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.

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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.

Posted in E-voting, Events | Comments closed

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.

Posted in Events, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Posted in Events | Comments closed

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

Posted in Events | Comments closed

Administration Releases Discussion Draft for Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

On February 27 the Obama Administration released its discussion draft for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.  The Administration released a framework for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in 2012, calling on Congress to enact it into law.

The Administration’s proposal includes the proposed Privacy Bill of Rights as well as enforcement provisions, a description of codes of conduct that would help implement the Privacy Bill of Rights, and other provisions.

The Privacy Bill of Rights would require covered entities to:

  • Provide individuals notice of the entity’s privacy and security policies, including changes to those policies.
  • Provide individuals with reasonable means to control the processing of information about them, consistent with context.
  • Conduct a privacy risk analysis for any processing of personal data that is not consistent with context.  Such analysis would serve to mitigate privacy risks.
  • Any privacy risk analysis would require either supervision by a Privacy Review Board approved by the FTC or heightened individual control and transparency connected to the underlying data processing.
  • Destroy, de-identify or delete personal data within a reasonable time after it was used for the purpose(s) for which it was collected.  Exceptions would be granted if a privacy risk analysis or heightened individual control and transparency were in place.
  • Provide reasonable security safeguards for collected personal data.
  • On request from an individual, provide access to the collected information on that person or an accurate representation of that information.

The enforcement mechanisms for the Privacy Bill of Rights are the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and states’ attorneys general.  The FTC could enforce violations of this law as unfair or deceptive trade practices.  A state’s attorney general could initiative a civil action if he or she believes a company has caused harm to a substantial number of that state’s citizens.  The FTC must be notified before any state action is initiated.

Companies can find safe harbor from this act by complying with codes of conduct approved by the FTC that were developed by an open multistakeholder process.

Posted in Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Washington News – Alerts and Updates

* USACM sent congratulatory letters to the three new Commissioners of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The letter recommends reestablishing the Technical Guidelines Development Committee, updating the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines, updating the testing and certification manuals, and establishing standards for Internet delivery of blank ballots and registration forms.

* ACM Immediate Past President Vint Cerf warned of a possible “forgotten century” of digital objects in his remarks on “Digital Vellum” at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting.

* The White House welcomed Dr. DJ Patil as Deputy CTO for Data Policy and as the first U.S. Chief Data Scientist at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Drones / Unmanned Aircraft Systems

* The FAA released its proposed regulations to allow small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for non-recreational purposes. The rules have implications for the operation of drones for commercial, educational, and research and development purposes. The deadline for public comments is April 24.

* President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on the domestic use of unmanned aircraft systems. The memo calls for a new multistakeholder engagement process, to be led by NTIA with participation by the FAA, to develop best practices for privacy, accountability, and transparency.

Net Neutrality

* The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on “FCC Process: Examining the Relationship Between the FCC and the White House” on February 25.

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on “The Uncertain Future of the Internet” on February 25. The hearing will focus on net neutrality and FCC decision-making processes.

* The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week launched an investigation into the deliberative process of the FCC.

* The FCC is scheduled to consider and vote on February 26 on Chairman Wheeler’s net neutrality proposal to reclassify “broadband Internet access service” as a telecommunications service under Title II and revise the 2010 Open Internet rules to apply to mobile broadband.

International Internet Governance

* The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance” on February 25.

* NTIA released its quarterly report on “The Transition of the Stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Functions.”

* Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) held its 52nd meeting in Singapore.

Privacy and Security

* The Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee announced a new cybersecurity oversight initiative focused on electronic health information and health IT.

* USACM Member Bhavani Thuraisingham shared a recently released NSF workshop report on Big Data Security and Privacy. She hosted the workshop, which took place in September.

* The White House hosted a Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection on February 13 at Stanford University. President Obama delivered remarks.

* During the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Summit, President Obama signed an Executive Order on private sector cybersecurity information sharing.

* The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on “The Administration’s Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal on Information Sharing” on February 25.

* The House Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities will hold a hearing on “Information Technology Investments and Programs: Supporting Current Operations and Planning for the Future Threat Environment” on February 25.

* The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence will hold a hearing on “Addressing Remaining Gaps in Federal, State, and Local Information Sharing” on February 26.

* The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies will hold a hearing on “Industry Perspectives on the President’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Proposal” on March 4.

* President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on the domestic use of unmanned aircraft systems. The memo calls for a new multistakeholder engagement process, to be led by NTIA with participation by the FAA, to develop best practices for privacy, accountability, and transparency.

Digital Government

* The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on “Ensuring Government Transparency Through FOIA Reform” on February 27.

Voting

* The U.S. Election Assistance Commission held a public meeting on February 24. It was the first public meeting since three Commissioners were confirmed by the Senate in December.

Intellectual Property

* The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing on “Update: Patent Demand Letter Practices and Solutions” on February 26.

* The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “The U.S. Copyright Office: Its Functions and Resources” on February 26.

* The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of Michelle Lee to be USPTO Director at its Executive Business Meeting on February 26.

* The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Daniel Henry Marti to be the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. His nomination now goes to the full Senate.

* The U.S. Copyright Office invites public comments from opponents to the 27 proposed exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) until March 27.

* The USPTO is accepting public comments on its updated interim guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility until March 16.

* 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.

* The USPTO launched the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative. Valencia Martin-Wallace serves as the USPTO’s first Deputy Commissioner for Patent Quality.

Tech Law

* The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General at its Executive Business Meeting on February 26.

* The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet held a hearing on “Examining Recent Supreme Court Cases in the Patent Arena.” The witnesses presented views on possible legislative reforms to deter abusive litigation through patent ownership disclosure, fee-shifting of litigation costs, limits to discovery costs, and pleading specificity.

Accessibility

* The U.S. Access Board released 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 proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on February 27.

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

* The FCC Disability Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on March 17. The committee will discuss the roles and responsibilities of the committee and its members, the scope of issues for the committee, and possible subcommittees. The meeting will be webcast and meeting minutes will be made publicly available.

Policy Fellowships and Internships

* Student and postdoctoral computing researchers are encouraged to apply to attend the third Heidelberg Laureate Forum, which gathers laureates of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, the Abel Prize, the Fields Medal, and the Nevanlinna Prize for an inspirational exchange of ideas. The deadline for applications is February 28.

* The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is accepting applications from students for its Summer 2015 Policy Internship Program. The application deadline is March 6.

* The Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program is accepting applications for its 4th round of innovators and technologists looking to work in public service for a year. These are paid, full-time positions based in Washington, D.C.

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

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 23

February 25

Hearing:

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing titled “Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance.”
10 a.m., 253 Russell Building

The Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Uncertain Future of the Internet.”
10:30 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Building

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Administration’s Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal on Information Sharing.”
11:30 a.m., 311 Cannon Building

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the relationship between the Federal Communications Commission and the White House.
2 p.m., 2154 Rayburn Building

February 26

The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of Michelle Lee to be the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
9:30 a.m., 226 Dirksen Building

The Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Patent Demand Letters.
10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Building

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the function and resources of the U.S. Copyright Office.
1:30 p.m., 2141 Rayburn Building

The Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled “Addressing Remaining Gaps in Federal, State and Local Information Sharing.”
2 p.m., 311 Cannon Building

Posted in Events | Comments closed

President and FAA Act On Drone Activity

On February 15th the President issued an Executive Memorandum on the domestic use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS/drones).  That same day the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed new regulations for the routine use of some small UAS.  Once those regulations are published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments.

The Executive Memorandum focuses on government use of drones and establishing a multistakeholder process to engage commercial and private users of UAS in developing and communicate best practices in UAS.  Government agencies shall, prior to development of new UAS technology, and every three years thereafter, examine their UAS policies to ensure that privacy, civil rights and civil liberties are protected with the collection, use, retention and dissemination of information by UAS.  Such policies must incorporate the following elements:

  • Collection and/or use of information must be done consistent with and relevant to an authorized purpose.
  • Information that may contain personally identifiable information shall not be retained for more than 180 days unless necessary to an authorized mission of the agency, required by law, or maintained in a system of records covered by the Privacy Act
  • Unless collected information is maintained in a system of records covered by the Privacy Act, it shall not be disseminated outside of the agency unless required by law or fulfills an authorized purpose and complies with agency requirements.

Policies covering agency drone use must also include provisions to address accountability for those with access to UAS-collected information, promote transparency about UAS activity in the United States, and prevent discrimination and respond to complaints concerning privacy, civil liberties and civil rights concerns.

The multistakeholder engagement process would be initiated through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the Department of Commerce.  In consultation with private sector stakeholders and other interested government agencies, this process would promote the responsible commercial and private use of UAS technology in a way that would preserve rights and freedoms.

The FAA proposed rules (summary) focus on non-hobby, non-recreational operations of small UAS, defined as under 55 pounds.  Where the Executive Memorandum outlines concerns over how drone use can affect privacy, civil liberties and civil rights, the FAA rules target how these UAS are flown and the criteria for certifying their operators.  The drones will be restricted to daytime operations and operators will have to be within line-of-sight of the aircraft.  While acknowledging concerns about privacy, civil rights and civil liberties in UAS operations, the FAA will defer to the Executive Memorandum and participate in the multistakeholder process.

Posted in Privacy and Security | Comments closed

USACM Congratulates New EAC Commissioners

USACM has sent letters to each of the three newly sworn-in Commissioners of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC): Thomas Hicks, Matthew Masterson and Christy McCormick.  In the letters, USACM congratulates the new Commissioners, and makes recommendations to the EAC:

  • Reestablish the Technical Guidelines Development Committee.
  • Update the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, the Voting System Testing and Certification Program Manual, and the Voting System Test Laboratory Program Manual (this was recommended by the former Co-Chairs of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration).
  • Set standards for online delivery of blank ballots and blank voter registration forms.

