policy.
  • Sound judgment, good analytical and technical capabilities, good oral communication and writing skills, and strong conceptual and strategic thinking skills.
  • Ability to work independently with minimal oversight, handle multiple tasks simultaneously, establish priorities, meet deadlines, and solve problems.
  • Interpersonal skills necessary to work effectively as part of a larger team and with a variety of colleagues, external partners, and policy leaders.
  • Commitment to ACM’s nonpartisan mission and goals to serve the needs of policy leaders through fact-based recommendations informed by scientific evidence and technical expertise.
  • Must have completed an undergraduate degree in a related field.
  • Familiarity with or an interest in technology will be an added plus.

How to Apply
Please send your resume, cover letter and salary requirements to hr-dept@acm.org. No phone calls.

Posted in ACM/USACM News | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 6

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Briefing: Informal STEM Education 101: A Briefing for Policymakers on the Basics of “What We Mean when We Talk about Informal STEM Education”
STEM Education Coalition
2 PM | 2325 Rayburn House Office Building (RSVP to Coalition)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hearing: Encryption, Technology, and the Balance Between Public Safety and Privacy
Senate Judiciary Committee
10 am | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Internet Governance Progress After ICANN 53
House Energy and Commerce | Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10 am | 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Is the OPM Data Breach the Tip of the Iceberg?
House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology
2 pm | 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Cyber Crime: Modernizing our Legal Framework for the Information Age
Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
2:15 pm | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Briefing: Capitol Hill Modeling & Simulation (M&S) Expo
Congressional Modeling & Simulation Caucus
10:30 am – 2 pm | | Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Digital Government, Events, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

NIST Seeks Public Comments on Improving Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection

NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) is accepting public comments on a workshop report on improving cybersecurity and consumer protection. The workshop coincided with the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. NIST has extended the deadline for public comments until July 17.

Stakeholders are strongly encouraged to provide feedback on the priority and scope of the potential projects identified by the workshop participants.

1. Data Integrity Project
This project could explore database integrity, file integrity, system integrity, and the integrity of backups. The scope of the project could include exploring the technologies of auto-journaling file systems, cryptographic file checksums, detailed auditing, virtual machine snapshots, and versioning software. The project might explore how organizations address restoring data, applications, and services after a breach, including how to determine what was altered during a breach.

2. Developer Tools Project
This project could examine how software developer tools and environments are increasing software assurance. The project could look at what tools, development environments, and techniques are securing code and what inherent security benefits and risks exist in current and emergent programming languages.

3. Automated Information Sharing and Incident Response Project
This project could evaluate how trusted and unknown partners might securely and effectively share sensitive data. The scope could include privacy protections, such as automated anonymization. Can protection tools and measures be readily updated through the exchange of standards-based threat indicators?

4. Point of Sale/Payment Cards Project
This project could address current and enhanced security mechanisms for point-of-sale and other payment systems, including touchless payments. The scope could include the types of attack vectors that could be used to circumvent security features, the challenges of wireless environments, and the emergent technologies that could better protect consumer transactions.

5. External Entity Access Project
This project could analyze how external entities access internal IT infrastructures and data. The scope could include data transmissions, encryption, monitoring, and the types of technologies that could be implemented to foster secure connections and business environments.

Read the full report from the Executive Technical Workshop on Cybersecurity and Consumer Privacy.

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EAC Call for Nominations for Technical Guidelines Development Committee

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are accepting applications for four vacancies on the EAC Technical Guidelines Development Committee. Candidates should have significant technical and scientific expertise relating to voting systems and voting equipment, including knowledge of voting security, privacy, auditing, reliability, accessibility, and usability. Applications are due by July 8.

The Technical Guidelines Development Committee assists the Commission in developing the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.

The Committee is composed of 14 members appointed jointly by EAC and the NIST Director. The NIST Director serves as the Chair. Members serve for a term of two years and may serve for a longer period if reappointed.

For additional information, read the announcement in the Federal Register published on July 2.

Posted in E-voting, Events | Comments closed

DHS Invites Public Comments on Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is accepting public comments on the establishment of new public-private organizations for cybersecurity information sharing. Comments are due July 10.

The new Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) would be for-profit or nonprofit entities comprised of public and private sector members. The organizations would coordinate the sharing of information related to cybersecurity risks and incidents.

The structure also would include a nongovernmental ISAO Standards Organization responsible for identifying voluntary standards and guidelines for the functioning of the ISAOs. The standards and guidelines would address contractual agreements, business processes, operating procedures, technical means, and privacy protections. The standards would be developed in consultation with relevant government entities.

Stakeholders are asked to provide comments on the following:

1. Describe the overarching goal and value proposition of Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) for your organization.

2. Identify and describe any information protection policies that should be implemented by ISAOs to ensure that they maintain the trust of participating organizations.

3. Describe any capabilities that should be demonstrated by ISAOs, including capabilities related to receiving, analyzing, storing, and sharing information.

4. Describe any potential attributes of ISAOs that will constrain their capability to best serve the information sharing requirements of member organizations.

5. Identify and comment on proven methods and models that can be emulated to assist in promoting formation of ISAOs and how the ISAO “standards” body called for by E.O. 13691 can leverage such methods and models in developing its guidance.

6. How can the U.S. government best foster and encourage the organic development of ISAOs, and what should the U.S. government avoid when interacting with or supporting ISAOs?

7. Identify potential conflicts with existing laws, authorities that may inhibit organizations from participating in ISAOS and describe potential remedies to these conflicts.

8. Please identify other potential challenges and issues that you believe may affect the development and maturation of effective ISAOs.

Read the Federal Register announcement: Notice of Request for Public Comment Regarding Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations.

For additional information about the creation of ISAOs and their purpose, read Executive Order 13691 of February 13, 2015.

Posted in Events, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of June 22

House Floor

  • H.R. 805, Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act of 2015
  • H.R. 1626, DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act of 2015, as amended
  • H.R. 1637 Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 2015, as amended
  • H.R. 2200, CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act, as amended
  • H.R. 1646, Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act, as amended
  • Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 615, Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications

Senate Floor

  • Appropriations
  • Motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R.2146, Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Hearing: OPM Information Technology Spending & Data Security
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
10:30 am | 124 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hearing: OPM Data Breach: Part II
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
10 am | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: The State of Positive Train Control Implementation in the United States
House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
10 am | 2167 Rayburn House Office Building

Business Meeting: H.R. 1626 To reduce duplication of IT at DHS
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
10 am | 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: DHS’ Efforts to Secure .Gov
House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies
2 pm | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hearing: Under Attack: Federal Cybersecurity and the OPM Data Breach
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
9:30 am | 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Markup: H.R. 1073, Critical Infrastructure Protection Act
The bill would address securing critical infrastructure against electromagnetic threats (EMP).
House Homeland Security Committee
10 am | 311 Canon House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 1634, Border Security Technology Accountability Act of 2015
House Homeland Security Committee
10 am | 311 Canon House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 2770, Keeping Our Travelers Safe and Secure Act
The bill would require certain maintenance of security-related technology at airports.
House Homeland Security Committee
10 am | 311 Canon House Office Building

Hearing: Is the National Science Foundation (NSF) Properly Managing Its Rotating Staff?
House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight
10 am | 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Vehicle to Vehicle Communications and Connected Roadways of the Future
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade
10 am | 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Digital Government, Events, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

ACM Appoints Robert Schnabel as New CEO

ACM today issued the following press release announcing the new CEO.

