ACM Washington Update Vol. 8.6 (June 30, 2004)

CONTENTS

[1] USACM Recommends Changes to the DMCA to Permit Research and Discussion
[2] USACM Creates Privacy Subcommittee (and Other Developments)
[3] Evoting Continues to Stir Controversy
[4] Voice Over Internet Protocol Becoming a Global Policy Issue
[5] Cicerone Nominated to be National Academy of Sciences President
[6] Peace Corps Looking for Volunteers with IT Skills
[7] Cybercrime Treaty Moves Toward Ratification

[An archive of all previous editions of Washington Update is available here.]


[1] USACM RECOMMENDS CHANGES TO THE DMCA TO PERMIT RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION

In a submission to the Congressional Internet Caucus, USACM raised concerns about the chilling effect the DMCA is having on cybersecurity research and the ability of technologists to discover and fix dangerous bugs in code, to analyze and stop malicious code and spyware, and to publish and discuss computing research. USACM recommends a more balanced approach that targets copyright infringement while permitting non-infringing uses of copy-protected works. USACM concludes that technologists should not be penalized for conducting research that is crucial to developing, scrutinizing, and testing copyright protection systems, security software, software engineering tools, or electronic voting systems. USACM’s submission, along with the submissions of several other organizations, is available at http://www.netcaucus.org/events/2004/dmca/onepagers/, while more information about the Congressional Internet Caucus event is available at http://www.netcaucus.org/events/2004/dmca/.

Since passage of the DMCA, USACM has worked to restore balance to U.S. copyright law. Last year, co-chair Barbara Simons represented USACM before a panel of the U.S. Copyright Office to criticize sections of the DMCA for having “substantial negative impacts on the conduct of basic research in the U.S.” as part of a congressionally mandated review of the controversial law (see http://www.acm.org/usacm/Testimony/Simons_LOC_Copyright.htm).

To review USACM’s past involvement with the DMCA, please visit http://www.acm.org/usacm/Issues/DMCA.htm.


[2] USACM CREATES PRIVACY SUBCOMMITTEE (AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTS)

USACM recently created a privacy subcommittee to formulate policy statements on privacy that can be used as a guide for USACM positions on future issues. For information about the subcommittee (including information about how to get involved with it), contact David Padgham (david.padgham AT acm.org) in ACM’s Office of Public Policy.

Also in privacy news, California’s Online Privacy Act of 2003 (Calif. AB 68) will go into effect on July 1st. The new law requires commercial web sites which collect personally identifiable information from California residents to post their privacy policies on their web sites. Among other things, such policies must include information about the categories of personally identifiable information that the organization collects from consumers, as well as information about third parties with whom the information may be shared. For more information, see the ComputerWorld article at http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/privacy/story/0,10801,94061,00.html or http://tinyurl.com/2bctp.

To review USACM’s privacy policy web page, see http://www.acm.org/usacm/Issues/Privacy.htm.


[3] EVOTING CONTINUES TO STIR CONTROVERSY

There have been a number of interesting developments regarding evoting this month. The chairman of the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC), Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., said earlier this month that he would like to see all evoting machine source code disclosed to states under non-disclosure agreements so that computer scientists in each state could review the code. Further, he recommended that NIST’s National Software Reference Library be expanded to include source code for voting machines. The EAC also announced its 15-member technical guidelines development committee, part of its mandate from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. Ron Rivest, distinguished cryptography expert from MIT, is among the members. Rivest is an ACM Fellow, and he (along with two colleagues) won the 2002 A.M. Turing Award for contributions to public key cryptography. More information about the EAC and its work is available at http://www.eac.gov/.

Earlier this month, the League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWVUS) revised its support for evoting machines. In a vote at its biennial national convention, the league adopted a resolution that amended their previous position; the new resolution reads, “In order to ensure integrity and voter confidence in elections, the LWVUS supports the implementation of voting systems and procedures that are: secure, accurate, recountable, and accessible.” USACM co-chair Barbara Simons and other computer scientists were closely involved in the LWVUS policy change (see the June 14th USA Today article at http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-06-14-league-women-voters-redux_x.htm or http://tinyurl.com/yvl3f). For more information, see http://www.lwv.org/.

Also, California issued state standards for voter verified paper audit trails. Secretary of State Kevin Shelley released the standards earlier this month to govern the use of voter-verified paper trails, which all touch-screen machines in California must be equipped to produce by July 1, 2006. More information about the decision and about the standards is available at http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/touchscreen.htm.

Lastly, the House Science Committee held a hearing on the testing and certification of voting equipment. For more information on the hearing including the prepared testimony of witnesses, see http://www.house.gov/science/hearings/ets04/index.htm.

To review the USACM’s evoting web page, see http://www.acm.org/usacm/Issues/EVoting.htm.