The EAC will hold its first meeting of 2015 on February 24th at its headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Agenda items include the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines, the program manuals for the EAC voting testing and certification programs.

Posted in E-voting | Comments closed

President Speaks at Cybersecurity Summit and Signs Information Sharing Executive Order

Today the White House hosted a Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Summit at Stanford University.  The event was announced last month as part of the Administration’s rollout of cybersecurity initiatives in advance of the State of the Union address.  Discussions during the Summit touched on secure payments (part of the Administration’s BuySecure initiative), public-private collaboration, and improving cybersecurity practices.

The President spoke at the Summit and signed an Executive Order focused on cybersecurity information sharing for critical infrastructure.

In his remarks, the President covered several computing-related topics.  When discussing cyber threats, he identified four basic principles to emphasize when addressing those threats:

  • Shared mission between the private sector and government.
  • Focus on what each sector does best.
  • Constantly evolve defenses.
  • Protect privacy and civil liberties.

The Executive Order focuses on three major items to support increased cybersecurity information sharing related to critical infrastructure.

  1. It encourages the development of Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs), groups organized around particular affinities (such as geographic area or field of activity) that would share cybersecurity threat information with their members and with the government.
  2. The ISAOs would coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, which is now a critical infrastructure protection program under the Executive Order.
  3. DHS is now part of the National Industrial Security Program, which sets guidelines for the sharing of classified information with industry.  Participation will make it easier for the Department to have private sector personnel access national security information related to critical infrastructure protection.

All of the activities under this order must be conducted in consultation with senior agency personnel for privacy and civil liberties protection.

Posted in Privacy and Security | Comments closed

USACM Submits Comments For Security Research DMCA Exemption

On February 6 USACM submitted a short comment to The Copyright Office in support of an exemption to the prohibitions against circumvention outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  Our comments were in support of an exemption for Software – Security Research (Class 25 of the twenty-seven classes open for comment).  This is part of a triennial rulemaking process that determines exemptions to the circumvention prohibitions for the following three years.

In this short comment, USACM argues in support of an exemption for this class, noting the value of examination and circumvention research for security research.

This first comment period closed on Friday, and was for commenters in support of, or neutral to, exemptions for the proposed classes.  The second round, closing on March 27, is for those opposed to the exemptions for the proposed classes.  There will then be a third round of comments closing on May 1.  This round is for supporters of exemptions for the proposed classes, or those neutral to them.  Comments in this round must be in reply to comments previously submitted to the record.

Posted in Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Washington News – Alerts and Updates

General News

• USACM submitted a statement to the U.S. Copyright Office in support of a proposed security research exemption to the prohibitions against circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Multiple committees collaborated on the statement.

• The U.S. Copyright Office now invites public comments from opponents to the 27 proposed exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The deadline for comments by opponents is March 27. Reply comments will be due May 1.

• President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, with an emphasis on providing improved access to the thousands of pages of information and data through full text, interactive views, and machine-readable open-sourced data available on GitHub.

• The Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG), which was called for in President Obama’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, held a Plenary on January 28-30. The group voted to approve adopting Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) version 2.0 as a referenced standard within official IDESG work products and the Identity Ecosystem Framework. The group aims to finalize a baseline of requirements by June 30.

• Student and postdoctoral computing researchers are encouraged to apply to attend the third Heidelberg Laureate Forum, which gathers laureates of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, the Abel Prize, the Fields Medal, and the Nevanlinna Prize for an inspirational exchange of ideas. The deadline for applications is February 28.

• The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is accepting applications from students for its Summer 2015 Policy Internship Program. The application deadline is March 6.

• Three computing inventors are among the 14 new Inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in recognition of the significance of their patents to society: (1) Jaap Haartsen, a pioneer in helping society connect wirelessly through Bluetooth technology, (2) Edith Clarke, an early computing and engineering pioneer and inventor of the graphical calculator, and (3) Gary D. Sharp, a pioneer in display technology, polarization optics, and liquid crystal projection systems.

Network and Internet Governance

• The Senate unanimously adopted a resolution (S. Res. 71) designating the week of February 8-14 as “Internet Governance Awareness Week.”

• The FCC is scheduled to consider and vote on February 26 on Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to reclassify “broadband Internet access service” as a telecommunications service under Title II and revise the 2010 Open Internet rules to apply to mobile broadband. Although the full text of the proposal has not been released, a fact sheet is available.

• ICANN is holding its 52nd public meeting on February 8-12 in Singapore.

• ICANN announced over 500 new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

• The FCC increased the minimum broadband benchmark speed for downloads to 25 Mbps (up from 4 Mbps) and the minimum upload speed to 3 Mbps (up from 1 Mbps). Based on the new minimum benchmarks speeds of 25/3, the FCC now reports that 17% of the U.S. population lacks adequate broadband.

Privacy and Security

• The White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection will be held at Stanford University on February 13.

• In coordination with the White House Cybersecurity Summit, NIST and Stanford University will co-host an Executive Technical Workshop on Improving Cybersecurity and Consumer Privacy on February 12.

• The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “The Connected World: Examining the Internet of Things” on February 11.

• The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on “Building a More Secure Cyber Future: Examining Private Sector Experience with the NIST Framework.”

• The Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Legal Workforce Act, which would require the use of the E-Verify electronic employment verification system.

• The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance held a hearing on data breach legislation.

• The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a staff report on building privacy and security into the Internet of Things.

• The White House released an interim progress report on what the Obama Administration has done since a review of big data and privacy conducted a year ago. Read the White House blog for additional information.

Accessibility

• The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is hosting a “Future of Voting Systems Symposium” on February 9-10 at the U.S. Department of Commerce building. The symposium includes a breakout session on the “Usability and Accessibility Roadmap.” Registration is closed. A live webcast is available.

• The FCC invites nominations for the 4th Annual FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. The deadline for nominations is March 5.

Digital Government

• The President’s 2016 Federal budget data are available for the first time in machine-readable format on GitHub. The data format makes it easier for the public to access and analyze the budget data and to develop visualizations or other products based on the information.

• President Obama announced the appointment of Tony Scott as the new U.S. CIO and Administrator of OMB’s Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology. Scott previously was CIO and Senior Vice President at VMware, where he led the company’s global information technology group. He also served in CIO or CTO positions at Microsoft, the Walt Disney Company, and General Motors.

• The White House released the first U.S. Public Participation Playbook. This resource seeks to empower public participation in government, as called for in the White House National Action Plan on Open Government.

• The U.S. Digital Service is expanding its operations to support mission critical computing projects at other federal agencies.

• The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the FOIA Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 337).

Voting

• The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is hosting a “Future of Voting Systems Symposium” on February 9-10 at the U.S. Department of Commerce building. The symposium includes a breakout session on the “Usability and Accessibility Roadmap.” Registration is closed. A live webcast is available.

Intellectual Property

• The Senate Judiciary Committee consider pending business at its Executive Business Meeting on February 12.

• The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “Examining Recent Supreme Court Cases in the Patent Arena” on February 12.

• House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte introduced a bipartisan patent litigation reform bill, the Innovation Act (H.R. 9). It is the same bill that passed the House in the last Congress.

• The USPTO is accepting public comments on its updated interim guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility until March 16.

Tech Law

• The Senate Judiciary Committee held two confirmation hearings on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General.

• The FCC adopted rules intended to help emergency responders better locate cellphone callers, particularly when indoors.

• The FAA granted eight more exemptions to allow the commercial use of drones. The FAA is anticipated to release its draft regulations for unmanned aircraft systems soon.

• A UN Special Rapporteur invites public input on encryption technologies and anonymous digital communications for a report to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur is particularly interested in legal and technical perspectives. The deadline for public comments is February 10.

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

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 9

February 11:

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Connected World: Examining the Internet of Things.”
10 a.m., 253 Russell Building

February 12:

The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education of the House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing called “How Emerging Technology Affects Student Privacy.”
11:15 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Building

The Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet of the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on recent Supreme Court cases involving patents.
1 p.m., 2141 Rayburn Building

The Research and Technology Subcommittee and the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a joint hearing on the privacy and security of information on HealthCare.gov.
2 p.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

The Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies of the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled “Emerging Threats and Technologies to Protect the Homeland.”
2 p.m., 311 Cannon Building

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of February 2

Today the President released his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget.  Congressional committees will hold hearings over the next several days to review portions of that budget.

February 4

Hearing:
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing titled “Building a More Secure Cyber Future: Examining Private Sector Experience with the NIST Framework.
10 a.m., 253 Russell Building

The Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the “Legal Workforce Act.” This bill, not yet introduced, is expected to amend immigration law to make permanent and mandatory requirements concerning electronic employment verification systems.
10 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Building

February 5

The Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on data breach legislation in the 114th Congress.
10 a.m., 253 Russell Building

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Washington News – Alerts and Updates

General News

• USACM issued a press statement on President Obama’s comments on privacy and security in his State of the Union address.

• ACM’s Annual Report FY2014, published this month in the Communications of the ACM, features activities and accomplishments by USACM.

• The Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG), which was called for in President Obama’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, will hold a Plenary on January 28-30. The group will vote on whether to recognize Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) version 2.0 as a referenced standard within official IDESG work products and the Identity Ecosystem Framework. USACM participates in the IDESG.

• The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on “Supercomputing and American Technology Leadership” on January 28 at 9 am ET.

• Nominations for the ACM-W Athena Lecturer Awards are due February 1. The award recognizes outstanding women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science.