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, has named Robert (“Bobby”) Schnabel executive director and CEO effective November 1, 2015. Schnabel joins ACM after eight years as professor and dean of the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University. As ACM’s most senior staff member, Schnabel will work with ACM’s volunteer community to provide strategic vision and to develop sustainable business models to ensure ACM’s continued worldwide membership, publications and revenue growth.

“I am extremely excited to have Bobby take up the CEO role at ACM,” said ACM President Alexander L. Wolf. “Bobby has a special passion and bright new ideas that will help continue the great tradition of leadership, innovation, openness and growth that has marked the history of ACM.”

Schnabel says of his new position, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve as ACM’s next CEO, building on the great contributions of John White. I look forward to working with the incredible volunteers and excellent staff of ACM to make progress on the exciting opportunities and challenges facing ACM, including its evolution as a fully international society, transforming publishing and access models, keeping up with the ever-changing pace of computing research, enhancing diversity, and serving the broad range of technical leaders and practitioners.”

Schnabel succeeds John R. White, ACM’s first executive director to be named CEO, who will retire after nearly 17 years on July 31. ACM COO Patricia Ryan will serve as acting executive director until Schnabel assumes his new role in November. White joined ACM as CEO after serving for 17 years in various volunteer positions culminating in his term as ACM President (1990 – 1992) while a research manager at Xerox PARC’s Computer Science Laboratory.

Schnabel has a long history of service to the computing community. He has served in several capacities, including chair, of ACM’s Special Interest Group on Numerical Mathematics (ACM SIGNUM). When Schnabel assumes his role as CEO, he will step down as founding chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee, which led to the creation of Computer Science Education Week in the US, and the formation of the industry/non-profit coalition, Computing in the Core. Schnabel also serves as board member of code.org, and as a member of the advisory committee of the Computing and Information Science and Engineering directorate of the National Science Foundation. He has served as a board member of the Computing Research Association.

Dedicated to improving diversity in computing, Schnabel is a co-founder and executive team member of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), a major non-profit organization in the US for the full participation of girls and women in computing and information technology. He also serves as chair of the Computing Alliance for Hispanic-Serving Institutions Advisory Board.

A Fellow of ACM and SIAM, Schnabel has a technical background in numerical computation, and he has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers in this area. He has served as editor-in-chief of SIAM Review and as associate editor of several journals, including SIAM Journal on Optimization, Mathematical Programming A, Mathematical Programming B and Operations Research Letters.

As dean of the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Schnabel leads an organization of approximately 150 faculty, 100 staff, 3,500 students, and an annual budget of nearly $60 million. He also served as interim Vice President for Research during 2009–2010, providing strategic leadership for all Indiana University research activities.

Prior to Indiana University, Schnabel was professor of computer science at the University of Colorado, Boulder for 30 years. While at CU-Boulder, Schnabel served as CIO and Vice Provost/Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic and Campus Technology; as founding director of the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) Institute; as chair of Computer Science; and as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

A graduate of Dartmouth College in Mathematics, Schnabel earned his Master’s degree and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

Posted in ACM/USACM News | Comments closed

Vint Cerf Interviews U.S. CTO Megan Smith

ACM Past President Vint Cerf interviewed U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith for this month’s Communications of the ACM magazine. She spoke on key policy objectives, the need to increase the number of students in STEM fields, and the landscape of U.S. technology competitiveness in the global economy. Smith formerly served as a Vice President at Google before President Obama appointed her as U.S. CTO last September.

Smith said her job is to advise the President and the White House staff on how technology, innovation, and data can be harnessed for the benefit of the American people. Her initial focus upon joining the White House included policies related to patent reform, copyright, big data, and privacy. She also has been focusing on increasing the technology talent inside government, such as what exists in the new U.S. Digital Service.

Smith said some of her key objectives are to bring the technology skills and innovative talents that flourish in the private sector into government, expand open government data initiatives for innovative public and commercial use, and increase opportunities and excitement among students, including women and minorities, in STEM fields.

Increasing young people’s exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math is key to U.S. competitiveness in the world, Smith said. Sometimes the difficulty students have is discovering available opportunities, she said. “But some people are not getting access” to STEM educational opportunities, she said, “and we want to fix that.” She sees a need to focus on making sure that youth “feel really fluent in coding and with these kinds of technologies.”

Educational and workplace opportunities also need to be more inclusive. She has been working on ways to increase the visibility of technical women and minorities. Women made up about 40% of the computing field in the 1980s, she said. Now, “for some reason, in computer science we’re staying at 10%, 15%, maybe 20% women at any given time.”

She concluded by thanking Cerf for his “incredible leadership, and what you’ve brought to our world with your innovation, your invention, and also just the way you approach the world. For people who haven’t gotten to interact with Vint, he is an amazing colleague who includes everyone, encourages everyone, and can see how big the talent base of this world truly is.”

Read the full interview.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Digital Government, Education and Workforce, Innovation | Comments closed

USACM Signs Letter to President Obama Urging Wide Adoption of Encryption Technology

USACM signed a letter to President Obama from a variety of civil society organizations urging him to pursue public policies that encourage the wide adoption of strong encryption technology. The letter is responsive to public statements by Obama Administration officials suggesting that U.S. companies should not provide strong encryption in products and services unless the government has the ability to decrypt consumers’ data.

The following text appears in bold in the letter:

We urge you to reject any proposal that U.S. companies deliberately weaken the security of their products. We request that the White House instead focus on developing policies that will promote rather than undermine the wide adoption of strong encryption technology. Such policies will in turn help to promote and protect cybersecurity, economic growth, and human rights, both here and abroad.

The letter describes how policymakers faced similar choices during the so-called “Crypto Wars” of the 1990s. “Whether you call them ‘front doors’ or ‘back doors,’ introducing intentional vulnerabilities into secure products for the government’s use will make those products less secure against other attackers.”

USACM delivered a similar cautionary message two decades ago in 1994 during the Crypto Wars in its special report on Codes, Keys, and Conflicts: Issues in U.S. Crypto Policy. The report represented the first major undertaking of USACM. The report’s discussion of the functions of cryptography and the policy issues related to law enforcement, national security, and individual privacy remain relevant to today’s discussion, as does its conclusion: “The choices the United States makes about escrowed encryption, confidentiality of communications, and government access to encrypted communications will reverberate across the globe.”

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of June 15

House Floor
Possible consideration of trade legislation.
See below for Tuesday’s scheduled floor action.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hearing: Commercial Cyber Espionage and Barriers to Digital Trade in China
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission
9 am | 608 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Briefing: “Making a Maker” and Undergraduate Research
Congressional STEM Education Caucus and “Maker” Caucus
Noon | B-340 Rayburn House Office Building

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

House Floor: H.R. 2596, Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2016
The bill would authorize certain cybersecurity programs.

Hearing: Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: What Can Providers and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Do To Improve the Electronic Health Record User Experience?
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
10 am | 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: OPM Data Breach
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
10 am | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Markup: Fiscal Year 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Department of Homeland Security
10:30 am | 138 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Markup: H.R. 2770, Keeping Our Travelers Safe and Secure Act
The bill would require certain maintenance of security-related technology at airports.
House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security
11:30 am | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Hearing: Progress Toward a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
2 pm | 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 805, DOTCOM Act (Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act)
House Energy and Commerce Committee
5 pm | 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hearing: Drones: The Next Generation of Commerce?
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
9 am | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
9 am | 2358-C Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Evaluating Accreditation’s Role in Ensuring Quality
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
10 am | 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Oversight of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security
10 am | 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Markup: H.R. 1643, Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act of 2015
House Judiciary Committee
10 am | 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Digital Government, Education and Workforce, Events, Intellectual Property, Miscellaneous, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

FCC Net Neutrality Rules Take Effect

The FCC’s Open Internet Order became effective on June 12. The Order imposes new bright-line net neutrality rules that prohibit broadband providers from blocking, throttling, and prioritizing paid “fast lanes.” The rules apply to both fixed and mobile broadband Internet service. The Order also reclassifies broadband Internet access service as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act.

