Washington News – Alerts and Updates

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
February 24, 2015

* 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.