• Student and postdoctoral computing researchers are encouraged to apply to attend the third Heidelberg Laureate Forum, which gathers laureates of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, the Abel Prize, the Fields Medal, and the Nevanlinna Prize for an inspirational exchange of ideas. The deadline for applications is February 28.

• The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is accepting applications from students for its Summer 2015 Policy Internship Program. The application deadline is March 6.

Privacy and Security

• President Obama commented on privacy and security in his State of the Union address.

• The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing on “What are the Elements of Sound Data Breach Legislation” on January 27 at 10 am ET.

• The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing on “The Expanding Cyber Threat” on January 27 at 2 pm ET.

• The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “Protecting America from Cyber Attacks: The Importance of Information Sharing” on January 28 at 2:30 pm.

• A UN Special Rapporteur invites public input on encryption technologies and anonymous digital communications for a report to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur is particularly interested in legal and technical perspectives. The deadline for public comments is February 10.

Accessibility

• The W3C invites comments on draft updates to supporting documents for WCAG 2.0, an international web accessibility standard. The deadline for public comments is January 29. http://www.w3.org/WAI/

• The U.S. Copyright Office invites public input on 27 proposed exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), including a proposed exemption related to access to digital literary works by people with disabilities. The deadline for comments by supporters of the exemption and neutral parties is February 6.

• The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a “Future of Voting Systems Symposium” on February 9-10 at the U.S. Department of Commerce building. The symposium will include a breakout session on the “Usability and Accessibility Roadmap.” Free pre-registration is required. The registration deadline is February 3.

• The FCC invites nominations for the 4th Annual FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. The deadline for nominations is March 5.

• The monthly theme in February for the 25th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is “Good Access is Good Business.” Stakeholders are encouraged to help support each month’s theme.

• February 8 is the 19th anniversary of the Telecommunications Act, which was the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in 62 years. The FCC enforces its Section 255 accessibility requirements for telecommunications products and services.

• The ITU and G3ict jointly published a new report, titled “Model ICT Accessibility Policy Report,” to help policymakers and regulators in each country develop national ICT accessibility policy frameworks.

Digital Government

• The White House announced a new U.S.-U.K. digital government partnership. Its next stage will focus on transforming how government delivers digital services to citizens, advancing global efforts through the Open Government Partnership, and expanding access to high-quality Internet access and tech training opportunities.

Voting

• The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a “Future of Voting Systems Symposium” on February 9-10 at the U.S. Department of Commerce building. The symposium will include a breakout session on the “Usability and Accessibility Roadmap.” Free pre-registration is required. The registration deadline is February 3.

• A UN Special Rapporteur invites public input on encryption technologies and anonymous digital communications for a report to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur is particularly interested in legal and technical perspectives. The deadline for public comments is February 10.

Intellectual Property

• The U.S. Copyright Office invites public input on 27 proposed exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The deadline for comments by supporters of the exemption and neutral parties is February 6.

• The Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on the “U.S. Trade Policy Agenda” with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Tuesday, January 27, at 10 am ET.

• The House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing on the “U.S. Trade Policy Agenda” with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Tuesday, January 27, at 2 pm ET and will accept written public comments until February 10.

• The Senate Judiciary Committee held a combined nomination hearing for Michelle Lee to be USPTO Director and Daniel Henry Marti to be the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

• The Innovation Alliance sent a letter signed by 240+ businesses and organizations to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging caution on new patent legislation.

• USPTO Deputy Director Michelle Lee outlined steps the agency will take to improve patent quality, to use big data, and to provide tools to technologists and entrepreneurs. She said that the USPTO will provide proposals on improving patent quality for the public to react to and will hold a summit with stakeholders.

• The USPTO is accepting public comments on the updated interim guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility until March 16.

• The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the Solicitor General for a brief expressing the views of the United States in the Google v. Oracle copyright infringement case involving APIs.

• In his State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to provide him fast-track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which is perceived as necessary to conclude the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreements.

• The 8th Round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations will be held on February 2-6 in Brussels. The stakeholders event will be held on February 4.

Tech Law

• The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the Solicitor General for a brief expressing the views of the United States in the Google v. Oracle copyright infringement case involving APIs.

• A UN Special Rapporteur invites public input on encryption technologies and anonymous digital communications for a report to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur is particularly interested in legal and technical perspectives. The deadline for public comments is February 10.

• The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing on “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research and Development.” Industry witnesses discussed sense-and-avoid drone technologies, the need for private testing areas to protect better intellectual property, and the need for collaborative and cost-sharing public-private relationships to foster research. An FAA official told the Committee that the proposed regulations would be released “soon.”

• The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing on net neutrality, titled “Protecting the Internet and Consumers Through Congressional Action” on January 21.

• The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee also held a hearing on net neutrality, titled “Protecting the Internet and Consumers Through Congressional Action” on January 21.

• The FCC warned businesses that blocking or causing international interference to Wi-Fi hot spots will expose them to potential enforcement action.

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

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of January 26

January 27

Conference:
The 2015 State of the Net Conference takes place.
8 a.m., The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue

Hearing:
The Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on “What Are the Elements of Sound Data Breach Legislation”.
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the “U.S. Trade Policy Agenda.”
10 a.m., 215 Dirksen Building

The Subcommittee on Research and Technology of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “The Expanding Cyber Threat.”
2 p.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on the “U.S. Trade Policy Agenda.”
2 p.m., HVC-210, U.S. Capitol

January 28

Hearing:
The Energy Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “Supercomputing and American Leadership.”
9 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “Protecting America from Cyber Attacks: The Importance of Information Sharing.”
2:30 p.m., 342 Dirksen Building

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NIST and EAC Sponsoring Symposium on Voting Systems Technology

The Future of Voting Systems Technology Symposium II will take place February 9-10 at the Department of Commerce headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Registration (free) is required and closes on February 3.

The symposium is co-sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Election Assistance Commission (EAC).  It follows the 2013 symposium hosted by NIST and the EAC at NIST’s Gaithersburg, Maryland headquarters.  Based on the draft agenda, the first day will focus on trends in voting systems, and discuss human factors, security, voting standards and electronic pollbooks.  Following a panel on the second day will focus on new technologies across several voting topics, including auditing, testing, usability, and accessibility.

All three of the current EAC Commissioners (Thomas Hicks, Matthew Masterson and Christy McCormick) are scheduled to attend, as is the Acting Director of NIST (Dr. Willie May).  Tammy Patrick, senior adviser to the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, will give a keynote on the 9th.

If you wish to attend, please make sure to register before February 3.

Posted in E-voting | Comments closed

U.S. Copyright Office Invites Public Input for 2015 DMCA Rulemaking

The U.S. Copyright Office is accepting public input on proposed exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This process takes place every three years. The deadline for the first round of public submissions of factual and legal support is February 6 and is limited to supporters of the proposed exemptions and those who are neither in support nor in opposition. Exemptions are intended to be “narrow and focused” and are granted for limited time periods. Based on prior years, the final exemptions likely will be announced in September or October.

The Copyright Office is considering 27 proposed classes of works. Each public submission can address only one proposed exemption. Parties may submit comments on one or more exemptions as separate submissions. Submissions may be either brief comments or extended comments. The Copyright Office has defined specific formats and maximum length and file sizes. Generally, all submitted documents must be machine-readable accessible and cannot exceed 6 MB. If relevant, multimedia materials can be delivered directly in person to the Copyright Office.

Download a chart (pdf) describing the 27 proposed exemptions and providing examples of the suggested and requested types of legal and factual evidence relevant to each proposed exemption. Commentators are not limited to these suggested and requested types of evidence.

Below is a brief summary of the deadlines, the general types of legal and factual evidence as applicable to all exemptions, and the list of the 27 proposed exemptions.

Deadlines for Public Input

  • Proponents and neutral parties deadline: February 6, 2015
  • Opponents deadline: March 27, 2015
  • Reply comments by proponents and neutral parties: May 1, 2015

Types of Factual Evidence

  • Provide specific real-world examples supported by evidence.
  • Provide hypothetical observations supporting specific real-world examples.
  • Provide detailed evidence of how TPM precludes noninfringing use.
  • Provide detailed evidence of alternate ways to access protected copyrighted content.
  • Describe the TPM and how they are enabled.
  • Describe the method of circumvention and how TPMs are disabled or bypassed.
  • Explain and provide support for any adverse effects on noninfringing uses.

Types of Legal Evidence

  • Show why the proposal meets or fails Section 1201(a)(1):
    • Availability for use of copyrighted works
    • Availability for use of works for nonprofit archival, preservation, and educational purposes
    • Impact that the prohibition on circumvention has on criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research
    • o Effect of circumvention on market value
    • Any other factor relevant to the statutory factors and appropriate for consideration
  • Related laws
  • Need to cite statutes, relevant case law, and/or other pertinent authority

2015 Proposed Classes of Works

Audiovisual Works – Education

  • Proposed Class 1: Colleges and Universities
  • Proposed Class 2: Primary and Secondary Schools (K-12)
  • Proposed Class 3: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Proposed Class 4: Educational Programs Operated by Museums, libraries, or Nonprofits

Audiovisual Works – Derivative Uses

  • Proposed Class 5: Multimedia E-Books
  • Proposed Class 6: Filmmaking Uses
  • Proposed Class 7: Noncommercial Remix Videos

Audiovisual Works – Generally

  • Proposed Class 8: Audiovisual Works—Space-Shifting and Format-Shifting

Literary Works Distributed Electronically

  • Proposed Class 9: Assistive Technologies
  • Proposed Class 10: Space-Shifting and Format-Shifting

Unlocking and Interoperability

  • Proposed Class 11: Wireless Telephone Handsets
  • Proposed Class 12: All-Purpose Tablet Computers
  • Proposed Class 13: Mobile Connectivity Devices
  • Proposed Class 14: Wearable Computing Devices
  • Proposed Class 15: Consumer Machines

Jailbreaking to Use Lawfully Obtained Software

  • Proposed Class 16: Wireless Telephone Handsets
  • Proposed Class 17: All-Purpose Mobile Computing Devices
  • Proposed Class 18: Dedicated E-Book Readers
  • Proposed Class 19: Video Game Consoles
  • Proposed Class 20: Smart TVs

Vehicle Software

  • Proposed Class 21: Diagnosis, Repair, or Modification
  • Proposed Class 22: Security and Safety Research

Abandoned Software (e.g. no longer supported)

  • Proposed Class 23: Video Games Requiring Server Communication
  • Proposed Class 24: Music Recording Software

Miscellaneous Software

  • Proposed Class 25: Security Research
  • Proposed Class 26: 3D Printers
  • Proposed Class 27: Networked Medical Devices

For additional information, read the announcement in the Federal Register.

