Monthly Archives: March 2005

ACM Washington Update, Vol. 9.3 (March 31, 2005)

CONTENTS [1] U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in MGM v. Grokster [2] USACM Calls for Stronger Cybersecurity in Power Plants [3] Experts Begin Voter-Registration Database Study [4] Momentum Turns Toward Privacy Protection [5] Legislation on the Move [6] Innovation Finds Another Champion [7] Events to Watch In April [8] About USACM [An archive of all [...]

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NYT editorial: When David Steals Goliath’s Music

“The battle over online music piracy is usually presented as David versus Goliath: the poor student in his dorm hunted down by a music conglomerate. It is easy, in that matchup, to side with the student. But when the Supreme Court takes up the issue this week, we hope it considers another party to the [...]

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Grokster and StreamCast face the music

“The entertainment industry is taking its battle against illegal downloading to America’s Supreme Court. But attacking the technology behind file-sharing could stifle innovation without tackling the industry’s long-term problems [...] THE music business should have stuck by Thomas Edison’s technology if it wanted to avoid the threat of piracy. His wax cylinders could record a [...]

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Is Intellectual Property Really The Same As Real Property?

Originally Posted: (3/17/05) — Understanding the fundamentals underlying a debate often provides useful insight into policymakers’ thinking about an issue. Over the past two days, two different events highlighted a fundamental part of the MGM vs. Grokster debate. On Tuesday, the conservative Heritage Foundation held an event titled “Government’s Role In Protecting Constitutional Rights in [...]

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Wash Post editorial: Up for the Count

“MARYLAND VOTERS will never know for sure whether their election choices last year were recorded correctly — and the same uncertainty could haunt them next year if lawmakers again fail to address a serious defect in the touch-screen voting machines used throughout the state. When functioning properly — and the state elections administrator, Linda H. [...]

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USACM Calls For Stronger Cybersecurity In Power Plants

In a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), USACM advocates for stronger cybersecurity in power plants across the nation. The letter points out the critical role of computer-controlled safety systems in today’s power plants and the importance of securing these systems: “Cybersecurity experts often cite the importance of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) [...]

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Congress Organizes (Finally), Penalties On Phishing And Pharming Sought

The Ides of March have come and gone, and apparently considering themselves safe, Senators have finally (and formally) organized the Senate Judiciary Committee. As we previously reported, Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) will chair a newly created Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee, which gives IP issues their own forum in an otherwise busy committee. Public Knowledge President [...]

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Major Cybersecurity Report Released

The White House released the long-awaited President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) report on cybersecurity today. The report, titled Cyber Security: A Crisis of Prioritization, calls for more funding for cybersecurity R&D and refocusing of the current R&D portfolio. Peter at CRA posted more detail on the report and is following this issue and report [...]

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High-Performance Computing Legislation Takes First Step Toward Enactment

Peter Harsha at the Computing Research Association reports, The House Science Committee marked up the High-Performance Computing Act on Thursday. The bill is almost the same as last year, when it passed the House but died in the Senate. USACM formally commented on the merits of the legislation to Science Committee Chairman Boehlert. The sponsors [...]

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Momentum Turns Toward Privacy Protection

One thing became crystal clear during this week’s hearings involving the leaders of information brokers ChoicePoint and LexisNexis (among others) by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee and the Senate Banking Committee (here and here): namely, the intent of policymakers to take action toward regulating the information brokerage industry. Indeed, the question now is less [...]

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Federal Energy Regulators Urge More Investment in Cybersecurity

The Business Section of today’s Washington Post has an interesting article suggesting that federal regulators are pushing industry harder on cybersecuity. “Patrick H. Wood III, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, warned top electric company officials in a private meeting in January that they need to focus more heavily on cyber-security. Wood also [...]

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Strong language from lawmakers on data brokers

Some strong words from powerful policymakers in a NY Times article today: “I personally see no socially redeeming value in anyone having the right to give away and sell my personal information unless I approve it,” the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Joe Barton, said yesterday. “Under current law these companies [information [...]

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Capitol Hill beginning to stir following ChoicePoint debacle as news breaks on LexisNexis breach

LexisNexis, a large international provider of legal and business data, announced today that it, too, had recently been the vicitim of identity thieves. A Washington Post article this afternoon describes how “data on 32,000 consumers was fraudulently gathered in a series of incidents.” Among the data were such things as names, addresses, Social Security numbers [...]

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Bono spyware bill advances

U.S. Rep. Mary Bono’s (R-CA) “Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (or “SPY ACT”) passed another hurdle earlier today as the full House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to mark up H.R. 29. The measure has fairly wide bipartisan support and counts 58 cosponsors as of this writing.

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Former cybersec czar comments on Real ID and more

“Have you ever wondered what good it does when they look at your driver’s license at the airport? Let me assure you, as a former bureaucrat partly responsible for the 1996 decision to create a photo-ID requirement, it no longer does any good whatsoever. [...] Congress is debating the Real ID bill [click here for [...]

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Data Providers Lobby to Block More Oversight

“[...] For years, fears of identity theft and improper disclosure of private information have fueled calls for tighter regulation of the mountains of personal data now electronically available to employers, insurance companies, lenders and others. Those anxieties have risen since ChoicePoint revealed last month that alleged identity thieves had duped the company into selling the [...]

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USACM joins legal scholars to protect innovation

USACM signed onto a Supreme Court amicus brief with sixty law professors in support of Grokster in the case of MGM vs. Grokster. MGM studios sued Grokster arguing that Grokster should be held liable for users downloading copyrighted material using their peer-to-peer software. This argument, if accepted, would overturn the landmark “Sony decision,” which created [...]

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ACM & CRA Host UMich SI Intern

Maurice Solomon, a graduate student in information economics and policy at the University of Michigan School of Information, is spending the week working with the ACM and CRA Washington D.C. offices. The visit is part of the school’s Alternative Spring Break program, which seeks to help students gain experience and learn new skills though partnerships [...]

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ACM Washington Update Vol. 9.2 (February 28, 2005)

CONTENTS [1] Successful Policy Summit Focuses USACM’s Agenda [2] USACM Joins Legal Scholars To Protect Innovation [3] USACM Weighs in on High-Performance Computing Legislation [4] ChoicePoint Privacy Breach Getting Congressional Attention [5] Real ID Act Passes U.S. House of Representatives [6] Congress Organizes (Mostly): IT Policy Implications [7] Events to Watch In March [8] About [...]

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