[4] VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL BECOMING A GLOBAL POLICY ISSUE

Recent improvements in service quality and availability are making Internet telephony alternatives to traditional telephone service (i.e., voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP) more attractive to consumers. However, just as the technology becomes more popular and widespread, a host of policy and industry concerns are developing in the United States and in other areas of the world.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing in June on the VoIP Regulatory Freedom Act (S. 2281). The hearing’s primary debate centered on current wiretapping law and whether the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) should be extended to cover VoIP communications. For more information on the hearing, including a full witness list and links to their prepared statements, see http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/witnesslist.cfm?id=1230. Also this month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell said that he sees no good reason to regulate Internet telephone service. He also categorized as a mistake some states’ aggressive postures against VoIP technology.

In Europe, the European Commission’s Information Society is preparing a document that will address key issues surrounding Internet telephony and that may be sent to the European Commission as an official guideline. The European Commission’s Information Society Directorate-General (DG INFSO) and the Japanese Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Post & Telecommunications (MPHPT) also recently held a symposium on “Voice Over IP: Challenges and Opportunities for Regulators and Industry”. See http://www.eujapan.com/EUROPE/ictsymposium.html.

Meanwhile, Australia is considering a proposal to allow law enforcement access to stored communications without first seeking a wiretap warrant. Under the proposal, intercept orders would be required only to gain access to telephone calls and other live or “real-time” telecommunications. Stored e-mail or voice mail messages would be available to government agencies that can obtain a search warrant (or consent).

For more information, see the following article on ACM’s Membernet web site: http://campus.acm.org/public/membernet/storypage.May.2004.cfm?story=17&CFID=23207696&CFTOKEN=28895744 or http://tinyurl.com/24b7v.


[5] CICERONE NOMINATED TO BE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES PRESIDENT

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has approved the nomination of Ralph J. Cicerone, chancellor of the University of California’s Irvine campus, for election as NAS president. He will succeed Bruce Alberts when Alberts’ second six-year term as NAS president ends on July 1, 2005.

Cicerone was elected to the NAS in 1990, and he served on its governing Council from 1996 to 1999. He has been a member of more than 40 Academy and Research Council committees since 1984, and in 2001 he chaired the landmark study “Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions,” conducted at the request of the White House.

For more information, see http://www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/06152004?OpenDocument.


[6] PEACE CORPS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS WITH IT SKILLS

The Peace Corps has entered into a partnership with Mexico’s National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) and is seeking up to four experienced knowledge management specialists to work in conjunction with CONACYT technical centers in central Mexico. Peace Corps Knowledge Management Specialists will be responsible for the design (or redesign) of information systems at CONACYT Research and Development Centers. Volunteers will work closely with the in-house team and transfer technical and management skills to their Mexican counterparts. Candidates must complete a traditional Peace Corps application, including letters of reference, interview, and medical and legal review. Assignments are 27 months during which time all living expenses are covered. Benefits include: round trip transportation, medical and dental care, a monthly stipend in the local currency, 48 vacation days, and a $6,075 readjustment allowance upon successful completion of service. Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, an IT or library science background as it relates to knowledge management, and experience in organizing and managing large bodies of research materials.

For more information, see http://www.peacecorps.org.


[7] CYBERCRIME TREATY MOVES TOWARD RATIFICATION

On June 17th, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard testimony regarding the Council of Europe Cybercrime Treaty, which continues to make progress toward ratification in the U.S. Senate. Among other things, the treaty obliges participants to include computer crimes (such as unauthorized intrusions into networks, the release of worms and viruses, and copyright infringement) in their domestic laws. In his comments, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), committee chairman, expressed his desire that the treaty be ratified promptly. More information on the hearing can be found at http://foreign.senate.gov/hearings/2004/hrg040617a.html.

USACM has been engaged in the cybercrime treaty debate for some time. In 2000, USACM was a signatory to a letter sent to the Council of Europe by the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) objecting to the proposed treaty on the grounds that it would require ISPs to keep records of the activities of their customers, make ISPs liable for the content they carry, extend copyright crimes, and outlaw computer security tools. To review the letter, see http://www.gilc.org/privacy/coe-letter-1000.html.

Also, EPIC recently released a statement opposing ratification of the treaty; see http://www.epic.org/privacy/intl/senateletter-061704.pdf.


For earlier editions of the ACM Washington Update, see: http://www.acm.org/usacm/update/. To subscribe to the ACM WASHINGTON UPDATE send an e-mail to listserv@acm.org with “subscribe WASHINGTON-UPDATE” (no quotes) in the body of the message. Should you wish to stop receiving ACM Washington Update or have questions, comments, or suggestions regarding public policy issues or USACM activities, please contact the ACM Public Policy Office located in Washington, D.C., by e-mail at usacm_dc@acm.org or by calling 202-659-9711.

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