Posted in Intellectual Property, Privacy and Security, Web Accessibility | Comments closed

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of January 20

January 20

President Obama will give his State of the Union address.
9 p.m., Capitol Building

January 21

Hearing:

The Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on net neutrality.
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Building

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on unmanned aircraft research and development.
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on net neutrality.
2:30 p.m., 253 Russell Building

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Administration Includes Computing Initiatives In State of The Union Preview

This week the Obama Administration has been previewing some of the topics the President will cover in his State of the Union address.  That speech will take place next Tuesday, January 20, at 9 p.m. Eastern.  (If you watch the address via the White House website, it will include supporting charts and graphs.)  Many of these initiatives involve computing.

On Monday the President spoke at the Federal Trade Commission. In his remarks the President outlined policy proposals on identity theft, student data privacy, and consumer privacy.  He announced three legislative proposals.  The first called for a national data breach notification standard, where companies must notify affected consumers within 30 days of discovery of the breach. The second focused on student privacy, and is modeled after a California law that limits the collection, sale and use of student information to educational purposes.  The other legislative proposal would be an update of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights the Administration announced in 2012.

On Tuesday the President spoke at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center of the Department of Homeland Security.  His remarks focused on cybersecurity, announcing legislative proposals on cybersecurity information sharing, updating laws to help combat cyber crime, and Department of Energy grants for a cybersecurity education consortium.  He also announced a summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection that will take place February 13 at Stanford University.

On Wednesday the President announced new initiatives related to broadband Internet deployment from Cedar Falls, Iowa.  The Administration made the announcement there because of how the city has supported a high-speed fiber-optic broadband network. His remarks focused on lowering barriers that make it difficult for cities to develop their own broadband networks, and expanding grants, loans and existing partnerships that support broadband development and deployment.  There will be a June 2015 summit on community broadband.

On Friday the President met with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom.  As part of their meetings, the two leaders discussed cybersecurity and made a joint announcement on the two nations’ latest cooperative efforts in this area.  The UK and US intelligence and law enforcement agencies will work together on cyber defense and cybersecurity information sharing in a new cybersecurity ‘cell’ where each country will have personnel in the other.  The two countries will also work together on joint cybersecurity and information sharing exercises.  They will also work together on a Fulbright cybersecurity award and a Cambridge (MIT) vs. (University of) Cambridge cybersecurity contest.  Prime Minister Cameron, in light of the recent attacks in Paris, has advocated for greater national security and intelligence access to communications. While President Obama agreed with the concerns, he has not advanced the same kind of proposal about cracking encryption that Prime Minister Cameron did earlier in the week.

These items are from just this past week.  Based on the last few months, it would not be surprising to hear the President address net neutrality or secure online payments during his speech on Tuesday.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Privacy and Security | Comments closed

Washington News – Alerts and Updates

General News

• The 114th Congress convened last week with Republicans controlling both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 246 Republicans, 188 Democrats, and 1 vacancy due to Rep. Michael Grimm’s resignation on January 5. The Senate has 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats.

• President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address on January 20 at 9 pm Eastern Time. Watch online.

• The FCC will hold a Small Business & Emerging Technologies Conference and Tech Fair on January 27.

• The annual “State of the Net” federal tech policy conference will be held on January 27. Register today.

Privacy and Security

• President Obama announced new proposals to protect against identity theft, provide consumers access to their credit scores, protect consumer privacy, and safeguard data collected on students in the classroom.

• FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez told attendees at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show that the Internet of Things (IoT) has significant privacy and security implications. In her keynote remarks, she encouraged companies involved with the Internet of Things to adopt “security by design,” engage in data minimization, increase transparency, and provide consumers with notice and choice for unexpected data uses.

• The European Commission released fact sheets for the proposed U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, addressing intellectual property protections, accessibility for people with disabilities, data protection, and other tech-related trade issues.

Intellectual Property

• With the new 114th Congress convened, President Obama last week resubmitted the nominations of Michelle Lee to be USPTO Director and Daniel Henry Marti to be the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

• The USPTO CIO Office will host its first DevOps event on January 14 at its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Registration is required.

• The USPTO released updated interim guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility responsive to the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Alice Corp., Myriad, and Mayo, and will hold a public forum on January 21. Written comments will be accepted until March 16.

• The USPTO Patent Public Advisory Committee will hold its quarterly meeting on February 19.

• The USPTO last week held a one-day Trade Secret Symposium with speakers from government, academia, and industry addressing legislative proposals, challenges to protecting trade secrets domestically and in foreign markets, and civil litigation issues.

• The U.S. Department of Commerce has prepared a new fact sheet and flow chart about protecting trademarks in the expansion of generic top-level domains in the Internet domain name system.

• The U.S. Copyright Office identified 27 proposed classes of exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The deadline for the first round of public comments is February 6.

• The European Commission released fact sheets about the proposed U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, addressing intellectual property protections, accessibility for people with disabilities, data protection, and other tech-related trade issues.

• The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday considered whether to accept Google’s request for a review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s ruling in favor of copyright protections for Oracle’s Java APIs.

• BMG and Round Hill Music filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Cox for failing to terminate subscriber accounts involved in alleged repeated infringements. The lawsuit’s focus on what constitutes “reasonable” best practices could put a further spotlight on the multistakeholder process on improving the DMCA notice and takedown system. That multistakeholder process is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force.

Digital Government

• The FCC will hold its next open meeting on January 29. The agenda tentatively includes a Report and Order intended to ensure that accurate cellphone location information be provided automatically to emergency responders and other public safety officials.

• The Data Visualization Challenge, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, seeks your ideas on ways to help the public, researchers, and policymakers better understand criminal justice datasets through data visualizations. The deadline for proposals is January 30.

Law and Policy

• The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will hold a two-day conference on “Improving Biometric and Forensic Technology” on January 26-27 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The conference is free but advance registration is required.

• The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday considered whether to accept Google’s request for a review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s ruling in favor of copyright protections for Oracle’s Java APIs.

• BMG and Round Hill Music filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Cox for failing to terminate subscriber accounts involved in alleged repeated infringements. The lawsuit’s focus on what constitutes “reasonable” best practices could put a further spotlight on the multistakeholder process on improving the DMCA notice and takedown system. That multistakeholder process is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force.

Accessibility Committee

• The FCC invites public comments on hearing aids compatibility with wireless handsets. The deadline for public comments is January 22.

• W3C is accepting comments on two documents that support WCAG 2.0, an international web accessibility standard. The deadline for public comments is January 29.

• The FCC invites nominations for the 4th Annual FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. The deadline for nominations is March 5.

• The FCC incorporated screen-reader-like technology in its new website to help consumers find information and file complaints related to TV, phone, internet, emergency access, and accessibility issues. Try it out by clicking on the AudioEye icon or pressing the space bar.

• The European Commission released fact sheets about the proposed U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, addressing intellectual property protections, accessibility for people with disabilities, data protection, and other tech-related trade issues.

Voting

• The two Co-Chairs of the (now ended) Presidential Commission on Election Administration wrote a letter to the newly confirmed Commissioners of the Election Assistance Commission. In the letters, Ben Ginsberg and Bob Bauer called on the Commissioners to adopt the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines version 1.1, the Voting System Testing and Certification Program Manual Version 2.0, and Voting System Test Laboratory Program Manual Version 2.0.

Education

• President Obama announced his intent to work with states to make real “America’s College Promise” of making community college free for two years. This follows the lead of the Tennessee Promise program, which offers free community college beginning this year. The President also proposed a new American Technical Training Fund to expand high-quality programs similar to those offered at Tennessee Tech Centers, which aim to meet employers’ needs.

• President Obama announced a new proposal for a Student Digital Privacy Act to ensure data collected on students in the classroom is used only for educational purposes.

• The National Research Council at the National Academies published a new guidance report on implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The guidance provides overarching principles, general recommendations on process approaches for teacher training and curriculum adoption, and pitfalls to avoid. Free download of the 120-page report as a pdf

• The Cyber Security Education and Federal Workforce Enhancement Act, H.R. 53, would codify an Office of Cybersecurity Education and Awareness Branch within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and would empower it to help strengthen the recruitment, hiring, and retention of in-demand cybersecurity professionals. The bill calls for mentoring programs for college students, grants to postsecondary institutions for computer equipment, and designations of Centers of Distinction for Academic Computing and Information Security Assurance.

To stay informed, subscribe to receive our free Washington Update monthly newsletter.

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U.S. Copyright Office Considers DMCA Exemptions

The U.S. Copyright Office is accepting public input on proposed exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This process takes place every three years. The deadline for the first round of public submissions of factual and legal support is February 6 and is limited to supporters of the proposed exemptions and those who are neither in support or opposition.