The day before the controversial rules went into effect, a federal court denied a request by some broadband providers to stay the reclassification of broadband service as a telecommunications service under Title II pending the court’s review. The stay would not have altered or delayed the net neutrality rules prohibiting blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization.

To assist consumers, businesses, and organizations with questions and complaints related to the new rules, the FCC today named Parul Desai as the ombudsperson for net neutrality issues. She is the Assistant Bureau Chief and Director for Consumer Engagement within the FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. In addition to fielding questions and complaints, as the ombudsperson, she is empowered to conduct trend analysis of complaints, analyze market conditions, investigate net neutrality concerns, and refer matters to the Enforcement Bureau for potential further investigation.

The FCC Consumer Advisory Committee also will be assisting consumers so that their specific issues of concern are communicated. Further, the Order calls for the Committee to develop a proposed format for net neutrality disclosures to consumers. The disclosures are intended to help consumers know the price and performance of their Internet connections and to easily compare services across broadband providers. The Committee might consider different disclosure formats for fixed and mobile broadband service providers. The digital format must be accessible to persons with disabilities. The Committee will be taking input from a broad range of stakeholders and is required to deliver the proposed format for disclosures by October 31.

The FCC could still face some challenges in implementing the new rules. Last week in Congress, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government approved a bill that would prohibit the FCC from implementing its net neutrality order until all current court cases challenging the Order are resolved.

Posted in Digital Government, Innovation, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

FCC Renews Consumer Advisory Committee

The renewed FCC Consumer Advisory Committee held its first public meeting on June 12. The Committee is comprised of 37 appointed representatives from industry, academia, consumer organizations, disability organizations, and regulatory agencies. FCC Chairman Wheeler reappointed Debra Berlyn, representing the National Consumers League, as the Chair.

Its mandate is to provide guidance to the FCC on consumer protection issues and to facilitate the participation of consumers in FCC proceedings. The Committee also provides consumer perspectives to the FCC on the impact of new and emerging communication technologies.

The Committee’s first task is to develop a proposed format for net neutrality disclosures to consumers, as called for in the FCC’s Open Internet Order. The disclosures are intended to help consumers know the price and performance of their Internet connections and to easily compare services across broadband providers. The Committee might consider different disclosure formats for fixed and mobile broadband service providers. The digital format must be accessible to persons with disabilities. The Committee will be taking input from a broad range of stakeholders and is required to deliver the proposed format for disclosures by October 31.

Consumer privacy protections also will be a key focus area. At its first meeting, the Committee heard about the work of the FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, including its recent public workshop on broadband consumer privacy. Participants of that workshop discussed whether and to what extent the FCC can apply a harmonized privacy framework to the variety of services within its jurisdiction.

Posted in Digital Government, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of June 8

Monday, June 8, 2015

Congressional briefing: Carnegie Mellon University and IEEE-USA on “What Can Be Done Today to Dramatically Improve Cybersecurity” with Jeremy Epstein, John Haller, and Rob Seacord.
3 pm | 2168 Rayburn House Office Building

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Nominations: LaVerne Horton Council
To be Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Time to be announced | Capitol S-216

Markup: S.1068, Bulk-Power System Cybersecurity
The bill would amend the Federal Power Act to protect the bulk-power system from cyber security threats.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
9:30 am | 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Markup: S.1241, Enhanced Grid Security Act of 2015
The bill would provide for the modernization, security, and resiliency of the electric grid, to require the Secretary of Energy to carry out programs for research, development, demonstration, and information-sharing for cybersecurity for the energy sector.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
9:30 am | 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Markup: H.R. 805 – DOTCOM Act (Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act of 2015)
The bill would prohibit NTIA from transferring responsibility of the global Internet domain name system functions pending a GAO report on potential consequences.
House Energy and Commerce Committee
10 am | 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Passenger Rail Safety: Accident Prevention and On-Going Efforts to Implement Train Control Technology
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
10 am | 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Markup: Markup of FY16 Commerce, Justice & Science Appropriations Bill
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
10:30 am | 192 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Acts role in Reducing IT Acquisition Risk
House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Oversight and Government Reform and Subcommittee on Information Technology
2 pm | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hearing: Transforming America’s Air Travel
House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Space
9 am | 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Oversight of FCC Field Offices
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10 am | 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Markup: H.R. 9, the Innovation Act
House Judiciary Committee
10 am | 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hearing: U.S. Surface Transportation: Technology Driving the Future
House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology
9 am | 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Digital Government, Events, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Washington News – Alerts and Updates

General Announcements

* USACM signed a letter to President Obama from a variety of civil society organizations urging him to reject proposals that require U.S. companies to deliberately weaken the security of their products. The letter encourages a focus on public policies to promote the wide adoption of strong encryption technology.

* USACM submitted comments to the U.S. Access Board on the updated federal accessibility standards and guidelines for information and communication technology (ICT) under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act.

* Read Vint Cerf’s interview with U.S. CTO Megan Smith in this month’s edition of the Communications of the ACM.

* NIST will hold a Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop on July 7-10.

* The House approved the FY16 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill, H.R. 2578. The Senate Appropriations Committee will markup its bill on June 10-11.

Privacy

* The President signed into law the USA Freedom Act, H.R. 2048, which reforms the PATRIOT Act and limits the government’s bulk telephone metadata program.

* NIST invites public comments on the draft Privacy Risk Management for Federal Information Systems. Comments are due by July 13.

* The NIST Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board will hold its quarterly public meeting on June 10-12.

* GSA is seeking public comments on the federated digital identity credentialing model of Connect.gov, which aims to create a single sign-on model for accessing online governmental services. Comments are due by June 19.

* The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board sent a letter to DHS to provide feedback on the DHS Cybersecurity Report released in April.

* The IRS reported a data breach affecting 200k accounts.

* OPM announced a data breach affecting 4 million federal employees and contractors.

* The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, addresses encryption and anonymity in his annual report to the UN Human Rights Council. The Council will consider the report at its upcoming 29th Session to start on June 15.

* The UN Human Rights Council is expected to name the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy at its upcoming 29th Session to start on June 15.

Security

* The U.S. Copyright Office held a public hearing on the proposed DMCA security research exemption. Steve Bellovin testified in support of the exemption.

* The federal Cyber Security and Information Assurance Research and Development Senior Steering Group seeks public comments on a new federal cybersecurity research and development strategic plan to be developed by the federal agencies involved in the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) and the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program. Comments are due by June 19.

* DHS invites public comments on the formation of new public-private organizations to share cybersecurity information. Comments are due by July 10.

* The U.S. Department of Commerce is revising export regulations relevant to technology and software. Comments are due by July 20 for intrusion software. Comments are due by August 3 for definitions.

* The NIST Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board will hold its quarterly public meeting on June 10-12.

* The FCC invites reply public comments on the report on “Cybersecurity Risk Management and Best Practices” submitted by the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council. Reply comments are due by June 26.

