Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – December 2009 (Vol. 52, No. 12)

By David Bruggeman
December 30, 2009

Below is a list of items with policy relevance from the December issue of Communications of the ACM. As always, much of the material in CACM is premium content, and free content one month may slip behind a pay wall the next. You need to be a member of ACM or a subscriber to CACM to access premium content online.

CSTA Letter

It is a Pivotal Time for K-12 Computer Science by Chris Stephenson

Computer Science Teachers Association Executive Director Stephenson outlines the reasons why changes in undergraduate computer science enrollments do not mean it is time for the computing community to stop its work in improving the state of K-12 computer science education.

CACM Online

Crowdsourcing and the Question of Expertise by David Roman

Roman notes that crowdsourcing, which is cropping up in some of the Obama Administration’s efforts to develop policy, lacks a level of discernment between crowd wisdom and mob rule.


Making Automation Work by Samuel Greengard

Starting from the recent fatal Metro crash in Washington, D.C., the author discusses the challenges in managing the human-machine interface in automated systems.

Viewpoints: Broadening Participation

Opening Remarks by Richard Ladner

This first column in a series on broadening participation in computing matters to the field and to society.


A Threat Analysis of RFID Passports by Alan Ramos, Weina Scott, William Scott, Doug Lloyd, Katherine O’Leary, and Jim Waldo

The article discusses the vulnerability of passports with RFID chips to data capture, and considers a cost-benefit analysis of targeting these passports for identity theft.