Consistent with the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act enacted into law in 2014, the Copyright Office is considering a proposed cellphone unlocking exemption, as well as additional proposed exemptions for the unlocking of other wireless devices. Additional proposed exemptions include the following:

Audiovisual Works – Education

  • Proposed Class 1: Colleges and Universities
  • Proposed Class 2: Primary and Secondary Schools (K-12)
  • Proposed Class 3: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Proposed Class 4: Educational Programs Operated by Museums, libraries, or Nonprofits

Audiovisual Works – Derivative Uses

  • Proposed Class 5: Multimedia E-Books
  • Proposed Class 6: Filmmaking Uses
  • Proposed Class 7: Noncommercial Remix Videos

Audiovisual Works – Generally

  • Proposed Class 8: Audiovisual Works—Space-Shifting and Format-Shifting

Literary Works Distributed Electronically

  • Proposed Class 9: Assistive Technologies
  • Proposed Class 10: Space-Shifting and Format-Shifting

Unlocking and Interoperability

  • Proposed Class 11: Wireless Telephone Handsets
  • Proposed Class 12: All-Purpose Tablet Computers
  • Proposed Class 13: Mobile Connectivity Devices
  • Proposed Class 14: Wearable Computing Devices
  • Proposed Class 15: Consumer Machines

Jailbreaking to Use Lawfully Obtained Software

  • Proposed Class 16: Wireless Telephone Handsets
  • Proposed Class 17: All-Purpose Mobile Computing Devices
  • Proposed Class 18: Dedicated E-Book Readers
  • Proposed Class 19: Video Game Consoles
  • Proposed Class 20: Smart TVs

Vehicle Software

  • Proposed Class 21: Diagnosis, Repair, or Modification
  • Proposed Class 22: Security and Safety Research

Abandoned Software (e.g. no longer supported)

  • Proposed Class 23: Video Games Requiring Server Communication
  • Proposed Class 24: Music Recording Software

Miscellaneous Software

  • Proposed Class 25: Security Research
  • Proposed Class 26: 3D Printers
  • Proposed Class 27: Networked Medical Devices

For additional information, read the announcement in the Federal Register.

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FCC Invites Nominations for the 4th Annual Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility

The FCC invites nominations for the 4th 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 5, 2015.

Nominations can include a product, service, technology, or practice introduced publicly in 2014. Individuals, businesses, organizations, or other public or private entities can submit nominations. Self-nominations also will be accepted.

Award categories include:

  • CAPTCHA Alternatives
  • Internet of Things
  • Wearable Devices
  • Real-Time Text
  • Teleconferencing
  • Video Description
  • Augmented Reality
  • Miscellaneous

Criteria include:

  • Unique and inventive
  • Extent to which disability needs are addressed
  • 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 2015.

For more information, visit: http://www.fcc.gov/document/advancement-accessibility-awards-nominations

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FCC Invites Nominations for Disability Advisory Committee

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) invites nominations for a new Disability Advisory Committee. Appointees will serve a two-year term and will be compensated. The FCC anticipates appointing 25 people. Appointees should expect at least three one-day meetings in Washington, D.C. during the year. Nominations are due by January 12.

The Disability Advisory Committee will foster the participation of consumers with disabilities in proceedings before the FCC and will provide advice and recommendations related to:
• Telecommunications relay services
• Closed captioning
• Video description
• Access to televised emergency information
• Access to video programming apparatus
• Access to telecommunications services and equipment
• Access to advanced communications services and equipment
• Hearing aid compatibility
• Access to 9-1-1 emergency services
• The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
• The impact of IP and other network transitions on people with disabilities

Representatives from civil society, federal agencies, and state and local governments are strongly encouraged to express an interest in serving on the Disability Advisory Committee and to participate in the meetings of the Committee once established.

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

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President Signs Cybersecurity Legislation

The President signed several cybersecurity bills toward the end of 2014.  Much of the legislation signed by President Obama affects various cybersecurity functions within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

Federal Information Security Modernization Act (S. 2521) – Updates the Federal Information Management Security Act of 2002.  The Office of Management and Budget would oversee implementation of agency information security policies and DHS would have the lead administrative role.  Compliance would

National Cybersecurity Protection Act (S.2519) – Formalizes in law the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center at DHS.

Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act (H.R. 2952) – Requires DHS to produce a cybersecurity workforce assessment and strategy document on a regular basis, and to provide Congress with an assessment of costs and other requirements for a Cybersecurity Fellowship program.

Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act (S. 1691) – Part of this bill allows the DHS to exempt certain cybersecurity positions from some federal hiring rules.

Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (S.1353) – The bill formalizes in law the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) process behind the Cybersecurity Framework.  It also supports the continuation of the Cyber Scholarship for Service program, National Science Foundation (NSF) research and development on cybersecurity and other computing security, as well as other research for both the NSF and NIST.

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Senate Confirms Three Commissioners To The Election Assistance Commission

For several months the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has been without any Commissioners.  In December the Senate confirmed three nominees as Commissioners: Thomas Hicks, Matthew Masterson and Christy McCormick.  This marks the first time in years that the Commission will have a quorum.

Each of the new commissioners has years of experience with federal elections law.  Hicks is currently the Senior Elections Counsel for the Committee on House Administration, Masterson is Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Information Officer to the Ohio Secretary of State (and worked at the EAC prior to that), and McCormick is a Senior Trial Attorney with the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

One commissioner vacancy remains.  The Administration nominated Matthew Butler in December (another nominee had withdrawn), but there was not enough time for a confirmation hearing prior to the end of Congress.

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Federal Spending Bill – What’s in the ‘Cromnibus’ for Tech Policy?

The House last night released the $1 trillion “Cromnibus” bill to fund the government through September 2015. It combines an omnibus spending bill for 11 of the 12 annual appropriations bills for FY 2015 and a continuing resolution (CR) for DHS funding through February. The omnibus bill includes provisions on cybersecurity, cyber theft of intellectual property, internet governance, and more. A few highlights relevant to tech policy are given below. House Speaker Boehner hopes to hold a vote on it tomorrow so it can go to the Senate. To avoid a government shutdown, Congress is expected to act on a near-term stopgap funding measure of a few days to allow time for Senate consideration and action on the Cromnibus.

The text of the FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill is available from the House Committee on Rules. Division B includes commerce, justice, and science funding. On specific issues, the bill references additional information provided in Senate Report 113-181 and House Report 113-448.

The House Committee on Appropriations provides a general summary.

Highlights

Cybersecurity and Cybercrime

  • The U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division would need to make combating cyber threats a priority and allocate more resources to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty program, which is used to investigate international cybercrime cases. (Division B, p. 17)

  • The U.S. Department of Justice would be required to report to Congress within 90 days on specific metrics by which cybercrime and cybersecurity may be measured. (Division B, p. 14)

  • The U.S. Department of Justice would hold a stakeholder forum on the possible creation of a new central repository of cyber attacks and data breaches. (Division B, p. 14)

  • NIST would receive $15 million for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence and up to $60.7 million for cybersecurity research and development. (Division B, p. 7)

  • NIST would receive $16.5 million for the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. USACM has been participating in the multistakeholder Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG), which is called for in the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. (Division B, p. 7)

Intellectual Property

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce would need to submit a report to Congress on cyber theft of trade secrets and cyber espionage. (Division B, pp. 11-12)

  • The USTR and the International Trade Commission (ITC) would need to enact sanctions against corporations and other legal entities benefiting from cyber theft of trade secrets and cyber espionage. (Division B, pp. 11-12)

  • The USPTO, which has been battling against having its funds diverted to other agencies, would be able to use excess collected fees, subject to congressional approval. (Division B, pp. 6-7)

Accessibility

  • The GAO would be required to evaluate and make recommendations on methods and new technologies that should be available to Senate offices to communicate with blind and deaf constituents and to support congressional staff with disabilities. (Division H, p. 2)

Internet Governance

  • The bill would restrict NTIA’s actions to handover its oversight role of IANA functions by next September. NTIA announced in March that it intends to handover IANA by September 30 as a first step in transitioning important internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community. The bill would require NTIA to notify Congress no less than 45 days in advance of proposed ICANN and IANA successor contract or any other decision related to changing NTIA’s role. Further, NTIA would be required within 45 days to submit a report to the Appropriations Committee on “any recourse that would be available to the United States if the decision to transition to a new contract and any subsequent decisions made following such transfer of Internet governance are deleterious to the United States.” (Division B, p. 6)

  • The bill would extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which blocks state and local governments from taxing Internet access. This narrowly applies to Internet access and does not alter the ability of states and localities to collect sales tax for online purchases. (Division E, p. 57)

Stay tuned for more action tomorrow.

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USACM Members Testify Before Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) met in Washington D.C. on November 12 to take testimony on privacy in the context of counterterrorism programs.  The board heard from four panels of experts, two of whom were USACM members testifying in their individual roles as privacy and technology researchers.  Video of the meeting is available through C-SPAN, and the Board is taking public comments until December 31.

USACM Chair Ed Felten of Princeton was on the first panel, titled “Defining Privacy Interests.”  Felten’s testimony focused on how changing data practices in both government and the private sector have affected considerations of privacy.  He highlighted the challenges in predicting the consequences of collecting data (including the mosaic effect – how the mixing of collected data can result in unintended and unforeseen outcomes), the increasing complexity of data handling systems, and the synergy between commercial and government data collection practices.  He concluded by emphasizing the need for the Board to ask probing technical questions along with policy and legal questions.