* The ITU released the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) report, summarizing each country’s level of commitment to the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Agenda.

Accessibility

* Miss the ACM Learning Webinar on accessibility with Eve Andersson and Vicki Hanson on May 15? Watch the archived webcast.

* The FCC announced the seven winners of the FCC Advancement in Accessibility Awards.

* GSA’s 18F, a software development office that provides digital services to federal agencies, has drafted an online Accessibility Guide to help federal agencies implement best practices.

* The Google Disability Impact Challenge is accepting big ideas to make the world a more inclusive place. Submissions are due by September 30.

Digital Governance

* The FCC Consumer Advisory Committee will hold its first public meeting on June 12. The agenda includes net neutrality and the FCC’s Open Internet Order.

* ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé announced he will step down in March 2016.

* The ICANN Global Consumer Research Study report provides information on consumer awareness and experience with top-level domains and the domain name system.

* The U.S. Secretary of State should create a new Science and Technology Advisory Board of independent experts to advise on non-defense issues, according to a new report released by the National Research Council.

* The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee hosted a panel discussion on “Internet Governance, ICANN and Congress.Sucks: Where is Control of the Internet Going?” on June 5.

* The White House invites suggestions for new open government initiatives.

Voting

* The San Francisco Elections Commission is accepting public comments on a draft study on open source voting systems. Comments are due by June 19.

Intellectual Property

* The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a patent reform bill, the PATENT ACT, S. 1137, with amendments.

* The House Judiciary Committee will consider a Manager’s Amendment to a patent reform bill, the Innovation Act, H.R. 9, on June 11.

* The U.S. Copyright Office held public hearings on the proposed DMCA exemptions May 19-21 in Los Angeles, California and May 26-29 in Washington, D.C.

Tech Law

* The U.S. Courts Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure approved changes to the requirements for warrant searches of computers and digital files under Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure at its meeting on May 28-29. The changes to Rule 41 still need to go through more approval steps, including by the Judicial Conference this fall and then the U.S. Supreme Court, before they become effective.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Digital Government, E-voting, Events, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Miscellaneous, Privacy and Security, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

USACM Comments on Proposed Federal Accessibility Standards and Guidelines

USACM yesterday submitted comments to the U.S. Access Board on updated federal accessibility standards and guidelines for information and communication technology (ICT) under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. The current standards have been in place for roughly 15 years. The effort to revise these standards has been a multiyear process that is nearing its end. The updated standards will apply to websites, social media, mobile apps, interactive kiosks, wireless assistive devices, and other technologies.

Highlights from the public comment include:

Functional Performance Requirements
Functional performance requirements should be required, or strongly encouraged as a best practice, even when technical requirements are met. The purpose of accessibility requirements is first and foremost to ensure the ability of the user to access, use, and/or exchange information and data and to use computer and telecommunications equipment to accomplish these tasks. Given the rapid changes in technologies and the generally lengthy processes to develop and promulgate updated standards and guidelines, regulations reliant on functional performance requirements will provide better responsiveness to changes in technologies, including the flexibility to innovate and implement better solutions. Thus, functional performance requirements will better advance and balance the values of accessible participation, technical flexibility, and innovation.

WCAG Incorporation by Reference
USACM supports the incorporation by reference of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, an international standard, and its Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements. Harmonization with an international standard, rather than reliance on a separate national standard or modified restatement of the international standard’s requirements, will enable federal agencies, developers, and manufacturers to leverage a broader range of supporting materials, tools, training, and collaboration opportunities. USACM agrees that harmonization with international standards and guidelines will increase the likelihood of commercial availability of accessible products through larger marketplaces for accessible ICT. As an international consensus standard that is freely available to the public, WCAG 2.0 is a widely accepted and widely distributed standard.

Accessibility Compliance of Non-Web ICT
For non-web ICT, the Board should consider identifying additional guidance references issued by the W3C or other competent international authorities to help entities comply with WCAG accessibility compliance and to ensure ICT is both accessible and usable for people with disabilities. The Board also should consider requiring that websites, mobile apps, and software not block or interfere with content provided in widely accepted accessible formats.

The U.S. Access Board will consider the public comments and then issue a Final Rule, or, if there are significant changes requiring further comment, the Board might issue a further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM). Once adopted, the standards and guidelines will have broad impacts on accessibility policy.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of May 18

Monday, May 18, 2015

Senate Floor: H.R.1314, “Legislative vehicle for Trade Promotion Authority”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

House Floor: H.R. 874 – American Super Computing Leadership Act

House Floor: H.R. 1162 – Science Prize Competitions Act, as amended

House Floor: H.R. 1119 – Research and Development Efficiency Act

House Floor: H.R. 1156 – International Science and Technology Cooperation Act of 2015, as amended

House Floor: H.R. 1158 – Department of Energy Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act of 2015, as amended

Hearing: Trade Promotion Agencies and U.S. Foreign Policy
House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
10 am | 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Examining DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s Engagement with Academia and Industry
House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies
10 am | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Hearing: FAA Reauthorization: Air Traffic Control Modernization and Reform
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
10 am | 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Hearing: Policing Strategies for the 21st Century
House Judiciary Committee
10 am | 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Oversight of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade
10:15 am | 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: Body Cameras: Can Technology Increase Protection for Law Enforcement Officers and the Public?
Senate Judiciary Committee
2:30 pm | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

House Floor: H.R. 880 – American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule)

House Floor: H.R. 1806 – America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule)

Hearing: Advancing Commercial Weather Data: Collaborative Efforts to Improve Forecasts
House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Environment
10:00 am | 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Full Committee Markup – FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill
House Appropriations Committee
10:30 am | 2359 Rayburn House Office Building

Executive Session: Bills related to STEM education and e-warranty
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
10:30 am | 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Markup: Bills related to drones, FOIA, IT systems, and R&D
House Homeland Committee
11 am | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Hearing: Improvements and Innovations in Fishery Management and Data Collection
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
2:30 pm | 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Posted in Events | Comments closed

Washington News – Alerts and Updates

General Announcements

* USACM submitted comments on the NIST roadmap for usability and accessibility of future elections. USACM’s comments highlight the importance of usable and accessible voting technologies and systems and the need to improve and ensure the right of all voters to cast their votes independently and privately using secure, reliable, usable, and trustworthy computer-based systems.

* The White House named Dr. Ed Felten as Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

* The White House invites nominations for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Nominations are due by June 1.

* The Senate confirmed Willie E. May as the second Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and the 15th NIST Director.

* Vint Cerf spoke on the future of the Internet and policy issues at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

* A new agreement between the United States and CERN is anticipated to enable further scientific discoveries in particle physics and advanced computing.

* The deadline for ACM Senior Member nominations is June 3.

Tech Law

* The Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General.

* The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based in New York, ruled that the NSA’s bulk telephone metadata program was not authorized by Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

Privacy and Security

* The deadline for Congress to extend or reform the PATRIOT Act is May 31.

* The House is scheduled to vote on the USA Freedom Act, H.R. 2048, which would reform the PATRIOT Act and end the government’s bulk telephone metadata program.

* The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “Securing the Border: Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology Force Multipliers” on May 13.

* The Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy will hold a hearing on “Cybersecurity: Setting the Rules for Responsible Global Cyber Behavior” on May 14.

* The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015 by 29-20.

* The House swiftly passed the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015, H.R. 1731, by 355-63 within 10 days of its introduction last month.

