Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – March 2011 (Vol. 54, No. 3)

By David Bruggeman
June 21, 2011

Below is a list of items with policy relevance from the March 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.

News: Research and Development

Evaluating Government Funding by Tom Geller
Article reviews the December 2010 report from the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology on federal investments in networking and information technology research.

News: In Memoriam
Gary Chapman, Technologist: 1952-2010
A remembrance of Chapman, who served as the first Executive Director of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.

Viewpoints: Legally Speaking
Do You Own the Software You Buy? by Pamela Samuelson
Samuelson reviews recent court decisions and how they affect the resale of software.

Viewpoints: Computing Ethics
Surrounded by Machines by Kenneth D. Pimple
Review of a recent workshop on the ethics of pervasive and autonomous information technology.

National Internet Defense – Small States on the Skirmish Line by Ross Stapleton-Gray and William Woodcock
The authors review the recent cyber-skirmishes in Estonia and Georgia with an eye toward how small states can better prepare to handle such intrusions in the future.

Contributed Articles
Plug-and-Play Macroscopes by Katy Börner
Outlines the notion of a macroscope – a means of managing and visualizing evolving data sets. The tool holds promise for better understanding the complexity of large systems.

Understanding Scam Victims: Seven Principles for Systems Security by Frank Stajano and Paul Wilson
Through review of scams commonly conducted in Britain, the authors outline various behavior patterns associated with the scams. Security engineers need to become familiar with these patterns and watch for them in their own systems.

Last Byte: Future Tense
Catch Me If You Can by Gregory Benford
The author of the first computer virus looks to the possible futures of so-called smart viruses like Stuxnet.