USACM member (and former Vice-Chair) Annie Antón of Georgia Tech was on the second panel, which focused on privacy interests in the context of counterterrorism, and the impact of technology.  Antón’s testimony discussed the need to avoid providing backdoors in technical system for law enforcement and/or intelligence purposes.  She favors strong encryption as a default for the greater security it provides, and objects to backdoors in part because they do not represent best practices in cybersecurity.  They can be exploited, and planned weaknesses undercut the efforts of the United States to produce top notch computing talent and innovation.

The other panels represented the private sector (and non-governmental organizations), and government officials responsible for implementing privacy controls in their agencies.  The tension between the need for transparency (and the trust it can engender) and the secret nature of counterintelligence was keenly felt in both panels.

This meeting, and the comments that are submitted, will inform the work of the PCLOB going forward, as it continues to review national security surveillance programs.

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of December 1

December 1

The Supreme Court hears arguments on a case involving when (and/or if) online comments could be considered as a threat for the purposes of criminal prosecution.
Supreme Court Building

December 3

Hearing:

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.
9:30 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Building

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USPTO Roundtable on Crowdsourcing Prior Art on December 2

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold a Roundtable on December 2 to discuss crowdsourcing and third-party preissuance submissions to identify prior art for patents. The roundtable and its webcast will be open to the public. Registration is required. The USPTO will accept public comments until December 9.

The USPTO seeks input on the following questions:

1. How can the USPTO utilize crowdsourcing tools to obtain relevant prior art in order to enhance the quality of examination and issued patents?

2. What suggestions do you have for ways the USPTO can leverage existing private sector solutions for the electronic receipt and hosting of crowdsourced materials as a means to provide prior art to examiners? If the USPTO were to post a question relating to the technology of a published application on a crowdsourcing Web site, what follow-up communications, if any, could someone from the USPTO have with parties on the Web site? Some examples of how the public traditionally engages in follow-up communications on crowdsourcing Web sites include: A conversation on the thread with a particular party who responded to the posted question to clarify information the party provided, and a conversation on the thread with a particular party who responded to the initial posting to request additional information.

3. What appropriate precautions, if any, could the USPTO employ to ensure that the use of crowdsourcing tools does not encourage a protest or other form of preissuance opposition to the grant of a patent?

4. If the USPTO cites in an application prior art obtained via crowdsourcing tools, to what extent, if any, should the USPTO document the crowdsourcing activities used to identify the prior art?

5. For each published patent application, if the USPTO gave the patent applicant the option to opt-in or opt-out of the USPTO’s use of crowdsourcing, would applicants choose to participate in the crowdsourcing program? What considerations would inform the applicant’s decision?

For more information, read the announcement in the Federal Register, “Request for Comments and Notice of Roundtable on USPTO Use of Crowdsourcing To Identify Relevant Prior Art.”

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USPTO Guest Lecturers for Tech Week 2014

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking volunteer guest lecturers as part of Tech Week for patent examiners on December 1-5. Examiners could benefit from lectures on a wide range of computing-related topics, including innovations in computer architecture and software, data and network security, search technologies, and emergent areas in technology.

USPTO Tech Week participation guidelines:

  • Presentations are generally 1 hour, followed by Q&A.
  • Presenters can present in person at USPTO offices in Alexandria, Denver, or Detroit, or present via webcast.
  • Speakers are to inform examiners about a topic.
  • Speakers are not to provide advice or recommendations.

The USPTO does not provide financial assistance. If you are interested in presenting, see the additional information provided by the USPTO about the Patent Examiner Technical Training Program.

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President Obama Honors ACM A.M. Turing Award Laureate Charles Bachman and ACM Fellow Mary Shaw with Awards

President Obama awarded eleven U.S. National Medals of Science and eight U.S. National Medals of Technology and Innovation at a White House ceremony in the East Room on November 20. Among the recipients, ACM A.M. Turing Award Laureate Charles W. Bachman and ACM Fellow Mary Shaw received National Medals of Technology and Innovation for their pioneering accomplishments and contributions to the computing field and society. ACM President Alex Wolf and Immediate Past ACM President Vint Cerf attended the ceremony and gala, which included other National Medal Laureates and attendees from the Cabinet, Congress, and other high-level policy officials.

Source: NationalMedals.org

ACM A.M. Turing Award Laureate Charles W. Bachman received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for his fundamental and pioneering inventions in “database management, transaction processing, and software engineering.” He designed one of the first computer database management systems in 1963. Ten years later in 1973, he received the ACM A.M. Turing Award for his contributions to database technologies.

“I hope that young people just starting out can look at an honor like this and see all of the new creative opportunities that lay before them today, and the differences they can make for their generation and for future generations,” Bachman said when being presented the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Source: NationalMedals.org

ACM Fellow Mary Shaw received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for her “pioneering leadership in the development of innovative curricula in computer science.” She is renowned for her contributions to the establishment of software architecture as a discipline. Mary Shaw is the Alan J. Perlis University Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

About the U.S. National Medals
The National Medals are bestowed by the U.S. President as the country’s highest honor for achievements in the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields. By highlighting the national importance of science and technological innovation, the National Medals serve to inspire future generations of Americans to prepare for and pursue scientific and technical careers to keep the United States at the forefront of global innovation and economic leadership.

U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates 2014
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation, created by statute in 1980 and administered for the White House by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the country’s competitiveness and quality of life through innovation and who have strengthened the scientific, technological, engineering, and computing workforce in the United States. Each medal is engraved with the recipient’s name.

Charles W. Bachman
For fundamental inventions in database management, transaction processing, and software engineering.

Mary Shaw
Carnegie Mellon University
For pioneering leadership in the development of innovative curricula in Computer Science.

Eli Harari
SanDisk Corporation
For invention and commercialization of Flash storage technology to enable ubiquitous data in consumer electronics, mobile computing, and enterprise storage.

Edith M. Flanigen
UOP, LLC., a Honeywell Company
For innovations in the fields of silicate chemistry, the chemistry of zeolites, and molecular sieve materials.

Thomas J. Fogarty
Fogarty Institute for Innovation
For innovations in minimally invasive medical devices.

Arthur Levinson
Calico Life Sciences, LLC
For pioneering contributions to the fields of biotechnology and personalized medicine, leading to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Cherry A. Murray
Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
For contributions to the advancement of devices for telecommunications, the use of light for studying matter, and for leadership in the development of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce in the United States.

Douglas Lowy and John Schiller
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
For developing the virus-like particles and related technologies that led to the generation of effective vaccines that specifically targeted HPV and related cancers.

U.S. National Medal of Science Laureates 2014

Bruce Alberts
University of California, San Francisco
An internationally-renowned biochemist and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to his research in the field of DNA replication, he is an avid proponent of improving science and mathematics education and international scientific cooperation.

Robert Axelrod
University of Michigan
Renowned for his work on the evolution of cooperation and its application across disciplines, from the social sciences to biology and computer science. He is a professor in the Department of Political Science and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

May Berenbaum
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Pioneering studies of insect-plant co-evolution and her extensive public engagement have made her a world-renowned expert on all insect-related matters. Dr. Berenbaum is Professor and Head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Alexandre J. Chorin
University of California, Berkeley
An applied mathematician known for his contributions to computational fluid mechanics. He is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Thomas Kailath
Stanford University
Electrical engineer known for his contributions to the information and system sciences. He is currently the Hitachi America Professorship of Engineering, Emeritus at Stanford University.

Judith P. Klinman
University of California, Berkeley
Physical-organic chemist renowned for her work on enzymes. She is currently a professor of chemistry and of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jerrold Meinwald
Cornell University
Considered one of the fathers of chemical ecology. He is currently the Goldwin Smith Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Cornell University.

Burton Richter
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University
Nobel Prize-winning physicist known for co-discovering the J/Psi meson. He is the Paul Pigott Professor in the Physical Sciences at Stanford University.

Sean C. Solomon
Columbia University
Director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, where he is also the William B. Ransford Professor of Earth and Planetary Science.

And a posthumous Medal to:
David Blackwell
University of California, Berkeley
The first black admitted to the National Academy of Sciences and the first tenured black professor in U.C. Berkeley history; a mathematician and statistician who contributed to numerous fields, including probability theory, game theory and information theory. He chaired U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Statistics and served as president in 1955 of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, an international professional and scholarly society.

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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of November 17

November 18

Hearing:
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on information security at the Veterans’ Administration
1:30 p.m.,  334 Cannon Building

November 19

Hearing:
The Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Census Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on data security at the Postal Service.
10:30 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Building

November 20

Hearing:
The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on cybersecurity threats
9 a.m., 2212 Rayburn Building

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USPTO and NIST To Host Multistakeholder Meeting on Cybersecurity and Patents in Silicon Valley on November 14

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will host the first multistakeholder Cybersecurity Partnership Meeting on November 14 in Menlo Park, California. The public meeting will focus on the intersection of cybersecurity with intellectual property, with a particular focus on patents. The event is open to the public, but space is limited. Requests to attend in person must be submitted by November 10. A live webcast will be available.

USPTO Deputy Director Michelle Lee will provide opening remarks. Last week, President Obama nominated her to become the permanent USPTO Director.

USPTO Technology Center Director Nestor Ramirez will provide an overview of cybersecurity patent initiatives, the internal workgroup that examines computer and network security patent applications, and computer security patent application statistics.

USPTO Legal Advisor Michael Cygan will team up with Symantec’s Senior Director for IP in the Legal Department, Angela Ziegenhorn, to provide an overview of what the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank means for the patent eligibility of software and other cybersecurity-related inventions and the updated examiner guidance on subject-matter eligibility.