* The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing on President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which aims to leverage data analytics while protecting privacy, on May 5.

* The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology will hold a public meeting on May 15. The agenda focuses on President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

* The FTC announced that Katherine Race Brin will be the next FTC Chief Privacy Officer. Brin has been serving as the Acting CPO since December.

* The FCC announced the 37 appointees to the Consumer Advisory Committee. The first public meeting will be held June 12. The agenda includes net neutrality and the FCC’s Open Internet Order.

* The FCC held a public workshop on developments in mobile apps for 911 services on May 8.

* The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will hold a public meeting on May 13 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

* NIST seeks public comments on a draft NIST Interagency Report on de-identifying personally identifiable information. Comments are due by May 15.

* NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) seeks public comments on a workshop report on improving cybersecurity and consumer protection. The workshop coincided with the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. Comments are due May 17.

* The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force seeks public comments on a new multistakeholder process for cybersecurity issues. Comments are due by May 18.

* NIST seeks public comments on the draft NIST Big Data Interoperability Framework. One section addresses security and privacy. Once final, the document will serve as U.S. input to the international standards community. Comments are due by May 21.

* NIST seeks public input on which sections of its Electronic Authentication Guideline need updating. It will supplement OMB’s E-Authentication Guidance for Federal Agencies. Comments are due by May 22.

* NIST will hold a workshop on cybersecurity for smart cities on May 27-28 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The workshop will address secure, reliable, and privacy-enhancing solutions. The event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.

* NIST announced a new pilot grant program for privacy enhancing technologies that embrace and enhance the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. Grant applications are due by May 28.

* NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) seeks public comments on a revised draft white paper on “Attribute Based Access Control.” The project will result in a NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guide. Comments are due by June 2.

* The FCC seeks public comments on the report on “Cybersecurity Risk Management and Best Practices” submitted by the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council. Comments are due by May 29. Reply comments are due by June 26.

* The Consumer Electronics Association predicts that small drone use in the United States could reach 1 million flights daily within 20 years.

* The FAA announced a new partnership with three companies to explore next steps for small drone operations to support news gathering, agricultural crop monitoring, and railroad inspections.

* The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based in New York, ruled that the NSA’s bulk telephone metadata program was not authorized by Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

* U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews will lead a cybersecurity trade mission to Poland and Romania on May 11-15. The trade mission will focus on Central and Eastern Europe.

Accessibility

* The U.S. Access Board seeks public comments on the proposed updated accessibility requirements for federal information and communications technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. Comments are due by May 28.

* HHS seeks public comments on updates to health IT certification criteria. Comments are due by May 29.

* ACM will hold a free webinar on accessibility with Eve Andersson, Manager of Accessibility Engineering at Google, and Vicki Hanson, ACM Vice President and Past Chair of SIGACCESS, on May 15.

* The FCC held a public workshop on developments in mobile apps for 911 services on May 8.

* The FCC is initiating a one-year, two-part process to expand online direct communications for deaf, hard of hearing, and speech disabled individuals who communicate in American Sign Language (ASL).

Digital Government

* The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the FCC’s budget request for FY2016 on May 12. FCC Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Pai are scheduled to testify.

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on “Stakeholder Perspectives on the IANA Transition” on May 13. Members will discuss whether the transition should be delayed for one year to allow the GAO to study potential consequences, as proposed in the DOTCOM Act, H.R. 805.

* The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “Stakeholder Perspectives on ICANN: The .Sucks Domain and Essential Steps to Guarantee Trust and Accountability in the Internet’s Operation” on May 13.

* The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security will hold a hearing on “The EMP Threat: The State of Preparedness Against the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse EMP Event” on May 13.

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a second hearing on “FCC Reauthorization: Improving Commission Transparency” on May 15.

* The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “Ensuring an Informed Citizenry: Examining the Administration’s Efforts to Improve Open Government” on May 6.

* A GAO review of the FCC net neutrality rule found that the FCC “complied with the applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.”

* The FCC announced the 37 appointees to the Consumer Advisory Committee. The first public meeting will be held June 12. The agenda includes net neutrality and the FCC’s Open Internet Order.

* NIST seeks public comments on the draft NIST Big Data Interoperability Framework. One section addresses security and privacy. Once final, the document will serve as U.S. input to the international standards community. Comments are due by May 21.

* OMB invites public comments on its proposed guidance for federal CIOs to use when making IT-related budget, procurement, and workforce decisions. The guidance seeks to ensure effective implementation of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which Congress passed in December. Comments are due by May 30.

* FCC Commissioner O’Reilly posted a blog calling for improvements to the FCC’s advisory committees.

* The FAA announced a new partnership with three companies to explore next steps for small drone operations to support news gathering, agricultural crop monitoring, and railroad inspections.

Voting

* Virginia approved immediately decertifying WinVote.

* The Federal Voting Assistance Program released two reports on Internet ballot marking security.

* The U.S. Election Assistance Commission held a public meeting on April 29.

* The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Standards Board and Board of Advisers held public meetings on April 28.

Intellectual Property

* Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in his remarks on the Senate floor on May 7, urged action on the bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill (S. 995/H.R. 1890), which is perceived as necessary to conclude the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreements.

* The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on patent litigation practices and patent reform with a focus on the “PATENT ACT,” S. 1137, on May 7.

* The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “The Register’s Perspective on Copyright Review” on April 29.

* The USPTO Patent Public Advisory Committee will hold its Quarterly Meeting on May 14.

* The USPTO has transitioned to an internationally compatible classification system for technical documents used in the patent granting process.

* The U.S. Copyright Office will hold public hearings on the proposed DMCA exemptions May 19-21 in Los Angeles, California and May 26-29 in Washington, D.C. The hearing on the proposed exemption for software security research is scheduled for May 26.

* The U.S. Copyright Office launched the Fair Use Index, which provides searchable access to court opinions on fair use.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Digital Government, E-voting, Events, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

NIST Seeks Comments on Electronic Authentication Guideline

NIST seeks public input on which sections of its Electronic Authentication Guideline need updating. Given the evolving landscape of cybersecurity technological innovations and threats targeting remote authentication, NIST is considering a “significant update.” This technical guideline for federal agencies implementing electronic authentication was last updated in 2013. It supplements OMB’s E-Authentication Guidance for Federal Agencies.

NIST specifically invites input on:

1. What schemas for establishing identity assurance have proven effective in providing an appropriate amount of security, privacy, usability, and trust based on the risk level of the online service or transaction? How do they differentiate trust based on risk? How is interoperability of divergent identity solutions facilitated?

2. Could identity assurance processes and technologies be separated into distinct components? If so, what should the components be and how would this provide appropriate level of identity assurance?

3. What innovative approaches are available to increase confidence in remote identity proofing? If possible, please share any performance metrics to corroborate increased confidence levels.

4. What privacy considerations arising from identity assurance should be included in the revision? Are there specific privacy-enhancing technologies, requirements or architectures that should be considered?

5. What requirements, processes, standards, or technologies are currently excluded from the Electronic Authentication Guideline that should be considered for future inclusion?

6. Should a representation of the confidence level in attributes be standardized in order to assist in making authorization decisions? What form should that representation take?

7. What methods can be used to increase the trust or assurance level (sometimes referred to as “trust elevation”) of an authenticated identity during a transaction? If possible, please share any performance metrics to corroborate the efficacy of the proposed methods.

Comments are due by May 22.