NIST Computer Security Division Group Manager Kevin Stine will present on the voluntary NIST Cybersecurity Framework and outcomes from the 6th Cybersecurity Framework Workshop, October 29-30. The Cybersecurity Framework, initially released in February 2014, identifies methodologies, standards, guidelines, and industry best practices to address cyber risks.

The day will conclude with an hour-long open discussion with the speakers. Attendees will be able to ask questions and provide input. Attendees might want to consider sharing their thoughts on gaps that need addressing to promote network security and overall cybersecurity, ways to improve patent claim clarity, and topics for future Cybersecurity Partnership meetings.

The confirmed list of additional speakers includes:

  • Mohammad H. Qayoumi, President of San Jose State University and member of the Department of Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council
  • David Kinsinger, Vice President and Chief Patent Counsel at L-3
  • John Vandenberg, Partner at Klarquist Sparkman

Again, requests to attend in person must be submitted by November 10. For additional information and to access the live webcast on November 14, visit: Cybersecurity Partnership Meeting

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USACM Submits Comments On National Privacy Research Strategy

On October 17, comments closed on a Request for Information from the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program.  Agencies in this program are working on a National Privacy Research Strategy, and sought input from the public.  Specifically, the request asked for input on the privacy objectives that would inform the strategy.  The strategy will emphasize “research directions for privacy-enhancing technologies, designs, and methods to enable privacy-preserving information systems.”

USACM submitted comments in response to the Request for Information.  In those comments, USACM outlined several scenarios that highlight privacy issues that would benefit from additional research.  The comments also recommended including more than one paradigm for evaluating privacy research results.  Focusing on one privacy paradigm (such as economic privacy) to the exclusion of others (like privacy as autonomy) would provide a limited view on the value of research questions and the results of privacy research.

USACM encouraged the use of multi-disciplinary approaches to privacy research questions.  To that end, it also recommended new training for computer science researchers, so that they can better understand how end users experience privacy.  Finally, in commenting on privacy architecture, USACM noted that it’s important to address both software architecture and enterprise architecture.

This Request for Information was the first part of the development of the National Privacy Research Strategy, a process likely to take a few months.  There may be additional opportunities to comment once NITRD has developed a draft or preliminary research strategy.

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Heading Into Midterms, USACM Re-emphasizes Role Of Technology In Elections

With mid-term Congressional elections fast approaching, USACM released a statement to emphasize the importance of voting technology in elections.  It echoes past statements from USACM on voting, including its 2013 remarks to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.  In the statement USACM outlines seven principles needed to effectively protect the accuracy and impartiality of elections:

  • Reliability: Minimize the chances of failures and ensure the success of holding elections for which citizens trust results, whether or not they supported the outcome.
  • Responsiveness: Ensure that voters can register, vote, and be notified of results within the time limits required by the system.
  • Security: Prevent the insertion of users or votes into the system, the removal of votes, or the determination of vote content by unauthorized personnel.
  • Privacy: Protect the identities and votes of system users.
  • Auditing: Allow ballots to be recounted accurately and without revealing voters’ individual choices.
  • Accessibility: Ensure that voting systems, including voting technologies, are accessible and usable for every citizen throughout the voting process.
  • Usability: Ensure validated design of paper and electronic ballots so users can confidently record their intent.

USACM continues to recommend that voting systems:

  • Embody careful engineering, strong safeguards, and rigorous testing in both their design and operation;
  • Enable each voter to inspect a physical (e.g. paper) record to verify that his or her vote has been accurately cast, and to serve as an independent check on the results produced and stored by the system; and
  • Make stored records permanent to enable an accurate recount of the vote.
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USACM Focuses On Roadmap In Cybersecurity Framework Comments

As part of its work on the Cybersecurity Framework (Framework), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) sought comments from stakeholders on their experiences with it.  USACM has followed the development of the Framework since the 2013 Executive Order that required it.  We submitted comments on a preliminary outline of the Framework back in April 2013.  Our latest comments re-emphasized a point of our April 2013 comments – the need to minimize the amount of information disclosed.

In our comments, USACM focused on the Roadmap that supports the Framework.  The Roadmap identifies areas for alignment, collaboration, and development that would assist parties in implementing the Framework.  USACM identified areas in the Framework that could inform each other, such as Technical Privacy Standards and Data Analytics.  Additionally, the comments identified autonomous devices (items like a smart meter that rely on networking to function) as an area that should be a priority.  As they can be used in sectors like energy and health care, they could qualify as critical infrastructure.

The comments NIST receives will inform the upcoming workshop it is hosting in Tampa on October 29-30.

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NITRD Agencies To Develop National Privacy Research Strategy

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has asked a steering group in the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program to lead development of a National Privacy Research Strategy.  As part of this effort, there is a Request for Information (RFI) seeking comment.  Submissions (of no more than 20 pages) must be sent in by October 17.

The call for such a research strategy is informed, per the RFI, from calls for additional research into privacy-enhancing technologies.  The resulting strategy will include research objectives and a framework for organizing ideas intended to address those objectives.  This framework is intended to encourage approaching privacy research questions from a multi-disciplinary perspective, including several disciplines in approaching privacy-enhancing technologies.

There are four main questions/topics in the RFI:

  • Privacy Objectives
  • Assessment Capabilities
  • Mulit-disciplinary Approach
  • Privacy Architectures

While most of these topics are described in general terms, the RFI mentions a ‘responsible use model’ when discussing Privacy Architectures.  This is linked to the Administration’s Big Data report, which was one of the reports cited in the RFI.

It’s worth noting that the RFI specifically states that while social and legal solutions can address concerns over privacy, those tools will not be a focus of the emerging National Strategy.  That will focus on “the research directions for privacy-enhancing technologies, designs, and methods to enable privacy-preserving information systems.”

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U.S. Copyright Office Invites Petitions for 2015 DMCA Rulemaking

The U.S. Copyright Office is accepting petitions for the triennial rulemaking proceedings to determine exemptions to the anti-circumvention prohibitions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The deadline for petitions is November 3.

To help enhance public understanding of the process and its evidentiary requirements, the U.S. Copyright Office has changed the procedures to lower the burden during the first step of submitting a petition. Parties still need to provide a statement on the requested proposed exemption, describing the specific class or category of copyrighted works, the technological protections measures that prevent access, the noninfringing uses that would be facilitated by circumvention, and how the inability to circumvent adversely affects proposed noninfringing uses. However, parties no longer need to submit the full legal and factual support with the initial petition.

Consistent with the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act enacted into law earlier this year, the Copyright Office will consider any proposal for a cellphone unlocking exemption. The Copyright Office invites proposals to expand the unlocking exemption to other wireless devices but urges parties to provide an “appropriate level of specificity,” noting that the exemption may vary across the different types of wireless devices.

The U.S. Copyright Office will consider and consolidate the petitions before publishing the list of proposed exemptions and inviting submissions of legal and evidentiary support. All petitions will be posted online to allow parties to coordinate their efforts in later proceedings.

For additional information, read the Federal Register announcement: Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies.

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NIST Will Present Draft Privacy Engineering Objectives

On Thursday, October 2, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a webcast scheduled to present its draft (including a discussion deck) Privacy Engineering Objectives and Risk Model.  The development of these materials has been informed by two Privacy Engineering workshops that NIST co-hosted with the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

The current draft available online was prepared in advance of the second Privacy Engineering workshop, and whatever NIST releases on October 2 may reflect additional changes.  It’s focus is on protecting privacy in the course of unanticipated consequences of normal system behavior.  Malicious actors and attacks can be mitigated through security procedures.

Part of the motivation for this document is to address communications gaps around privacy and the development of tools to measure the effectiveness of privacy practices.  The objectives are not intended to describe a complete privacy risk management framework, as they are just one component of such a model.  NIST intends to add more components over time, but is focused on the objectives and the risk model for now.

Comments are being taken on the draft objectives and risk model until October 15.  They can be sent to privacyeng at nist.gov.

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The Food And Drug Administration Seeks Input On Medical Device Security

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a workshop on medical device cybersecurity for October 21 and 22 in Arlington, Virginia.  Titled “Collaborative Approaches for Medical Device and Health Care Cybersecurity,” the event is intended for a broad audience of stakeholders engaged in health care and public health.  The workshop will be webcast, but if you are planning to attend in person, registration will close by 4 p.m. Eastern on October 14.

As part of the workshop announcement, the FDA issued this Federal Register notice seeking comment.  Whether or not you attend the workshop, the FDA is looking for comments on any aspect of the workshop by November 24.  But for a set of questions connected to the workshop themes, comments are needed by October 7.  Those questions are (HPH means Health Care and Public Health):

  • Are stakeholders aware of the “Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity”? If so, how might we adapt/translate the Framework to meet the medical device cybersecurity needs of the HPH Sector?
  • How can we establish partnerships within the HPH Sector to quickly identify, analyze, communicate, and mitigate cyber threats and medical device security vulnerabilities?
  • How might the stakeholder community create incentives to encourage sharing information about medical device cyber threats and vulnerabilities?
  • What lessons learned, case studies, and best practices (from within and external to the sector) might incentivize innovation in medical device cybersecurity for the HPH Sector? What are the cybersecurity gaps from each stakeholder’s perspective: Knowledge, leadership, process, technology, risk management, or others? and,
  • How do HPH stakeholders strike the balance between the need to share health information and the need to restrict access to it?
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Hill Tech Happenings, Week of September 8

Congress has returned from recess, so hearings have resumed.

September 9

Hearing:
The Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies of the House Homeland Security Committee and the Subcommittee on Research and Technology of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will hold a hearing on the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.
10 a.m., 311 Cannon Building

September 10

Hearing:
The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on cybersecurity and terrorism.
9:30 a.m., 342 Dirksen Building

Nomination Hearing:
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a hearing to review the nominations of Matthew Masterson and Christy McCormick to serve as Commissioners of the Election Assistance Commission.
10 a.m., 301 Russell Building

The Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities of the House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on cyber operations in the military.
2 p.m., 2212 Rayburn Building

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NIST Second Privacy Engineering Workshop on September 15-16 in San Jose

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), in coordination with the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), will host the Second Privacy Engineering Workshop on September 15-16 in San Jose, California. The workshop will bring together legal experts, system designers, privacy engineers, and other privacy professionals from government, industry, academia, and civil society to discuss definitions, objectives, and the privacy risk model developed during the first workshop held in April. NIST will consider feedback from this second workshop during the development of an initial report on privacy engineering. Attendance is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.

For those unable to participate in the workshop, NIST invites written feedback on the following items by September 30:

1. Proposed definition of privacy engineering:

Privacy engineering is a collection of methods to support the mitigation of risks to individuals of loss of self-determination, loss of trust, discrimination and economic loss by providing predictability, manageability, and confidentiality of personal information within information systems.

2. Whether it is constructive to focus on mitigating the following problematic data actions:

  • Appropriation: Personal information is used in ways that exceed an individual’s expectation or authorization
  • Distortion: The use or dissemination of inaccurate or misleadingly incomplete personal information
  • Induced Disclosure: Pressure to divulge personal information
  • Insecurity: Lapses in data security
  • Surveillance: Tracking or monitoring of personal information that is disproportionate to the purpose or outcome of the service
  • Unanticipated Revelation: Non-contextual use of data reveals or exposes an individual or facets of an individual in unexpected ways
  • Unwarranted Restriction: The improper denial of access or loss of privilege to personal information

3. Whether these privacy harms are relevant:

  • Loss of self-determination
    • Loss of autonomy
    • Exclusion
    • Loss of liberty
  • Discrimination
    • Stigmatization
    • Power imbalance
  • Loss of trust
  • Economic loss

4. Whether these context factors are the right ones:

  • The relationship between individuals and the organization that controls the system
  • The extent and frequency of direct interactions between an individual and the system
  • The nature and history of those interactions
  • The range of goods or services that the system offers, and such use by individuals
  • The types of personal information that is foreseeably necessary for the system to process or generate in order to provide the goods or services
  • The level of understanding that reasonable individuals would have of how the system processes the personal information that it contains
  • Information known by the system about the privacy preferences of individuals
  • The extent to which personal information under the control of the system is exposed to public view
  • General user experience with information technologies

Advance registration is required to attend the Second Privacy Engineering Workshop on September 15-16 in San Jose, California. Read the Discussion Draft of the NIST Privacy Engineering Objectives and Risk Model and the 31-slide overview to be discussed at the workshop.

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FCC Roundtables on Open Internet

The FCC will hold a series of Open Internet Roundtables in September and October, including a roundtable on the technological aspects on September 19. These staff-led roundtables aim to discuss policy issues related to the 2014 Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the best approaches to regulatory requirements for fixed and mobile markets. The roundtables will be open to the public and will be streamed live.

Additional details for each roundtable will be posted on the individual event pages.

September 16 – Policy Approaches and Mobile Broadband
September 19 – Effective Enforcement and Technological Aspects
October 2 – Economics of Broadband: Market Success and Market Failures
October 7 – Internet Openness and the Law

As a reminder, the FCC will accept reply comments on the 2014 Open Internet NPRM until September 15. The FCC extended the deadline by three days in response to technical issues that extended the first comment period. To read submitted comments or to submit a reply comment, use WC Docket No. 14-28 in the FCC online filing system.

Want to conduct in-depth analysis of the comments or create visualizations? The FCC provides the 1+ million comments submitted during the first round of comments as six XML files.

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NIST Continues To Take Feedback On The Cybersecurity Framework

(Edited September 4 to focus on NIST activities concerning the Cybersecurity Framework)

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has posted a Request for Information on the Cybersecurity Framework, with a deadline for comments of October 10.   Developed and administered by the (NIST), the first version of the Framework was released in February of this year, along with a Roadmap.

NIST is particularly interested in understanding how companies and organizations in all critical infrastructure sectors are approaching the Framework.  The broad categories in the request are:

  • Current Awareness of the Cybersecurity Framework
  • Experiences With the Cybersecurity Framework
  • Roadmap for the Future of the Cybersecurity Framework

NIST is hosting its 6th workshop on the Framework October 29-30 in Tampa.  An agenda is not yet available, but NIST indicates the target office is owners and operators of critical infrastructure and cybersecurity staff.  Registration is available online.

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U.S. Department of Justice Invites Public Comments on Movie Captioning and Audio Descriptions

The U.S. Department of Justice is accepting comments on proposed changes to its regulations for captioning and audio descriptions in movie theaters under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title III covers public accommodations and commercial facilities, including movie theaters. The proposed rule provides specific requirements for movie theaters to provide effective communications for patrons with hearing and vision disabilities through access to text-based captions and audio descriptions. Comments are due September 30.

The U.S. Department of Justice proposes to require movie theaters to:

  • Provide closed or open captions and audio descriptions for movies shown with digital cinema systems unless it would result in an “undue burden” of significant difficulty or expense;
  • Make a certain number of captioning and audio devices available for patrons based on a sufficient amount for the number of seats;
  • Train staff on how operate the equipment;
  • Train staff on how to show patrons how to use those devices; and
  • Inform the public about caption and audio availability.

Movie theaters would still be allowed to show movies without captions or audio descriptions if the movies are produced without captions or audio descriptions.

The U.S. Department of Justice also seeks input on setting a compliance date for the few remaining analog screens. In a “Questions and Answers” posting about the proposed rule, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that nearly 94% of movie screens nationwide have converted to digital. One option is to require analog theaters to comply fully within four years from publication of the final rule. Another option is to defer that decision and rulemaking until a later date.

For additional information, read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations-Movie Theaters; Movie Captioning and Audio Description.”

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White House Invites Public Comments on Strategy for American Innovation

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council invite public input on the 2015 update of the Strategy for American Innovation, which was last updated in 2011. Comments are due by September 23.

Among the 25 questions in the call for comments, the strategy invites input on the Administration’s intellectual property policy. Specific comments are sought on new challenges and opportunities for intellectual property given the increased diversity of models in the digital marketplace, including big data-driven and Internet-enabled innovation. The announcement also invites comments on skilled workforce development, education, and R&D priorities.

For additional information, read an overview of the current Strategy for American Innovation. For specific topics, browse the Table of Contents.

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ACM Fellow Randal Bryant Joins White House Staff To Tackle Big Data

Randal Bryant, University Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, has accepted a temporary assignment to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  Bryant, an ACM Fellow since 2000 and the 1998 recipient of ACM’s Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award, will work on Big Data issues as an adviser to OSTP Deputy Director for Policy Tom Kalil.  His title will be Assistant Director for Information Technology Research and Development, and he expects to work on applications of large-scale information sources to government operations.

Bryant recently completed a decade of service as Dean of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science, and has been with the University for 30 years. Bryant’s research is in formal verification of hardware systems, and his Kanellakis Award recognized his work in symbolic model checking.

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White House Launches U.S. Digital Service and Digital Resources

On Monday the White House announced the launch of the U.S. Digital Service.  According to the Administration, the Digital Service is a team of digital experts that will work with agencies to improve and simplify the digital experience for citizens and companies interacting with the government.  It will be led by Mikey Dickerson, who was an integral part of the team that helped revamp the HealthCare.gov website.  He will also serve as Deputy Federal Chief Information Officer.

The Digital Service is comparable to the 18F team at the General Services Administration.  Both are in-house innovation centers, something more commonly found outside of government, but rare in either location.  Formed in April of this year, 18F has a similar purpose to the Digital Service, but places an extra emphasis on open source development (you can peruse their open source repository on GitHub).  They encourage the reuse of government-derived code and reuse other open source code when practical.  To guide others in reuse of government code, 18F released a Contributor’s Guide earlier this week.

In addition to launching the Digital Service, the Administration released two documents intended to help agencies with that digital experience.  The Digital Services Playbook is a baker’s dozen of ‘plays’ derived from best practices in digital services from the private and public sectors.  The plays are sketches, with a checklist and set of questions to help guide the provision of digital services from a very high-level perspective.  The TechFAR Handbook is an iterative document that identifies parts of the Federal Acquisition Regulation that can be used to implement the plays in the Digital Services Playbook.  The current version focuses on agile software development, but subsequent editions will address other areas of IT.

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USACM Comments On Intersection Of Big Data And Consumer Privacy

Yesterday USACM responded to a Request for Comment from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  In response to a recommendation in the Administration’s Big Data report released in May, the NTIA solicited public comment on how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights could support big data.

In its comments, USACM notes that while big data adds to the complexity of limiting data collection, such limits should not be deemphasized.  It’s important to have controls on both the collection and use of data, and innovations, including privacy enhancing technologies, should make it easy for someone without a technical background to apply their data preferences when interacting with a data collector.

Among the USACM recommendations:

  • Use a broadly construed risk-based approach to responsible use that accommodates multiple privacy risk models, and allows designers to accommodate variations in risk and exposure.
  • Attach consumer guidance to data supplied by the consumer only once. Organizations should be responsible for applying the guidance wherever and whenever the data is communicated or used.
  • Systems designers should build reasonably effective deletion capability into the system and document the capability and its limitations.
  • Have sector-independent means of handling data of different levels of sensitivity could help address cost concerns and spur innovation in Big Data by simplifying the set of privacy rules.
  • In addition to proper access and physical security controls, contract language is a practical tool available to organizations that want to discourage attacks against latent information about individuals.

The full set of recommendations is available online, as is our press release.

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