Posted in Privacy and Security | Comments closed

U.S. Copyright Office to Hold Public Hearings on DMCA Exemptions

The U.S. Copyright Office will hold public hearings in May on the proposed exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention of copyrighted works given in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The public hearings will be held May 19-21 in Los Angeles, California and May 26-29 in Washington, D.C. The final agenda identifies the proposed exemptions and witnesses scheduled for each day.

The hearing on the proposed exemption for software security research is scheduled for May 26 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Ten witnesses, eight proponents and two opponents, will testify. USACM previously submitted comments in support of the proposed exemption for software security research.

The hearings will provide an opportunity for supporters and opponents to provide factual, legal, and technical evidence before the Copyright Office determines which, if any, of the 27 proposed exemptions to grant for up to a three-year period. Witnesses have the option of demonstrating the technologies involved.

This is part of a triennial rulemaking process that determines exemptions to the circumvention prohibitions for the following three years.

The final round of public comments ended on May 1.

Posted in Events, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

FCC Seeks Comments on Cybersecurity Risk Management and Best Practices Report

The FCC seeks public comments on the report on “Cybersecurity Risk Management and Best Practices” submitted by the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council. The 415-page report involved 100+ cybersecurity professionals in a yearlong, multistakeholder effort to develop the first cybersecurity guidance for the communications sector, which includes the broadcasting, satellite, cable, wireless, and wireline industries.

The report provides sector-specific implementation guidance for the use and adaption of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, a voluntary framework to help businesses and organizations involved in critical infrastructure sectors better manage and reduce cybersecurity risks.

The FCC particularly would like input on:

  1. How can the FCC better meet the goal of reducing cybersecurity risk to critical infrastructure, enterprises, and consumers?
  2. How should the Commission prepare for and conduct confidential company-specific meetings to ensure that they result in useful information?
  3. What measures should the Communications Sector Annual Report include to provide appropriate levels of visibility about the state of cybersecurity risk management over time?
  4. How should the FCC coordinate with DHS’ Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community C3 Voluntary Program?

Comments are due by May 29. Reply comments are due by June 26.

Posted in Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Federal Agencies Seek Comments on Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Strategic Plan

Federal agencies involved in the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) and the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program seek public input on the priorities and objectives to be included in a cybersecurity research and development strategic plan. Called for by Congress in the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, the strategic plan will guide the direction of both basic and applied cybersecurity research.

Commentators are encouraged to provide input on the following:

  1. What research goals, for both basic and applied research, could serve as guidance for a federally-funded, multi-agency portfolio of research and development activities?
  2. What innovative, transformational technologies have the potential to enhance the security, reliability, resiliency, and trustworthiness of the digital infrastructure, and to protect consumer privacy?
  3. How the Federal government can foster the rapid transfer of research and development results into new cybersecurity technologies and applications for the timely benefit of society and the national interest?
  4. How can the current research infrastructure for creating, testing, and evaluating the next generation of secure networking and information technology systems be improved? How can access by academic researchers to this infrastructure and related data be improved?

Comments are due by June 19.

Posted in Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of May 11

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hearing: Fiscal Year 2016 Funding Request and Budget Justification for the Federal Communications Commission
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
10:30 am | 138 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hearing: Securing the Border: Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology Force Multipliers
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
2 pm | 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Stakeholder Perspectives on the IANA Transition
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
2 pm | 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing: The EMP Threat: The State of Preparedness Against the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse EMP Event
House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security
2 pm | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hearing: Cybersecurity: Setting The Rules For Responsible Global Cyber Behavior
Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy
10 am | 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hearing: FCC Reauthorization: Improving Commission Transparency – Part II
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
9:15 am | 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Posted in Events | Comments closed

Technology and Computing Inventors to Be Inducted into U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame

Distinguished technology and computing inventors are among the 2015 Class of Inductees to the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame. Inductees will be honored at the 43rd Annual Induction Ceremony to held at the Smithsonian on May 12.

Edith Clarke
Edith Clarke (1883-1959), a computing and engineering pioneer, is honored for her early innovation of a graphical calculator in 1925 that “greatly simplified” calculations used in electrical transmission lines. The USPTO approved Patent No. 1,552,113 in 1925, four years after she submitted the application. She earned the first electrical engineering degree ever to be awarded to a woman at MIT.

Jaap Haartsen
Jaap Haartsen is honored for developing “frequency hopping piconets in an uncoordinated wireless multi-user system,” better known today as Bluetooth technology, and for playing an important role in obtaining worldwide regulatory approval for Bluetooth technology. The USPTO granted Patent No. 6,590,928 in 2003.

Kristina Johnson and Gary D. Sharp
Together, they co-invented polarization-control technology that introduced a new paradigm for digital displays. Their joint research led to a business venture, ColorLink, focused on transforming innovation in high-resolution displays and imaging technologies into a wide range of pragmatic applications, including television screens, 3-D digital cinema, near-to-eye displays, and medical imaging.

Kristina Johnson, who co-founded the NSF Engineering Research Center for Optoelectronics Computing Systems Center, is being recognized for their co-invention. The USPTO granted Patent No. 5,132,826 on ferroelectric liquid crystal tunable filters and color generation in 1992.

Gary Sharp also is being recognized for his enabling patent for modern display systems. The USPTO granted Patent No. 5,751,384 for polarization-control technology for additive color spectrum along a first axis and its complement along a second axis in 1998.

Inductees must hold a U.S. patent for an invention that “has contributed to the progress of science and the useful arts, as well as the nation’s welfare.” The USPTO sponsors the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Posted in Innovation, Intellectual Property | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of May 4

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hearing: Continuing America’s Leadership: Realizing the Promise of Precision Medicine for Patients
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
2:30 pm | 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hearing: Ensuring an Informed Citizenry: Examining the Administration’s Efforts to Improve Open Government
Senate Judiciary Committee
9:30 am | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: The Role of Consumer Information in College Choice
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
10 am | 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Hearing: Can Advances in Technology Help Seniors Live Independently?
Senate Special Committee on Aging
2 pm | 216 Hart Senate Office Building

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hearing: S. 1137, the “PATENT ACT” – Finding Effective Solutions to Address Abusive Patent Practices
Senate Judiciary Committee
10 am | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Posted in Events | Comments closed

USACM Comments on NIST Roadmap for Usability and Accessibility of Next Generation Elections

USACM submitted comments on the NIST roadmap for usability and accessibility of future voting technologies and systems. The roadmap represents a positive and achievable plan for working toward inclusive participation of all voters in elections and improved accessible, usable, and accountable systems throughout the election process. USACM looks forward to engaging in the ongoing efforts to improve and ensure the right of all voters to cast their votes independently and privately using secure, reliable, usable, accessible, and trustworthy computer-based systems.

NIST developed the roadmap in collaboration with the Center for Civic Design. The roadmap reflects input gathered from a wide range of public and private stakeholders at the state and federal levels. NIST also incorporated feedback from multistakeholder symposiums and workshops held in 2014 and 2015.

The roadmap identifies six priority areas and twenty-one objectives for future efforts and research. The six priority areas include:

  1. Supporting the design process
  2. Engaging voters effectively
  3. Addressing the entire voter journey
  4. Supporting evolving technology
  5. Providing useful guidance and standards
  6. Improving testing in design and certification

The roadmap and related materials are available at: http://civicdesign.org/projects/roadmap

Posted in E-voting, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of April 13

April 14

Markup:

The House Homeland Security Committee will markup legislation. Scheduled for this session is H.R. 1731, The National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015.
11 a.m., 311 Cannon Office Building

Hearing:

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on HR 9, The Innovation Act, which would address patent reform.
2 p.m., 2141 Rayburn Building

Markup:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will markup legislation. Scheduled for this session is the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015. The markup will continue on April 15.
5 p.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

April 15

Markup:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee continues its markup of legislation from April 14.
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

Hearing:

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on “From Protection to Partnership: Funding the DHS Role in Cybersecurity.”
2 p.m., 138 Dirksen Building

April 16

Hearing:

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a hearing on The Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act.
11 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

Posted in Events | Comments closed

Washington News – Alerts and Updates

* ACM named Michael Stonebraker of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recipient of the 2014 ACM A.M. Turing Award for fundamental contributions to the concepts and practices underlying modern database systems.

* ACM named Dan Boneh recipient of the 2014 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences for his groundbreaking contributions to the development of pairing-based cryptography and its application in identity-based encryption.

* ACM named Jennifer Widom the 2015-2016 Athena Lecturer for her pioneering foundations, architecture, and applications of database systems. The lecture will be on June 2 at the ACM SIGMOD Conference in Australia.

* The Senate passed a resolution calling for a national strategy on the Internet of Things.

* The White House invites nominations for the National Medal of Science. Nominations are due by April 27.

* The White House invites nominations for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Nominations are due by June 1.

Intellectual Property

* The USTR released the 2015 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, which includes several updates on the protection of intellectual property rights in various countries.

* The ninth round of U.S.-EU negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement will take place in New York City from April 20-24. The stakeholder forum will be on April 23.

* The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Chairman Goodlatte’s patent reform bill, the Innovation Act, H.R. 9, on April 14.

* The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet held a hearing on “Patent Reform: Protecting American Innovators and Job Creators from Abusive Patent Litigation.”

* The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “The Impact of Abusive Patent Litigation Practices on the American Economy.”

* The FTC took action against a patent assertion entity for using deceptive tactics.

* The USPTO hosted a two-day Summit on Patent Quality on March 25-26.

* The USPTO is accepting public comments on enhancing patent quality. Comments are due by May 6.

* The U.S. Copyright Office will hold public hearings on the 27 proposed exemptions to the DMCA’s prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. The public hearings will be held on May 19-21 in Los Angeles, California and on May 26-29 in Washington, D.C. Requests to testify must be submitted by April 20.

Tech Law

* The FAA is accepting public comments on proposed regulations for the non-hobby or non-recreational use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drones). Comments are due by April 24.

Privacy and Security

* President Obama issued an Executive Order on April 1 authorizing sanctions against foreign individuals and other entities engaged in malicious cyber activities that pose a significant threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy, economic, or financial interests.

* The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on “From Protection to Partnership: Funding the DHS Role in Cybersecurity” on April 15.

* The House Energy and Commerce Committee will markup the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015 on April 14-15.

* The House and Senate Intelligence Committees approved cybersecurity legislation focused on information sharing — the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, H.R. 1560, and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, S. 754.

* The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved the Driver Privacy Act, S. 766, on retrieving data from vehicle event data recorders.

* The House Intelligence Committee held a hearing on “The Growing Cyber Threat and Its Impact on American Business.”

* The FTC formed a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation to expand its capacity to assess new technology from a consumer protection perspective.

* The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force seeks public comments on a new multistakeholder process for cybersecurity issues. Comments are due by May 18.

* The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) seeks public comments on the multistakeholder process to communicate best practices in privacy, transparency, and accountability for commercial and private drone use. Comments are due by April 20.

* The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a new pilot grant program for privacy enhancing technologies that embrace and enhance the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. Grant applications are due by May 28.

* The United Nations Human Rights Council decided to create the position of a Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy. The Special Rapporteur, to be appointed, will consider and report on the right to privacy in the digital age.

Accessibility

* The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting public comments on a roadmap for usability and accessibility in voting technologies. Comments are due by April 30.

* The U.S. Access Board is accepting public comments on the proposed updated accessibility requirements for federal information and communications technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. Comments are due by May 28.

* The U.S. Access Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed updated accessibility requirements for federal information and communications technology on April 29 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

* The U.S. Access Board unanimously elected Sachin Dev Pavithran to be its new Chair.

* The U.S. Justice Department announced that it reached a settlement agreement with edX Inc., a nonprofit provider of online courses, to make its website, platform, and mobile apps “fully accessible” to individuals with disabilities.

Digital Government

* The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government held a budget hearing on the Federal Communications Commission.

* The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled “Wrecking the Internet to Save It? The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules.”

* Jason Goldman started his job last week as the first-ever White House Chief Digital Officer, leading the Office of Digital Strategy. He previously worked at Twitter, Google, and Medium.

Voting

* The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting public comments on a roadmap for usability and accessibility in voting technologies. Comments are due by April 30.

* The U.S. Election Assistance Commission held a public meeting on March 31. The Commission approved updates to the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines and to the manuals for the Testing and Certification Program and the Voting System Test Laboratory Program.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Digital Government, E-voting, Events, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

National Telecommunications and Information Administration Seeks Comment on Multistakeholder Process for Drones

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a Request for Comments on a multistakeholder process for commercial and private use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones). The goal of the process is to develop and communicate best practices in privacy, transparency, and accountability for drone use.

This multistakeholder process is required by a Presidential Memorandum issued in February on the domestic use of drones. The memorandum covers policies for government use of drones as well as the multistakeholder process.

The NTIA request asks for comments on the structure and topics that should be part of the multistakeholder process.  Topics of interest include:

* The structures that could work best for the multistakeholder process, including whether to use working groups and/or to distinguish between sizes of drones;
* Currently existing codes of conduct and best practices that could be applicable in the drone context;
* The uses of UAS/drones that could present the most, or the most significant, privacy concerns;
* Information that should be disclosed about commercial and private drone operations and operators; and
* The kinds of rules that could promote accountability in drone operation.

Comments are due by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, April 20. NTIA plans to hold the first meeting in the Washington D.C. area, and the agency expects that meeting to take place later this year.

Posted in Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of March 23

(March 25, edited to add new House Intelligence Committee markup on March 26)

March 24

Hearing:
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on “Continuing America’s Leadership: Advancing Research and Development for Patients.”
10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Building

The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on “The Use of Data to Stop Medicare Fraud.”
10 a.m., B-318 Rayburn Building

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a hearing on “The Internet of Things: Exploring the Next Technology Frontier.”
11 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will hold a budget hearing on the Federal Communications Commission.
11 a.m., 2359 Rayburn Building

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security will hold a hearing on “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Key Considerations Regarding Safety, Innovation, Economic Impact, and Privacy.”
2:30 p.m., 253 Russell Building

Markup:
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a markup on the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015.
5 p.m., 2123 Rayburn Building
(Will continue at noon on March 25)

March 25

Hearing:
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet will hold a hearing on “Patent Reform: Protecting American Innovators and Job Creators from Abusive Patent Litigation.”
10 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Building

Markup:
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade continues a markup on the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015.
12 p.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

Hearing:
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “Wrecking the Internet to Save It? The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules.”
2 p.m., 2141 Rayburn Building

Markup:
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will markup pending legislation and consider nominations.  On the agenda is S. 766, the Driver Privacy Act.  This bill is expected to cover limits on retrieving data from vehicle event data recorders.
2:30 p.m., 253 Russell Building

March 26

Markup:
The House Intelligence Committee will markup the Protecting Cyber Networks Act.
9 a.m., HVC-304 Capitol

Posted in Events | Comments closed

Washington News – Alerts and Updates

* Congress continues to hold budget hearings.

* The White House invites nominations for the National Medal of Science. The deadline is April 27.

* The White House invites nominations for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The deadline is June 1.

Voting

* The U.S. Election Assistance Commission will hold a roundtable to discuss next steps for agency priorities, policies, and strategies on March 19. A live webcast will be available.

* The House Administration Committee approved the Election Assistance Commission Termination Act, H.R. 195.

Intellectual Property

* The USTR published the President’s Trade Policy Agenda for 2015 and 2014 Annual Report of the President on the Trade Agreements Program. For the year ahead, the Obama Administration expects to conclude negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement and make “significant progress” on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. The United States also will continue to negotiate for more products to be covered by the WTO Information Technology Agreement and to advance negotiations on a multilateral Trade in Services Agreement.

* The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating parties met last week in Hawaii. The USTR has not yet posted an update on those talks.

* The USTR published the 2014 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, an assessment of online and physical markets around the world with substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. Among the positive developments, several online websites took measures to reduce online copyright infringement. The report urges trading partner governments and ICANN to investigate and address the role of domain name registrars in supporting online copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting.

* The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “The Impact of Abusive Patent Litigation Practices on the American Economy.”

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing on “Update: Patent Demand Letter Practices and Solutions.”

* The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “The U.S. Copyright Office: Its Functions and Resources.”

* The Senate confirmed Michelle Lee to be USPTO Director.

* The Senate confirmed Daniel Henry Marti to be the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

* The USPTO will host a two-day Summit on Patent Quality on March 25-26. A live webcast will be available.

* The USPTO invites public comments on enhancing patent quality until May 6.

* USACM member Pamela Samuelson authored an article on “Copyrightability of Java APIs Revisited” for the “Legally Speaking” featured column in the March edition of the Communications of the ACM (CACM).

Tech Law

* The FAA is accepting comments on proposed regulations for the non-hobby or non-recreational use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The deadline for public comments is April 24.

* FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, in testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called for legislative reforms to allow for greater flexibility by the FAA to grant exemptions for the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems.

* USACM member Pamela Samuelson authored an article on “Copyrightability of Java APIs Revisited” for the “Legally Speaking” featured column in the March edition of the Communications of the ACM (CACM).

* The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the challenge to Colorado’s Internet tax notice and reporting law.

Privacy and Security

* The House Judiciary Committee approved the Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 1147. The bill covers the expansion of mandatory electronic employment eligibility verification systems.

* The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on “The Growing Cyber Threat and Its Impact on American Business” on March 19.

* The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing on “America’s IT Transformation: Translating the Promise of Electronic Health Records Into Better Care.”

* The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency held a hearing on “Unmanned Aerial System Threats: Exploring Security Implications and Mitigation Technologies.”

* The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies held a hearing on “Industry Perspectives on the President’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Proposal.”

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing on the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015.

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on “Understanding the Cyber Threat and Implications for the 21st Century Economy.”

* The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology held a hearing on “Cybersecurity: The Evolving Nature of Cyber Threats Facing the Private Sector.”

* The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) invites public comments on a multistakeholder process to develop privacy best practices for commercial and private use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The deadline for comments is April 20.

* The White House released a discussion draft of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act.

* Researchers disclosed a new SSL/TLS vulnerability, known as the FREAK attack. It allows attackers to intercept HTTPS connections.

Accessibility

* The FCC Disability Advisory Committee held its first meeting on March 17. The committee discussed the roles and responsibilities of the committee and its members, as well as the scope of issues for the committee and its subcommittees. The archived webcast and meeting minutes will be made publicly available soon.

* The FCC invites nominations for the 4th Annual FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. The deadline for nominations is March 20.

* The U.S. Access Board is accepting public comments on the proposed updated ICT accessibility requirements under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the proposed updated accessibility guidelines under Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. The deadline for public comments is May 28.

* The U.S. Access Board will hold a webinar on the proposed updated ICT accessibility requirements on March 31. Advance registration is required.

* The U.S. Access Board held two hearings on the proposed updated ICT accessibility requirements on March 5 in San Diego and March 11 in Washington, D.C.

* The U.S. Access Board elected Sachin Dev Pavithran as the new Chair. He is the Program Director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. He has been serving as the Chair of the Board’s Information and Communications Technologies Committee.

Digital Government

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on “FCC Reauthorization: Oversight of the Commission” on March 19.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission.”

* The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on “FCC: Process and Transparency.”

* The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on “Three Years Later: Are We Any Closer to a Nationwide Public Safety Wireless Broadband Network?

* The Federal Communications Commission publicly released the new net neutrality regulations, which the FCC Commissioners approved on February 26.

Posted in ACM/USACM News, Digital Government, E-voting, Education and Workforce, Events, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of March 16

March 17

Hearing:

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on “FCC: Process and Transparency.”
10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Building

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on “America’s Health IT Transformation: Translating the Promise of Electronic Health Records Into Better Care.”
10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Building

The Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the FY 2016 budget request for the National Science Foundation.
10:30 a.m., H-309 Capitol Building

March 18

The Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the Data Security and Breach Notification Act.
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “The Impact of Abusive Patent Litigation Practices on the American Economy.”
10 a.m., 226 Dirksen Building

The Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on “Unmanned Aerial System Threats: Exploring Security Implications and Mitigation Technologies.”
10 a.m., 311 Cannon Building

The Information Technology Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on “Cybersecurity: The Evolving Nature of Cyber Threats Facing the Private Sector” (rescheduled from March 5).
1 p.m., 2154 Rayburn Building

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission.”
2:30 p.m., 253 Russell

March 19

The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on “The Growing Cyber Threat and Its Impact on American Business” (rescheduled from March 5).
9 a.m., HVC-210 Capitol Building

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Cyber Command, the U.S. Strategic Command and the U.S. Transportation Command.
9:30 a.m., SD-G50 Dirksen Building

The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “Examining the Evolving Cyber Insurance Marketplace.”
10 a.m., 253 Russell Building

The Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on “FCC Reauthorization: Oversight of the Commission.”
11 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of March 9

The Senate is scheduled to vote this week on the nominations of Michelle Lee to be the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Daniel Marti as the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

March 11

Hearing:

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing titled “Three Years Later: Are We Any Closer To A Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network?
10 a.m., 253 Russell Building

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of March 2

March 3

Markup:

The House Judiciary Committee will markup legislation, and H.R. 1147, The Legal Workforce Act, is scheduled for review. This bill covers the expansion of mandatory electronic employment eligibility verification systems.  (Markup will continue on March 4.)
10 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Building

Hearing:

The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on “Understanding the Cyber Threat and Implications for the 21st Century Economy
2 p.m., 2322 Rayburn Building

March 4

Markup:

The House Judiciary Committee will continue its markup of legislation, including H.R. 1147, The Legal Workforce Act.
10 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Building

Hearing:

The Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on “Industry Perspectives on the President’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Proposal.”
2 p.m., 311 Cannon Building

March 5

The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on “The Growing Cyber Threat and its Impact on American Business
9 a.m., HVC-210 Capitol Building

The Information Technology Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Reform Committee will hold a hearing on “Cybersecurity: The Evolving Nature of Cyber Threats Facing the Private Sector
9 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Building

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on “America’s IT Transformation: Translating the Promise of Electronic Health Records Into Better Care.”
10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Building

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